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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/31/22 : The Phillies Bullpen

Assuming that there will be a new CBA at some point this year each team can then return to 2022 roster construction. The Phillies have a good amount of work to complete. One of the open areas is the bullpen. Making another assumption that the DH rule will take effect for all teams and that active rosters will be set at 26 players there’s maybe less of a need to carry five bench reserves. With nine true hitters in the lineup the manager theoretically won’t need to switch offensive players as often. It might mean carrying 14 pitchers instead of 13 albeit an universal roster rule might cap the pitchers number at thirteen.

Previously I listed returning minor league players not on the 40 man roster who might earn positions in the majors this year - if ya missed it here’s a link to the last article in that six part series - within the article there are links to the initial five parts -

The pitchers listed in that series aren’t as likely to have a chance to break spring camp with the Phillies as compared to planting a seed for possible call up during the year. It’s also very likely there are more 40 man roster additions to be made before opening day whether they be via free agency or trade acquisitions. We will touch upon that briefly later.

Here’s a look at the current 40 man roster as well as the known veteran minor league contract free agent signings that will receive non roster invitations. This spring is truly needed to get it “sorted” ( I’ve been watching too many English shows on streaming channels 😂).

Locks :

RHP Conor Brogdon, LHP Jose Alvarado and RHP Corey Knebel are expected to cover the late innings of games. All three are high velocity hurlers with great pitch movement. Brogdon’s changeup and cutter are plus pitches and Knebel has a dominant slider. Alvarado’s fastball sinks, cuts and dips like crazy - often delivered in the triple digits.

Near Locks :

RHP Seranthony Dominguez and RHP Sam Coonrad if healthy will likely be part of the opening day roster. Middle to some late innings are on their charter, both have upper nineties and even triple digits fastballs when completely right along with hard sliders and sinkers.

Lefties in the Mix :

Kent Emanuel ( Houston ) and Ryan Sherriff Tampa ) were waiver claims that may not survive roster cuts when additional transactions are made. On the other hand both have big league experience which could serve them well in attempting to make the club in the spring. Damon Jones has all the tools to be a very effective big league hurler, if he pitches like he did in the 2021 Arizona Fall League he will make a strong case to go north with the big team. I would not be surprised to see that come to fruition. JoJo Romero is working hard on his rehab from TJ surgery but is likely to begin the year on the 60 day IL.

Kyle Dohy will be a non roster invitee to spring camp. He finished the ‘21 season with the Phillies and has strikeout stuff, ( mid nineties FB, outstanding change up ), and when command and control are in sync he’s a viable option who can excel.

Bailey Falter, Scott Moss ( waiver claim from Cleveland ) and Christopher Sanchez have all been starters to date in their minor league careers. However, Sanchez was used as a reliever in the Dominican Winter League and with his high velo capabilities may be converted to a bullpen piece, if so he’s certainly in the mix this spring. Both Falter and Moss would seemingly continue as starters at AAA else long man options in the show. I’m a Falter fan and believe he can do very well in the big leagues - if Zach Eflin isn’t ready to open the season in the rotation I’d bet on Bailey filling the role - we will see.

Right handed Competition :

Yoan Lopez ( waiver claim from Braves ) and Nick Nelson ( trade with Yankees ) are both consistent mid nineties ( 95-96 ) FB hurlers with prior big league experience. Lopez has a slider as a secondary while Nelson has three offerings. They will compete for middle inning roles and Nelson could even be used as the long man if he makes the club.

Plans are that James McArthur and Francisco Morales will remain as starters and part of the opening day Lehigh Valley rotation but both are upper nineties arms and could also be utilized as relievers for their initiation to the major leagues. Strong spring camps might make that persuasion.

Right handed Non-Roster Invitees to consider ( signed to minor league free agent deals ) :

Cam Bedrosian – made a total of 26 major league appearances last season between the Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and Oakland Athletics. He combined for a 5.04 ERA and had 23 strikeouts in 25.0 innings pitched. For the Phillies, Bedrosian held opposing hitters to a .211 batting average and posted a 4.35 ERA in 11 appearances. He is the son of former Phillies Cy Young Award winner, Steve Bedrosian.

Andrew Bellatti – originally selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 12th round of the June 2009 draft, appeared in three games last season for the Miami Marlins. In 30 combined appearances between double and triple-A the 30-year-old right-hander combined for a 1.36 ERA with 42 strikeouts to 12 walks in 33.0 innings pitched. Features a FB,Slider and Changeup with the heater generally sitting 93-94 mph.

Tyler Cyr - a veteran of six minor league seasons in which he has posted a 2.99 ERA over 179 games. He has struck out 289 of the 1,024 batters he has faced (28.2%) and has allowed only 10 home runs in 240.2 career minor league innings. He’s got a big arm - FB generally sits 96-97 mph, has touched 99 and his off speed deliveries are a slider, cutter and occasional change up. Will have the advantage of coming off pitching in the Dominican Winter League this off-season.

Joe Gatto - was originally selected in the second round of the June 2014 draft by the Los Angeles Angels. He pitched in the Texas Rangers organization last season and appeared in 35 games between double and triple A. In those 35 appearances, he posted a 3.32 ERA with a 29.2% strikeout rate and 8.1% walk rate. Born in Voorhees, N.J., Gatto is a graduate of Augustine College Preparatory School in Richland, N.J. Throws a FB ( 91-94 mph ), power curve and changeup.

Michael Kelly – originally selected by the San Diego Padres in the compensation round (48th overall) of the June 2011 draft, Kelly, 29, pitched in the Houston Astros minor league system in 2021 and made 41 combined appearances between double and triple-A. Between both levels, he posted a 2.70 ERA. Throws a FB ( 92-94 mph ), slider and curve ball.

Jake Newberry – has pitched parts of four major league seasons for the Kansas City Royals, posting a 4.84 ERA over 65 appearances with 69 strikeouts in 70.2 innings pitched. He has 255 career minor league appearances over nine seasons. Features a power slider as a put away pitch, FB generally in the 92-93 mph range.

Potential Acquisitions :

RHP Mychal Givens remains as a possible free agent signing by the Phillies - the 31 year old has been a very steady and reliable reliever during his big league career with the Orioles, Rockies and Reds. He’s a versatile pitcher who can pitch multiple days during each week and eat up important innings - a role that needs to be filled with Hector Neris now a member of the Astros. Another option in this role could be RHP Lou Trivino of the A’s - the 30 year old would have to be traded for. LHP Andrew Chafin might also fill that void - the 31 year old is a free agent who’s coming off a stellar 2021 season with the Cubs and Athletics.

All decisions pending a new CBA 🤷‍♂️🤦‍♂️

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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