Phillies 2020 Season Player Grades: Jake Arrieta

Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jake Arrieta #49 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Grading Phillies RHP Jake Arrieta’s 2020 season

His days as an ace are far behind him, but Jake Arrieta was a capable number four starter for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020.

The best thing that I can say about Arrieta’s 2020 season is that it was no worse than I expected. In 2018 and 2019, the Phillies counted on Arrieta to be their No. 2 starter, and he disappointed. However, in 2020 Arrieta only needed to be the No. 4. That’s exactly how he pitched.

Arrieta started nine games for the Phillies this past season, and he threw the ball pretty well in most of them. In six starts, he went at least five innings and gave up three or fewer runs.

In two other starts, Arrieta was “passable,” going four-plus innings and allowing four earned runs in each.

Arrieta was only downright bad in one start, giving up seven earned runs and getting only four outs in against the Atlanta Braves — who ended up being one win shy of a World Series berth — on August 30. If you remove that one outing from his stat line, his season looks a lot better — an ERA that would be decreased from 5.08 to 3.77.

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Of course, we can’t remove that one game. Bad pitchers have bad starts. It’s no coincidence that none of Aaron Nola, Zack Wheeler or Zach Eflin had a start that bad this season.

However, I think it’s fair to say that Arrieta wasn’t as bad in 2020 as his ERA suggests. His FIP of 4.66 is probably more indicative of his true talent level. He was a perfectly serviceable No. 4 starter — just as he has been the past two seasons.

While Arrieta certainly has not lived up to his $75 million contract, he hasn’t been bad either. Consider this list of just some of the pitchers the Phillies have given multiple starts to since 2018:

  • Vince Velasquez (4.98 ERA)
  • Nick Pivetta (5.08 ERA)
  • Jerad Eickhoff (5.40 ERA)
  • Cole Irvin (5.60 ERA)
  • Ranger Suarez (6.75 ERA)
  • Ben Lively (6.85 ERA)
  • Enyel De Los Santos (7.36 ERA)

The back end of the Phillies rotation has been an absolute “tire fire” over the past few years, and so Arrieta has always been a welcome presence. He’s pitched 352 2/3 innings for the Phillies, and holds a 4.36 ERA with the team.

That’s not ace-worthy, nor worth $25 million a season, but it was better than what their other available options would have produced.

. RHP. Philadelphia Phillies. JAKE ARRIETA. B-

To grade Arrieta’s 2020 season, I’m feeling nice, since this was likely his final season in a Phillies uniform. Arrieta met my expectations and he pitched like a capable No. 4 starter.

Grade: B-

All stats courtesy of Fangraphs.

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