Report Card–Relief Pitching–LV, REA, CW

Lehigh Valley

Pat Venditte, 32, Signed as a free agent in 2017; 52 games, 9-5 with a 3.36ERA: 2SV; 69.2IP 54H 36BB 69K; .217 opp avg; 1.29WHIP; 0.94 GO/AO; .218 vs LHH, .216 vs RHH, .286 last 30 days; 4.7BB/8.9K per 9; Venditte did a real nice job this year for Lehigh Valley other than a walk rate that was too high; He succeeded in the may roles he was asked to fill.  Grade: B; 2018: ANother organization….with all of the Phils bullpen issues this year, if he didn’t get a chance with the big club, he never will.  He will look to go where he may have a shot.

Pedro Beato, 31, Signed as a free agent in 2017; 52 games, 1-3 with a 2.75ERA; 33SV; 55.2IP 41H 20BB 42K; .202 opp avg; 1.10WHIP; 3.2BB/6.8K per 9; .222 vs LHH, .186 vs RHH, .200 opp avg last 30 days; Beato set the Lehigh Valley all time saves record and was one of the primary reason the ‘Pigs hung on to a playoff spot.  Beato had a 1 appearance cup of coffee with the Phils, during which he was injured and ended up on the DL.  He worked hard, rehabbed and helped the ‘Pigs down the stretch; Grade: A; 2018: Another organization…I don’t believe the Phils feel he has a future in their bullpen

Michael Mariot, 28, Re-signed as free agent in 2017; 45 games, 7-2 with a 4.42ERA; 2SV; 57IP 56H 21BB 63K; .257 opp avg; 1.35WHIP; 0.68 GO/AO; 3.3BB/9.9K per 9; .241 vs LHH, .267 vs RHH, .225 last 30 days; After a brutal April, Mariot came around to have a solid season for Lehigh Valley, getting plenty of work and pitching multiple innings in the mid late innings many times. Grade: C; 2018: Another organization

Cesar Ramos, 33, Signed as free agent in 2017; 40 games (11 starts); 5-4 with a 4.00ERA; 1SV; 92.1IP 91H 31BB 74K; .259 opp avg; 1.32 WHIP; 0.92 GO/AO; 3.0BB/7.2K per 9; .272 vs LHH, .252 vs RHH, .313 opp avg last 30 days; Ramos had one of the most difficult jobs in the ‘Pigs pen as a spot starter and long reliever, often not knowing what role he would land in.  He did a nice job most specifically early in the year eating necessary innings.  Grade: B-; 2018: Another organization

Colton Murray, 27, Phils 13th round pick in 2011; 41 games between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 2-2 with a 4.58ERA; 3SV; 53IP 58H 16BB 63K; .282 opp avg; 1.40 WHIP; For Lehigh Valley: 33 games, 2-2 with a 5.53ERA; 40.2IP 49H 15BB 45K; .301 opp avg; 1.57WHIP; 3.3BB/10.0K per 9; .294 vs LHH, .305 vs RHH; Murray started the year on the 40 man and had just a miserable year.  He was removed from the 40 man and relegated to mostly mop up innings for the ‘Pigs.  Grade: D-; 2018: I would be surprised to see him back.

Yacksel Rios, 24, Phils 12th round pick in 2011; 37 games between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 1-3 with a 1.92ERA; 3SV; 56.1IP 32H 14BB 64K; .165 opp avg;  0.82WHIP; 2.2BB/10.2K per 9; With largely a mediocre minor league career before this season, Rios simply became a new pitcher dominating both AA and AAA and earning a call to Philly in late August.  In his half dozen or so outings thus far with the Phils, he in not embarrassing himself.  Grade: A; 2018: Fighting for a job in the Phils bullpen

Joe DeNato, 25, Phils 19th round pick in 2014; 33 games (3 starts) between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 6-2 with a 2.65ERA; 51IP 45H 32BB 33K; .243 opp avg; 1.51WHIP; 5.6BB/5.8K per 9; For LV: 11 games (3 starts), 1-1 with a 5.50ERA; 18IP 18H 10BB 9K; .261 opp avg; 1.56WHIP; 5.0BB/4.5K per 9; .267 vs LHH, .256 vs RHH; With the number of baserunners DeNato put on base because of control issues it is amazing he was able to mitigate his damage as well as he did.  The control issues continued from Reading to Lehigh Valley however hitters were more able to capitalize on them in AAA. Grade: C; 2018: Back to Reading

