Late Wednesday night, rumors surfaced that Jerry Dipoto was close to acquiring an unknown reliever. On Thursday morning, we learned that relievers identity. David Phelps is the newest member of the Mariners bullpen.
David Phelps, who once started for the Yankees, has pitched out of the Marlins bullpen for the past 2 seasons. After a breakout season in 2016, Phelps has regressed some, but is still having a nice year. A 3.45 ERA and 9.8 K/9 make him an intriguing late inning option for Scott Servais and the Mariners.
However; since April 23rd, Phelps has been even better. In 37 innings, he has 39 strikeouts with a 2.19 ERA and an opponents OPS of .586. Phelps has starting experience and is under club control until after the 2018 season.
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Phelps can attribute some of his success in the bullpen to a spike in his fastball velocity. As a starter he sat at 91 mph. Since his move to the pen, he is averaging a 95 mph fastball. He backs up the fastball with a good cutter and curveball. He also has a change up, but he rarely uses it (0.4 % of the time). The curveball is his true out pitch.
Phelps can get into trouble when he doesn’t throw strikes. He is averaging 4 BB/9 over the past two years, which helped inflate his 1.34 WHIP. Phelps has a knack for inducing groundballs (46.3 GB%) and not allowing home runs (0.94 HR/9).
To acquire Phelps, Jerry Dipoto shipped off 4 low minors prospects. The headliner was young outfielder Brayan Hernandez. Pitchers Pablo Lopez, Brandon Miller and Lukas Schiraldi also went to the Marlins. Lopez and Miller both have some possibility to be a fifth starters in 2-3 years. Miller might move to bullpen, where his fastball-slider combo could make him a nice middle reliever.
At the end of the day, Jerry Dipoto and the Seattle Mariners gave up 4 players who are 3-4 years away for help the next 2. Some believe Phelps could find his way into the rotation in 2018. The Mariners took a step in the right direction today. They cannot and should not be satisfied with their club now, and must continue to add arms if they want to push themselves into the Wild Card spot.