Post Season Report Card–Relief Pitchers, Top Half of Organization

Final report card of the year looking at relief pitchers at the upper parts of the organization.

Lehigh Valley

Luis Garcia, 29, Signed as a free agent in 2013; 48G; 6-3 with a 2.14ERA; 13SV; 54.2IP 38H 24BB 53K; .203 opp avg; 1.13 WHIP; 2.09 GO/AO; 4.0BB/8.7K per 9; .203 vs LHH, .203 vs RHH; After throwing in 72 games for the Phillies in 2015, I was surprised to see Garcia start the season in Lehigh Valley and I was even more surprised that with the lack of bullpen depth in Philly, he didnt receive more of an opportunity with the big club before September.  He pitched well for Lehigh Valley and is out of options next season.  Grade: C+; 2017: ELsewhere, based on the lack of big league opportunity this season.

James Russell, 30, Signed as a free agent in 2016; 29G (13 starts) for Lehigh Valley; 3-5 with a 4.29ERA; 79.2IP 88H 19BB 49K; 11HR allowed; .272 opp avg; 1.34 WHIP; 0.74 GO/AO; 2.1BB/5.5K per 9; .176 vs LHH, .301 vs RHH, .346 last 30 days; Russell started the year in Philly and was sent down to Lehigh Valley after several awful outings.  He pitched well for Lehigh Valley in multiple roles in the seasons final month where he really ran out of gas.  Grade: C; 2017: Elsewhere

Dailier Hinojosa, 30, Acquired off of waivers from Boston in 2015; 22 games; 1-3 with a 2.96ERA; 24.1IP 25H 14BB 23K; .281 opp avg; 1.60 WHIP; 0.64 GO/AO; 5.2BB/8.5K per 9; Hinojosa was expected to be a key member of the Phils bullpen.  That didnt happen.  First, he was ineffective for the Phils, then was injured and after he came off the DL was very inconistent for Lehigh Valley.  Grade: C-; 2017: I would be surprised if he were back

Colton Murray, 26, Phils 13th round pick in 2011; 27G; 2-2 with a 2.95ERA; 36.2IP 31H 15BB 36K; .230 opp avg; 1.25 WHIP; 0.97 GO/AO; 3.7BB/8.9K per 9; .242 vs LHH,. .259 vs RHH; Murray pitched well for Lehigh Valley but has struggled during multiple stints with the Phillies; I would expect him to spend another year as pitcher #14-15 in the organization, bouncing back and forth to Philly when (if) injuries occur.  Grade: C+

Elvis Arajuo, 25, SIgned as a free agent in 2014; 18G, 1-0 with a 2.18ERA; 20.2IP 15H 6BB 19K; .195 opp avg; 1.02WHIP; 0.87 GO/AO; 2.6BB/8.3K per 9; .148 opp avg last 30 days; Arajuo pitched very poorly for the Phils in 32 games this season, struggling with his control and simply getting hit around.  To his credit, he came down to AAA and threw well, but the Phils saw enough of Arajuo to not call him back up in September, leaving you wondering what his future with the organization may be.

Joely Rodriguez, 24, Acquired from Pittsburgh in 2014; 53G; 7-0 with a 2.35ERA across 3 levels; 5SV; 76.2IP 65H 23BB 69K; .237 opp avg; 1.15 WHIP; 2.06 GO/AO; 2.7BB/8.1K per 9; For LV: 13G, 0-0 with a 2.79ERA; 19.1IP 16H 6BB 18K; .232 opp avg; 1.14 WHIP; 2.8BB/8.4K per 9; Rodriguez left 2015 as a failed starting pitcher and was removed from the 40 man roster.  He successfully reinvented himself as a left handed high leverage reliever and did an excellent job. One of his primary issues in ’15 was his control, which was much improved this season.  With his call up to Philly in September, much rides on his performance as the role of LOOGY at the highest level is open for the taking.  Grade: A-

Gregory Infante, 29, Signed as a free agent in 2016; 39G, 2 starts between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 6-3 with a 5.11ERA; 61.2IP 66H 35BB 65K; 7HR allowed; .282 opp avg; 1.64 WHIP; 0.96 GO/AO; 5.1BB/9.5K per 9; Infante was consistently poor most of the year.  Grade: D-; 2017: ELsewhere

Patrick Schuster, 25, CLaimed off waivers in 2016; 6 games for LV after being claimed off waivers; 0-0 with a 1.50ERA; 6IP 6H 6BB 7K; Hard to judge off of so few games but Schuster was called up to Philadelphia for September and has been extremely unimpressive in 3 games for the Phils.  Grade: Inc.  2017: Elsewhere

