Entering the 2022 season, expectations for the Phillies bullpen were sporadic and unsuspecting. The previous season was yet another disaster for the back end boys, so Dave Dombroski made it a point to address the arm barn in the winter of 2022.
In mid November, the Phillies inked 30-year-old reliever Andrew Bellatti to a minor league contact. The move did not attract much attention as the righty had spent minimal time in the majors and was generally an unknown.
Throughout the season, Phillies fans saw flashes of consistency from the former Ray, as he worked through his first full season at the MLB level. His slider developed to his best pitch and the one he relied on the most, throwing it 52% of the time. Opponents hit just .203 against the slider and whiffed on the breaker at a 41.6% rate.
The wipeout slider combined with a reputable fastball allowed Bellatti to carry his regular season momentum into the postseason, where he tossed seven innings of one run ball.
2022 stats: 59 G, 54 1⁄3 IP, 4-4 W-L, 3.31 ERA, 2.87 FIP, 33.9 K%, 10.9 BB%, 1.0 fWAR
As the 2022 season progressed, Bellatti improved his secondary pitches, allowing his slider to appear even more deadly. The veteran suffered some growing pains in the month of May, but from June 1st until the end of the regular season he was rock solid.
6/1/2022 - 10/2/2022: 38 IP, 33 H, 13 ER, 3.08 ERA, 1.98 FIP, 55 K
He looked solid in the playoffs, even gaining some attention on Twitter for impressive movement on his secondary offerings.
Andrew Bellatti's 2Ks in the 4th. pic.twitter.com/VWYYwjNahA— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 23, 2022
Occasionally, the slider will backup on Bellatti and hangout over the plate. There was less of those issues as the season progressed, but it can still be a concern.
He wasn’t lights out, but he truly was reliable more times than not. In order to take the next step, Bellatti needs to develop that changeup a bit further, a pitch he only threw seven percent of the time.
As he continues to handle MLB bats, it will be interesting to see how teams adjust to his primarily slider approach.
He will be a key member of the 2023 Phillies bullpen, and could even work his way into higher leverage situations. Bellatti is under team control for years to come, as he is not arbitration eligible until 2025.
Cheap and reliable bullpen arms are hard to come by, and the Phillies seemingly have both in Andew Bellatti.
Final Grade B+
Given the fact he was signed to an MiLB deal, Bellatti exceeded expectations in 2022.