Phillies: Connor Brogdon quietly off to stellar career start
By Matt Rappa
The Philadelphia Phillies are 1-0 so far thanks to stellar defensive plays, timely hitting, and solid pitching from starting pitcher Aaron Nola and the bullpen.
Among the four Phillies relievers manager Joe Girardi used in the 3-2 Opening Day victory on Thursday was rookie right-hander Connor Brogdon — who pitched a scoreless 10th to set up a Jean Segura walk-off single the next half-inning.
The Phillies have an impressive, homegrown reliever in Connor Brogdon.
Entering the outing with a runner on second, as part of Major League Baseball’s new rule for extra innings (established last season), Brogdon had to pitch in a high leverage situation right away. Brogdon got reigning National League MVP Freddie Freeman to ground out on three pitches, however it advanced the Braves designated runner, Ozzie Albies, to third with just one out.
Next facing Marcell Ozuna, Brogdon got the outfield slugger to fly out to center on his fourth pitch. Trying to score the go-ahead run, Albies tagged but was thrown out at home thanks to an on-target throw from Roman Quinn.
Brogdon went on to earn the win. Although he only faced two batters and pitched the entirety of the frame, he was credited with an inning pitched. Therefore, combing his Thursday outing with his final six appearances in 2020, the right-hander has allowed only one hit and two walks, while striking out 14, across his last 9 2/3 innings pitched and 31 batters faced.
Quietly, the California native is becoming one of the more reliable relievers in the Phillies bullpen, and is off to a stellar start to his young career.
The Phillies added many relievers this offseason to help overhaul their bullpen, among them including Archie Bradley and Jose Alvarado. But, Brogdon just might be as valuable.
After struggling in his first three outings last year, the Phillies optioned Brogdon to the alternate training site. When he returned, he was lights-out, with opposing batters slashing just .037/.103/.074 against him. In a Pine Tar for Breakfast podcast episode from this past offseason, Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said “you have to be impressed” when looking at video of Brogdon from 2020.
“He is very impressive. He’s the type of guy that you smile when you see throwing, that he’s on your side,” Dombrowski said. “The thing is, he has to carry it forward. That’s the key for him. There are all indications that he will. He has that type of makeup and work ethic.”