2013 Phillies Report Card: Joe Savery
Joe Savery had something to prove entering 2013. Because, frankly, if I could pick one word describe his 2012 season, it would be:
Sorry. Anyway, when you’re finally cracking the majors in your late twenties, already having been switched from pitcher, to hitter, and back to pitcher, it probably doesn’t bode well for your longevity. What we’ve seen from Savery so far has generally confirmed that. The bullpen is a good place for a guy to try and run his one trick fastball-slider game on hitters, particularly if you’re a lefty like Savery. His is probably not going to cut it, though.
Outcomes wise, Savery had an excellent 2013. He held 86 hitters to a .607 OPS, posting a 3.15 ERA in 20 innings pitched. But while his groundball rate and strikeout rate went up from 2012 (the latter still not ideal for a reliever), he walked 11 of the 86 hitters he faced — a 12.8% rate. From a peripherals perspective, he wasn’t that much better, if at all, from the previous season in which he posted a 5.40 ERA in 25 innings pitched. In the case of both seasons, the sample is such that none of this is particularly meaningful. It’s probably safe to say, at the very least, that a guy with Savery’s pedestrian repertoire is not a preternatural BABIP suppressor, and that walking 5 guys every nine innings is not a Chris Wheeler-approved Key To The Game.
The story is the same as with several other in-house reliever options: Savery only has little more than a year of service time, and costs nothing but a roster spot to keep around. He has one remaining option year, but is not the sort of asset you would think twice about designating if the need arose anyway. In all likelihood we will probably see some more Joe Savery in 2014, both in Lehigh and with the big club. In the meantime, in the spirit of taking a descriptive tack towards these report cards given the paucity of useful data, I gave Savery a B-. The Phillies might think about converting him to a hitter.