The Philadelphia Phillies have finally called up right-handed relief pitcher Justin De Fratus from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, adding him to the roster now that clubs are allowed to expand to 40 players. The club has also recalled left-handed reliever Jake Diekman, who saw action in the major leagues earlier this season.
De Fratus spent most of the season rehabbing from an early season injury but did perform well for the IronPigs when called upon, posting a 2.49 ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning. He pitched very briefly at the major league level last year, throwing four innings, allowing just one earned run while recording four strikeouts. De Fratus throws hard and accrues a high number of strikeouts, which means he may be an effective option as a future closer once Jonathan Papelbon’s contract expires after 2015.
Diekman wasn’t expected to even be in the major leagues in 2012, but he has done relatively well when he’s pitched. He has a 4.64 ERA and a ridiculous 12.2 strikeout rate in 21.1 innings pitched, but he’s also struggled in some key aspects. Diekman is walking 6.3 batters per nine innings which means he’s really been wild at times, but he is also unhittable at times – .222 batting average and .641 OPS vs. lefties.
Both De Fratus and Diekman have a very good chance at making the Phillies’ bullpen in 2013, but considering there’s a slew of young relief pitchers fighting for those spots on next year’s 25-man roster, they better make the most of their opportunities.