Alexis Rivero, 22, Signed as a free agent in 2013; 43 games between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 5-4 with a 4.48ERA; 2SV; 66.1IP 69H 27BB 52K; .272 opp avg; 1.45 WHIP; 0.89 GO/AO; 3.7BB/7.1K per 9; For LV: 8G, 1-1 with a 7.00ERA; .350 opp avg; 2.00WHIP; 4.0BB/6.0K per 9; Up and down year for Rivero who did a decent job with Reading and then got pounded in his month in AAA. With close to 60 outings under his belt at AA over two seasons, I expect the Phils to keep him in LV next year to sink or swim.  Grade: C

Jesen Therrien, 24, Phils 17th round pick in 2011; 39 games, 2-1 with a 1.41ERA and 9SV for Reading and Lehigh Valley; 57.1IP 39H 9BB 65K; .191 opp avg; 0.84WHIP; 1.34 GO/AO; 1.4BB/10.2K per 9; Therrien was simply overpowering in the minor leagues this season, forcing the Phillies hand with a call up to the majors. His time in the majors has been less than smooth with an ERA over 8 in 15 outings thus far.  That said, based on what the pre-season expectations of Therrien were this season, he has put together a very positive 2018; Grade: A-; 2018: Fighting for a job in the Phils bullpen

Ricardo Pinto, 23, Signed as a free agent in 2012; 19 games (8 starts) with Lehigh Valley: 5-3 with a 3.86ERA; 1SV; 60.2IP 61H 18BB 46K; .263 opp avg; 1.30WHIP; 2.7BB/6.8K per 9; .274 vs LHH, .255 vs RHH; Pinto has been up and down between Philly and Lehigh Valley all year, finishing the season in Philly.  As of this writing, his ERA is approaching 9 with opponents hitting about .340 vs him in the majors.  Pinto was rushed to the bigs because of the series on injuries the Phils have had and it shows.  Grade: C; 2018: Lehigh Valley


Garrett Cleavinger, 23, Acquired from Baltimore in 2017; 38 games, 2-5 with a 6.00ERA between Bowie and Reading; 54IP 57H 32BB 59K; .265 opp avg; 1.65 WHIP; 1.40 GO/AO; 5.3BB/9.8K per 9; Extremely unimpressive since being acquired from Baltimore; While pitching for Reading, opponents hit .317 against him.  2018: Back to Reading

Tom Windle, 25, Acquired from Dodgers in 2015; 36 games, 3-2 with a 4.24ERA; 2SV; 51IP 37H 21BB 44K; .200 opp avg; 1.14WHIP; 1.92GO/AO; 3.7BB/7.2K per 9; .183 vs LHH, .211 vs RHH, .148 last 30 days; April and May were rough for Windle but he came back from a stint on the DL a new pitcher.  Post all star break, the opposition hit just .162 against him and his walk rate went down to 2.5 per 9IP. Overall, a good season.  Grade: B-; 2018: He actually could challenge for a spot in Philly (being a lefty and all), however more likely the LV bullpen and added to the 40.

Shane Watson, 24, Phils Comp pick in 2012; 33 games (11 starts); 4-5 with a 4.10ERA: 83.1IP 97H 12HR allowed; 40BB 45K; .299 opp avg; 1.64WHIP; 1.17 GO/AO; 4.3BB/4.9K per 9; .325 vs LHH, .237 vs RHH, .226 last 30 days; Admittedly, I have never been a Watson fan.  So with that caveat, his ERA is much better than his peripherals which suggest that he didn’t pitch very well.  Opponents average hovering at .300 and over four walks per 9, will not cut it long term.  That said, some late season progress.  Grade: C; 2018: Reading

Austin Davis, 24, Phils 12th round pick in 2014; 42 games between Clearwater and Reading; 6-2 with a 2.60ERA; 2SV; 69.1IP 64H 23BB 75K; .247 opp avg; 1.25WHIP; 3.0BB/9.7K per 9; For Reading: 32G, 4-2 with a 2.87ERA; 47IP 45H 20BB 46K; .257 opp avg; 1.38WHIP; 3.8BB/8.8K per 9; Davis threw consistently well all year until an injury ended his season about two weeks early.  Prior to his season ending, the opposition hit just .138 against him in 7 August games.  Grade: B; 2018: Lehigh Valley

