Joe Savery‘s improbable 2011 promotion to the big leagues was one that brought Savery to tears. Drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft as a hard-throwing lefty out of Rice, Savery had a very unlikely route to the Majors: Savery went 1-12 with the IronPigs in 2010 and was converted to a first baseman for High-A Clearwater for 2011. Savery was quickly promoted to Reading and then Lehigh Valley, as a hitter, before transitioning back to a suddenly effective reliever along the way.
Savery has been mostly used as a stop-gap arm for the Phillies since 2011. In 2013, he was surprisingly effective for the Fightins.
Savery started the year with the IronPigs before being called up on April 20. Savery would bounce back and forth between Lehigh Valley and Philly, posting a 3.15 ERA through 20 innings pitched. The 20 innings Savery pitched are certainly a small sample, yet those 20 are more than B.J. Rosenberg, Phillippe Aumont, Michael Stutes, and Chad Durbin pitched. Of his 18 appearances, Savery only served up one real stinker: a September 14, four-earned-in-a-third-of-an-inning performance.
Of Phillies relievers with 20 innings pitched or more, Savery’s 1.300 WHIP ranks only behind Jonathan Papelbon and Antonio Bastardo and he had the lowest HR/9 IP among that group aside from Bastardo and Jake Diekman. Savery’s success came against righties and is likely unsustainable heading into 2014: in 61 PA, righties hit just .118/.250/.176 against the southpaw.
Grade: B-. Savery was solid in a difficult role, earning many frequent-rider miles from the Bieber Bus company because of his frequent travels. While I do not believe Savery can match his 2013 numbers moving forward, and he may even be a roster casualty this winter, his unexpected success was a pleasant surprise in a bullpen that lacked many.