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How David Bednar Stacks Up Against Other MLB Relievers



Pittsburgh Pirates, David bednar, Austin Hedges

The fact that David Bednar will line up along the foul line at T-Mobile Park in Seattle on Tuesday night is solid proof of his standing in Major League Baseball.

The Pittsburgh Pirates closer will be participating in his second straight All-Star Game as part of the National League’s bullpen. It is a reward for converting 17 of 18 save opportunities and posting a 1.27 ERA in 34 games so far in 2023.

Bednar is one of five relievers who have been picked to both the 2022 and 2023 Midsummer Classics along with the Cleveland Guardians’ Emmanuel Clase, the San Diego Padres’ Josh Hader, the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jordan Romano and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Devin Williams.

In three seasons with the Pirates since being acquired from the Padres in a trade, Bednar has a 9-6 record, 39 saves, a 2.12 ERA, a 1.02 WHIP and 188 strikeouts in 147.2 innings.

So, where does Bednar fit among the top relief pitchers in the major leagues? Let’s look at some statistics over Bednar’s three seasons with his hometown Pirates.

Among relievers with at least 100 innings pitched since 2021, Bednar’s 2.12 mark ranks sixth behind the Baltimore Orioles’ Felix Bautista (1.76), Clase (1.80), the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Evan Phillips (1.85), the Cincinnati Reds’ Alexis Diaz (1.91) and the Minnesota Twins’ Jhoan Duran (1.94).

Of that group, only Clase (91) has more saves than Bednar’s 39. Bednar’s 39 saves have come in 46 chances for a conversion rate of 84.8% while Clase is 91 of 107 for 85.0%.

Bednar’s ERA+ is 201 since 2021, meaning he has been 101% better than MLB average. He trails Diaz (241), Bautista (229), Phillips (227), Clase (227) and Duran (210) in that category.

In fielding independent pitching, which strips away balls put in play other than home runs, Bednar is fourth at 2.40 behind Diaz (1.70), Clase (2.25) and the Houston Astros’ Ryan Pressly (2.32).

Looking just at 2023 and relievers with a minimum of 25 innings pitched, Bednar’s 1.27 ERA is fifth behind the Twins’ Brock Stewart (0.70), Bautista (1.07), Hader (1.08) and Blue Jays’ Tom Mayza (1.18).

With a 352 ERA+, Bednar is also fifth. He trails Stewart (624), Bautista (390), Hader (379) and Mayza (357).

Bednar’s 1.87 FIP again puts him fifth behind the Texas Rangers’ Aroldis Chapman (1.61), Bautista (1.64), Mayza (1.68) and the Seattle Mariners’ Matt Brash (1.86).

All in all, the type of statistics worthy of another trip to the All-Star Game.


John Perrotto is a columnist for Pittsburgh Baseball Now and has covered the Pittsburgh Pirates and MLB since 1988.

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