Former Mets reliever Trevor May praises latest bullpen addition Shintaro Fujinami

One of David Stearns’ biggest priorities during his first offseason as President of Baseball Operations for the Mets was to completely revamp what’s been a relatively up-and-down bullpen over the past few seasons.

Getting superstar closer Edwin Diaz back from a season-ending knee injury suffered at the World Baseball Classic will certainly be a huge boost, but he also made some other under-the-radar moves.

Adam Ottavino is back and veteran Jake Diekman brings an interesting second lefty option to the mix alongside Brooks Raley, but perhaps the most surprising addition to the bullpen is right-hander Shintaro Fujinami.

Fujinami signed a one-year deal with the Athletics after being posted last offseason, and he struggled to the tune of an 8.47 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, and 5.5 BB/9 innings across his first 34 big-league appearances.

The 29-year-old quickly transitioned to the bullpen, and he began to find more success after being traded to the Baltimore Orioles, posting a 4.85 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over his final 30 appearances.

While Fujinami struggled at times during his rookie campaign, there’s no denying he possesses extremely intriguing stuff, which is exactly why Stearns and the Mets are taking a chance on him with a low-risk, high-reward deal.

It seems like they aren’t the only ones who believe in Fuji, as former Mets reliever and his Oakland teammate Trevor May had nothing but good things to say about the talented reliever on a recent appearance on the Mets’d Up podcast.

“His ceiling is higher than everyone else,” May said. “He’s a freak athlete, he’s so strong and he’s always working. He has the stuff and it’s there. He doesn’t have a crazy sinker, he doesn’t have a rising fastball, he throws something in the middle and can throw hard.”

Fujinami’s arsenal includes a nasty swing-and-miss splitter and a fastball that tops out at 103 MPH, and he enjoyed a ton of success during his final season in Japan, pitching to a 3.38 ERA while posting a career-low 7.6 percent walk rate.

His ceiling certainly is through the roof, now it’s up to pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and the rest of the Mets’ newly developed pitching lab to help him tap into that potential.

If they’re able to do that, perhaps Fujinami could give Carlos Mendoza another hard-throwing weapon at the backend of the bullpen.