Braves: One undervalued free agent at each position: Bullpen

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Today, we’ll wrap up our series of undervalued free agents at each position. This is part three of three, with starting pitching and outfield coming first. If you’d like to read those articles, click the links below.

For obvious reasons, I will not be doing a section on the infield or catcher. The Braves will add some bench pieces, but they don’t need more starters in the infield. Catcher is also no longer I need after they signed Many PiƱa to kick off the offseason.

Collin McHugh

The bullpen market is where I believe the Braves can really find some value. Starting pitchers cost an arm and a leg right now, but the high quality relievers that have already put pen to paper seem to be signing more than manageable contracts, and it looks like Colin McHugh could be had at a bargain.

Now, FanGraphs is far from perfect in their free agent projections, but they have Colin McHugh fetching a one-year, $5 million in free agency. That’s an absolute steal for a player who was one of the best relievers in all of baseball last season, recording a 1.55 ERA with a 10.4 K/9 over 64 innings, and his peripherals are even more impressive.

  • Top 4% in Hard-Hit %
  • Top 13% in Average Exit Velocity
  • Top 2% in xwOBA
  • Top 2% in xERA
  • Top 12% in xBA
  • Top 1% in Barrel %
  • Top 4% xSLG
  • Top 5% in BB%
  • Top 10% in Fastball Spin
  • Top 17% in Whiff Rate
  • Top 14% in Curve Spin

That’s pretty incredible, and it’s not like McHugh is a one-hit-wonder. In 58 relief appearances (72.1 innings), he posted a 1.99 ERA and 11.4 K/9 with the Astros.

To be frank, I’m not quite sure why McHugh’s evaluation on FanGraphs is so low. I have a hard time believing he won’t sign a multi-year contract, even at 35-years-old. He’s that good. Either way, I think the Braves would be wise to strongly consider McHugh this offseason, given how much help they need in the bullpen from the right side.

Photo: Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire

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