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Grading the 2016 Phillies: Relief Pitchers

Before we move ahead with scouting the 2017 offseason, we’re going back this week to grade the 2016 Phillies.

Today we’ll tackle the relief pitchers. Tomorrow we’ll sum up the 2016 club.


Overall: Coming into the 2016 season, there wasn’t much to make about the bullpen, as roles were yet to be defined. After the trade of closer Ken Giles, Pete Mackanin mixed and matched his closers early on. But the Phils figured out the back end of the pen, riding it throughout the season. The pen’s ERA finished just under five at 4.96. It’s time to grade the men in relief.


gomezJeanmar Gomez – B+

Gomez was excellent for much of the season, though a 4.85 ERA doesn’t indicate it. Not starting the year as the closer, Gomez recorded his first save on April 9 in New York on just six pitches. We became accustomed to seeing Gomez get quick saves. That’s what pitching to contact does. At the All Star break Gomez was sixth in the league in saves with 24, while posting a 2.59 ERA. Gomez kept his ERA under three until September, when he completely imploded. As the 28-year-old ran out of gas in the final months, Gomez was 0-3 with two blown saves and an ERA of 19.13.

The Venezuelan is not a closer but did a fine job for most of the year. I see him more as a seventh inning guy, and a top notch one at that. His implosion costed him an A, however.

Hector Neris – A

At times Neris is unhittable. What batters think is a meatball at 85 MPH, coming right down the middle, is really a nasty splitter that disappears just below the strike zone, resulting in most hitters swinging at air. Neris was dominate most of the season. He pitched in 79 games with a 2.58 ERA, tossing 80.1 innings, allowing just 59 hits and striking out 102. Like bullpen mate Gomez, Neris too seemed to run out of gas. The setup man’s ERA in September was 5.25, but the rest of his numbers are too good to not receive an A. Neris could very well be the closer next season.

David Hernandez – B

Hernandez was brought in on a one-year deal to shore up the back end of the bullpen. For the most part the 31-year-old was solid with an ERA of 3.84. There was only one stretch in which he struggled. His season can be broken down in three segments (ignoring his first appearance of the season):

  • First 29 appearances – 1.48 ERA
  • Next 8 appearances – 12.54 ERA
  • Final 32 appearances – 2.73 ERA

Taking away his first appearance and those eight appearances in the middle, Hernandez is looking at an ERA just over two. The righty will be a free agent this offseason.

Edubray Ramos – B+

Ramos is another back end piece for the future. The 23-year-old pitched in 42 games with an ERA of 3.83. Once again, Ramos’ numbers are also inflated as he allowed five earned runs in an appearance in July. Without that, Ramos’ ERA is 2.18. The Venezuelan throws a hard fastball with an impressive hook, and struck out 40 batters in 40 innings.

Brett Oberholtzer – C

Oberholtzer was designated for assignment in early August and picked up by the Angels, in anticipation of Jake Thompson‘s major league debut. Oberholtzer wasn’t awful in his time in Philadelphia, as he posted a 4.83 ERA in 26 games. He was a decent long man that had a 3.33 ERA from June 1 to his last appearance. But, clearly, Oberholtzer served no purpose for the Phillies.

Colton Murray – D

Murray’s first seven games resulted in scoreless appearances. In Murray’s final six games, he surrendered at least one run. Great start, awful finish. If Murray could figure it out, he could be effective with a plus fastball and big hook. That’s the problem: We haven’t seen him figure it out.

Severino Gonzalez – F

Whenever Severino Gonzalez took the mound, there was more than a 50-50 chance he’d give up a run. Gonzalez surrendered at least one run in 14 of his 27 appearances.

Elvis Araujo – F

The last memory of Araujo we have is when he plated home three consecutive runners against the Dodgers on a hit-by-pitch and two walks. Araujo is a 6’7″ left-hander, which will get him more opportunities either with the Phillies or another club, though he finished with a 5.60 ERA.

Michael Mariot – C-

Mariot had one forgettable appearance in New York, where he allowed six earned runs, which helped inflate his ERA to 5.80 on the year. The 27-year-old is nothing more than an average middle reliever, at best.

Joely Rodriguez – B+

Joely Rodriguez, a September call-up, appeared in 12 games with a 2.79 ERA. He’s a hard-throwing lefty that comes from the side, making him tough to pick up. The 24-year-old was a lone bright spot in the pen down the stretch and could be a significant specialist next season.

Luis Garcia – F

Garcia disappointed many this season. In 2015 he appeared in 72 games with an ERA of 3.51. This season Garcia didn’t make the opening day roster and appeared in just 17 games with an ERA over six. Garcia is another guy with the tools – he has a blazing fastball and a plus slider as an out pitch. If Garcia were to ever figure it out, look out.

Dalier Hinojosa – B

In 18 appearances in 2015, Hinojosa logged an ERA of 0.78. So this year, Hinojosa, who left a tremendous impression with Pete Mackanin, got the first crack at the closer role. It didn’t go well. But the 30-year-old bounced back and finished April with a 3.27 ERA. A hand contusion sent the right-hander to the disabled list and he never came back. In triple-A, Hinojosa compiled a 2.96 ERA in 22 games. The native of Cuba should be considered as a bullpen piece for next season.


Tomorrow, we sum up the 2016 season.

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