Former bullpen standout may not even make Phillies Opening Day roster

Connor Brogdon #75 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Connor Brogdon #75 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

As part of a 2021 Philadelphia Phillies bullpen that tied Major League Baseball’s record by blowing 34 saves in a single season, Connor Brogdon was a relief, literally.

The bar was subterranean levels of low, but seeing Brogdon enter from the pen was a small comfort, as he was one of the least terrible arms they had. Over 56 appearances, he posted a 3.43 ERA, finished eight games, and earned a save. His 57 2/3 innings of work were ninth-most on the entire pitching staff.

Four of those blown saves were his, though.

Will Connor Brogdon make the 2022 Phillies Opening Day roster?

In addition to the newcomers, Corey Knebel, Jeurys Familia, and Brad Hand, Brogdon was supposed to be one of the bullpen stalwarts; the team needs him to be.

So, it’s been concerning to see him struggle in spring training, because while the games don’t count towards the record, they’re a sign of what’s working and what’s not.

In Brogdon’s case, spring training revealed a considerable dip in fastball velocity. Opposing batters are putting on a show against him, most recently, the Detroit Tigers, who got him for three hits and two earned runs in Wednesday’s eventual 7-1 loss.

The rough outing elicited concern from media members and fans:

Brogdon says he feels fine physically, but the results are simply not translating. He’s throwing in the low 90s, compared to 95-96 in 2021.

Spring training is a minuscule sample size in the grand scheme of a game played 162 times, but Brogdon has a 15.43 ERA over three appearances, and hitters are mashing .455 against him. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, His velocity is lower than it was in his first bullpen session when he hit 94 on the radar gun.

If Brogdon continues this way, could he start the season on the bench or in Triple-A? The Phillies have dealt with enough bad bullpenning to know that they can’t repeat last year’s mistakes. They have to be proactive about making sure that the back-end of the pitching staff works, or the postseason drought will continue.

Friday marks one week from Opening Day for the Phillies, who will keep the April 7 off-day originally penciled into their original 2022 schedule. Brogdon has seven more spring games’ worth of chances to ease that concern, both for his manager and himself.

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