Coming into the 2013 season, one of the largest question marks for the bullpen was the health of Michael Stutes. Exiting the 2013 season, one of the largest question marks surrounding the bullpen is the health of Michael Stutes.
Stutes impressed Phillies fans quickly in 2011, leading all Phillies relievers in innings pitched as a rookie. Although his performance down the stretch slowed down, Stutes posted a solid 3.63 ERA and 1.242 WHIP. Most of 2012 was a lost season for Stutes who went from 57 appearances to just six. By June 28, it was clear Stutes would be out for the season. Shoulder surgery on July 3, 2012 would seal his fate.
2013 wasn’t much different for Stutes: like 2012, Stutes got a late start to his Major League season (May 24) and like 2012, Stutes seemingly had pitched his last game in June (June 22 against the Mets). Unlike 2012, Stutes had a positive start to the year. Through his first 11 games, Stutes threw 13.2 IP with a 1.32 ERA with a .200 BAA. On June 19, the wheels came off: Stutes allowed an Ian Desmond Grand Slam in the 11th inning of a 2-2 game to sink the Phillies. Stutes would pitch a clean inning two nights later but on June 22, the machine hit the wall. Stutes allowed four, three earned without recording an out against the Mets.
Stutes would be sidelined until September 20 with bicep tendonitis. Stutes would return to the Phillies for a September 24 appearance, retiring the three batters he faced, striking out one. Stutes would pitch again on September, pitching an inning, walking one.
Grade: C-. Stutes pitched well through his first 11 appearances and likely fell off the wagon due to injury. There are some red flags: Stutes has lost 2 MPH since 2011, losing literally a MPH each year in between. Stutes altered his pitch selection in 2013, though, going to his slider over 47% of the time, a sharp increase over 2011 and 2012. The injuries continue to build for Stutes, though, and at age 27, Stutes may battle increasingly limited opportunities should the injuries continue.