Phillies 2019 season preview: Relief pitcher Hector Neris
Neris’s role in 2019
With the emergence of the flame-throwing Seranthony Dominguez and the acquisition of David Robertson, I think it’s safe to assume that Neris won’t be closing in 2019. This will help his game tremendously. Throughout his career, Neris has had a lot of success in the setup role, or in any late-game role outside of closer. I believe Neris will put last year’s early-season struggles behind him and come out with his dominant split as he did in 2017.
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Neris will also have to adopt the role of mentor for the younger members of this staff. He is entering his age-30 season and has been in the league since 2014 (he pitched one inning in 2014, and got the win). Dominguez, Victor Arano, Austin Davis and other young bullpen guys will look to the veterans for stability and leadership. Believe it or not, Neris and Adam Morgan are the longest tenured pitchers in the bullpen, and will need to show them the way to succeed in Philadelphia.
Neris will also be relied on to be the anticoagulant of the bullpen. For all you non-science people, that means he’ll be the guy Kapler uses to stop the bleeding. He has made a living dominating with runners in scoring position (RISP), with a .218 batting average against and 84 strikeouts. I don’t think he’ll be become a situational pitcher, and he’s best suited to be the seventh or ninth inning guy, but his experience allows Kapler to trust him in big game situations.