David Phelps was signed to a minor league free agent contract back at the end of November and was added to the 40-man roster on April Fools Day. Of course, the Jays signed him as a free agent before the 2021 season and then missed most of the season after surgery to repair a right lat strain. A voice in my head says that it wasn’t a ‘strain’ if surgery was needed.
This is Phelps’ second stint with the Jays (or third if you could last year as a separate ‘stint’). After signing as a free agent, he first played with the team back in 2019. He would throw 17.1 innings for us before being traded to the Cubs for Thomas Hatch. Hatch has pitched in 20 games over the last two seasons and will start this season in Buffalo, waiting for his chance to get back to the majors.
Then, Phelps pitched 10.1 innings for the Jays before last year's above-mentioned lat strain.
Over his 9-year career, David has a 3.90 ERA in 302 games, 66 starts. Last year, batters hit .216/.310/.243 against him, though that was only 42 PA. And he struck out 35.7% of the batters he faced.
He threw a four-seam fastball (93.9 MPH average), 2 seam (90.6 MPH), a curveball, all about the same amount of the time, and the occasional slider and changeup.
PECOTA believes in him. They have him pitching in 57 games (he’s only had one season when he’s pitched in more than 57 games back in 2016), with a 3.26 ERA. At 35 years old and his injury history, I think predicting 57 games is optimistic. ZiPS, on the other hand, sees him pitching in 23 games.
I think the team sees Phelps, in part, as a mentor for the younger pitchers in the bullpen, bringing a veteran presence and all stuff that I don’t believe in.
In a more baseball sense, he’s one of the handful of guys looking to get to work in a setup role. We are up to our armpits in guys who could be working as a setup man: Cimber, Merryweather, Richards, Mayza and Saucedo.
Which will be closer to Phelps' actual number of games?
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PECOTA at 57
ZiPS at 23
Phelps will get most of his work in the
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