The Phillies have invited six pitchers to join them in Clearwater this spring.
The Phillies have signed the following six players to minor league contracts with invitations to attend major league spring training as non-roster invitees: RHP Cam Bedrosian, RHP Andrew Bellatti, RHP Tyler Cyr, RHP Joe Gatto, RHP Michael Kelly & RHP Jake Newberry.— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) December 14, 2021
While some see this as a sign that maybe the lockout will end, the more realistic of us know that in the spring, teams need to cover innings, so inviting some pitchers to help do so is just good business. There might be a diamond in the rough sometimes, but mostly, these guys are just roster fodder for Joe Girardi and staff.
Cam Bedrosian is the most familiar and probably the one with the best chance of sticking around. He made an impression on the coaching staff at the end of last year, even though he’s been pretty clearly in decline the past few years. His strike out rate is falling, his walk rate is climbing and his fastball velocity is declining - all red flags for anyone in the organization hoping he’ll be effective. He’s tried to combat that falling velocity by incorporating a splitter more often (24.7% of the time last year), but it did little to stem the tide of regression.
Of the other pitchers on this list, none of them are really all that much to get excited about. Gatto is local guy, having gone to St. Augustine Prep in Richland, NJ, so that might make for a cool story should he show something in camp. He was a pretty high draft pick (2nd round in 2014), but that was also seven years ago. Newberry and Bellatti were the only pitchers to throw in the majors last year and both had an ERA above 13. Tells you all you need to know about both. Of the group, though, Bellatti at least looks a little interesting, reaching the majors last season with Miami after a solid showing in Triple-A Jacksonville (38 K in 29 2⁄3 IP) and averaging around 95 miles per hour with his fastball during his brief cup of coffee in 2021. The strikeout rate that Bellatti had is the common thread among all of these guys during their stay at a minor league level:
- Bellatti - 38 K in 29 2⁄3 IP
- Gatto - 69 K in 59 2⁄3 IP
- Cyr - 49 K in 36 2⁄3 IP
- Newberry - 75 K in 60 1⁄3 IP
- Kelly - 62 K in 50 IP
Whatever else you want to say about each guy, they were at least striking batters out at a pretty high clip. For a team that didn’t have that kind of depth last year (or the year before that), being able to stash these kinds of pitchers in the minors could be helpful through the long season.
They aren’t deals that’ll light up the talk radio lines, but again, Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld are showing an understanding that depth is key. They’ve clearly focused in on guys who have the ability to strike people out in the minors, always a good sign for a reliever. We’ll see if these moves turn out to be anything (we’re not holding our breath), but you never know.