Victor Arano, 22, Acquired from Dodgers in 2014; 32 games, 1-2 with a 4.19ERA; 9SV; 38.2IP 39H 11BB 38K; .264 opp avg; 1.29WHIP; 0.81 GO/AO; 2.6BB/8.8K per 9; .284 vs LHH, .247 vs RHH, .234 last 30 days; .242 with RISP; Arano missed most of the first two months of the season and then took a bit of time to work himself in.  All in all, a good year where he proved he could get hitters out with a back end of the bullpen role.  Grade: B-; 2018: Perhaps a month in Reading to prove himself as a closer, then Lehigh Valley

Miguel Nunez, 24, Signed as a free agent in 2010; 24 games (2 starts); 1-4 with a 3.57ERA; 3SV; 35.1IP 31H 20BB 25K; .244 opp avg; 1.44WHIP; 5.1BB/6.4K per 9; .237 vs LHH, .250 vs RHH, .182 with RISP; Nunez threw very well early in the year and then control issues began setting his progress back.  By early July he was injured and has missed the last 8 weeks.  Finishing his 7th year in the organization, he can become a minor league free agent following this season.  Grade: C-

Mario Sanchez, 22, Acquired from Nationals in 2016; 19 games (7 starts); 4-2 with a 2.88ERA; 56.1IP 52H 13BB 32K; 2.1BB/5.1K per 9; .251 opp avg; 1.15WHIP; 0.72 GO/AO; .264 vs LHH, 237 vs RHH; Sanchez was impressive as Reading’s long man and spot starter before significant arm injury ended his season in late June.

Jeff Singer, 23, Signed as a free agent in 2016; 49 games between Clearwater and Reading, 5-4 with a 3.00ERA: 21SV; 63IP 41H 37BB 78K; .182 opp avg; 1.24WHIP; 0.91GO/AO; 5.3BB/11.1K per 9; For Reading: 12G, 0-2 with a 5.54ERA; 13IP 11H 9BB 12K; .220 opp avg; 1.54WHIP; Singer absolutely dominated the Florida State League and was promoted to Reading for the seasons final month.  His first few outings were brutal during which he totally lost his command, but he was coming around when the season ended.  Grade: A-; As a undrafted free agent, not much was expected and Singer has turned some heads.  2018: Reading

Alberto Tirado, 22, Acquired from Toronto in 2015; 24 games (12 starts) between Clearwater and Reading; 5-4 with a 4.24ERA; 74.1IP 72H 56BB 65K; 6.8BB/7.9K per 9; .259 opp avg; 1.63WHIP; For Reading: 10G (all relief), 6.75ERA; .283 opp avg; 2.67 WHIP; Walked 19 in 12IP. Some promise early in the season for Tirado which was followed by Aumontlike control issues and then injury.  All in all a very disappointing year. Grade: D; 2018: Back to Clearwater to begin


Seth McGarry, 23, Acquired from Pittsburgh in 2017; 44 games between Bradenton and Clearwater (both FSL), 1-4 with a 2.32 ERA; 19SV; 54.1IP 34H 20BB 55K; .177 opp avg; 0.99WHIP; 3.3BB/9.2K per 9; .207 vs LHH, .150 vs RHH, .239 last 30 days; 13G w/ Clearwater, 0-4 with a 5.14ERA; .255 opp avg; 1.43WHIP; McGarry was lights out before he was traded in the FSL but was very medicore for the Threshers.  Clearly with talent, his 2018 landing spot most likely depends on his Spring performance.

Luke Leftwich, 23, Phils 7th round pick in 2015; 42G, 1-6 with a 2.70ERA: 80IP 69H 21BB 98K; .232 opp avg; 1.13WHIP; 0.81GO/AO; 2.4BB/11.1K per 9; .183 vs LHH, .264 vs RHH, .136 last 30 days; Leftwhich had a 1.64ERA and the opposition hit just .156 against him in 22 post all star game appearances.  I was surprised he was not in Reading in August as that is where he currently belongs; Grade: B+; 2018: Reading

Tyler Gilbert, 23, Phils 6th round pick in 2015; 35 games, 1-6 with a 2.95ERA; 3SV; 61IP 64H 15BB 52K; .271 opp avg; 1.30WHIP; 0.91GO/AO; 2.2BB/7.7K per 9; .263 vs LHH, .275 vs RHH, .279 last 30 days; .206 with RISP; Gilbert did a good job this season, allowing a few more hits than many would like to see, but bearing down with RISP.  Solid.  Grade: B; 2018: Reading

