“You can lead a Horst to water, but you can’t make his elbow healthy”
Old English Homilies, 1175 C.E.
Jeremy Horst was perhaps the Phillies biggest surprise of 2012: acquired from the Reds in exchange for Wilson Valdez, Horst overpowered hitters in Triple-A before dominating hitters in the Majors. Horst’s 2012 line: 11.49 K/9 IP, 1.15 ERA, and a very lucky 80.9% LOB% in 31.1 IP. Awesome, right?
Coming in to 2013, there were some reasons to be cautious: Horst had never come close to pitching to that K/9 IP or ERA before, he averaged about 3 BB/9 IP in the minors and averaged just over 4 BB/9 IP in the Majors, and he was extremely lucky in keeping the runners he did allow on base away from home plate. Yet, Horst, 27, was one of the sure-fire, “put his name in pen for the bullpen” arms on the team.
Unfortunately, in 2013, the 6’3″ lefty from Wyoming’s luck seemingly all ran out at once.
Horst got off to a very slow start – in his second appearance of the season, Horst gave up three runs in a third of an inning against the Royals on April 5. In his next 20 games, Horst was serviceable, posting a 3.57 ERA in that stretch with 12 Ks in 17.2 IP. In his final six appearances, however, the wheels fell off for Horst, with opposing hitters hitting .429/.500/.679 with two homers in six innings pitched. Those last six innings would be the last six Horst would pitch in 2013 for the Phillies.
After an appearance in a rehab game for the IronPigs, Horst experienced more soreness and consulted with renowned orthopedic Dr. James Andrews. Horst received plasma rich injections and was shut down for the rest of the year officially on July 25.
Grade: D-. Horst is no lock to make the team in 2014, particularly with the improvements made by Jake Diekman and the return of Antonio Bastardo from suspension. With opposing hitters having a final line of .330/.405/.500 against Horst in 2013, Horst’s strategy of bend-but-don’t-break, induce-fly-balls strategy was not successful in 2013. I will give Horst the benefit of the doubt with the D grade primarily because there was a good chance he may have been pitching hurt.