Pittsburgh Pirates: Three Young Relievers Who Could Put the Bullpen Over the Top in 2024

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a young and talented bullpen, but these three potential relievers could boost the Bucs' pen to an elite level in 2024.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds
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Carmen Mlodzinski

The Pirates got a look at what Carmen Mlodzinski could do in the second half of the 2023 season. A former first-round competitive balance pick, Mlodzinski secured himself a high-leverage role going into 2024. He’ll at least open the year as a 7th-inning guy, but he could find himself in the 8th inning more often than Colin Holderman.

In 36 big league innings, Mlodzinski had a 2.25 ERA, 4.03 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP. He had a 22.4% strikeout rate, along with an 11.4% walk rate. However, he was decent at limiting home runs with a 0.75 HR/9. Now those numbers aren’t all that impressive looking, aside from the ERA. But his stuff could definitely help him going forward.

Mlodzinski threw four pitches at least 10% of the time. Three of them held opponents to a WOA below .300, including his four-seam fastball, sweeper, and change-up. Of the three pitches, his change-up has the most potential, given it had the highest whiff rate at 23.1%, the lowest batting average and SLG% against at .190 and .283, respectively, and the lowest hard hit rate at 23.5%. However, both his four-seam fastball and cutter averaged over 1.5 runs of value per 100 pitches.

Mlodzinski had +0.72 WPA in less than 50 innings, stemming from his ability to pitch well in close games. 31 of his innings came in the 7th inning or later, where he owned a 2.32 ERA, .645 opponent OPS, and 30:15 K:BB ratio. He also only allowed six extra-base hits.