Blake Quinn, 23, Phils 9th round pick in 2016; 30 games (7 starts); 4-2 with a 4.38ERA; 74IP 75H 43BB 71K; .272 opp avg; 1.59WHIP; .221 vs LHH, .298 vs RHH, .279 last 30 days; 5.2BB/8.6K per 9; Quinn had an up and down year where he suffered through control issues that caused him problems.  He will have trouble advancing until his control is “under control”. Grade: C; 2018: Clearwater to begin

Harold Arauz, 22, Acquired from Houston in 2015; 29 games (6 starts) between Lakewood, Clearwater and Reading; 5-6 with a 1.97ERA; 96IP 68H 16BB 93K; .196 opp avg; 0.88WHIP; 1.30 GO/AO; 1.5BB/8.7K per 9; .163 opp avg last 30 days; Arauz had an outstanding year, throwing well in every role he was asked to pitch in.  His last outing of the year (8IP 2H 0ER 0BB 10K), was a great way to end his season.  Grade: A; 2018: Reading

Trevor Bettencourt, 23, Phils 25th round pick in 2016; 41 games between Lakewood and Clearwater; 5-2 with a 2.61ERA; 10SV; 58.2IP 45H 9BB 77K; 3HR allowed; .207 opp avg; 0.95WHIP; 1.75 GO/AO; 1.4BB/11.8K per 9; For CW: 16G, 2-0 with a 1.57ERA: 2SV; .157 opp avg; 0.74WHIP; Bettencourt had an outstanding year especially for a lower draft pick that not a lot was expected out of.  He worked his way not only to a promotion but to high leverage situations in the Clearwater bullpen.  Grade: A;

JD Hammer, 23, Acquired from Rockies in 2017; 48 games, 6-2 with a 1.87ERA between Colorado affiliate (SAL League), Colorado affiliate (High A); and Clearwater; 13SV; 57.2IP 35H 16BB 85K; .175 opp avg; 0.88WHIP; For CW: 12G, 2-0 with an 0.57ERA; 15.2IP 8H 2BB 20K; .154 opp avg; 0.64 WHIP; Hammer had an outstanding year and was absolutely lights out for Clearwater after both being traded and moving up a level.  He does likely need a bit more work at High A before moving along, but once he does, he could move quickly.

Aaron Brown, 25, Phils 3rd round pick in 2014; 10 games, 0-1 with a 5.27ERA; 13.2IP 17H 11BB 14K; .309 opp avg; 2.05WHIP; 7.2BB/9.5K per 9; After reaching the end of the line as a hitter in the Phils organization, the former 3rd round pick decided to give it a shot on the mound.  In college he was a talented pitcher, however, his lacked control and was hit around in limited work late in the season.  If he is back, it will likely be in Clearwater.

28 thoughts on “Report Card–Relief Pitching–LV, REA, CW

  1. The best of the future reliever group seems to starts at the AA level …Singer,Arano, and Davis and works its way down to Clearwater.

  2. It’s a tough job being a reliever.

    McGarry was a shutdown guy before the trade, then had (to my recollection) two bad outings out of a dozen or so with Clearwater. However, that’s enough to make a difference.

    If he resumes his dominance against righties next year, I would expect to possibly see him in Philadelphia before too long.

    Oh yeah. We all must be rooting for JD Hammer. That might be the best reliever name ever – and he’s got some numbers to back it up. Stop. Hammer Time.


  3. I’m always skeptical about guys who were groomed thru the minors as relief pitchers. Atleast in philly, they never seem to work out. So many of the top relievers ( wade davis, Andrew miller, etc) were failed starters. I think our best relievers may be Vazquez and Pivetta. Even now, look at Adam Morgans recent work.

  4. Very good point srussell. I think by the end of next season both Pivetta and VV will be entrenched in the BP.

    1. I’d be dangling Velazquez as trade bait. I don’t think he’ll ever be the starter we hoped, but he undoubtedly still has value. Matter of fact I’d be willing to trade any of this year’s starters not named Nola. Sign a good FA or two then take your choice of the plethora of back of the rotation starters in the system.

