Phillies 2023 report cards: Grading the bullpen

For what has been a rocky unit for most of the last decade, the 2023 Phillies flipped the script and had one of the best arm barns in the league.

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Colorado Rockies v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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Gregory Soto

In 2023, Gregory Soto showed flashes of some nasty stuff, just like he had over his four-year career in Detroit.

The two-time All-Star was traded from Detroit with Kody Clemens in early January, and the buzz around him grew. After two consecutive seasons of low three ERAs, there were obviously high expectations for him in Philly.

While Soto didn't have an All-Star-type season and ultimately finished the year with a 4.62 ERA, there were games where he looked dominant. What ballooned his ERA was coming in during higher leverage situations and giving up big innings. The lefty had a role in the bullpen this year, just not as big as the Phillies had expected.

Soto's fastball looked lively throughout the year, touching 100 mph numerous times. He utilized that pitch more, mostly because of the control issue with his slider and other complementary pitches. Using the fastball, he dropped his walk rate down to 3.3 BB/9 and an overall WHIP of 1.144 — 0.2 lower than both of his All-Star seasons.

The 28-year-old's analytics and eye test show he's an above-average MLB reliever. At the end of the day, however, it doesn't matter what the analytics say if a pitcher gives up runs late in games and in the bigger moments.

Look for Soto to have a bounce-back campaign in 2024 and play a bigger role in this stacked Phillies pen.

Grade: C+