Mets closer Edwin Diaz should be a 2021 MLB All-Star

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Edwin Diaz TREATED ART celebrating after save home pinstripes June 2021
Edwin Diaz TREATED ART celebrating after save home pinstripes June 2021

Edwin Diaz, whose entrance song, "Narco," has turned the Citi Field stands into a party every time he comes into a game this season, has seemingly won over lots of Mets fans who still weren't ready to trust him before the year started.

It should be noted here that Diaz was dominant and reliable in 2020, when he made it clear that his 2019 season was an aberration.

Now, while Diaz has had a tremendous 2021 season so far -- ranking among the MLB leaders in saves while featuring a lethal fastball/slider combination that has often left hitters flailing -- how he has performed is even more impressive when you dig deeper into his stats.

And when you examine what Diaz has done, it's easy to see that he deserves to represent the Mets at the All-Star Game on July 13 at Coors Field in Colorado.

THE NUMBERS

Entering play on June 25, Diaz has a 2.73 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 40 strikeouts in 29.2 innings over 30 appearances.

His 16 saves are tied for sixth-best in the NL and seventh-best in all of baseball, though a largely team-dependent stat like saves can be ignored a bit -- especially considering that Diaz has been lights out in most of his save opportunities.

New York Mets pitcher Edwin Diaz celebrates with catcher James McCann (33) after recording a save in a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field.
New York Mets pitcher Edwin Diaz celebrates with catcher James McCann (33) after recording a save in a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field.

One of the things that makes Diaz stand out above almost every other high-leverage reliever in baseball this season is that he has allowed zero home runs. The only other National League closer in the All-Star conversation who can say the same is Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Meanwhile, a look at Diaz's advanced stats -- including his 1.57 FIP and career-best hard hit rate allowed of just 21.2 percent (which is among the best in baseball) -- further illustrate just how dominant he has been.

And if you scope out Diaz's Baseball Savant page, you'll see that he has been elite this season when it comes to xwOBA, xSLG, xERA, fastball velocity, whiff percentage, xBA, chase rate, and strikeout rate.

THE COMPETITION

Barring something crazy happening over the next two weeks, Chicago Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel (0.59 ERA and 0.66 WHIP with 52 strikeouts in 30.1 innings), San Diego Padres closer Mark Melancon (league-leading 23 saves to go along with a 1.91 ERA and 1.15 WHIP), and Hader (0.59 ERA and 0.72 WHIP with 52 strikeouts in 30.2 innings) are locks to make the All-Star team.

Beyond those three, it can be argued that Diaz is the most deserving.

Other competitors could include Kenley Jansen of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Richard Rodriguez of the Pittsburgh Pirates (who hasn't been nearly as overpowering as Diaz), and Tejay Antone of the Cincinnati Reds.

Looking back at the National League roster for the 2019 All-Star Game, there were only four relievers who made it. So if history is any indication, Diaz making it could be easier said than done.

HOW DOES DIAZ GET THERE?

Here's where things could get interesting...

Partly because the Mets have dealt with a truly absurd amount of injuries this season -- including to Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, and Pete Alonso -- they don't have any position players likely to be selected to the game -- either as starters or reserves.

Jun 23, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at Citi Field.
Jun 23, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against the Atlanta Braves during the second inning at Citi Field.

Francisco Lindor has been hot at the plate in June and his defense has been otherworldly all season, but it is almost certainly too late for him to make a push.

And with how many dominant starting pitchers there have been throughout baseball this season, Taijuan Walker (who has had a minor stumble lately) and Marcus Stroman will likely be on the outside looking in.

That leaves the Mets with one shoo-in for the game -- Jacob deGrom.

But if deGrom remains on an every-fifth-day schedule between now and the All-Star break, he would be scheduled to pitch on Sunday, July 11, likely eliminating his chance to be in (and start) the All-Star Game.

Even if deGrom can't pitch in the All-Star Game, he'll be able to participate in the festivities. But a spot on the roster would open up, and it could be perfectly filled by Diaz if he hasn't already been selected.