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2021 report card: Archie Bradley

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Where does the creator of the homer hat grade?

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After deploying the worst bullpen in baseball in 2020, the Phillies made multiple moves to bolster the back end for 2021. The biggest move, from a salary perspective, was the signing of RHP Archie Bradley to a one-year, six-million-dollar deal. He may have been one of the more lovable personalities in the clubhouse, but where does his on-field performance grade?

2021 Stats

51 IP, 1.431 WHIP, 17.9 K%, 9.8 BB%, 0.88 HR/9, 3.71 ERA (4.35 FIP), 0.3 fWAR

The Good

Bradley was solid in many aspects in 2021. He kept the ball in the yard, secured thirteen holds, and only blew three saves (an accomplishment for this Phillies team). Overall, Bradley was one of the more reliable options out of the pen.If he had stayed healthy, he could’ve been the top guy. One good sign for the season, was Bradley’s BABIP (.299). This was his lowest since 2018. It was hard for Bradley to find any rhythm this year, but all things considered, he was on track to finish strong. His ERA, BB%, HR/9 are all in the neighborhood of his career averages. This goes to show the Phillies got just about what they bargained for.

The Bad

Bradley posted the lowest FIP and K% since his rookie season in 2015. With a career K% of 23.3%, Bradley showed a significant decline in strikeouts, punching out 17.9%. A 9.8 BB% is a little higher than what Philadelphia had hoped for. At the end of the day, Bradley wasn’t a lockdown reliever. Besides 7.2 stellar innings with the Reds in 2020 and a dominant season in 2017, Bradley has never been a dominant reliever. With the porous condition of the Phillies bullpen and a six-million-dollar deal, expectations were set too high. The Phillies needed Bradley to stay healthy and he struggled to do so.

The Future

The one-year deal has run its course making Bradley a free agent once again. Compared to his 2020 numbers, Bradley had an inadequate season. It is hard to see him getting a multi-year deal considering the multitude of injuries. It is also unlikely that he gets six million dollars from a team. It would not be surprising if the Phillies do bring him back at around four million over one year. The mastermind behind the “homer hat”, Bradley appeared to be an important clubhouse personality.

Final Grade: B-

There was a lot of potential for Bradley to work his way into an “A” grade. He just didn’t stay healthy long enough to get into any state of flow and his numbers reflect that. The Phillies were hoping for a better version of the 2020 Bradley, but instead, they got a slightly below career numbers version. There were stretches of success, but when a lackluster bullpen needed a savior, Bradley was on the IL. A decline in strikeout rate and an increased walk rate, this was disappointing production. Archie Bradley as a person, easily gets an “A+”. Unfortunately, Archie Bradley the reliever, had a “B-” season at best.