One of the biggest positives of the 2024 season for the Pittsburgh Pirates has been the emergence of rookie reliever Carmen Mlodzinski
Carmen Mlodzinski was selected with the 31st overall pick of the 2020 MLB Draft. While he began his professional career as a starting pitcher, the Pittsburgh Pirates moved him to a full-time relief role this season.
Since joining the Pirates, he hasn't looked back, joining relievers like Colin Holderman and Ryan Borucki, and then closing games with David Bednar. This list of names has been dominating together and could possibly help the Pirates reach the postseason in 2024 if everyone is healthy.
In Triple-A in 2023, Mlodzinski pitched in 20 games with no starts and finished 9 of those games. In 26.2 innings, he went 2-2 with a 3.04 ERA. While he has gone up and down a few times through the minors and majors in 27 games (1 start) and finishing 5 games, he's gone 3-3 with a 2.17 ERA. Since debuting, he's had one of the best fastballs in MLB, along with having a total of 5 pitches in his arsenal, he's been able to constantly dominate hitters.
His four-seam fastball is his most frequently thrown pitch as he uses it 51.1% of the time and averaging 95.8 MPH. He's used the cutter twice this season and hasn't had any outcomes but also has used his sweeper, changeup, and cutter. His cutter is probably his second-best pitch, with the changeup coming in third, and his worst pitch is his sweeper. While you can say he got unlucky with it underperforming the expected batting average.
In 2022 at Double-A Altoona, he pitched in 27 games (starting 22) and threw 105.1 innings but struggled with a 4.78 ERA. The Pirates then decided it was best to try to use him in the bullpen. A decision that appears to be paying off.
Mlodzinski has pitched 29.0 MLB innings 27 appearances this season. He has posted a 2.17 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 11.4% walk rate, 22.0% strikeout rate, and he's allowed just 3 home runs (0.93 HR/9). All signs point toward Mlodzinski being a key cog in the Pirate bullpen in 2024 and beyond.