Brad Hand isn’t the dominant southpaw he was during his time in San Diego or Cleveland, but he can still contribute to a major league bullpen. In 45 innings for the NL pennant-winning Philadelphia Phillies, Hand worked to a 2.80 ERA, 3.94 FIP, and 1.33 WHIP. Hand had a sub-par 19.2% strikeout rate and 11.6% walk rate but allowed just two home runs. But what is worrying is his 4.90 xFIP and 4.51 SIERA. Hand had a 4.2% HR/FB ratio even though he had a pretty average batted ball profile but only a 27.7% hard-hit rate. It’s questionable at best if he can repeat a sub-3.00 ERA season, but he is still a serviceable lefty regardless.
Will Smith is a veteran looking for some consistency next season. Smith started off the season with a 4.38 ERA, 5.22 FIP, and 1.51 WHIP with the Atlanta Braves. However, after being dealt to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline, Smith would go on to finish the season out strong with a 3.27 ERA, 2.66 FIP, and 1.23 WHIP. On average, he struck out six batters for every free pass and allowed just two home runs in 22 innings of work. Granted, he did have a 90.2 MPH exit velocity, but the underlying numbers support his second half with a 3.09 xFIP and 2.83 SIERA.
Matt Strahm is another decent lefty on the market. Last season, Strahm pitched 44.2 innings for the Boston Red Sox, working to a 3.83 ERA, 3.72 FIP, and 1.23 WHIP. He had a healthy 26.9% strikeout rate with an 8.8% walk rate but a mediocre 1.01 HR/9. He could benefit from a less home-run friendly park in 2023. Strahm did keep batters to an 87.5 MPH exit velo, and SIERA supports he can be slightly better in 2023 with a 3.30 mark.
Jarlin Garcia posted an ERA+ of 100 or better in the last four campaigns. Last year, Garcia worked to a 3.74 ERA but 4.27 FIP and 1.20 WHIP in 65 innings. Although Garcia tied his career-low walk rate at 6.7% and his 20.7% strikeout rate sat right in line with his career average, Garcia allowed home runs at a 1.38-per-9 pace. SIERA viewed him fondly at 3.78, but xFIP pinned him at 4.25. If Garcia can get his home run rate down next season, he’d definitely be worth the investment.
An underrated name to watch is Scott Alexander. Injuries have plagued Alexander the last two seasons, but when he has pitched, he’s been effective. In his last 32.2 innings of work, Alexander has worked to a 1.93 ERA, 3.78 FIP, and 0.98 WHIP. Alexander is not a strikeout pitcher whatsoever, with a 13.8% K-rate, but he has an elite 3.8% walk rate in 2021-2022 (including an even better 1.6% BB% this past season in 17.1 innings). He’s also been pretty decent at limiting home runs with a .83 HR/9. On top of that, he has a solid 3.51 xFIP and 3.16 SIERA. Alexander is a pitcher the Pirates should heavily pursue as he’s arguably the best low-cost veteran available.