The Philadelphia Phillies have had a productive offseason so far, and no part of their team has been improved as much as the bullpen has been. While Trea Turner is the benchmark acquisition of this offseason, adding Craig Kimbrel, Gregory Soto, and Matt Strahm to a bullpen that was already very good at points this past season is a huge set of moves. Those arms are all set to factor in hugely (less so with Strahm, but he will still have big innings at points) into the Phils’ bullpen strategy in 2023, but apparently it wasn’t enough to satiate Dave Dombrowski’s never-ending appetite for new, live arms. Following the move for Gregory Soto, which saw Matt Vierling and Nick Maton traded to Detroit, Dombrowski then acquired RHP Yunior Marte from the San Francisco Giants for minor league pitcher Erik Miller. While Marte isn’t a big name like some of the other bullpen additions, this move has a chance to pay dividends down the road for the Phils.
Yunior Marte has only played 1 season at the Major League level, and it wasn’t exactly a banner one. Hey, most rookie years are not the greatest, though. Marte posted a 5.44 ERA 48.0 innings out of the bullpen, and also allowed 47 hits in those innings. Everything about those numbers says Marte is a young arm that probably isn’t ready to majorly contribute to the Major League club, and that is ok considering he has time to develop and you didn’t give up much to get him. This was a very low-risk move for the Phillies considering Miller, who they traded, has seen his minor league progression derailed by injuries. Even if Marte never contributes to the Phillies (the Philadelphia ones, not the ones in Reading), you’re not losing all that much in this trade. That’s the worst case scenario.
Now, let’s talk about the best case scenario. Caleb Cotham has been great during his team as the Phillies’ pitching coach, and hopefully he can get the most out of Marte like he has with Seranthony Dominguez, Jose Alvarado, and others both with the team and since moved on to other organizations. There’s already a tidbit of potential that has revealed itself though, when you look at some numbers surrounding Marte’s performance. First of all, the dude throws HARD. He regularly pumps 98mph from the right side, and has really good stuff that reminds me slightly of Dominguez. Not that they throw the same pitches, but the amount his ball moves and the velocity at which it does is similar to that of the current Phils’ bullpen stalwart. Throwing hard is never not a good thing. Throwing hard and missing barrels, though, is even better. Marte was in the 3rd percentile in baseball in barrel percentage last year with the Giants, which means he was in the top 3% of pitchers who avoided hard contact according to analytics. Now THAT is intriguing. Good movement, good velocity, induces soft contact… sounds like a pretty promising pitcher to me. Now, of course, there’s no guarantee that he reaches a ceiling like Seranthony Dominguez’s level of production, but the fact that that’s a possibility, coupled with what you gave up to get him in red pinstripes, makes this a very high ceiling, low risk move for the Phillies.