The New York Mets have named Jeremy Hefner as their new pitching coach, as first reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.
His appointment comes a day after the organization brought on Hensley Meulens as Carlos Beltran’s bench coach as the first-year manager’s staff nears completion.
Hefner pitched two years in the majors, both with the Mets, where he went 8-15 with a 4.65 ERA.
Following his playing career, he spent three seasons with the Minnesota Twins as an advance scout before being promoted to the team’s assistant pitching coach under Wes Johnson.
The 33-year-old beat out the likes of the University of Michigan’s pitching coach Chris Fetter, Oakland Athletics minor-league coordinator Gil Patterson, and Milwaukee Brewers bullpen coach Steve Karsay for the job. He’s considered to be fluent in new-age pitching techniques and will heavily use analytics in his decision-making.
Hefner will now be in charge of one of the more impressive starting rotations in the majors as the Mets boast two-time defending NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz.
With Zack Wheeler likely to leave in free agency after turning down the Mets’ qualifying offer, Hefner may be tasked with getting an in-house arm like Robert Gsellman’s back up to starting snuff as a possible fifth starter.
That is if general manager Brodie Van Wagenen and the Wilpons opt not to make a splash in free agency and pick up an established starter.
He’ll also be tasked with getting the Mets’ bullpen — which is a unit expected to see some changes this winter — back on track. Most importantly, Hefner will have to try and get Edwin Diaz back to his 2018 form while with Seattle.
The Mets closer had a miserable start to his career in Queens, blowing seven saves, allowing 15 home runs in 58 innings of work, and sporting a career-worst 5.59 ERA.
New York’s bullpen woes played a key role in why the team failed to make the postseason, finishing with an 86-76 record that was three games short of the final NL Wild Card spot.
It led to the dismissal of manager Mickey Callaway following the season. But it was a 2019 season that also featured the firing of pitching coach Dave Eiland in June after his pitching staff was ranked 20th in the majors with a 4.71 ERA.
The Mets brought in interim pitching coach Phil Regan, who at 82 years old, performed admirably to fix the team’s arms. In the 87 games he was in charge, New York had a far better 3.84 team ERA.