The Philadelphia Phillies sent left-handed relief pitcher Raul Valdes down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley last night, despite a 2.13 ERA and a strikeout rate of 9.2 batters per nine innings. That was because Charlie Manuel wanted another righty in the bullpen, and his choice was 26-year old B.J. Rosenberg from the IronPigs.
Rosenberg was 1-0 with a 1.74 ERA this year at the highest level of the minor leagues, striking out 11.3 batters per nine innings and posting a 4.33 strikeout to walk ratio. He has never pitched in the major leagues. Rosenberg was initially drafted by the Phillies in the 13th round of the 2008 MLB amateur draft out of the University of Louisville.
Rosenberg has seen the last two seasons of his career derailed due to injuries, but he will be the second non-closer right-handed option out of the ‘pen. Jonathan Papelbon has been tearing it up as the closer, but after that, Chad Qualls has been the go-to guy, and he has a 5.23 ERA this year. Michael Schwimer has been highly ineffective, and both Michael Stutes and David Herndon haven’t pitched for quite some time because of injuries.
I don’t like the decision to demote Valdes instead of Qualls, simply because Valdes happens to throw left-handed. He was extremely good against righties, holding them to a .134 batting average and .174 slugging percentage, and Qualls has been so bad that the team strongly needs to consider designating him for assignment. The best case for the Phillies is that Rosenberg turns into an effective right-handed power pitcher in relief, a la Stutes.