The National League East saw bullpens that improved as the 2022 season strung along, including the New York Mets. The bullpens will play a big role in how the standings will shake up for the 2023 season with every game mattering through a course of 162. With complete games from starting pitchers now coming at a premium, having a series of great relievers will be ever so relevant in this division, so here are the 10 best relievers for the 2023 season.
10. Collin McHugh, Atlanta Braves
The reliever that isn’t discussed much around baseball with the Braves as it should have is Collin McHugh, who was excellent last year with the Braves. The former Mets draft pick had a 2.60 ERA in 69.1 innings pitched and proved to be a great free agent pickup from the Tampa Bay Rays last year. He utilized both his cutter and his slider well to get opposing hitters into unfavorable counts last year and he put hitters away using his slider. He is the savvy veteran in the back end of the Atlanta bullpen going into this season.
9. Gregory Soto, Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies pulled off an excellent trade this offseason bringing in Soto to Philadelphia to lengthen the bullpen even further. Soto notched 30 saves last year with the Detroit Tigers with a 3.28 ERA and was named an All-Star each of the past two seasons. Soto has electrifying stuff, with an average fastball velocity of 98 mph, but he will need to work on his command with new pitching coach Caleb Cotham, as he averaged more than five walks per nine innings in each of his first four seasons in the majors. If his command and control improve, Soto will become front and center in Rob Thomson’s bullpen plans this season.
8. Brooks Raley, New York Mets
The Mets really needed an effective left-handed reliever this offseason after Joely Rodriguez didn’t work out as they had hoped last year. Enter Brooks Raley, who was terrific for the Tampa Bay Rays last year and was probably their second-best reliever. Raley had a 2.68 ERA last year, and had a strikeout-to-walk rate of 4.07. He cut down on the hard contact thanks to adjustments on his out pitch, the slider. He also brings a nasty changeup and sinker to Queens, and will be used in big spots against powerful lefty hitters.