If the Pirates need a lefty who could give them innings out of the bullpen, Brent Suter is the guy. Suter is the definition of a durable but effective southpaw. Since 2021, Suter has pitched 204.1 innings out of the bullpen, the sixth most by any reliever, and the most by any lefty. Suter now enters free agency looking to latch on with a team.
Suter finished the 2023 season with a 3.42 ERA, 3.47 FIP, and 1.32 WHIP. Suter’s 18.7% strikeout rate rate is the lowest rate he’s posted since 2016, though it’s not all that much worse than his career 20.4% strikeout rate. Suter’s 8.7% walk rate is also a career-worst, though his 0.4 HR/9 is somehow a career-best. Keep in mind that he pitched for the Colorado Rockies this past season.
But Suter is a ground ball pitcher who feeds off of soft contact. Suter held batters to an 83.9 MPH exit velocity. That is not just the best in baseball this year, but one of the best in the Statcast Era. Among relievers since 2015 to pitch at least 50 frames in one year, Suter’s exit velocity is the 8th best of all time. His 25.9% hard-hit rate was in the 99th percentile, and his 3.4% barrel rate was in the 96th percentile. Suter had a well above average 46.4% GB%, which was in the top 71st percentile.
Not only does Suter induce a lot of soft contact, but he throws slow as well. His four-seam fastball averaged out at 86 MPH. He threw his sinker faster, but only up to 88.1 MPH. But even with the relatively archaic approach, you can’t argue with the results. It marks the third year in a row Suter has pitched at least 65 innings with an ERA below 3.80.
The only thing is Suter isn’t a high-leverage guy. He’s mostly been used as a long reliever, having pitched more than one inning on 23 different occasions this year. It also marks the third year in a row Suter has pitched more than one inning out in at least 20 games. While I wouldn’t entrust Suter with a late-inning role, he does his job good, and that’s being a quality lefty long-reliever. He could definitely save the bullpen on days a starter doesn’t go long, or on days when the bullpen is taxed.