Phils add heat to bullpen with Coonrod

January 9th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are betting on another hard-throwing reliever to help their bullpen in 2021.

The team announced on Saturday that it had acquired right-hander from the Giants for right-hander Carson Ragsdale, whom the Phillies selected in the fourth round of the 2020 Draft. Coonrod, 28, had a 5.74 ERA in 51 appearances over two seasons with San Francisco. He had a 3.58 ERA in 33 appearances in '19 and a 9.82 ERA in 18 appearances in '20.

Phillies get: RHP Sam Coonrod
Giants get: RHP Carson Ragsdale

Coonrod throws hard. His four-seam fastball averaged 98.4 mph last season, which ranked fourth-hardest in baseball (minimum 50 four-seam fastballs) behind Garrett Crochet (100.1 mph), Jacob deGrom (98.6 mph) and Sixto Sánchez (98.5 mph). Eight of Coonrod’s pitches touched at least 100 mph, and he clocked a season-high 101.4 mph fastball on Aug. 25.

Coonrod garnered national attention in July when he declined to kneel during a moment of unity at Dodger Stadium. He then missed nearly a month because of a strained right lat. He picked up three saves in September before finishing the season on the injured list with a strained right shoulder.

The Phillies’ bullpen ranked last in a lot of categories in 2020, but it also ranked in the bottom third in velocity. Its relievers averaged 92.5 mph on their fastballs (four-seam, two-seam and cutters), which ranked 22nd in baseball.

The recent acquisitions of Coonrod and left-hander José Alvarado from the Rays should improve that average. Alvarado’s two-seam fastball averaged 96.9 mph in 2020, although it averaged 97.7 mph the previous three seasons.