The Braves pitching staff put together a masterclass in their shutout of the Padres last night. Max Fried made his triumphant return to the mound by tossing five scoreless innings, and he was followed by Dylan Lee, who has quietly become one of the most underrated pitchers in all of baseball.
Last night, the 28-year-old lefty followed Fried by retiring the Padres in order on just seven pitches. Lee then went out again in the seventh, pitching around a double, thanks to three strikeouts. He’s now appeared in nine games and has yet to give up an earned run. Hell, Lee has only given up three hits and has yet to even walk a batter. He’s been a sure-thing every time Brian Snitker has turned to him, and this isn’t something that just started happening either.
Since 2022, Lee has become one of the most reliable pitchers in all of baseball. He owns a 1.80 ERA over his last 55 appearances, which is the tenth-best ERA of any relief pitcher with at least 50 innings thrown since the start of last season.
Last year, Lee boasted a 2.13 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 0.987 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, and 195 ERA+ (95% above league average). Those are outstanding numbers for anybody, but with how volatile relief pitching can be, it was fair to wonder if he could build on that in 2023. So far, he’s proving what happened last season was no fluke.
Lee may not have a high-90s fastball or an overly variant repertoire like many of the best pitchers in the game do today. He’s primarily a two-pitch pitcher, featuring a low-90s fastball with a slider. However, his effectiveness with those two pitches is undeniable. Opposing hitters never seem to be able to get a read on when that slider is coming, which is why they whiffed on the offering 46.2% of the time last season.
Lee isn’t going to hold everybody scoreless for the entire year, but he attacks batters, limits his walks, misses a lot of bats and is only getting more confident with each passing outing. Regression may eventually be in line, but nothing points towards it being severe. Lee has turned into one of the better lefty relievers in the game today.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
You must log in to post a comment.