Phillies end of season report card: Relief Pitching

We’ve already drug through the dredges of the Phillies starting pitching. That wasn’t pretty and neither will this report card. The bullpen faced numerous injuries and you can bet the family farm I’m going to grade all the players that hit the injured list.

Like before, feel free to disagree and give your own opinion in the comments.

Relief Pitching

Overall score: C-

I know, I know. “Alec how do you give the starters a D+ and the bullpen a C-?”. Well, it comes down to the fact that the Phillies bullpen was middle of the pack ERA wise.

They were 15th in the majors with a 4.38 ERA. The rest of their stats were in the bottom 1/3 of the league, hence the minus. They had a 9 K/9 which was 21st in the league. The bullpen as a whole put together a measly 0.8 WAR.

Despite all the injuries, the Phillies still cobbled together a half-decent bullpen. They lost 7/8 of the opening day pen and somehow put up a 4.00 ERA from July on, good for 9th in all of baseball.

It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t the Nationals.

Let’s break it down.

Hector Neris: B+

Did Hector Neris routinely give us heart attacks? Yes.

Was he also a better than average reliever/closer? Also, yes.

Neris finished 14th in the MLB in saves with 28. Five closers ahead of him in saves also had an ERA higher than Neris’ 2.93. Only 5 of those with over 28 saves also had more strikeouts than Neris’ 90 K.

Neris 1.7 bWAR was only second to Aaron Nola for Phillies pitchers. He posted the lowest WHIP of his career with a 1.020 mark. His splitter looked like an elite level pitch…except when it didn’t.

Neris’ inconsistency keeps him from getting an A in 2019. At least he’s more consistent now than before August of 2018. Improvement!

Jose Alvarez: B+

Following Neris as a B+ grade is Jose Alvarez.

The lefty was acquired from the Angels in the offseason for Luis Garcia. While Garcia had a 4.35 ERA for the Halos, Alvarez had a 3.36 ERA. The fact we traded Garcia for Alvarez strait up is amazing.

Outside of a 10 game stretch in September, Alvarez posted a 2.96 ERA on the season. In season, he even opened a game against the Dodgers and pitched well.

He’s also under team control for 2 more years.

Ranger Suarez: B+

Ranger Suarez joins the B+ grouping as somewhat of a surprise. Suarez had a 5.68 ERA at AAA but somehow had a 3.14 with the Phillies.

That becomes more impressive when you take out his very first appearance of the year. From June 23rd on, Ranger recorded a 2.62 ERA in 44.2 IP.

The second-year 23-year-old lefty could become a permanent piece of the Phillies bullpen in 2020. In 2019 he won 6 games for the Phillies. That’s 5th highest on the team.

Nick Vincent: B+

HOW AND WHEN DID NICK VINCENT’S ERA GET SO LOW???

He finished with an ERA of 1.96 for the Phillies. Tell me you’re just as surprised as I am. If you say you’re not, you’re a dirty liar.

He had 17 strikeouts in 14 IP.

How?!

J.D. Hammer: B-

Remember J.D. Hammer?

The rookie had a solid start to his career. He recorded a 3.79 ERA in 19 IP. For some reason, the Phillies sent him down on July 17th and never came back.

He gets a passing grade in my book.

Adam Morgan: C+

The positives from Adam Morgan’s season all come from his pre-injury 18.1 IP. He recorded a 1.96 ERA in that span.

He was then put on the 10-day IL with a left forearm strain. His season fell apart from there. A 7.15 ERA led to ending the season on the IL.

Morgan still gets a passing grade because injuries seem to be a direct cause of his downfall.

Jared Hughes: C

I don’t like Jared Hughes. I’ll be frank.

Includes a tiny bit of swearing, but for good reason.

The psycho running routine got old, really, really, quickly. Jared Hughes also developed a home run problem in Philly. His HR/9 was 2.7 for the Phillies. Before 2019, Hughes never had an HR/9 higher than 0.9. In 2019, the year of the long ball, that rate went up to 1.1 HR/9 with the Reds.

You can almost blame Jared Hughes’ struggles on the “juiced ball”. Otherwise, his ERA was 3.91 with the Phillies and his WHIP was solid at 1.043.

We could’ve handled that normally…sans the running.

Cole Irvin: C

Yes, I know he finished with an ERA of 5.83. Remember, though, that Irvin’s 1st 3 appearances were as a starter. As a starter, Irvin posted a 5.60 ERA.

His next 5 appearances were even worse. He got bombarded by the Dodgers, Nationals, and the Braves, twice. An 11.57 ERA over those appearances made Irvin hard to watch.

Down in AAA, something must have clicked. When Irvin came back in September, he posted a 0.73 ERA in 12.1 IP. His performance made me interested in what he could do in 2020.

That’s why he gets a C.

Seranthony Dominguez: C-

We had such high hopes for Seranthony Dominguez. If you search “Seranthony” on Philly Sports Network, you’ll even find my medieval tale of Seranthony.

He posted a sub-3 ERA in his rookie campaign and followed that with a 4.01 ERA. Not what we hoped.

Before he got injured he finished with a string of 5 scoreless innings. I’ll continue to have high hopes for Seranthony in 2020. I hope you will too.

Juan Nicasio: C-

Nicasio was the definition of an innings eater. In 47 games, he logged 47.1 IP. His ERA of 4.75 was unimpressive.

His 2019 season was the embodiment of the sound “meh”.

He finished off the season well-enough with 8 innings with a 2.25 ERA.

Blake Parker and Mike Morin: D+

Blake Parker and Mike Morin are the same pitcher to me. They both were let go by the Twins and picked up by the Phillies. Both started off hot but crashed in September.

Morin started with a 3.06 ERA in his first 17.2 IP and Parker started with a 2.77 ERA in 13 IP. Morin finished the season with a 10.45 ERA in 10.1 IP and Parker finished with a 7.50 ERA in 12 IP.

Horrible endings push Morin and Parker’s grades down to a D+.

Edgar Garcia: D-

Edgar Garcia struggled mightily his rookie season. He finished with a 5.77 ERA. He almost finished the season with an ERA over 6.

At the end of August, Garcia’s ERA was at 6.68.

He did finish with 8 innings with a 2.25 ERA.

I also feel like Garcia has some decent potential. I couldn’t give him an F.

TIME FOR SOME Fs

For the sake of your sanity and mine, each reason for each player will be only a sentence or 2. We don’t need to relive terrible pitching.

Austin Davis: F

He allowed runs in 8/14 of his appearances and multiple runs in 5/14 appearances.

Pat Neshek: F

He has a 2.40 ERA with the Phillies but had a 5.00 ERA in 2019. His attitude was also getting tiresome.

Edubray Ramos: F

Need I say more?

David Robertson: F

Same story, different pitcher.

Lastly…

Tommy Hunter: A*

He only pitched 5 games before getting hurt again, but somehow he convinced me he was the answer to the Phillies’ set-up-man prayers.

Hunter didn’t allow a single run in 2019. What other Phillies reliever can you say that about?

Sean Rodriguez.

 Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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