After his scoreless inning streak finally ended at 32, what’s next for the Phillies’ crafty lefty?

Make no mistake about it: Ranger Suarez is not a number three—at least not on most teams in Major League Baseball.

Through six starts this season, the Phillies’ left-hander is 5-0 with a 1.32 ERA in 41 innings pitched.

In yet another dominant start on Saturday night, Suarez finally relinquished a run, the first in 32.2 consecutive innings. 

Suarez has always been a fascinating pitcher since he broke out as a hybrid reliever/starter role in 2021. A lovable lefty with an unflappable demeanor, Suarez has stood out for what he is not: a prima donna, a power pitcher, a liability on the field. His four-seam fastball averages just a tick under 93 mph, yet without overpowering stuff, he attacks the strike zone with reckless abandon. He induces soft contact from the sport’s most powerful hitters, relying on a dastardly six-pitch mix, all of which he can throw for strikes in any count. He is calm, cool, and collected, the epitome of a gamer and clutch on the biggest of stages: he has a 1.62 ERA in the postseason. 

Yet, until 2024, Suarez’s career was limited to just fascinating. Stretches of brilliance have been mired by injury; he has never thrown over 156 innings in a single season, and his 2023 campaign was disappointing, to say the least. This is why in March when he came to Spring Training fully healthy and posted a 0.00 ERA over 15 innings, his highest mark in Spring Training to date, there was reason to be excited. Perhaps no one expected Suarez to have as dominant a start to the season as he’s had, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of surprise. The talent has always been there. The health and execution have not. 

So what should the expectations for Suarez be for the rest of the season? An All-Star nod?

Dare I say Cy Young votes?

It’s only April, but Suarez’s dominance warrants even those all-too-early considerations. However, continuous growth is perhaps the most logical hope for Suarez. We’ve seen them do that already–this past off-season, he changed his fitness regimen and throwing program to be healthier and more effective. His curveball, which he first incorporated in 2022, has made him a more complete pitcher.

Ever since it’s grown more effective with increased usage: in 2024, he’s thrown it 19.9% with a .115 BAA, up from 7.5% with a .250 BAA in 2022. 

The maturation of his arsenal is one thing, but upping his innings is another realistic goal for Suarez. While he might not maintain his 1.62 ERA, fans can hope that his in-game longevity – he’s averaging roughly 6.2 innings per outing, an inning more than the MLB average – will translate to a higher innings total on the year.

Real success for Suarez, it could be argued, would look more like an ERA in the low-three’s or even high-two’s over 175-plus innings.
He’s conquered big games; he’s conquered opposing hitters – Suarez’s next conquest is shattering his previous career-high 155.1 innings pitched in a season. 


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