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2020 Phillies player reviews: Blake Parker

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What if I told you there was a Phillies reliever who wasn’t a complete mess in 2020?

Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies
Blake Parker was the rare non-awful Phillies reliever in 2020
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The numbers

14 games, 16 IP, 3-0 W-L, 2.81 ERA, 36.2 K%, 13.0 BB%, 0.3 fWAR

The good

The Phillies originally signed Parker as a free agent in August 2019, and the journeyman righthander pitched decently over the final two months of the season. After reaching free agency, the team brought him back on a minor league deal prior to the 2020 season.

Despite the team carrying about 15 relievers on their “Opening Day” roster in 2020 - and very few being good - Parker was somehow not one of them, instead getting assigned to the minor league squad. After much deck shuffling of the relief corps, Parker’s name was finally drawn in mid-August, and he immediately stood out by not being awful.

His signature twitching on the mound could be somewhat distracting, but Parker generally got the job done. He didn’t allow a run in his first eight appearances, and was one of the few relievers who could reliably strike batters out.

The bad

Despite his success, and the horrendous failure of the rest of the bullpen, Parker was rarely used in high leverage situations. I understand that Parker is probably best served as an middle-innings reliever, but when everything else fails, maybe try the guy who’s shown at least some hint of competence?

My suspicion is that manager Joe Girardi simply couldn’t stand watching him gyrate on the mound, and thought it would be unbearable to endure in a key spot.

The future

Parker is once again a free agent, and the Phillies should once again try to bring him back. I realize he’s not young, and may have overperformed his career numbers this season, but it’s not like they have a slew of better options on hand.