4 role players who are making a difference for the Cleveland Guardians on the field and 2 who aren't

Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians
Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Tim Herrin - Early Season Difference-Maker

2024 stats: 0.79 ERA, 0.706 WHIP, 11.1 innings pitched

The Cleveland Guardians bullpen has been one of the unsung heroes so far this season, but their second-best ERA in all of baseball is something that deserves to be noticed. A major contributor to the early season success of that group is left-hander Tim Herrin.

Herrin's 11.1 innings pitched leads all of Cleveland's bullpen arms (Emmanuel Clase and Cade Smith are right behind him with 11 innings), and he has been able to be a valuable left-handed arm for the Guardians in his first 11 appearances.

Being able to turn to someone who is not expected to be a high-leverage reliever or even a back end of the bullpen arm and get these types of results is very impressive. Seven of Herrin's 11 appearances have come in the 6th inning, which has become a very important part of the game for the Guardians, considering their starting rotation's issues getting deep into games so far. With the hinge point of a game-changing to one of the middle innings, it is crucial that they can get shutdown outings from their relievers, and Herrin has been able to provide that for the most part. 

If there is one area in need of work, it is walks issued. Herrin has issued five walks so far, but not more than one in the same appearance, and only once has a walk been paired with a hit. Having this type of confidence and command of his pitches will pay dividends later in the year, as walks issued by relievers usually result in more trouble than Herrin has allowed so far.