Phillies Spring Training Position Preview: Bullpen
The Phillies should have an improved bullpen this season as they made several noteworthy acquisitions this winter to bolster the young core.
The Philadelphia Phillies will head into spring training with high hopes and some new faces in the bullpen. New acquisitions, familiar faces and young talent with all head to Clearwater with one goal come February 13th.
Pitchers Who Are Locks
It was a tale of two halves for the 28-year-old righty from Venezuela. Gomez showed glimpses of brilliance before the All-Star break, including a very respectable 2.59 ERA to go along with 24 saves. However, it all went off the rails in the second half:
Split W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF WHIP SO9 SO/W 1st Half 3 2 .600 2.59 39 0 37 0 0 24 41.2 36 12 12 3 10 1 26 1 0 0 166 1.104 5.6 2.60 2nd Half 0 3 .000 8.33 31 0 22 0 0 13 27.0 42 26 25 3 12 1 21 1 0 3 131 2.000 7.0 1.75
As shown above, Gomez’s second half was worse in nearly every category and was concerning to say the least. Gomez will still enter 2017 with a solidified job, however, the competition for the closer role is wide open
The journeyman side-slinger joins the Phillies after two seasons in Houston. Neshek, 36, brings with him a career 2.93 ERA in 423 appearances. Neshek should have little problem making the roster and should bring nice trade value come the deadline.
Benoit is an interesting case.
He was horrendous for Seattle, posting a 5.18 ERA in just 24.1 innings of work. However, a change of scenery (and country) brought out the best in the 15 year veteran. In 23.1 innings with Toronto, the 39-year-old posted an astounding 0.38 era, allowing just one earned run in 25 appearances.
Given his veteran status and second half performance, Benoit should break camp with the Phils while possibly serving as the team’s primary closer.
Neris was impressive in 2016 and will look to expand on that this season. The right-handed Dominican punched out 102 batters in just over 80 innings of work while posting a WHIP of 1.108. Look for Neris to compete for a late inning set up role, however, with veterans in front of him, he may see himself relegated to more of a bridge role.
Every bullpen needs a left-handed specialist, and it appears there will be plenty of competition come spring training.
- 2/7 – Phillies Spring Training Position Preview: Catchers
- 2/6 – Phillies Rumor: Club Connected to White Sox Ace Jose Quintana
- 2/6 – Phillies Pitcher Aaron Nola Should Adopt His Curve as His Primary Pitch
- 2/6 – Phillies Officially Name John Kruk to the TV Broadcast Team
- 2/6 – Phillies Spring Training Position Preview: Left Field
Rodriguez, 25, has less than 10 innings of Major League experience under his belt but is the only lefty currently listed on the Phillies bullpen depth chart. Last season was kind to the young Dominican as he pitched to a 7-0 while posting a 2.35 ERA over three different levels of Minor League ball. Look for Rodriguez to join the Phils as they head north, however, he’ll be on a short leash due to inexperience and some veterans chasing the spot.
Burnett is a complete wild card. The 34-year-old enters 2017 after seeing time in just 26 games since 2012 and it’s hard to expect much more from him this season. Burnett will need to show some promise in camp to join the club Opening Day but it seems to be a long shot.
Ramos is the southpaw to watch comes mid-February. The 32-year old struggled last season with Texas but proved himself to be quite successful in previous seasons.
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W Awards2014 30 TBR AL 2 6 .250 3.70 43 7 14 0 0 0 82.2 73 39 34 8 39 7 66 1 0 4 360 101 4.24 1.355 7.9 0.9 4.2 7.2 1.692015 31 LAA AL 2 1 .667 2.75 65 0 21 0 0 0 52.1 55 17 16 2 15 0 43 3 0 5 221 138 3.02 1.338 9.5 0.3 2.6 7.4 2.872016 32 TEX AL 3 3 .500 6.04 16 4 2 0 0 1 47.2 60 34 32 12 20 1 27 1 0 0 212 75 6.61 1.678 11.3 2.3 3.8 5.1 1.35
It is reasonable to think that Ramos will join Rodriguez on the 25-man-roster when all is said and done with the best man landing the lefty specialist role as the season progresses.
With so much talent in front of him, Morgan will likely see himself relegated to the bullpen, if not the minors. The decision may have already been made by manager Pete Mackanin and it will take an impressive showing this spring to change his mind.
The rest of the bullpen situation is wide open.
One of the remaining spots could be filled by 24 year old Edubray Ramos who managed a 3.83 ERA in 42 games as a rookie.
More from That Balls Outta Here
- Phillies Spring Training Position Preview: Catchers7h ago
- Phillies Rumor: Club Connected to White Sox Ace Jose Quintana17h ago
- Phillies Pitcher Aaron Nola Should Adopt His Curve as His Primary Pitch21h ago
- Phillies Officially Name John Kruk to the TV Broadcast Team1 d ago
- Phillies Spring Training Position Preview: Left Field1 d ago
Another option in the pen would be the incumbent, Luis Garcia. He’s average on most days and maintains too high of a WHIP (1.688) to make any coach feel comfortable. He could be the odd man out in an improved, more experienced bullpen.
A few non-roster invitees may join the mix come Opening Day, led by familiar faces Michael Mariot, Dailer Hinojosa and Colton Murray. Each of the three have seen time in red pinstripes and will likely be up and down for a solid portion of the season.
Make sure to keep a look out for a young gunslinger by the name of Alberto Tirado this spring as you will see him in the future. Tirado, acquired in the Ben Revere deal with Toronto, struck out 102 batters in 64.2 innings in 2016. Although the 22-year-old struggled in his two appearances in High-A, look for him to move through the Phillies system swiftly especially with a good showing in March.
Expect to see a lot of moving parts for Philadelphia in 2017 and the bullpen will be no different. The team did a nice job adding a nice mix of veterans with proven track records to mentor some of the younger relievers on this Phillies team. However, like all bullpens, health will be a contributing factor in determining which way this bullpen trends in the upcoming campaign and with so many older signings, it’s hard to predict who will make it through a full season.
Regardless, you can pretty much bet that this bullpen will look quite different in August than it will in April.