Reed Garrett of the New York Mets reacts after getting the...

Reed Garrett of the New York Mets reacts after getting the final of the seventh inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field on Tuesday. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Who the heck is Reed Garrett? And why is he the hottest reliever in baseball?

Garrett is a righthander with the Mets. In his most recent outing, on Tuesday, the 31-year-old from Henrico, Virginia, struck out six Pirates in two scoreless innings. He was the winning pitcher in the Mets’ 3-1 victory.

For the season, the 16th-round pick from 2014 by Texas has struck out 17 in 8 2/3 innings, the most of any reliever in baseball.

Garrett has two wins — including the Mets’ first one of the season after an 0-5 start — and has not allowed a run.

So now you know who Reed Garrett is. But who was he before this stunning breakout?

Garrett was the definition of a journeyman, the kind of reliever teams keep on the end of their roster and discard when it’s convenient.

Garrett made his big-league debut with Detroit in 2019, and in 13 games pitched to an 8.22 ERA. After two seasons pitching for the Seibu Lions in Japan, he was next seen in the majors in 2022, when he had a 6.75 ERA in nine appearances for the Nationals.

Then it was the Orioles in 2023. Two games and a 10.13 ERA, until he was claimed on waivers by the Mets on June 25.

Did Garrett finally find a home in Flushing? Not right away. In nine games last season, Garrett had a 5.82 ERA.

But he struck out 16 in 17 innings and the Mets saw something they liked. They, and he, spent the offseason trying to harness it.

Garrett did not make the team out of spring training. But his performance during the exhibition season caught the eye of first-year manager Carlos Mendoza, who, when asked on Tuesday how much he knew about Garrett going into the season admitted, “Honestly, I didn’t know much about him. I’m not going to lie.”

And now?

“This is a guy that gives you multiple innings, but the quality, you know?” he said. “He’s shown that he gets righties, lefties. The split, the slider, the fastball — it’s been pretty impressive . . .  They’re pretty nasty.

“When you see replays and how guys are taking swings on it, it makes you think like, ‘Wow.’ It’s a plus fastball, but then you’ve got that combo of split and sliders and he makes it tough. It’s good to see it.”

His money pitch is the slider, which Garrett has thrown 52% of the time so far this season. Of his 30 sliders, 53.3% have led to swings and misses. No opposing batter has gotten a hit on one.

Garrett, though, credited his success to throwing strikes with all of his pitches.

“I think that when you get ahead it’s a whole lot easier to pitch than if you’re going 2-0, 2-1 to everybody,” he said. “Right now I think we’re doing a great job of utilizing all my pitches and going after guys.”

Garrett always had a plus fastball, but he didn’t always know where it was going. Now, it’s mostly a show-me pitch that makes his offspeed stuff more effective.

“You start seeing the secondary pitches and then you’re like, ‘OK, we got something here,’" Mendoza said. “We kept talking about the [bullpen] depth and you know that potentially this is a guy that is going to start the year in Triple-A. Here he is now early and getting opportunities and coming up huge.”

Garrett was called up on April 1, when the Mets were in the midst of their rain-soaked 0-5 start.

Now, as they ready to face Yoshinobu Yamamoto and the Dodgers in Los Angeles for the start of a three-game series on Friday, the Mets are flying high with 10 wins in their last 13 games.

"I would bet the team flight out to LA should be pretty enjoyable,” owner Steve Cohen posted on X on Wednesday.

No one is flying higher than Reed Garrett.

“I worked really hard in the offseason and really challenged myself to kind of fine tune everything,” he said. “I feel like I’ve made those adjustments, and the results are there.”


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months