Jimmy Cordero, 24, Acquired from Toronto in 2015; 22G between 4 levels in the minors coming off injury; 2-3 with a 5.00ERA; 27IP 27H 10BB 19K; .262 opp avg; 1.37WHIP; 3.3BB/6.3K per 9; Cordero missed the first 3 plus months of the season and worked his way back up to Lehigh Valley by the end of the year where he reinjured himself (severity unknown).  He was not the same pitcher we saw in 2015 pre injury.  Grade: D; 2017: Lehigh Valley when healthy


Hoby Milner, 25, Phils 7th round pick in 2012; 49 games between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 5-4 with a 2.49ERA; 6/13SV; 65IP 57H 15BB 76K; .233 opp avg; 1.11 WHIP; 1.23 GO/AO; 2.1BB/10.5K per 9; For LV: 11G; 0-1 with a 4.50ERA; .258 opp avg; 1.19 WHIP; 1.7BB/12.4K per 9; Milner was outstanding in the first part of the year and solid during the second half, putting together a very good year overall.  That said, he was not used in a whole lot of high leverage situations.  Grade: B+; 2017: Lehigh Valley

Miguel Nunez, 23, Signed as a free agent in 2010; 51 games, 4-3 with a 3.13ERA between Clearwater and Reading; 20SV; 54.2IP 46H 28BB 63K; .236 opp avg; 1.35 WHIP ; 0.80 GO/AO; 4.6BB/10.4K per 9; .263 opp avg last 30 days; Nunez was given an opportunity to be the Fightins’ closer and had some degree of success doing so.  The bumps in the road were mostly because of control issues which must be kept in check moving forward.   Grade: B; 2017: Lehigh Valley

Alexis Rivero, 21, Signed as a free agent in 2012; 46G between CLearwater and Reading; 5-1 with a 2.62ERA; 6SV; 65.1IP 56H 21BB 66K; 6HR allowed; .228 opp avg; 1.18 WHIP; 0.95 GO/AO; 2.9BB/9.1K per 9; For Reading: 23G; 4.05ERA; .281 opp avg; 1.56 WHIP; 3.8BB/8.6K per 9; Rivero was incredible for CLearwater (1.13ERA in 23G) and was promoted to Reading where he struggled for the first several appearances, before settling down to make nice progress in the Reading bullpen.  In 16 games, post all star break for Reading, Rivero’s ERA was 2.19.  Grade: B+; 2017: Reading to begin.

Tom Windle, 24, Acquired from Dodgers in 2014; 39G between CLearwater and Reading; 1-2 with a 5.03ERA; 53.2IP 56H 24BB 54K; .271 opp avg; 2.49 WHIP; For Reading: 25G; 5.68ERA; .312 opp avg; 1.67WHIP; 4.0BB/9.4K per 9; Windle was a pitcher many thought would fast track his way through the minors once he was converted to a relief pitcher, however he was consistently very bad for Reading, with little command and getting hit around.  He was sent down to CLearwater, where he had some success but a very disappointing year for Windle.  Grade: D; 2017: Reading

Mario Hollands, 28, Phils 10th round pick in 2010; 29G between CLearwater, Reading and Lehigh Valley; 0-0 with a 4.20ERA; 40.2IP 45H 18BB 35K; 5HR allowed; .283 opp avg; 1.55WHIP; 0.80 GO/AO; 4.0BB/7.7K per 9; After spending all of 2014 in the majors and missing 2015 injured, Hollands has really struggled working his way back from injury.  He was largely ineffective this season in the minors and was shut down three weeks early due to injury. Grade: D; 2017: I would be somewhat surprised to see Hollands back.  If he is, I suspect Reading to start.

Jesen Therrien, 23, Phils 17th round pick in 2011; 39 games between Clearwater and Reading; 3-3 with a 2.59ERA; 4SV; 55.2IP 45H 27BB 76K; .217 opp avg; 1.29 WHIP; 1.47 GO/AO; 4.4BB/12.3K per 9; 11G for Reading; 3.71ERA; .299 opp avg; 1.47 WHIP; Pitched extremely well for Clearwater and was called up to Reading where he struggled a bit.  Overall a decent year, but after a 2015 where he had a 1.77ERA/.221 opp avg throwing for Clearwater, enthusiasm should be very measured.  Grade: B-; 2017: Reading

Victor Arano, 21, Acquired from Dodgers in 2014; 46 games, 5-2 with a 2.26ERA between Clearwater and Reading; 5SV; 79.2IP 63H 19BB 95K; .213 opp avg; 1.03 WHIP; 0.81 GO/AO; 2.1BB/10.7K per 9; 11G for Reading; 2.11ERA: .177 opp avg; 0.90 WHIP; Arano had an outstanding season in his transition from the rotation and is the guy that seems to “pop out” every year as a player who could be on the express train to the majors (i.e. Giles and Ramos); Grade: A; 2017: Expect him to start in Reading but could see Lehigh Valley quickly.

