Could Phils Bullpen be Tops in NL? – Phillies Nation

Could Phils Bullpen be Tops in NL?

Can Aumont be a deadly third option? (

With the addition of Mike Adams, a solid, veteran relief pitcher who has been one of the best in the game for a few years, at the back end of the bullpen, things are looking up for the Phillies.

In the first half of last season, Charlie Manuel was doing all he could to find the best bridge to Papelbon, and it wasn’t working. Now, adding Adams to the mix of talented, youthful arms, and the steady force of Papelbon, could make this one of the best bullpens in the National League.

Could it be THE best?

It’s unlikely to be, but they have a shot. Of course, so much hinges on the youngsters. However, more hinges on the fact that the Braves have strengthened their pen. They added Jordan Walden in a deal with the LA Angels, dealing starter Tommy Hanson. Walden will join the already loaded back-end that features Eric O’Flaherty, Johnny Venters, and the unhittable Craig Kimbrel.

Washington has their own group of decent RP’s like Henry Rodriguez, Tyler Clippard, Craig Stammen, and Drew Storen.

Depending on what they do with Aroldis Chapman, the Reds bullpen could still be one of the finest.

Last year, after that ugly first half, the Phillies relief pitchers settled down and finished 10th in the NL in ERA at 3.94, but a very respectable 5th in batting average against at .231.

A lot of pressure will weigh on guys like Aumont and De Fratus to continue their maturation. But with guys like Adams and Papelbon anchoring the ship, it should absolutely be a more fruitful 2013 in the late innings.



  1. Rob h

    January 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    It all comes down to papelbon and Adams, if they are a good two inning punch out the rest of the guys will look great. If your unproven youngsters are only responsible for 6th-7th inning they will look very good because there isn’t as much pressure, the back end is shored up, and they can be protected by guys like bastardo and Horst.

  2. Bart Shart

    January 14, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    The Phils will have the best bullpen in all of major league baseball. Count on it and write it down.

    • Ryne Duren

      January 15, 2013 at 11:04 am

      i like the way you’re thinkin ther Bart!

  3. DCmikey

    January 14, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    @bart, is this the real Bart?

    You can’t be serious. Atlanta easily has a better PROVEN bp.

    What has Adams done? Will he even be available? Hope so.

    • Ken Bland

      January 14, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      I’m sure you have seen or heard how inconsistent relievers can be. Kimbrel had one of the best years by a pen guy since the Magna Carta was signed. But that’s a tough standard to duplicate. Not that I’d rule it out, he does seem pretty special, but he morphs into a human year, that pen isn’t gonna look as good as it does now on paper. The dude averaged 16 strikeouts per 9 innings. That is freaking awesome.

  4. Bart Shart

    January 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    The proof will be in the pudding. Wait and see. Our bullpen will be the best.

  5. Ken Bland

    January 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    I feel like I’ve been invited behind the election curtain, and feel comfortable asking, “Sooooo who are the candidates.

    Gotta see who makes it, where they line up, see if anyone else is acquired, goodies like that.
    Even who lines up where is gonna be a factor. And while I’m confident Adams will have a good year (not that I’m in his “recovery” shoes, maybe we can see him pitch post operation before addressing if first month indications offer a more likely how close can they come to being the best.

    As it is, you gotta be a homer of the first order to come close to expecting this to happen.

    Want a mandatory vote? Nope.

    I’d hardly use the word decent to label the Nats pen.

    I’d expect a good bounceback year from Venters.

  6. Lefty

    January 14, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I think the young guys will pitch well. I’m most concerned about the end of the bridge. Papelbon showed an almost scary decline in fastball velocity in 2012. In fact if you hit the tabs in the link below, you’ll see that all of his 4 pitches showed velocity drop.

    Apparently he used to throw a change up but gave it up after the 09 season, in other words he’s a guy that depends mainly on heat, and the heat is not what it used to be.

  7. bacardipr

    January 14, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Aumont’s controls is still spotty. I still think Papelhead has the stuff. I still think the Braves bullpen is better.

