Each season in Major League Baseball is currently scheduled to last for 162 games. This means that the Philadelphia Phillies (31-22) reach the 1/3 pole with their home game on Tuesday night against the Saint Louis Cardinals.
Over the last few days, I began handing out report cards for the first “trimester” of the season for each player on the Phillies 2019 roster. That process continues on Monday and Tuesday with a letter grade, along with a brief description of each player’s contributions, including their relevant statistics.
I’ll be back with each player’s grades for the second trimester and the season to that point when the Phillies reach the 108-game mark. That is scheduled to come on July 31, the same date as the MLB trade deadline.
FIRST TRIMESTER GRADE: B+
STATS: 11 starts, 5-4 record, 3.60 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, 65 hits allowed including nine home runs over 70 innings with a 59/26 K:BB ratio.
REPORT: There is an understandable view among many in the Phillies fan base that Aaron Nola is the ace of their pitching rotation. That is based on his emergence a year ago during a season in which the young right-hander finished third in the NL Cy Young Award voting. But that view would not be entirely correct.
Arrieta is at least a co-ace of this rotation. He is an actual Cy Young Award winner, and has finished in the top 10 of the voting in two other seasons. He has been the top pitcher on a World Series-winning ball club. And this year, at age 33 and completely healthy, Arrieta has seized the role at the top of that rotation and provided a consistent, veteran presence almost every time he takes the mound.
Eight of his 11 starts have been of the Quality Start variety. He has beaten three of the four NL East Division opponents this year, and in his last outing on Friday night he shut down a powerful Milwaukee lineup in their hitter’s ball park. Six times he has held the opposition lineup to five or fewer hits.
“He understands how much we depend on him,” manager Gabe Kapler said after that Milwaukee outing per MLB.com’s Andrew Wagner. “He understood how the club was depending on him today, and he stepped right up and met the challenge.”
Arrieta has stepped up as a leader, both on the mound and in the clubhouse. He has never been afraid to speak his mind, letting players know when they have fallen short in effort. While some fans have disliked his taking that commentary to the media, the fact is that he reportedly has always spoken to any teammates first. And Arrieta never shirks responsibility in the few instances where he himself has failed the team. It bumps his grade up with that “+” mark.
He is exactly the type of unflappable veteran the team needs fronting their rotation. Signed through the 2020 season, he will likely continue to provide a majority of strong outings and a veteran presence throughout his contract.
Give us your feedback. Respond either as a comment to this piece or at our social media feeds. What is your take on him to this point? What, if anything, would you do differently regarding this player or their role if you were the Phillies manager or GM?
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION:
- First trimester 2019 report card: Aaron Nola
- First trimester 2019 report card: Jerad Eickhoff
- First trimester 2019 report card: Vince Velasquez
- First trimester 2019 report card: Nick Pivetta
- First trimester 2019 report card: Pat Neshek
- First trimester 2019 report card: Nick Williams