Mariners News: M’s Sign RHP Justin De Fratus to a 1-Yr Deal


The Seattle Mariners added another veteran arm to their bullpen, signing Justin De Fratus to a one-year deal.

Jerry Dipoto and his staff have been remarkably busy during the past 24-hours, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that the M’s have reached an agreement with Justin De Fratus. The M’s gave the right-handed reliever a one-year deal worth $750,000.

Originally selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 11th round of the 2007 draft, De Fratus reached the big leagues in September of 2011. He bungeed back and forth between the minor leagues and Philly during his first two seasons, but was very effective in his limited opportunities. De Fratus went 1-0 with a 3.07 ERA through his first 18 appearances.

De Fratus earned a full-time gig in the Phillies’ bullpen in 2013. He did a great job, going 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA across 58 games. De Fratus struck out 42 and walked 25 through 46.2 innings pitched. He kept the ball in the yard, as he surrendered just 3 home runs all season.

2014 was a breakout campaign for the Oxnard, CA product. De Fratus dominated the National League, going 3-1 and posting a stingy 2.39 ERA through 54 appearances. He fanned 49 and issued just 12 free passes across 52.2 innings of work. His 4.08 strikeout to walk ratio was amongst the best on the Phillies.

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The 28-year-old struggled this past season with Philadelphia. De Fratus went 0-2 and posted a disappointing 5.51 ERA through 61 appearances. He stuck out 68 and walked 32 across a career high 80.0 innings pitched. De Fratus had a tough time keeping the opposition off base, as his 1.550 walks/hits per inning.

Baseball Reference is projecting a bounce back campaign for De Fratus in 2016. They believe he will go 3-3 with a 4.37 ERA through 70 innings next season. FanGraphs is much less optimistic. They predict De Fratus will only pitch 10 innings next year, going 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA. I’m not sure De Fratus pitches 70 innings for the Mariners next season, but I am very confident he will work more than 10 innings.

De Fratus is essentially a two-pitch reliever. He relies heavily on a low-90’s fastball, throwing it more than 58% of the time in 2015. His slider is his out pitch. De Fratus also utilizes a changeup, but he threw it just 10% of the time last season. He has stranded 70.4% of baserunners during his career, and could be a nice pickup for the Mariners.

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Signing Justin De Fratus to a $750,000 deal represents a low risk/high reward situation for the Mariners. De Fratus has been a very effective reliever for the bulk of his big league career, and he could play a big role for Seattle in 2016. I expect De Fratus to get an opportunity to work as a middle-reliever next season in the Emerald City.