Phillies’ unexpected ace Ranger Suárez had a historic 2021 season

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ranger Suarez (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ranger Suarez (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Ranger Suarez had one of the best and most under-the-radar seasons in Phillies history.

It is safe to say that Philadelphia Phillies left-handed pitcher Ranger Suarez is among the few bright spots the team can look back on fondly from the 2021 season.

Across 12 starts, 27 relief appearances and 106 innings pitched this season, the 26-year-old posted a 1.36 ERA, 107-33 strikeouts-to-walks ratio, and an even 1.000 WHIP — all the while recording eight winning decisions and four saves in seven opportunities. Whether used as a reliever (including closer) or starter, Suarez was dominant in red pinstripes this season, his fourth in the big-leagues.

Suarez did not allow a single run across his final 21 innings pitched, including his first career shutout against the Pirates and seven scoreless innings in Friday’s eventual series opener win against the Miami Marlins. The latter outing also helped the team secure its 82 win — and hence its first winning season since 2011.

Suarez’s 1.36 ERA, according to Ryan Spaeder, is:

  • The lowest in MLB history by a pitcher with at least 10 games started and 20 games in relief
  • The lowest by a pitcher with at least 12 games started and 12 games in relief since Walter Johnson in 1913 (1.14 ERA)
  • The lowest by a pitcher with at least 10 games started and 10 games in relief since Johnson in 1918 (1.27 ERA)

Also, Suarez posted the second-lowest ERA in a single season, among pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched since 1969. He was only bested by Bruce Sutter (1.34, 1977). Perhaps more impressively, the Venezuela native’s ERA ranks third among pitchers in the Live Ball era with 100-plus innings pitched, 12-plus starts, trailing only Bob Gibson (1.12, 1968) and Red Munger (1.34, 1944).

When the season began, Aaron Nola was the clear-cut No. 2 starter behind Zack Wheeler. Pitching coach Caleb Cotham even considered Wheeler, Nola, and Zach Eflin (sidelined since mid-July due to injury) as Cy Young Award candidates. Never was Suarez in the conversation.

Entering 2021, the left-hander’s career ERA was 4.66; now, it is 2.64. Barring a significant offseason acquisition, Suarez just might be the team’s No. 2 starter entering spring training in February.

Related Story. Phillies news: This rival pitcher says Zack Wheeler should win NL Cy Young. light