  8. Bob in Bucks

    January 14, 2013 at 11:26 pm

    Braves better.

    • brooks

      January 15, 2013 at 7:47 am

      Is Venters on a downward trend? His production in 2012 was nothing compared to his ROY or sophmore season. His WHIP was over 1.5 and for a reliever, that is near suicidal.
      Kimby (sorry, Kimbrel) has shown no signs of slowing down. ROY in 2011, he actually pitched better (although 3 fewer saves which still led the NL). And to complete the trio, O’Flaherty would probably be a closer on any other ML squad.
      I hate to admit this but the back of the bullpen for the Phils is probably second to only the Braves.
      Reds a very close third, especially if Madson is healthy.

      • EricL

        January 15, 2013 at 12:31 pm

        Madson is an Angel. The Reds didn’t pick up his option year and he signed with Los Angeles in December.

  9. Bruce

    January 15, 2013 at 1:36 am

    I think it’s rather premature to judge or predict what the Phillies bullpen as a whole will do for this year. I’ll wait at least till Spring training starts and hopefully some questions I have will be answered by then. Questions like Adam’s health (nerve transmissiion problem corrected with offseason surgery?); Bastardo and his inconsistency; Youth and inexperience with Aumont and De Fratus raise another question of both achieving some maturity as ‘work in progress” or take a bus back to the minors before the season officially starts.

    The Phillies do have one certainty for the bullpen and that is the ever reliable closer in Papelbon. He had a stellar season for 2012 and a best bet for another one this year.

  10. George

    January 15, 2013 at 9:38 am

    January, a new year. It’s the time for wishful thinking.

    Phils’ bullpen tops? Why not!

    Ask me again in June, with a few games either saved or blown.

    • Ryne Duren

      January 15, 2013 at 11:18 am

      hey george. the way i look at it george is. i really don’t care if our pen is the best or 2cd or 3rd! as long as it’s 17 games better than last year then we’re in the hunt! and that means the division. i think even if with all the question marks that we can be at least 14- 17 games better than last year. we should get more offensive production from all the positions. our bench looks okay the only question on better production i have is in right with brown. pence had decent poer and rbi numbers but he was lacking in a lot of others aspects. i think brown can have better numbers in the other aspects, all i’m worried about is his power and rbi numbers. i think ruf will be fine. even if he only has 20-25 homers and 60- 70 rbi that’s a lot more offense from left than last year and with the improved pen i think the win upgrade of 14-17 isn’t a reach. that puts us right near the 95-97 wins which could get us a division or at least a wild card spot.

  11. Dave P

    January 15, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    So much for this! Nationals just got Soriano.

  12. Ken Bland

    January 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    The big deal about Soriano signing is the different strategy th Nats have a chance to wmploy as opposed to last year. When Madson was a free agent beyond reasonable time, there was mention of the Nats signing him, and then flipping Drew Storen with the depth. Out of passing on that option, Mike Rizzo won a division title, and avoided a TJ victim. Ca ching. Now, the Nats sit in a luxury position of having Mike Morse and Drew Storen to dangle. It’s not that the Nats improved their pen so much today, as they have really strenghened thier trade position. Consider that V the Phils seemingly not running too deep on trade chips, not to mention potential tax issues, and the other side is a fascinating case study. And the most intruiging thing of it all is the game is played on the field.

    • EricL

      January 15, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      Sucking really hard for a decade tends to fill your organization with plenty of workable pieces that you can develop and/or trade. It also tends to leave you with plenty of payroll space, since you’re not in the hunt for most big name free agents during that time and young, arbitration-level guys are generally cheap. But it allows you to add as those young guys start to emerge.

      That’s probably not a strategy the Phillies ought to emulate.

  13. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    January 15, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    While I have “high hopes” for this uear’s Phillies bullpen, both before and after it is set for the season, I think (gagging as I say this) that the Braves and maybe the Reds, still have the top bullpens in the NL.

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