Joey DeNato, 24, Phils 19th round pick in 2014; 39 games; 0-0 with a 4.76ERA between Clearwater and Reading; 56.2IP 54H 30BB 57K; .262 opp avg; 1.48 WHIP; 0.72 GO/AO; 4.8BB/9.1K per 9; DeNato had a very high 4.97ERA in 33 games for Clearwater, pitching predominately in low leverage situations and was “promoted” to Reading at the end of the year because they needed an arm.  The numbers were very unimpressive this season with walks being a real issue.  Grade: D+; 2017: If he is back, it will be in a similar role as this season


Ranfi Casimiro, 24, Signed as a free agent in 2011; 24 games (18 starts); 8-9 with a 5.33ERA; 98IP 109H 31BB 77K; .280 opp avg; 1.43 WHIP; 1.36 GO/AO; 2.8BB/7.1K per 9; .255 vs LHH, .295 vs RHH; .357 last 30 days; Simply a very poor year for Casimiro who was given an opportunity in the Threshers rotation for 3/4 of the years, which he was removed from because of ineffectiveness.  Grade: D; 2017: i would be surprised if Casimiro is back.

Will Morris, 23, Phils 24th round pick in 2013

Ulises Joaquin, 24, SIgned as a free agent in 2011; 52 games between Reading and CW; 4-2 with a 3.25ERA; 10SV; 72IP 62H 21BB 62K; 8HR allowed; .236 opp avg; 1.15WHIP; 1.23 GO/AO; 2.6BB/7.7K per 9; For CW: 3-2 with a 2.62ERA in 46G; .210 opp avg; 1.04 WHIP; 1.28 GO/AO; Joaquin started in Reading and got hit around and was sent back down to CLearwater where he had a second straight very good season.  He has not made 108 appearances for the Threshers over 3 seasons and its time to fish or cut bait with a prolonged trip to AA to see how Joaquin performs.  Grade: B-; 2017: Reading

Yacksel Rios, 23, Phils 12th round pick in 2011; 37 gas (7 starts) between Reading and CLearwater; 5-4 with a 5.74ERA; 78.1IP 80H 38BB 64K; .273 opp avg; 1.51 WHIP; 1.04 GO/AO; 4.4BB/7.4K per 9; 4-3 with a 6.22ERA in 22 games with CW; .269 opp avg; 1.40 WHIP.  Rios worked his way out of Reading due to poor performance and then pitched poorly in CLearwater;  Grade: D; 2017: Rios had a very good 2015 in CLearwater.  He will probably get one more shot to work his way back into the picture; stating in CW.

Matt Hockenberry, 25, Phils 9th round pick in 2014; 3-1 with a 1.71ERA in 44 games between Clearwater and Reading; 7SV; 63IP 43H 26BB 56K; .195 opp avg; 1.10WHIP; 0.74 GO/AO; 3.7BB/8.0K per 9; 1HR allowed; For CW: 41 games; 1.39ERA: .191 opp avg; 1.06 WHIP; 3.5BB/8.3K per 9; .167 vs LHH, .201 vs LHH, .233 last 30 days; Its beyond me why Hockenberry did not get a legitimate opportunity in Reading this season as opposed to being brought up on multiple occasions to fill a 1-2 game gap when an extra arm was needed.  Admittedly, he doesnt throw as hard as some but the bottom line is getting outs.  He does that and then some.  The only statistical category where his work was not outstanding this season were that the walks ticked a bit high.  That said, he deserves a legitimate opportunity to move forward.  Grade: A-; 2017: Reading

Austin Davis, 23, Phils 12th round pick in 2014; 1-1 with a 2.86ERA in 18 games between Lakewood and CLearwater; 28.1IP 22H 6BB 35K; 1.9BB/11.1K per 9; For CW: 11 games; 0-1, 5.28ERA; .267 opp avg; 1.30 WHIP; 0.71 GO/AO; David missed the first half of the season and came back to pitch well for Lakewood and just fair for the Threshers.  Grade: C; 2017: CLearwater

Jeff Singer, 22, Signed as a free agent in 2016; 23 games; 2-1 with a 1.79ERA between Williamsport, Lakewood and CLearwater; 40.1IP 24H 12BB 46K; 1HR allowed; .173 opp avg; 0.89WHIP; 1.15 GO/AO; 2.7BB/10.3K per 9; For CW: 10G; 0-1 with a 4.97ERA; .271 opp avg; 1.50 WHIP; A local kid, SInger was absolutely lights out in his 13 games for Williamsport and Lakewood and seemingly forgot how to pitch for his first few outings with the Threshers.  He bounced back to have several solid outings at the end of the year.  Grade: B; 2017: He moved up two levels since he was signed but was pitching in low leverage situations for Clearwater.  The Phils have very little invested in Singer which leads me to believe others will be given a shot, but his performance is worthy of bringing him back and starting him in CLearwater.

