Phillies Manager Pete Mackanin Sees Adam Morgan in Bullpen
Phillies pitcher Adam Morgan has struggled as a starter in his career, but manager Pete Mackanin said he could see Morgan in the bullpen in 2017.
The Phillies have their 2017 rotation already set with Aaron Nola, Vincent Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff, Jeremy Hellickson, and Clay Buchholz. This leaves little room for other picthers like Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson, and Adam Morgan. Eflin and Thompson are poised to return to Triple-A, and Morgan may as well.
On the other hand, manager Pete Mackanin sees another possible role for Morgan. According to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly, Mackanin said Morgan could wind up being used a reliever during spring training. If Morgan pitches well there during spring training, he could very well land in the bullpen when the major-league season begins.
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As of now, the only lefty reliever on the 40-man roster is Joely Rodriguez, who is a near-lock to make the team. Non-roster invitees Cesar Ramos and Sean Burnett will also vie for a spot in the bullpen. Morgan could very well fit into that category.
So far, Morgan has struggled as a starter in the major-leagues. In 36 career major-league starts, Morgan has a 5.43 ERA and 1.392 WHIP while going 7-18.
The club did experiment with Morgan as a reliever in 2016. He pitched 3.2 innings of relief last year, giving up just one run while striking out four. Morgan is still inexperienced as a reliever as he never did much of it in his minor-league career.
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Mackanin said Morgan could flourish as a long man. He told Salisbury when Morgan was initially moved to the bullpen, “I think, having been a starter for all his career, that’s just what the doctor ordered when looking for a long man.” Mackanin noted Morgan’s four-pitch mix that can help him “get both righties and lefties out.”
If Morgan can find a role in the bullpen, it helps alleviate the fact that the Phils have few left-handed pitchers. Elniery Garcia, Morgan, and Rodriguez are the only lefties on the 40-man roster. With the other lefty prospects still years away from the majors, Morgan is one of few internal options for a lefty reliever.
Since it is growing ever less likely Morgan will be a major-league starter, he will have to find his way in the bullpen. He may still find a way to contribute there, but it is a long road ahead.