Washington Nationals: Wander Suero Is An Enigma
The Washington Nationals’ bullpen has been had to figure out this entire season, but Wander Suero may be the most confusing case.
In all likelihood, how far the 2019 Washington Nationals go this season will be determined by their bullpen. Barring injury, this team will be competing for the postseason till the very end, but their bullpen will be the difference between them being a playoff team or a team on the outside looking in.
A month from now we are likely to see some new faces in the Nationals’ bullpen. With their recent hot stretch winning 13 of 16 and 26 of 36 overall, Washington has put themselves in a position to be semi-buyers at the deadline. What I mean by this is don’t expect any big-time names like Will Smith or Ken Giles, but look for general manager Mike Rizzo to try to acquire some under-the-radar relief arms.
Since May 24, the Nationals have been the best team in baseball. They have figured out a lot of things as a team during that stretch, but the enigma of relief pitcher Wander Suero is still a big question mark for this team.
Now as I said earlier, I imagine Washington will acquire some relief help at the deadline, but if they want to win this division, Suero will have to play a role in the bullpen in some capacity.
Suero has had a weird 2019 season, to say the least. Currently, in 36.1 innings he had posted a 5.45 ERA to go with a 1.32 WHIP and 47 strikeouts. Some nights Suero has looked lights out, others he has looked the exact opposite.
It has been a mixed bag for Suero this season, but his days of rest when pitching may have something to do with his mixed results. When Suero has had zero or one days of rest, he has a 5.64 ERA and has given up 40 hits, 24 runs, and 14 walks in 36.2 innings pitched.
When Suero has two days of rest before an appearance, he has a 4.19 ERA and has given up just nine runs in 19.1 innings while striking out 23. On three days rest Suero has been dominant, recording a 1.42 ERA to go with 13 strikeouts in 12.2 innings. Suero’s WHIP goes from 1.563 with no days of rest to 0.711 with three days rest, showing just how big the difference is in his effectiveness.
Now it is not realistic for Suero to only pitch on three days rest, but even with two days, he has performed much better than with zero to one.
Another thing that is very important for Suero is to get ahead of hitters. When he falls behind a hitter 1-0 or 2-1, hitters are hitting nearly .500 off the right-hander. When he gets ahead of a hitter in an at-bat, they are hitting just .216 against him with just 19 hits in 127 appearances.
If the Nationals want to use Suero to their best ability, it would help to acquire some extra relief arms to lessen his load. As shown by the stats, Suero is effective when he has rested. If Washington can get some extra bullpen arms to help in the late innings, they can stop overusing Suero and let him pitch to the best of his ability.