Drew Steckenrider: The best arm out of the Marlins bullpen?

jmastrucci
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Drew Steckenrider #71 of the Miami Marlins poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 22, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 22: Drew Steckenrider #71 of the Miami Marlins poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 22, 2018 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Finding bright spots with the Miami Marlins is a difficult task. Determining whether something Marlins related deserves attention or not is also difficult. Attempting to draw attention to a Marlins reliever is a tough sell. Even with all of that, Drew Steckenrider is deserving of any and all attention.

It has been just over a month into the 2018 season and it appears that the Marlins have a bullpen arm they can rely upon. The arm of Drew Steckenrider. In fact Steckenrider may be the best arm in Miami bullpen. Steckenrider has accumulated some impressive numbers in just 17 games.

16.2 IP, 1.08 ERA, 0.720 WHIP, 1 W, 6 HLD, 23 SO, 12.4 SO/9, 3 BB

Drew Steckenrider
MILWAUKEE, WI – SEPTEMBER 16: Drew Steckenrider #71 of the Miami Marlins pitches during the eight inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 16, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Marlins defeated the Brewers 7-4. (Photo by John Konstantaras/Getty Images) /

These numbers as quite impressive. Steckenrider has only allowed nine hits this season and only two earned runs. The only real blemish on Steckenrider’s stat line is that he has hit two batters. Besides that Steckenrider has been rather dominant. He should see considerable action going into the weekend four-game set with the Atlanta Braves.

Competition for Steckenrider?

The only other relievers who are currently battling Steckenrider for the title of the best reliever are Nick Wittgren and Kyle Barraclough. Wittgren and Barraclough own 0.90 and 2.30 ERA respectively. Barraclough has more use this season when compared to Wittgren (15.2 to 10 IP this season). Both also own a better SO/9 ratio than Steckenrider. However what it comes down to is walks. Barraclough has walked 11 batters and Wittgren has walked six. Compared to Steckenrider’s three this is where the difference lies. Steckenrider has issued less walks in more innings and strikes out about one less batter per inning than both Wittgren and Barraclough. Strikeouts are great but if a pitcher is unable to keep runners off the basepaths it is an issue. Relief pitchers need to keep the basepaths empty at all costs and right now Steckenrider is the best at accomplishing this task.

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Is this a blip or a trend for Steckenrider?

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Steckenrider this may come as a surprise, however this is not an unexpected breakout. During the 2017 campaign Steckenrider put together some good numbers in 37 games.

34.2 IP, 2.34 ERA, 1.385 WHIP, 1 W, 10 HLD, 1 SV, 54 SO, 14 SO/9, 18 BB

What is going on between this year and last is natural progression and development. Steckenrider has cut down on the walks and has avoided the long ball this season (Steckenrider gave up four home runs in 2017).

According to @qopbaseball, the advanced metrics bear out Steckenrider’s elite status as well. His 4.92 “pitch quality” ranks as “good,” and he’s third in the majors with a 96% “rise” rate.

Steckenrider should continue to develop this season and form a formidable group with Barraclough and Wittgren in the Marlins bullpen. The only question is if the Marlins will be in a situation to win games often enough for this combination to truly matter?

Next: Miami Marlins Host Atlanta Braves: A Preview

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