Phillies 2024 Season Preview: LHP Kolby Allard

The newest Phillies depth piece has some work to do to have even an outside shot of making the Opening Day roster.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kolby Allard
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Kolby Allard / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

Continuing our Philadelphia Phillies 2024 Season Preview Series is newly acquired pitcher Kolby Allard.

Previous season previews: José AlvaradoAndrew BellattiAlec BohmConnor BrogdonNick CastellanosRodolfo CastroKody ClemensJake Cave, Dylan Covey, Seranthony Domínguez, Darick Hall

We'll first check in on Allard's 2023 performance and then dive into how he might perform this season using the popular Steamer and ZiPS projection systems, which can be found on FanGraphs.

Kolby Allard 2023 stats and 2024 projections

2023 Stats: 4 G, 12.1 IP, 0-1 record, 6.57 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 1.62 WHIP, 13 SO, 4 BB, 0.2 fWAR

2024 Steamer: 30 G, 45 IP, 2-3 record, 4.50 ERA, 4.73 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, 41 SO, 16 BB, 0.3 fWAR

2024 ZiPS: 23 G, 86 IP, 5-4 record, 4.40 ERA, 4.34 FIP, 1.30 WHIP, 83 SO, 28 BB, 1.0 fWAR

*Editor's note: Current ZiPS projections aren't a playing-time predictor and were created with Allard on the Atlanta Braves roster.

Kolby Allard 2024 season preview

Recently signed Kolby Allard has had a rocky road in his big league career to date. Originally drafted in the first round with the 14th overall pick by the Atlanta Braves, the 26-year-old has never lived up to that first-round prospect pedigree. After debuting with Atlanta in 2018 the lefty spent four seasons in Texas before returning to the Braves last season.

Allard got a late start last year after dealing with an oblique injury in late March. He pitched to a 2.70 ERA with eight strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings in two games in Triple-A before getting called up to the big club. Unfortunately, his four appearances (three starts) went about as well as his career 6.10 ERA would indicate. He finished with a 6.57 ERA with 13 strikeouts over 12 1/3 innings before going down with shoulder nerve inflammation.

Now with the Phillies as a pitching depth piece, Allard will have a tough journey to work his way up the pecking order. He brings some added value with experience starting and relieving, but only if he can perform.

Steamer projects Allard to throw 45 innings, with three starts and the rest coming out of the bullpen. He'll likely spend most of his time in Triple-A as a "break glass in case of emergency" backup plan. With the way the Phillies rotation is currently set up and already having Matt Strahm as the obvious sixth rotation option, things will have gone horribly wrong if Allard starts games this season — or he finally figures it out and forces the team's hand.

Allard's projected 4.50 (Steamer) and 4.40 (ZiPS) ERAs would slot him right between Connor Brogdon and Gregory Soto in terms of 2023 results.

Allard's curveball could be a weapon in 2024

Allard throws a four-pitch mix featuring a 91 mph fastball, an 83 mph cutter and changeup, and a 73 mph curveball. The curveball, which he used 23.6 percent of the time, performed as his best offering in last season's small sample size. The average launch angle against the pitch was six degrees, with a .222 opponent's average and a .236 wOBA.

He increased the spin rate on the breaking ball from 1,858 rpm in 2022 to 2,027 rpm last season, according to his Statcast data on Baseball Savant. That could explain the career-best 31.6 percent whiff rate with the pitch. If the curveball remains a weapon for him, watch out.

Both projection systems agree that the southpaw will log almost a strikeout per inning this season, with Steamer projecting an 8.26 K/9, which is higher than his career average of 7.49. In his short run last year, he put up a career-best rate of 9.49 K/9.

Steamer also predicts a regression in his walk rate, up to 3.18 BB/9, but that could be an area where Allard might beat the projection. While he does have a career 3.09 BB/9, over the last three seasons he has posted a 2.34 BB/9 in 158 innings.

Allard will have to show out in Florida to have even an outside shot at joining the team in Philadelphia on Opening Day. Most likely, he begins in Lehigh Valley, and we see him at some point during the season when the Phillies are desperate for arms.