Relief options however the Phillies have a plethora of arms all yearning to make the jump. I will discuss the three that have been talked about as most likely having the best chances of pitching with the team this year.
When discussing the bullpen Scott Mathieson is a name that often comes to mind. A survivor of three arm surgeries Mathieson has been converted from a starter to a reliever. At AAA he put up very good numbers while acting as the closer for the Iron Pigs. He has a well above average speed fastball, but with little movement it and his lack of real secondary pitches are what are holding him back. He was supposed to be working with Bruce Sutter on a split finger fastball and he was also working with Ryan Madson to try and refine his changeup. If he can harness either of those pitches he might force his way into the picture. Like Mayberry, he is out of options so time may be running out for him.
Justin De Fratus is another pitcher whose name is making its rounds in the mouths and typewriters of many. Another converted starter, many people are saying he will definitely be in Philly sometime this season. He has a major league caliber fast ball and his slider and changeup are improving works in progress. He put up very good numbers at high A and AA with very good control. He also doesn’t give up a lot of home runs.
Dan Meyer is a lefthander the Phillies brought in as a free agent from the Florida Marlins. Last year injury and inconsistency saw him sent down to AAA from the big leagues after 13 games. The previous year he was the best Marlins left handed reliever. With questions about Romero and Bastardo having some shoulder soreness and it not being known if he can do the job full time, Meyer just might sneak into the Phillies picture.
After these three are Michael Schwimer, Michael Stutes, Mike Zagurski, Juan Perez, and Ryan Feierabend as pitchers who may see time if someone falters or if they have an outstanding spring. Drew Carpenter was another name but the Phillies just designated him for assignment so it is not know if he will even be on the team.
While you will be hard pressed to find any Hall of Famers or even All Stars from the group above you can say that the Phillies do have some depth. At least it is a site better than last year where older retreads like Paul Hoover, Cody Ransom, and Andy Tracy were supplying the depth. One only needs to look at the team Lehigh Valley put on the field to know just how bad it really was. Kudos to Ruben Amaro for going out and trying to improve both the Iron Pigs and the organizational depth as much as he could with all of these moves.
Barry Jeffrey Jr. writes “The Crow’s Nest” column for PSC.
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