With the starting rotation and a right-handed bat covered, that leaves the bullpen, which has been a strength of the team so far in 2023. Philadelphia has a bullpen ERA of 3.78, tied for ninth-best in MLB, according to FanGraphs. In terms of workload, the bullpen has only been needed in 359.1 innings, fifth-fewest in the league.
However, the team has dealt with injuries to a couple of bullpen arms — two relievers who were reliable down the stretch for Philly last season during the run through the playoffs. Seranthony Domínguez missed time between June 16 and July 25 with a left oblique strain, and José Alvarado has been on the injured list twice so far this season with elbow inflammation.
Enter reliever McKinley Moore.
MLB.com has Moore ranked No. 20 in the Phillies organization, and according to his scouting report, he won't be afraid to challenge hitters: "A reliever all the way, Moore is all about going right after hitters with power stuff. He relies mostly on his fastball-slider combination, a heater that flirted with triple digits and averaged 97 mph last year, with decent carry up in the zone, and a slider that flashes plus with cutter-like action thrown typically in the upper-80s."
During April, Moore pitched 3.1 innings across three games for the Phillies, racking up an 18.90 ERA with five walks and one strikeout. Since that disastrous stint with the team, Moore has missed time with an injury.
Overall, though, in 11 games with Triple-A Lehigh this year, the 24-year-old right-handed reliever has a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings, giving up zero home runs, 17 walks and 20 strikeouts. In his last game with the Reading Fightin Phils on Saturday, Moore gave up zero runs, walked one and struck out one batter in one inning of work.
Across all levels in 2023, Moore has a staggering 15.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
If Moore can rein in the walks, continue that strikeout power and stay on the field following his return from injury, there’s a good chance he’ll help the Phillies bullpen the deeper the team gets into the season.