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2021 report card: Mauricio Llovera

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Who?

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

2021 stats

6 IP, 2.10 WHIP, 20.0 K%, 11.4 BB%, 6.75 HR/9 (!), 9.45 ERA, 13.07 FIP, -0.3 fWAR

The good

Somehow, some way, Llovera occupied a spot on the 40-man roster until mid-August. That has to count for something right?

The bad

Why did he occupy a 40-man roster spot for so long?

When the team was so desperate for pitching this summer, looking for someone - anyone - who could throw innings for them, they looked like they were afraid to lose any player on their 40-man roster to waivers, thinking someone would claim them and spin them into gold. Holding onto players like Llovera, Enyel de los Santos, as well as retreads like Matt Joyce and Chase Anderson, for so long instead of trying to cycle through other freely available talent make you question what exactly they saw in these players in the first place.

Coming into the season, Llovera did show up on a few prospect lists. Fangraphs had this to say about him:

The 2018 version of Llovera flashed a plus split, a plus breaking ball, and sat in the mid-90s. He seemed like a potential candidate for the Seranthony Dominguez 2019 treatment — a quick move to the bullpen with high-leverage innings a distinct possibility based on the quality of the stuff, especially if the heater got a bump because he could cut it loose in short bursts. Then Llovera pitched with diminished stuff and was shut down with an elbow issue in mid-July of 2019; he sat 92-93 at the alt site and peaked at 95 last year. I’ve reclassified his breaking ball as a curveball since it’s also lost some zip. Llovera looks more like an up/down reliever now than a multi-inning weapon.

Even with the mentioned elbow injury, knowing what we know now, that report looks awfully optimistic. None of that showed up in 2021 for Llovera. The six innings he did throw were abysmal and it took four months before the team decided it needed the roster spot instead of the player.

Now, mind you, it is the bottom of the 40-man roster, so we’re not talking about the best of the best, but this is the kind of roster churn the team should be doing to look for cheap talent. Players like Llovera, EDLS, Joyce, these are not players that should be held on to with a death grip. They should be moved along for another waiver wire claim to see if any lightning strikes for the team. If not, just move on to the next player, rinse, repeat. It’s one of the things that we need to see Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld get better at as they begin really putting their fingerprints on the roster.

The future

Llovera was designated for assignment in August and then reassigned to the minor leagues. He has no real spot in this organization’s future and will probably be release some time soon.

Final grade: F

Feel bad for the guy, but he was just bad. Overmatched in the major leagues, never really an option as a reliever, Llovera shouldn’t have seen any time this season in Philadelphia. That he did is more an indictment of the organization and their inability to develop real, actual major league relievers than of the player.