The Phillies bullpen was an unsightly mess in 2020. So, the Phans and people everywhere would assume that the Phillies would scrap the entire thing and start fresh. This is a reasonable assumption when you want to bring in quality relievers to back up a quality rotation. However, two relievers, Hector Neris and Connor Brogdon made that comeback in 2021. 


This year’s bullpen has definitely come out pumping on all cylinders through the first eight games of the season. Although, some bullpen mishaps are bound to happen and did in the three losses that the Fightin’s have suffered thus far. Vince Velasquez, Brandon Kintzler, David Hale, and Archie Bradley have all given up at least a couple of runs in relief to Phillies opponents, but over a 162 game season, it is to be expected. Nonetheless, to Phillies Phans everywhere there are some pitching situations that should and could have been avoided…ahem…Vince Velasquez pitching another inning against the Mets in the fifth game of the season.


The bullpen started strong but it needs to be resilient and work more efficiently through these tough losses. On the other hand, bullpen returnee Connor Brogdon has made a splash this season. The 6’6 205 pound righty out of Clovis, CA has taken three wins out of the Phillies’ first five of the season! In an age where wins are not the statistic to remark about in any pitcher position, Brogdon has claimed them as his own. So far this season Brogdon has three strikeouts, one walk, three hits, in 3.2 innings pitched. In addition, he is sporting a 1.09 WHIP and 0.00 ERA. The low WHIP and ERA are especially the most comforting statistics to Phillies Phans as well as the Phillies players themselves. 


Brogdon was drafted in the 10th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Lewis and Clark State College and made his debut in the shortened 2020 season. The Phillies brought up and traded for any pitchers who could bring down their ballooning ERA last year, so Brogdon making his debut made sense. Only 25 years of age at the time, he pitched in nine games producing 17 strikeouts, five walks, and five earned runs in total. Not a bad start to a career for a reliever in a shortened season. The statistic that jumps out is the 0.88 WHIP and 3.97 ERA which is stellar considering the other arms in that bullpen. 


In a previous article, the nickname “Four Horsemen” was used to reference four relievers who could shut down the game from inning six till the end. Yet, not everyone made the Opening Day roster, namely Neftali Feliz, but there is a possibility depending on the performance of the bullpen going forward. Now, the new late-game relief should include the 6’6 flamethrowing right-hander who has significantly increased his ability to be the set-up man for Hector Neris. Brogdon is looking to play a significant role in this bullpen and it is going to be fascinating to see how he performs. 


The California native has a real chance at becoming the star of a bullpen in desperate need of consistency and confidence this season. These relievers offer a lot of diversity with their major league experience from 25-year-old rookies like Brogdon to 36-year-old veterans like Brandon Kintzler. If his fellow relievers can be more consistent in locking down tough outs then this year’s bullpen will be a force to be reckoned with. Brogdon can be that consistent eighth-inning set-up guy for future years to come.


Yong Kim/The Philadelphia Inquirer

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