Before the World Series was even over, I claimed dibs on the 2022 Ranger Suarez report card. In the interest of transparency, I’m entirely biased when it comes to Ranger. Not only is he one of my favorite players on this roster, he might actually be one of my favorite Phillies pitchers of all time. There’s something so oddly calming about watching him that I haven’t felt since Roy Halladay donned the red and white pinstripes.
Before we get to the actual report card, let’s get one unfortunate statement out of the way up front:
Ranger Suarez was robbed of a Gold Glove in 2022.
I gave the statement its own line and bolded and italicized it because it’s that important. It’s not just my bias saying this, either. Despite leading all MLB pitchers in defensive runs saved, at Rawlings’ arbitrary cutoff of late September he was just barely shy of the similarly arbitrary 138 innings threshold to be considered for the award.
Ranger Suárez on the mound for his 27th start. Gold Glove ballots were distributed this week; Suárez was omitted. Rawlings set the innings threshold at 138; Suárez was 3 1/3 IP short at time of ballot printing. He leads all pitchers in DRS. Doesn't seem right.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) September 22, 2022
For comparison, Ranger had 9 defensive runs saved this season, which was tops in MLB. All three finalists for the award had 5 or fewer and the winner (Max Fried) had the least of the trio with just 3. Ranger also did not allow a single stolen base in 155.1 innings (though in fairness, that also has a lot to do with having the best defensive catcher in all of baseball behind the plate). It’s a shame that the irrational standards for qualification kept the NL’s best defensive pitcher out of contention for an award he clearly deserved.
October 29, 2022
Ranger was, however, honored with the 2022 Fielding Bible Award as MLB’s best defensive pitcher. So at least there’s that.
2022 stats: 29 G, 155.1 IP, 149 H, 74 R (63 ER), 129 K, 58 BB, 3.65 ERA (111 ERA+), 2.4 WAR
One common quality championship teams have is that their best players show up when it matters the most — in the playoffs. Ranger played a huge role in the Phillies’ National League Championship by doing just that. The Phillies didn’t lose a single game that Ranger appeared in throughout the entire post season. Here are Ranger’s postseason numbers: 5 G (3 starts; 2-0, 1 S), 14.2 IP, 9 H, 3 R (2 ER), 6 BB, 15 K, 1.23 ERA. It’s also important to note he appeared in both of the Phillies’ World Series wins — the first out of the bullpen and the second as the starter. Ranger’s playoffs in one word? Outstanding.
The fact that Ranger was so successful as both a starter and a reliever in the highest pressure situations has been looked over in favor of other playoff storylines. Had the Phillies found a way to battle back and win the World Series, it’s reasonable to think Ranger would have been the prime candidate for the World Series MVP award — especially considering he likely would have started either game 6 or game 7.
The absolute worst thing this season was that the Phillies couldn’t clone Ranger a couple times and have him start every other game in the playoffs while also appearing in relief on his off days.
He also started the season a bit shaky, not really finding his footing until about June. And we’ll all completely ignore that final start of the regular season.
Ranger still has 3 years left of arbitration so he’ll be in a Phillies uniform through at least 2025. His estimated salary for 2023 is about $4 million, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team extend him at some point to avoid his arbitration years entirely.