During the offseason of 2019-2020, the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed left-handed reliever Sam Howard off waivers from the Colorado Rockies.
Since then, the Pittsburgh Pirates have developed the southpaw into a highly effective bullpen asset, one that has been dominating batters in 2021 while remaining mostly unknown.
Howard has a 1.80 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and 4.39 FIP in 10 innings thrown. Howard’s ability to make batters laugh at his offerings is one of the reasons he’s been so successful.
Howard’s strikeout percentage of 36.8 percent places him in the top 92nd percentile among relievers and 21st overall.
Howard’s 47.6 percent whiff percentage tops all MLB pitchers, including Corbin Burnes, who has yet to walk a batter all season.
Howard’s 33.3 percent chase rate, which ranks in the top 88th percentile in the league, is also among the finest in the league.
Simply told, Howard’s slider is exceptional. Baseball’s best. With a 51.2 percent whiff percentage, batters have swung and missed on it more than half of the time.
That ranks 24th among all pitchers who have thrown sliders this year. His putaway rate of 41.2 percent ranks 13th in the league.
Batters only get a hard-hit ball 18.2 percent of the time when they make contact. He also has an xwOBA of less than .200 (.186). With a -5.1 RV, Howard’s slider is now the 9th most effective in baseball.
In addition, he has a greater RV/100 on his slider than Cy Young rivals Yu Darvish, Clayton Kershaw, Shane Bieber, and Jacob deGrom.
How Much Does Sam Howard Make?
Sam Howard earns an annual base salary of $725,000