Phillies 2024 Season Preview: RHP Connor Brogdon

Reliever Connor Brogdon is looking to bounce back and regain his spot in the bullpen in 2024.
Connor Brogdon, Philadelphia Phillies
Connor Brogdon, Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

The next entry in our Philadelphia Phillies 2024 Season Preview series is reliever Connor Brogdon.

Previous season previews: José Alvarado, Andrew Bellatti, Alec Bohm

We'll take a brief look at Brogdon's 2023 performance and then see where he might end up this season using the Steamer and ZiPS projection systems, which can be found on FanGraphs.

Connor Brogdon 2023 stats and 2024 projections

2023 Stats: 27 G, 29 IP, 2-1 record, 4.03 ERA, 5.15 FIP 1.448 WHIP, 26 SO, 13 BB, -0.1 fWAR

2024 Steamer: 33 G, 33 IP, 2-2 record, 4.39 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, 32 SO, 13 BB, 0.1 fWAR

2024 ZiPS: 52 G, 55 IP, 3-2 record, 4.42 ERA, 4.36 FIP, 1.35 WHIP, 59 SO, 23 BB, 0.4 fWAR

*Editor's note: ZiPS projections include minor and major league innings but the performance estimates are all major league level.

Connor Brogdon 2024 season preview

Brogdon, 28, is looking for a bounce-back campaign after a struggling 2023 ended with him spending about half of the season with the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate Leigh Valley IronPigs. Even though the numbers for the tall righty don't seem very impressive, the fourth-year Phillie has the stuff to be an important part of the bullpen.

Over his first two full seasons in Philadelphia, Brogdon's long frame and nasty changeup led to some quality innings, finishing with an xERA of 2.92 and 3.17 in 2021 and 2022, respectively. In 2023, he saw this jump to 4.61 with an ERA+ of only 108. This can be explained by the spike in barrel rate up to 10.3 percent from 6.3 percent in 2022. He struck out fewer batters and walked more, pointing to mechanical issues and command problems that can happen with inexperienced pitchers.

The 2024 Phillies bullpen is not nearly set in stone, leaving a lot of room open for 40-man roster guys to earn their spot coming out of camp. With 12 different pitchers throwing significant innings out of the bullpen in 2023 and no additions as of yet, there will be plenty of opportunity for a guy like Brogdon to work with the coaching staff and regain the form of past seasons.

Brogdon's analytics move in the right direction in 2024

Brogdon, a heavy groundball pitcher, can find his way onto the 2024 squad and into valuable innings with Steamer's projections. The ERA isn't what most would be hoping for (4.39), but there are deeper analytical numbers that point to a successful season in 2024. While Brogdon doesn't seem to be a high-leverage reliever like everyone hoped he would be after the beginning of his career, the projections seem to be moving in the right direction.

The biggest impact Steamer projects is the difference in K-BB%, jumping almost four percent to 13.8 percent, 0.2 percent better than his 2021 season, which was arguably the best of his career. Along with that, an opposing batting average drop from .257 to .247 and a drop in WHIP from 1.45 to 1.32 shows signs of a solid, middle-inning reliever who can get outs in a jam.

The biggest issue seen in the Steamer projections would be the percentage of runners left on base. Throughout his career, Brogdon has consistently posted an 80 percent or higher strand rate, topping out at over 86 percent in 2020. However, in 2024 his projected strand rate drops to 72.4 percent, which would rank between below average and average within the scope of the league. As one of the last two to three arms in the bullpen, the biggest strength you want to see is the ability to come into games and get outs in bunches, leaving runners on.

Brogdon has Caleb Cotham project written all over him

Breaking down his pitches individually, Brogdon has consistently shown better success throwing his wipeout changeup. Similar to José Alvarado and his cutter, it might be wise for Brogdon to lean even more into the offspeed pitch and work the others off of it.

In 2023, Brogdon's changeup was the only pitch in his arsenal to post a positive runs above average at 1.1, with his fastball and cutter both coming in at -3.1. In his most successful seasons, his changeup has been the pitch, even reaching 9.6 runs above average in 2021. In 2023, Brogdon threw his changeup 43 percent of the time and finished with a .188 xBA, over 100 points lower than his fastball (.335) and cutter (.299).

Last season was definitely a down year for Brogdon, regressing on his whiff and swing percentages, pointing to a drop in stuff. The 2024 Steamer projections place him as a solid, but not great, middle-innings reliever for next season.

With his past resume and through the eye test of most fans over the past few seasons, Brogdon has stuff that can play. The biggest obstacle will be if he can find a way to miss more bats and find his niche in a wide-open Phillies pen.

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