The Mets learned last year that when Seth Lugo is in the bullpen, he is quite effective. They took him out for a bit and he just wasn’t as strong as he was in the bullpen (and the bullpen became so much weaker). Now with Diaz in town and Familia back the load for Lugo could look different.
2018: 101.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 1.076 WHIP, 9.1 K/9, 2.2 WAR, 3.82 DRA
Career: 3.44 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 1.193 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 4.56 DRA
If Lugo is as good this year as he was last year, than him with Diaz and Familia could one of the best back of the bullpen sets in the league. Let’s take a look at what projections think:
(Citations: Baseball Prospectus (BP) projections are from the Baseball Prospectus annual which can you can get here. It’s highly recommended. ESPN projections can be found here. ZiPS can be found here. Steamer can be found here. Baseball Reference projections (BR) can found on the players BR page which linked elsewhere on this article. )
Two things stand out: there’s an across the board agreement that Lugo takes a step back worse than his career average and that there is a wide variance of stats. Everyone over 90 is seeing Lugo spend time in the rotation this year, which may be true but the Mets have repeated they won’t do it (although after a certain amount of injuries Lugo as a starter could be their best option). All of the projections that see Lugo making starts are worst than the two that don’t see it.
It’s also not a good sign when the best projection is ESPN as they tend to over-amp player performance.
There’s also this:
2018 Average Projection: 110.1 IP, 4.52 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 7.35 K/9
2018 Actual: 101.1 IP, 2.66 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 1.076 WHIP, 9.1 K/9
Lugo was so much better than his projections last year. So let’s see if he can outperform again!