Jairo Munoz, 25, SIgned as a free agent in 2015; 6 games, 0-1 with a 1.13ERA; 8IP 6H 5BB 7K; Munoz was signed as a free agent out of the Royals organization and missed a good portion of the season injured during two stints on the DL.  I doubt he will be back.


16 thoughts on “Post Season Report Card–Relief Pitchers, Top Half of Organization

  1. I can see Arano at this time next year pitching in Philly.
    Neris, Edubray Ramos and Arano as the three back-end guys.

    1. Agreed, Arano looks legit. Cordero is the other arm that has a shot if healthy and Nunez and Rivera have a chance. Therrien is a maybe. That’s it. Windle has regressed and the others just look like arms. Luis Garcia is the guy hard to figure out. He can look so good one minute and then walk two and give up a three run homer the next. The guy throws a legit 95 but that’s not enough. My guess is the Phils will sign a few free agent relievers this off season.

      1. Almost all relievers now sit 94/96 and touch 97/98. It is that secondary pitch that separates the good ones from the average ones.
        Jeanmar Gomez may be one of the last of the dinosaurs.

  2. a lot of dross in the AAA group especially. Life span of a reliever can be that of a gnat. The good ones seem to come out of nowhere and the ones that looked promising flame out. If you keep rotating enough of them you eventually strike gold. Don’t see much sparkle in current crop though. Thought 4yrs ago we were loaded with Diekman, Schwimmer group at LHV, but that didn’t turn out so well.

  3. With the Phils plethora of starters, the next great reliever might be among them. Relievers are fickle. Sometimes they explode on the scene and then burn out quickly. Every year you have to start from scratch with them. He might be Kenny Giles one year and Betty Crocker the next. Sorry about the Crocker item, I’m getting hungry for breakfast.

  4. After work, my commute, and a gym session, i usually get home around 9:15 and turn on the phillies. i swear to god, hector neris is on the mound 99.99999% of the time when i put the game on hahaha! Hes been so good but if they can get anything of value for him this offseason I would. Considering how Pete pitched him so much and that his best pitch is a splitter, I don’t expect him to have a very long prime

  5. Overall, this is not a very deep group – it’s probably one of the weaker areas of the farm system right now, but that’s not all that unusual. Once a guy masters a dominant pitch and commands (or at least controls) a secondary pitch, he flies through the system and arrives in the big leagues. That’s what happened with Giles and Ramos and it could happen next year with Arano or Cordero. I also agree that one or more of the starters could end up in the bullpen, including Mark Appel and even Zach Eflin (in short stints, he could probably sit 96-98). Lots of guys failed at starting and turned into dominant bullpen pieces, including, recently, Andrew Miller and Wade Davis.

    1. big fan of the failed starter turned bullpen arm, but they have to really fail first. Appel might have one year of starting left before they move him but Eflin is so young they may give him more time.

  6. I have been wondering for some time, why some pitchers such as Luis Garcia and more recently, Patrick Schuster can look so good in AAA and yet cannot pitch in the majors. I now think that the key is walks. For example, Luis Garcia’s ratio of K to BB in AAA was 2.2. I would suggest that anything below 2.5 is not going to be adequate at the major league level. In fact, I would look for a ratio of at least 3. Using this criterion, Schuster does not make it either. In an admittedly very small sample, his K to BB ratio comes out to 1.17. Since the sample size is so small, I did the calculation based upon his entire minor league career. The result: a K to BB ratio of 1.98, still low.

    I noticed that last night Joely Rodriguez was brought in to face a lefty and walked him, I believe on four pitches, then was removed. However, his ration of K to BB in the minors is right at 3 for the year (and at LHV) which is much better.

    1. not just the walks themselves- its not having the command to put the ball where they need to get big league hitters out compared to minor leaguers.

      looking at young starters Jose Berrios and Jeff Hoffman who have been very good in minors with walk rates somewhat high but not outrageously so, who have just been tattooed every time they have set foot on a major league mound- walks or up and when it is over the plate its very hittable.
      they can certainly adjust and become successful but it really shows the difference in making the jump to the bigs.

  7. Concerning Hoby Milner, as I have posted before, when I saw him in Reading, he threw all slow pitches. He apparently does not possess a major league fastball, which makes it unlikely that he will be successful in the at the big league level.

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