Monday, August 17, 2020

Who's next to help the Phillies' bullpen?

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With several Phillies pitching prospects making their big league debuts recently and the performance of most of the big league 'pen pieces not impressing many, fans are likely to be wondering, "Who's next?"

Some talented young hurlers have earned promotions to join the major league roster thus far in the shortened season.  Names like Ramon Rosso, Connor Brogdon, Spencer Howard and JoJo Romero have gotten the call.  

Rosso, who tallied a 2.80 ERA and a 10.1 K/9 mark in 62 career minor league outings, primarily as a starter, has been underwhelming for the Phils, but shows potential of figuring things out.  In four relief appearances, the 24-year-old has allowed three earned runs with four strike outs and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.

Brogdon, 25, made his major league debut last week, allowing three earned runs in 1 1/3 frames.  Brogdon, a 10th round draft selection in 2017, notched a 2.50 ERA and an 11.5 K/9 mark through 98 minor league games (only seven starts).

Howard, the Phillies' top prospect heading into each of the past two seasons, is in the starting rotation.  The 24-year-old sported a 3.28 ERA and a 12.0 K/9 mark through 47 career minor league starts.  

Romero, a 23-year-old lefty, has yet to pitch in a game entering Sunday's action, but joined the big league roster a couple days ago.  The Phils' 4th round pick in 2016 has a 3.69 ERA, a 1.55 WHIP and a 7.4 K/9 mark in his minor league career strictly as a starter. 

Likely candidates to be on the team's radar to take the next steps in their careers include righties Mauricio Llovera, Adonis Medina, Addison Russ and Connor Seabold along with left-hander Damon Jones.

Llovera, also known as "MoYo", has a 3.45 ERA, a .228 batting average against and 9.7 K/9 mark in 89 career minor league appearances (64 starts).  The 24-year-old Venezuelan's repertoire includes a fastball that typically resides in the mid 90's and can get up to 97 MPH. His fastball features some movement that can tail up and in to righty hitters. He also sports a very good slider, a nice change up and a curve ball to keep the opposition guessing. Llovera is generally a strike thrower and has good command.

Medina is a very promising hurler that has been mentioned among the Phillies' top prospects for the past few years.  The 23-year-old Dominican has a 3.60 ERA, a .236 batting average against and an 8.2 K/9 mark in 100 career appearances (87 starts). Praised by organizational staff for being a student of the game and a strong competitor, Medina could use his mid-to-high-90's fastball, his strong change up and solid slider, to help the Phillies whenever the need arises.  

Russ, a reliable reliever that isn't often regarded as one of the Phillies' top prospects, has a 2.48 ERA, a .215 batting average against and an 11.8 K/9 mark through 126 career minor league relief appearances.  The 25-year-old sports a 95 MPH fastball, a two-seamer, a solid split and a slider.  Russ, a 19th round pick in 2017, appeared in six spring training games this year, recording a 1.59 ERA in the process.  A closer at multiple levels, the man known as "Rad Add", who has 50 professional saves under his belt, is comfortable in high pressure situations.

Connor Seabold, image- Jay Floyd
Seabold, 24, the Phils' 3rd round selection from the 2017 draft, is another pitcher that's primarily been a starter to date in his career.  In three seasons, he's notched a 3.52 ERA, a .222 batting average against and a 10.8 K/9 mark over 40 games (34 starts).  Seabold has a great feel for pitching and mixes his offerings (low-90's fastball, excellent change up and a good breaking pitch) very well in order to keep the opposition guessing.   A big command guy, Seabold is known to fill up the strike zone and is as consistent as they come.

Jones was the youngster that seemed to be on the fast track last year, moving through three levels in a matter of a couple months.  The 25-year-old was a 17th round pick in 2017 by the Phillies.  Command is the quality for Jones that impresses his coaches the most.  In 59 career minor league appearances (45 starts), Jones has tallied a 3.34 ERA, a 1.30 WHIP as well as an 11.1 K/9 mark.  He uses his 96-97 MPH fastball to induce plenty of ground ball outs.  His strong curve ball is the out pitch that garners most of his strike outs.  Jones also offers a slider that has good, horizontal movement and a change up that remains a work in progress, as he works to refine it.  

For a team that has well documented bullpen concerns (their 9.12 combined ERA ranks absolute worst in MLB and is nearly three runs worse than the next best team- Seattle's 6.34), it is possible we could see some of these names added to the list of hurlers making their big league debuts for the Phillies this year.

By comparison, the Phils' starters' ERA of 3.68 ranks 6th best in the National League.

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