Phillies Address Bullpen Need, Acquire Sam Coonrod
In 2020, the Phillies’ bullpen was a mess. As just an example, the team’s relievers allowed 42 home runs in 186 innings. By contrast, the team’s starters allowed 38 home runs in 311 innings. To help fix that problem, the Phillies have made a few small moves.
They acquired Johan Quezada and Ian Hamilton off waivers from the Marlins and Mariners, respectively, and picked up lefty fireballer Jose Alvarado in a trade with the Rays. They continued patching up the pen on Jan. 9, when they swung a small trade with the Giants for righthander Sam Coonrod.
Though Coonrod did not exactly overpower hitters in 2020—he went 0-2, 9.82 in 18 games—he was more effective in 2019, albeit with spotty control and command. His strikeout rate also jumped from year to year, going from 6.5 per nine innings in 2019 to 9.2 in 2020.
To acquire Coonrod, the Phillies sent the Giants righthander Carson Ragsdale, whom they selected out of South Florida in the fourth round of the 2020 draft.
Sam Coonrod, RHP
Coonrod was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 draft out of Southern Illinois and made his way through the minor leagues before making his big league debut in 2019.
Though a reliever, his background as a starter allows Coonrod to work with five pitches: four-seam and two-seam fastballs, a cutter, a slider, a curveball and a changeup.
More than anything, Coonrod throws extremely hard. His four-seamer, two-seamer and cutter averaged 98.4 mph, 97.6 mph and 93.3 mph, which respectively ranked the pitches as the fifth, 10th and fifth hardest in the big leagues.
He also spins the baseball extremely well. His slider averaged 2,657 rpms in 2020, which placed him 47th in the big leagues. His curveball, though seldom-thrown, averaged 2,920 rpms.
The raw materials are there for Coonrod to be successful. Now, he must harness them on a more consistent basis.
Sam Coonrod Thrives In Bullpen
Coonrod's repertoire and bulldog mentality fit best in the bullpen, so that's exactly where he went after returning from Tommy John surgery.
Carson Ragsdale, RHP
At 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, Ragsdale was one of the most physically imposing pitchers available in the 2020 draft class. He missed 2019 recovering from Tommy John surgery, then showed well in the abbreviated college season, when he struck out 37 in 19 innings.
His fastball sits in the low 90s but touched between 94-96. He pairs the fastball with a potentially plus curveball and a fringy changeup. Ragsdale is an excellent athlete with a repeatable delivery, albeit with a longer arm action. Ragsdale has an outside shot to start, but could easily fill a role as a power reliever one day.