Former Phillies postseason stud is sadly pitching himself out of a job

Once a trusted reliever, Connor Brogdon has had major struggles recently, and if he doesn't figure things out, it may be the end of the line with this Phillies team.

Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Connor Brogdon continued his poor season on Monday by giving up a grand slam to the Cincinnati Reds
Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Connor Brogdon continued his poor season on Monday by giving up a grand slam to the Cincinnati Reds / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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When Philadelphia Phillies reliever Connor Brogdon entered the game in the 10th inning against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night, it was immediately clear he didn’t have his good stuff. Unfortunately, it’s been clear for quite some time now that the 29-year-old has been struggling and searching to get back to where he was in 2022.

In 2022, Brogdon was one of manager Rob Thomson’s most trusted weapons out of the bullpen. The one-time hard-throwing right-hander averaged 95.1 mph with his four-seam fastball. In the 2022 playoffs alone, Brogdon threw 8 2/3 innings and gave up just two earned runs while striking out 13 and walking just two batters. In fact, in the World Series against Houston, he pitched a total of four innings, struck out seven batters and had zero walks.

That’s a far cry from where he was on Monday night, when he walked the bases loaded before serving up a 91.6 mph fastball over the plate that was rocketed for a grand slam, leading to a 6-3 extra-innings loss to the Reds.

According to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki, the 91.6 mph fastball was the slowest fastball he has allowed a hit on in his MLB career. This is an unfortunate trend for the righty. His fastball velocity peaked in 2021, averaging 96 mph, but has dipped ever since. In 2022, it sat at 95.1 mph, then in 2023 it was 94.7 mph and coming into Monday night Brogdon was averaging just 92.7 mph. Velocity dips are always one of the most glaring signs when mechanics and "stuff" are starting to go south.

So far in the 2024 season, Brogdon has appeared in three games and has given up six earned runs, six walks, two home runs, and three strikeouts over just two full innings.

Following the loss Monday night, Brogdon talked about his struggles and how he’s searching for answers.

“I’m just kind of scrambled out there right now,” he said, per Zolecki. “I mean, everything. I’m out there thinking about every single step in my delivery at times.”

It’s tough to see someone struggle so much when just a short time ago they were on the top of their game and coming through in such big spots. But with the significant dip in velocity and the inconsistency he has shown, Brogdon may not have many more chances to prove he deserves a spot on the major league roster.

Brogdon was already on the fence throughout spring training about making the opening day roster, but the IL stints of Orion Kerkering and Taijuan Walker opened enough spots for Thomson to need him.

He’s been fighting to figure it out, but it seems like quicksand where the more you fight, the harder it gets.

“I just feel like it’s been a constant journey trying to find the right stuff mechanically,” Brogdon said, per Zolecki. “Every day I feel like I’m right there. I felt like I was right there today. I think I’ve simplified it. I’ve got it down and then tonight happens.”

The writing seems to be on the wall for Brogdon, who's out of options. When Kerkering rejoins the team on April 9, he is a clear candidate to lose his spot. The Phillies have high expectations this season, and they can only give so many chances before they have to look elsewhere.

Maybe Brogdon figures it out in Triple-A, or perhaps he's picked up by another team that thinks they can rekindle that 2022 magic, but hopefully, he can put it all together soon.

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