2024 Phillies Player Spotlight: Matt Strahm

With the 2024 MLB season bearing down on us. We here at EOP will spotlight a Phillies player every week until the start of the 2024 season. We will highlight their 2023 season, strengths, weaknesses, and 2024 projections. This week we will highlight relief pitcher Matt Strahm.

From the beginning Matt Strahm let the Phillies know what he was all about. If you need a spot starter to begin the season. Need a guy to put out a fire in the sixth?  Do you need two solid innings in the back half of the game to give the other guys in the bullpen a rest? Strahm’s your guy. Lastly, if you need a guy who is an avid baseball card collector well you know.

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2023 Season

Entering 2023 the Phillies foolishly put all their eggs into the Andrew Painter will be a starter basket. When that plan failed, and the team found itself down one starter to open the season, Strahm was there. Strahm knew he’d be here at some point. He told the media at his opening press conference that he wanted an opportunity to start again but certainly, he didn’t even think it would be so soon.

The experiment didn’t last past the first week of May, but Strahm was mostly effective out of the bullpen last year.

Strengths

In his first month as a starter since 2019, Strahm was better than expected, posting a 2.31 ERA and a 12.34 K/9 and looking like the team’s SP3. While it was short-lived, it was an important part of keeping the team afloat while they rounded into form.

Taking just his relief appearances into account, Strahm led the Phillies’ bullpen with 1.99 BB/9, good for 15th in all of MLB among qualified relievers. His 5.42 strikeout-to-walk ratio was 5th-best by that same measure.

Weaknesses

Strahm threw way too many innings this year compared to his previous seasons. His 87.2 innings this year were his most since 2019 (114.2) and almost twice as many as he threw in 2022. It seemed like it caught up with him in May and June when he was one of the worst relievers in baseball for about a month. From May 23rd to June 18th, he had the 8th-worst ERA among relievers (7.88) and a league-worst 10.13 FIP, allowing 5 home runs over 8 innings.

For what it’s worth, Strahm also had an above-average LOB% (82.2%) and below-average BABIP (.267) which would suggest that he’ll see some regression in terms of allowing baserunners to score in the future.

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2024 Projection

Strahm, who turned 32 last month, will be entering his final contract year with the Phillies, and barring a really great year, I doubt that he’ll be back. He seems like a great guy and teammate so I hope I’m wrong but it’s more likely that they will sign someone cheaper and younger next offseason.

Strahm will be a huge piece of this bullpen. He’s the team’s Swiss army knife and the manager trusts him to eat innings and occasionally spell the closer committee. He’ll probably even start another game or two next year in a pinch and that’s fine. Even though he was solid in his brief stint in the rotation, it would be ill-advised to let him do more than spot-start, no matter how much he wants to. Strahm will factor greatly into the success or failure of the 2024 Phillies.

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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