Stutesy the Silver Lining

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, October 26, 2011 07:00 AM | Comments: 6
2011 Player Review, Posts

The 2011 Phillies Nation Player Reviews continue today, with Michael Stutes

The Phillies entered Spring Training with righthanded relievers aged 23, 24 and 25. The 23-year-old and 25-year-old combined to give up seven runs on eleven hits in seven innings. The 24-year-old let slide a lone run on three hits in nine innings. And on the 24th of April, that 24-year-old got the call to The Show.

Stutes allowed runs in only six of his first 31 appearances.

Michael Stutes came up on the fourth Sunday in April to replace a DL’ed Jose Contreras. Contreras had pitched eight scoreless innings in the young season, striking out nine while allowing only eight men to reach base. But the elbow problems began, and Stutes became the silver lining to limited contributions from a recently extended 39-year-old reliever.

Stutes was thrust into high-pressure situations from the get-go and used a 60/40 split on a 93 mile per hour fastball and biting, low-80s slider to get off to a rock solid major league start. He was scored upon in only one of his first 13 appearances and six of his first 31. And this success came at much-needed times…14 of Stutes’ 27 appearances during May and June came with the score tied or within a run, and he allowed a  run only three times. With key relievers like Contreras and Brad Lidge out, Stutes nestled himself into a nice little role in the Phillies’ bullpen, becoming the comfortable third wheel to Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo.

Stutes hit a bit of a wall in late-July, all through August, but that was expected from a youngster pitching so many stressful innings. An encouraging September led us to believe that perhaps the wall just briefly stunned Stutes, but a disastrous outing in the ninth of a Game 1 NLDS laugher reminded us that unheralded rookie relievers don’t just speed past growing pains.

The Phils will need Stutes to build upon the good from 2011, which could be difficult with each NL team now having not just a book but a look at him. He figures to be an integral part of the Phils’ pen in 2012. Madson and Lidge are both free agents and, as dominant as Bastardo was for much of the season, the lefty took a bizarrely stiff regression in the final weeks. It is nice to have a young, talented, inexpensive late-inning relief option. The Phillies have done an underratedly good job of developing relievers in recent years, but as long as youngsters keep seizing opportunities, it doesn’t matter who notices.

GRADE: 8.0/10 because, while the late struggles were expected, the constant early successes weren’t. And for much of the season, Stutes contributed to a bullpen that held just about every lead it was given.

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About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 0 davehist

    Stitesie was an unexpected but very pleasant surprise for the first half of the season, and it is hoped that he will just get better with experience.

  • Posts: 0 davehist

    Make that “Stutesy” – sorry for the typo.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Stutesy was a pleasant surprise. However while he has decent stuff i dont think he has great stuff. I would like to see the Phis invest in another veteran or 2 should Madson depart as an insurance policy. He is still a question mark somewhat as far as im concerned and so is Contreras as far as been able to stay healthy and how he bounce back from injuries. If Madson stays i would like to add one more Vet to the bullpen and we can sort out the rest with our Minore leaguers.

  • Posts: 0 Bob in Bucks

    Stutes and Bastardo both made great contributions until they hit a wall. I am not sure about Stutes. Bastardo will be OK, it was just some regression to the mean after an unbelievable run.

    I expect we will see a few more pieces in the bullpen next year.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    I like Stutes. I like the way he keeps pitches down in the zone and I think he will just get better with experience. Good article and accurate grade for this fine rookie.

  • Posts: 2068 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    I look forward to seeing if Stutes progresses.

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