The Braves own the largest division lead in baseball with the best record, aiming for the top seed in the National League. The only worry is being as healthy as possible and playing their best ball when October rolls around.
The top end talent is apparent, but it’s the depth of this group that makes it the best team in the MLB, which is going to make Alex Anthopoulos’ job difficult when it comes time to submit the postseason roster. One name that might be surprisingly left off is veteran Collin McHugh.
Most recently, McHugh surrendered four runs to the Giants in relief of Jared Shuster, who gave the Braves a decent outing. It was one of several times this season that he hasn’t quite looked like the guy he was last year, but it’s been a bag of mixed results. Prior to the forgetful outing against the Giants, he went 3.1 innings without giving up a run against the Mets.
It almost seems like McHugh has been worse than he has been. Every time I look up his ERA, I’m expecting to see something approaching five, but even with the four runs over 1.1 innings, McHugh’s ERA sits at 3.88. Now, that’s a significant drop-off from the 2.60 ERA he posted last season, but it’s not like he’s been the worst pitcher in baseball.
With that being said, McHugh’s peripherals are much more discouraging. His WHIP has spiked dramatically — 1.545 in 2022 from 0.938 in 2021. He’s giving up free passes twice as much this season (3.6 BB/9) compared to last (1.8 BB/9). His chase rate has fallen from the 93rd percentile last year to a measly 36th percentile this year; his strikeout percentage from the 78th percentile to the 14th. Basically, Colin McHugh is striking out batters less, walking more, and giving up more hits; not a recipe for success.
I still think he sneaks onto the playoff roster. He’s a veteran with loads of experience, an extremely versatile weapon out of the pen, and has a proven track record, but he’s going to have to earn a spot during the final month of the season.
Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire