Phillies Outright Justin De Fratus

Most of these moves aren’t surprising, as mentioned in last month’s overview. The biggest surprise is that the Phillies chose to outright reliever Justin De Fratus. While I saw the case for getting rid of him, I ultimately felt the Phillies would keep him around but I just wasn’t cynical enough.

To recap the De Fratus saga: the Phillies converted him from a medium- to high-leverage bullpen arm to a mop-up guy, a move that wasn’t explained to him and one which he didn’t want at the time and doesn’t want long-term. De Fratus finished with awful numbers, as he compiled a 5.51 ERA while seeing his strikeout rate drop by nearly four percent and his walk rate increase by over three percent compared to last season.

After using De Fratus as a multi-inning guy through August, the Phillies only called on him five times in September and October. He still finished having thrown the most pitches among relievers, by far, at 1,444. Unsurprisingly, De Fratus saw his average fastball velocity plummet on all of his pitches. Via Brooks Baseball:

There’s no way around it: the Phillies abused the hell out of the right arm of De Fratus. Hopefully for him, the velocity and performance decline are temporary and he is able to latch on with a new team that utilizes him responsibly. Furthermore, the Phillies need to have learned from their usage of De Fratus this season and understand that it’s an unethical and ineffective way to utilize a relief pitcher.

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