Pittsburgh Pirates 2023 Recap: Carmen Mlodzinski Emerges as Bullpen Building Block

Carmen Mlodzinski put together a strong rookie season with the Pirates in 2023

Aug 24, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski
Aug 24, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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2020 draft pick Carmen Mlodzinski made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season and quickly rose to a high leverage role in the team's bullpen

On June 16th of last season, Carmen Mlodzinski made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His debut came less than 3 years after Mlodzinski was selected 31st overall by the Pirates in the 2020 MLB Draft.

In his first taste of MLB action, Mlodzinski pitched 36.0 innings in 35 appearances for the Pirates. Mlodzinski posted a 2.25 ERA, 4.03 FIP, 11.8% walk rate, and a 22.4% strikeout rate. He allowed 3 home runs (0.75 HR/9), and limited opposing batters to a .211 batting average.

As the season progressed, Mlodzinski saw his role grow in the Pirate bullpen. By the end of the season, the young righty was one of Derek Shelton's go to arms in high leverage situations and he was quickly emerging as a young building block in the team's bullpen.

The 24-year-old used a four-pitch mix to find his success.

Mlodzinski's most used pitch last season was his four-seamed fastball. He threw the pitch at a 49.8% clip, limiting opponents to a .193 batting average, .316 slugging percentage, and generated a 20.4% whiff rate.

Both his sweeper and changeup were strong pitches as well. Mlodiznski threw his sweeper at a 22.0% clip, limiting opponents to a .229 batting average, .314 slugging percentage, and generating a 21.4% whiff rate. Used at a 14.7% clip, Mlodzinski's changeup limited opponents to a .190 batting average, .238 slugging percentage, and had a 23.1% whiff rate.

Mlodzinski also threw a cutter, but it did not find the same success as his other three pitches. He threw the pitch at a 13.1% clip, opponents hit .278 and slugged .389 off of his cutter. The pitch did, however, have the highest whiff rate out of his pitch selection at 23.3%.

Mlodzinski generated a strong 47.5% ground ball rate, which was higher than the league average of 44.6%. His opposing barrel rate of 4.0% was also better than league average, while hiss average opposing exit velocity of 88.7 MPH was right about league average. Mlodzinski did a good job of limiting quality contact, while also keeping the ball on the ground.

Looking ahead to 2024, Mlodzinski should be one of the key pieces of the Pirate bullpen. David Bednar will once again be the team's closer/go to arm in high leverage situations, but Mlodzinski should join Dauri Moreta and Colin Holderman as other high leverage arms for Shelton.

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