      1. The problem with VV is that yet again, he was hurt a lot and now coming off surgery. We would truly be selling him for pennies on the dollar if we let him go.

    1. He has been. I’ve seen him pitch quite a few times at Reading. I expect to see him first time I go to Reading next season, unless he’s traded.

  5. Relievers are notorious for having up and down seasons. It’s rare to have a consistently good reliever, like Ryan Madson who gave us 5 good years.

    1. And if I’m not mistaken, he was almost exclusively a starter in the minors, to echo srussell’s earlier comment.

      In fact, I’m trying to think of minor league relievers who have had successful careers with the Phils. Ricky Botallico is the obvious one. I keep thinking about Wayne Gomes, who was drafted as a reliever in the first round IIRC, and ended up having a wonderfully mediocre career.

      But recent guys like Schwimer, Rosenberg, de Fratus and a few others never really amounted to much here.


        1. Yeah…I remember early on when Ryan got bombed in Comiskey Park by the WSox in ’04 in the first inning giving up 3 HRs….think that might have shell shocked him

        2. Madson was a reliever when he first came up but then in 2006 (about 2 years after his debut) they tried him as a starter through most of the season. Then he went back to the bullpen and I don’t think he ever started again.

        1. Do we have to mention Wayne Gomes? wasn’t he a 4th pick in the draft ( maybe 3rd) as a future reliever? too painful to think about

      1. Giles was always a reliever in the minors. Was good here and continues to be good in Houston. Although I’m not sure what any of this has to do with Windle.

        I wouldn’t use a 40 man spot for Windle even if he is a lefty.

        1. I think the starting point for this was that a review of relievers only in the minor league system and their future role in philly is tempered by the fact that most good major league relievers came thru the system as starters that fail and are converted to relievers. You have to search to find good relievers who were always relievers.

          Windle and his 10 yrs pitching at reading with no promotion is a separate topic

  6. I’m really impressed with Arauz’s performances and then I see his fastball velocity and I think of the number of righthanders who can be successful in major leagues at that velocity and I worry

    1. You should – he’s barely a prospect if he can’t improve his velocity a little. He’s just barely on my radar right now.

      On the relievers, it’s kind of a system-wide weakness, with a few hopeful spots here and there.

      It seems like Phillies’ pitchers as a whole are always behind the curve on velocity. When other teams had pitchers throwing 94-96, our guys threw 91-93 (hello Justin DeFratus). Now that our relievers throw 94-96, other teams have guys throwing 97-99.

      Fortunately, the LA prospects that Sal has found (many of whom may end up in the bullpen) seem to throw pretty hard as a group.

  7. From what I understand, Appel will be coming in from the bullpen for the Iron Pigs this series. Should be a make or break for him regarding the 40 man roster. If it goes the full 5 games, he might get 3 looks on the mound.

    1. It’s hard to see him remaining on the 40-man. I think the purpose of putting him in the pen is to see if the team has any residual interest in bringing him back next year in any capacity. If he can add 3 or 4 MPH on his FB out of the pen, he could be interesting. But otherwise, he’s just a mess.

      1. Appel not only has only so-so stuff now, but, as I’ve said before, his self-confidence is shot to hell. When I saw him in ST he looked so timid and withdrawn – like he wanted to crawl into a hole – it was palpable. When you go to ST you learn a ton about guys just by seeing how they go about their business. Sometimes, it’s great news (Andy Knapp is one focused, determined dude) and sometimes, it’s bad.

        1. I tend to agree with you, Catch. Don’t have much hope for Appel myself. But this time next season, we might be talking about his reversal of fortune. Or not. Which is what makes baseball, particularly pitchers, so interesting to follow. Football and basketball tend to be more unforgiving once a prospect is deemed unfit for the highest level of its sport.

          Good point about Knapp. He may never be a “star”, per se, but he’s got
          ‘WINNER’ written all over him. I can see him as a clutch role player on a championship club.

  8. I also would not put Appel on the 40 man roster. If he wasn’t such a high draft pick , we wouldn’t even being having this discussion about him given his performance. Highly unlikely, coming off injuries, he is selected by another team.

    Even if he is, does anyone see anything more than a functional middle reliever in his future given injuries, loss of velocity, lack of confidence, difficulty with command and pitching out of the stretch position etc?

  9. If we open up room on the 40 man roster with some trades of multiple players for single players like we should be doing, then fine. keep him on 40 man

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