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Daniel Zamora Comes Out Of Nowhere

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Lefthanded reliever Daniel Zamora showed last season he was more than just an a body to fill out a minor league roster for the Mets.

Acquired in the January 2018 trade that sent journeyman reliever Josh Smoker to the Pirates, the 25-year-old Zamora arrived at Double-A Binghamton and got noticed almost immediately.

He spent the last six weeks of the season showing he can handle major league hitters and will head to spring training as maybe the favorite to become the team’s matchup lefty in 2019.

"He’s fearless,” Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland said. "He didn’t let the surroundings or situation bother him or affect him in a negative way like a lot of rookies (during their) first time in the big leagues, especially for a guy who came out of nowhere like him.”

A 40th-round pick by the Pirates in 2015, Zamora—a Loma Linda, Calif., native who pitched at Stony Brook—appeared in 16 games for the Mets last season and posted a 3.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. In 40 appearances for Binghamton he recorded a 3.48 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.

"We started hearing about him during the season," Eiland said. "There was this lefthander in Double-A with a real good slider, and he will play and the slider will play. But you never really know until a guy gets there, and he did.”

The Mets headed into 2019 with Zamora as the only lefty reliever on the 40-man roster, but the club also signed veteran Hector Santiago, who could compete with Zamora for a bullpen job in spring training.

"We like (Zamora) and we trust him,” Eiland said. "He throws his slider from a couple of different arm angles with a couple of different breaks to it. It’s not just one slider with one shape—he’s got a variation of it.

"But he needs to improve his fastball command. He’s aware of that, and I have spoken to him at length about that. That is going to be one of the main focuses in spring training, improving his fastball command. If he can get that to go with his slider then it’s the best of both worlds.”

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