1. Evan Phillips
The Rays got Rays’d here. Last August, the Dodgers claimed right-handed reliever Evan Phillips off waivers from Tampa. Since then? In 59 games with LA, he’s registered a 1.60 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 2.36 FIP and 67 strikeouts in 62 innings of work. He’s arguably been the Dodgers’ most valuable reliever in 2022.
It seems the Dodgers “fixed” him by emphasizing his other offerings. He’s been throwing a ton more sliders and ditched his changeup for a cutter, which has completely elevated his game and made him one of the most lethal bullpen pieces in MLB.
Look at the Dodgers bullpen. Who’s been more available and consistent than Phillips? The answer is nobody. And this is someone who wasn’t supposed to be contributing at this capacity, with the expectation of being a fringe guy on the roster.
Countless times this season, he’s inherited runners and gotten the Dodgers out of trouble, in addition to tossing clean innings when the team badly needed it. Opposing batters are hitting .139 off him with a .398 OPS overall and just .175 with a .463 OPS in high-leverage situations.
The bullpen’s been a bit of a mess this season, and it’s worth wondering how much worse it’d actually be if Phillips weren’t here or even performing half this well.