Philadelphia Phillies Add More Bullpen Depth in Michael Mariot


The Philadelphia Phillies have a new General Manager in Matt Klentak, and one of his goals this offseason was to add to the team’s pitching depth. Thus far he has claimed three relievers off the waiver wire this offseason, with the latest addition being a right-hander from the World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

Michael Mariot hasn’t spent much time in the Major Leagues, totaling just 28 innings over the past two seasons, compiling a 6.11 ERA with marks of 6.48 and 3.00 in that span. Mariot was drafted in the 8th round in 2010 out of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and has totaled a 3.34 ERA in six minor league seasons. The 27-year-old has spent at least a part of each of the last four seasons in Triple-A, accumulating a 10-8 record in 150.2 innings of work and a 3.17 ERA.

In his time with Omaha, his strikeout rate has been a solid 9.9 per nine innings pitched, but his walk rate has been on the cusp of too high at 3.0 per nine, helping to elevate his WHIP to 1.241. In his limited time in the Majors, his strikeout rate has dipped to 7.1 while his walk rate has increased to 4.5.

Baseball America offered this scouting report ($) on Mariot when he was drafted: “He has a 91-92 mph fastball that tops out at 94, though it’s fairly straight and hittable.” They also mention that he has an “effective curveball” and a “decent changeup” but didn’t appear to be terribly high on the righty.

Right-handers hit Mariot better in 2015, batting .231 compared to his .214 mark against left-handers, but conversely it was the lefties that held a higher on-base percentage, at .297 to .270. How the Philadelphia Phillies plan on using Mariot remains a bit of a mystery with his splits not offering a sure answer.

The other two pitchers that Klentak claimed off waivers were right-hander Dan Otero, most recently with the Oakland Athletics, and (another) righty A.J. Achter of the Minnesota Twins. Achter fits in about the same way as Mariot; both have spent limited time in the Majors and have had varying degrees of success. Achter has spent parts of the last three seasons in Triple-A Rochester, totaling 143.2 innings and a 2.57 ERA.

Otero on the other hand has been in, and had success in, the Major Leagues. Otero, 30, is an inexpensive option for the Phillies, still a year away from arbitration. His ERA indicates that he struggled last season, putting up a 6.75 mark with the A’s over 46.2 innings, but his FIP (fielding independent pitching) was more than two runs lower at 4.40. Oakland’s poor defense in 2015 sure didn’t help out that ERA.

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Between the 2013 and 2014 seasons with Oakland, Otero was a ground ball machine, holding ground ball to fly ball ratios of 2.33 and 2.84 which lead to ERAs in those seasons of 1.38 and 2.28. He won’t strike out too many batters, but he is a precision pitcher that won’t get himself into too many jams. If Otero can rebound in 2016 and not let the long ball hurt him like it did in 2015, Otero could be a big piece in the Phillies bullpen moving forward.

With the Phillies revamping their bullpen, it would come as no surprise if they continued to do so during the Rule 5 Draft following the Winter Meetings. One name that could garner some attention from Philadelphia is 23-year-old hard-throwing lefty Reymin Guduan, currently with the Houston Astros. With the Phillies not expected to contend just yet, it would be easier for them to stash a talented pitcher (with notable control problems; mainly a 7.4 walks per nine in six Minor League seasons) on their roster with the future on their minds.