Phillies 2021 Season Player Preview: Hector Neris

Hector Neris #50 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Hector Neris #50 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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The Philadelphia Phillies bullpen looks to put their nightmarish 2020 performance far in the rearview mirror.

One step was solidifying the bullpen with several offseason acquisitions. One of the mainstays, however, is Hector Neris, who has had various degrees of success and failures over the past seven seasons.

Predicting how Hector Neris will fare in his eighth season with the Phillies

Before we take a look at what to expect from Neris in 2021, let’s take a look back at his rollercoaster career.

Neris appeared in just one game in 2014, before posting a 3.79 ERA over 32 games in 2015. As a set-up man in 2016, Neris struck out 102 in 80 1/3 innings over 79 games. He took on the closer role the following season and appeared to be on the verge of becoming one of the top closers in the game — after recording 26 saves with a 3.01 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 74 2/3 innings.

The ups and downs which have now become the story of Neris’ career began in 2018. Although he became a dominant strikeout pitcher, fanning 14.3 per nine innings, Neris got beat by the long ball, allowing 11 home runs in only 47 2/3 innings — contributing to a 5.10 ERA. Neris rebounded in 2019, posting even better numbers than his first year as a closer in 2017. For the season, he saved 28 games with 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.93 ERA.

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Again, just when Neris looked to become an elite closer, he went into the abyss last season. Although he did not allow a home run in 24 appearances, Neris posted a very mediocre 4.57 ERA and allowed 10 hits per nine innings.

Predicting what Neris will do in 2021 is much like a toss of the coin. The addition of Archie Bradley doesn’t ensure Neris will be the closer this year. Perhaps Bradley takes over the role or manager Joe Girardi goes with a “closer by committee.” My guess is that Neris will be the closer unless he pitches himself out of the role.

Considering Neris is coming off a relatively poor season, he’s due for another bounce-back. He’ll continue to strike out more than one per inning. His ERA will drop to around three and he’ll record 25 to 30 saves.

Considering the inconsistencies of Neris, don’t place any bets on this “coin-flip” prediction. However, if this prediction is spot on, the Phillies could be in the mix to return to postseason play.

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