Why the Phillies’ Ranger Suárez is MLB’s Most Underrated Pitcher

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When discussing the elite pitchers in Major League Baseball, names like Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Shohei Ohtani often dominate the conversation. Yet, quietly carving out a place among these giants is the Phillies’ Ranger Suárez, a pitcher whose remarkable skill set and consistent performance have made him one of the most underrated talents in the league. 

Despite flying under the radar, Suárez’s precision, efficiency, and ability to deliver in high-stakes situations have made him an invaluable asset for Philadelphia. 

This article will explore why Suárez deserves recognition as MLB’s most underrated pitcher and how his unique approach to the game is paying off in spades.

October Performer: Suárez’s Playoff Pedigree

Beyond his regular season accomplishments, Suárez has proven himself a clutch performer in the playoffs. In the last two years, he has maintained an impressive 1.62 ERA over nine playoff appearances, which include seven starts. His ability to perform under pressure has made him a key player in the Phillies’ postseason runs.

Suárez’s consistency and ability to pitch in high-stakes situations make him an invaluable asset for the Phillies as they aim for another deep playoff run. His performance this year has the potential to be a catalyst for the team’s success in October. With an online sports betting site, you can check out the latest odds for the Phillies and other teams as well..

Precision and Command: The Key to Suárez’s Success

Regarding Ranger Suárez, it’s not about overpowering hitters with sheer velocity but mastering the art of pitching with precision and control. Suárez is a pitcher who focuses on painting the strike zone with remarkable finesse, making each pitch a tactical move to keep batters guessing. This approach has allowed him to buck the trend in an era where high velocity often dominates.

One of the standout aspects of Suárez’s game is his significant improvement in command. He has reduced his walk rate from 8.9% last year to an impressive 4.1% this season, placing him among the best in MLB. 

This improvement is even more striking when you consider that last year, through his first eight starts, Suárez had walked 14 batters in 43.2 innings. This year, he has allowed only eight walks over 54 innings. Furthermore, Suárez boasts a strikeout rate of 28.1%, making his strikeout-to-walk ratio one of the highest in the league at 6.88.

A critical factor in Suárez’s success has been his focus on refining his secondary pitches during the off-season. This refinement has translated into an increased chase rate from 29.6% last year to 32.7% this year. 

Batters are now forced to swing more often, as they can’t rely on pitches drifting out of the zone to draw walks. Suárez’s ability to consistently hit the strike zone’s edges, locating nearly half of his pitches on the edge (44.8%), keeps hitters off balance and leads to weak contact. Opponents are only barreling up on 5% of balls in play against him, with an average exit velocity of just 83.2 mph, placing Suárez in the top 2% of the league for weak contact allowed.

The Workhorse: Suárez’s Durability and Efficiency

One of the most impressive facets of Suárez’s season has been his ability to pitch deep into games. The Phillies have allowed him more freedom, and he has responded by pitching efficiently and effectively. Suárez consistently aims to pitch into the seventh or eighth inning, a testament to his quick outs and low pitch counts. His teammates note that he views any outing where he doesn’t reach these late innings as a failure.

Currently, Suárez’s 54 innings pitched rank him among the top in the league for pitchers with eight starts. His average of 6.75 innings per start leads MLB. Notably, Suárez and teammate Aaron Nola are the only pitchers with multiple starts of at least eight innings this season. 

Suárez also stands out for being one of just four pitchers to throw 50-plus innings while issuing fewer than 10 walks. His ground-ball rate is one of the highest in the league at 57.7%, largely thanks to his elite sinker, which he throws in the strike zone 62% of the time. This sinker has significant movement, dropping an average of 29 inches, well above the league average.

Suárez’s ability to induce ground balls and pitch efficiently has the Phillies believing he could surpass 200 innings this season for the first time in his career. This durability is a significant asset for the Phillies as they look to contend.

Strong Cy Young Contender

Suárez’s impressive statistics and advanced metrics have placed him firmly in the conversation for the Cy Young Award. His 1.7 fWAR is tied with some of the top pitchers in the league, including Dylan Cease and Tyler Glasnow. 

Suárez’s WHIP of 0.79, combined with the Phillies’ winning each of his first eight starts, historically places him in rare company. He joins the ranks of Hall of Famers like Mordecai Brown, Addie Joss, and Christy Mathewson. The Phillies’ rotation, led by Suárez, has been a significant force this season. With the highest starting pitching fWAR in MLB and a second-ranked starting ERA, the rotation’s dominance has been a cornerstone of the team’s success. Suárez’s performance significantly contributes to this success, making him a legitimate contender for the Cy Young Award.

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