The Washington Nationals bullpen has bounced back over the last 30 days, and Wander Suero is a considerable part of its resurgence.
In that span, Suero posted a 6.85 ERA in 22.1 innings, which had Nats fans puzzled.
“Suero pitched so well last year! What happened to him?” fans thought. After all, they were referencing Suero’s 3.59 ERA in 2018 and wondered where it went.
However, Suero’s process in the early part of 2019 was still on point. He was just getting unlucky.
On May 9, I said this about Suero in a post about the bullpen:
"People that have followed my work over the last nine or so months know that I’m a big believer in what Wander Suero offers as a pitcher. He can pitch multiple innings, and he strikes lots of batters out. That’s an excellent combination to have.His 6.60 ERA is due to an absurd 48.4 LOB%. That will NOT (I repeat, NOT) sustain itself over the course of the season. That is why Suero’s FIP of 2.94 is a better representation of who he is."
Suero’s left on base percentage (LOB%) was shockingly bad (and unlucky). That stat can show if a pitcher’s ERA is too high or too low based on how many runners he strands during games, which is hugely variant.
So it is not surprising at all that his luck is starting to turn around with a larger innings sample.
Since that post, Suero’s LOB% has jumped over 20 percentage points and now sits at 62.5%. It is inching ever closer to his 2018 mark of 74.5%, and the league average mark of approximately 75%.
Because Suero’s LOB% went up, it means his ERA went down. His season ERA is down to 5.24, and in June alone it is 2.25.
Suero is pitching better than ever, and now he is pitching effectively on back-to-back days, increasing his value to the team.
Recently, Suero pitched on back-to-back-to-back days against Philadelphia (twice) and Atlanta and fired a combined three scoreless innings.
Additionally, Suero pitched on back-to-back days against Miami (Wednesday and Thursday) and struck out five of the six batters he faced.