Phillies 2021 Spring Training Preview: Pitching Staff
The 25-year-old reliever is next to talk about. To say Jose Alvarado has the most potential out of any reliever on the Phillies might be an understatement given his age and some of the success he had with the Rays not too long ago.
In 2018 Alvarado in his only full season was really solid with a 2.39 ERA (172 ERA+), 2.27 FIP, and a 3.15 xFIP. In that 2018 season, he also ranked in the 92nd percentile in Fastball Velocity at 97 mph.
However, the problems are with what has happened since 2018 Alvarado has dealt with some different elbow problems limiting how much he can pitch. This is also probably a reason for why he was traded to the Phillies.
What the Phillies will hope is for Alvarado to regain form from his 2018 season which you can make the argument would make him the best reliever on the team.
The big question will be his health but if he’s healthy, nothing can stop him (except for his command).
Likely the most dependable reliever for the 2021 season, Archie Bradley is now the next pitcher to talk about. From the #SignJT movement he brought the second he signed, to his ability as a solid back-end option that the Phillies need out of the pen, this made this a great fit.
Bradley has consistently gotten better as a full-time reliever the past few seasons. In 2018 he has a 3.64 ERA, 3.71 FIP, and a 3.57 xFIP. In 2019 that improved to a 3.52 ERA, 3.41 FIP, but had a dip in xFIP at 4.06. In 2020 he puts it all together with a 2.95 ERA, 2.59 FIP, and a 3.67 xFIP.
While this is a great improvement over the 2020 bullpen, 2020 will no longer be the standard especially for Bradley and there is potential fear we might be hyping him up a little bit too much.
His career FIP is just 3.98 which doesn’t suggest a lock-down closer for the bullpen. In 2020 he also dropped in velocity on his pitches. Fastball went from 96 to 94, Curve from 82 to 80, and his changeup from 88 to 86.
This could be a change he made on his own and we will find out this upcoming season but this is not the news you want to be hearing from only a 28-year-old reliever.
Bradley is still a great upgrade and should be the best arm in the bullpen if you had to bet on it, with that said there could be cause for concern if this continues.