MLB’s 25 Most Improved Players Prospects for 2016 Momentum

#18. Kevin Siegrist, St. Louis Cardinals

2015 WAR: 2.1
2014 WAR: -1.3
WAR Improvement: 3.4

Even if Kevin Siegrist remains behind Trevor Rosenthal in the St. Louis Cardinal bullpen’s pecking order, he’s proven it’s possible to post an impressive WAR while serving as a setup man.

He excelled in that role last year, vulturing the occasional win and racking up holds. For the third consecutive season, he struck out more than a batter per inning, relying on a combination of fastballs and changeups that baffled one opponent after another. The reliever might not specialize in command, but following up 94 mph fastballs by pulling the string back to 80 is going to generate plenty of whiffs.

In the past, Siegrist relied far too heavily on his heater, rarely turning to any of his secondary pitches. It was easy for batters to sit back and wait for the two-seamer to cross over the plate before whacking it into oblivion.

But after using his changeup on only 4.6 percent of his pitches in 2013 and 5.4 percent in 2014, he leaned much more on that offering. This last season saw Siegrist throw the changeup 17.8 percent of the time, keeping hitters off balance far more often.