Braves: Collin McHugh’s peripherals suggest he’s still one of the best bullpen arms in the game

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Throughout the offseason, I pounded on the table to bring in Collin McHugh and was thrilled/surprised when it actually happened. He’s been one of the most reliable relievers in baseball for the last five-plus years and is fresh off a 2021 season in which he recorded a ridiculous 1.55 ERA over 64 innings for the Rays. MLB Network even ranked him as the sixth-best reliever in all of baseball before the start of the season.¬†

2022 is off to a rough start so far for McHugh, though. The 6’2″ right-hander has appeared 11 times for the Braves and has an unsightly 5.56 ERA. With that being said, absolutely everything points to this eventually turning around for him.

McHugh’s FIP is only 2.01. If you’re unfamiliar with what FIP is, it stands for Fielder Independent Pitching, and it typically paints a better picture of how a pitcher is actually pitching relative to his ERA. Over time, a pitcher’s ERA and FIP should look rather similar. So in McHugh’s case, he’s been a byproduct of some unfavorable luck, and one look at his Baseball Savant page will tell you the same thing.

McHugh is near the top of every category outside of fastball velocity, which really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. The stuff is still filthy; it’s just a matter of time before the results in the box score begin to turn around.

The Braves’ bullpen was pegged as the best in baseball by most before the season, and so far, the results are speaking for themselves. Atlanta’s relievers are third in the league in fWAR and second in FIP, and I don’t think we’ve come close to seeing the best version of a lot of these guys. When it’s all said and done, this will be a group that nobody wants to see at the end of games, especially when things begin to really start counting in the latter months of the season.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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