Despite the volatility of the position, I have to show some love to the relievers here too. After all, they saved our bacon more than a couple times last year, and nobody did that more than Paul Sewald. Another Mets castoff, Sewald was brought in to compete for a bullpen spot during Spring Training. He made the cut and turned into much more than just another arm in the stable.
Shortly after his call-up, Sewald slid in behind Kendall Graveman working as the set up man where he typically faced the heaviest part of the opponents lineup in crucial situations. He filled that role as well as anyone in the MLB maintaining a sub .200 opponent average over the course of the season, including a ridiculous month of June during which he held opponents to a .077 batting average. Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that he finished second in all of baseball in strikeouts by a reliever with 104 in 64.2 innings pitched (Liam Hendricks led all relievers with 113 K’s in 71 IP).
Sewald won over the hearts of Mariners fans and players alike with his performance in the most high leverage situations, and his signature finger-heart sign off every time he closed out an inning. After playing last year on a veteran’s minimum contract, he should receive a well-deserved pay raise in his second year of arbitration. Whether or not he fills a role similar to the one he filled in 2021, I expect to see him continue to provide the bullpen with a consistent, reliable arm whenever his number is called.