Player Review/Preview: B.J. Rosenberg
By Mike Lacy
Image Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Key 2013 Stats: 22 games, 19.2 innings, 1-2 W-L, 4.58 ERA, 19 K, 9 BB, 0.4 WAR.
What Happened in 2013
After making 22 uninspiring appearances for the Phillies in 2012, Rosenberg began the season in the minor leagues. When injuries and ineffectiveness caused an opening in the Phillies’ bullpen in May, he was recalled. He didn’t inspire much confidence in his 2013 debut, surrendering 3 earned runs in 1.1 innings. After two more appearances, Rosenberg was returned to AAA.
The Phillies bullpen was not a bastion of stability, so it was only a matter of time until Rosenberg found his way back to the majors. When he eventually got the call in mid-August, Rosenberg showed marked improvement. Not that it is saying much, but he was actually one of the Phillies’ better relief options over the final two months of the season.
Rosenberg’s improvement was mostly due to him being able to cut down on the number of walks he allowed. His walk rate was still higher than would be preferred, but he seemed to reduce them to a more manageable level.
What to Expect in 2014
Throughout his minor league career, Rosenberg has never had that much of a problem with surrendering walks, so it might just be a matter of adjusting to the majors. It is a promising sign that he has shown an ability to strike out hitters. If he can maintain that, he may have a chance to become a reliable reliever.
It is uncertain if he’ll get that chance at the start of the season. Rosenberg will be one of several relievers competing for one the final bullpen spots. While he can certainly improve his chances if he pitches well in Spring Training, his fate may depend on how quickly Mike Adams is able to come back from his injury, and whether or not the team decides to keep Rule 5 draftee Kevin Munson on the roster.
Even if he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training, there’s a good chance that he’ll find his way to the majors at some point. When the time comes, he needs to pitch more like did down the stretch in 2013 if he wants to stick around.