Phillies: 6 relievers Joe Girardi is excited about for 2021

Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi (Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi (Jim Rassol/USA TODAY Sports) /
3 of 6
Sam Coonrod #65 of the San Francisco Giants (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

4. Sam Coonrod

Phillies manager Joe Girardi said he loves what the team has done with its bullpen this offseason because it added power.

“That was one thing that we lacked last year,” he continued. “[With power], I think you get away with more pitches. You could pitch up in the zone and it’s hard to catch up to. You don’t necessarily have to have pinpoint control to be really successful when you have power, and that’s what we’ve added. I’m excited about that … I think it should bode well for our bullpen.”

Among the relievers with power the Phillies added to their bullpen includes right-hander Sam Coonrod, acquired from the San Francisco Giants in early January for 2020 fourth-round pick Carson Ragsdale.

Girardi noted that Coonrod can hit 100 miles per hour on the radar gun. In 2020, that did not make much a difference, as through 18 starts and five games finished under the Gabe Kapler-led team, he went just 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA, 1.636 WHIP, and 15-7 strikeouts-to-walks ratio across 14 2/3 innings.

What is notable about Coonrod is that among MLB pitchers who three at least 50 four-seam fastballs during the 2020 season, Coonrod ranked fifth in average velocity (98.4 miles per hour), according to Statcast. And, among pitchers who threw at least 50 sinkers, his 97.6 miles per hour average velocity ranked ninth.

The Missouri native and former fifth-round draft pick had a strong rookie showing, going 5-1 with a 3.58 ERA and 1.229 WHIP across 33 appearances and 27 2/3 innings. Of his 114 batters faced, Coonrod allowed 19 hits, 11 runs (11 earned), three home runs, and 15 walks, while striking out 20.

Perhaps, pitching coach Caleb Cotham can unlock Coonrod’s full potential and help his numbers resemble more so what he produced in 2019 rather than 2020.