Bullpen Takes Shape as Phillies Lose New Reliever Hunter to DL
The Phillies bullpen suffered a blow on Monday afternoon. While other roster decisions helped shape the Opening Day roster for the bench and for the starting rotation, the bullpen was left rather unresolved. One of the high-priced Phillies bullpen options will not be with the club when they break camp.
Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported earlier today that reliever Tommy Hunter will begin the season on the 10-day disabled list. Hunter has a mild hamstring strain. This means that another reliever will get an opportunity.
Now that we know that the bench will consist of catcher Andrew Knapp, super-sub Pedro Florimon, second baseman Scott Kingery and outfielder Nick Williams, that could mean the Phillies take nine relievers when they head north to Philadelphia. Here is the likely bullpen to begin the season:
Closer: Hector Neris
This is at least what we usually think of as a closer. New Phillies manager Gabe Kapler seems comfortable using his relievers according to the situations in front of him. So this means while Neris could pitch the ninth inning regularly, he might get some other innings, if more important.
Left-handed Relievers: Adam Morgan and Hoby Milner
The Phillies got solid production out of Morgan and Milner last season once Morgan was finally moved out of the starter or "long man" mindset.
Right-handed relievers: Pat Neshek, Drew Hutchison, Luis Garcia, Victor Arano, Edubray Ramos and Jake Thompson
Hunter would have been on this list had he been healthy. This list assumes 1) That Hutchison will be in the bullpen and that 2) the Phillies will go forward with nine relievers.
Thompson (no relation to Pete Thompson) may have impressed the Phillies enough with a strong Spring that he gets consideration in the bullpen. Ramos has remained frustrating but is talented. Ramos boasts a high strikeout total, but a high ERA in Spring action. Arano, meanwhile has been solid.
This list assumes the following:
- Jorge Alfaro
- Andrew Knapp
- Carlos Santana
- Cesar Hernandez
- J.P. Crawford
- Maikel Franco
- Pedro Florimon
- Scott Kingery
- Rhys Hoskins
- Odubel Herrera
- Aaron Altherr
- Nick Williams
Starting Pitchers (5):
- Jake Arrieta
- Aaron Nola
- Nick Pivetta
- Vince Velasquez
- Ben Lively