Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers are known for their ability to analyze a pitcher and find what adjustments can be made to bring out the best in themselves. Evan Phillips is one of the more recent beneficiaries of their magic that transformed him into baseball’s best relief pitchers.
Since Mark Prior took over as Dodgers pitching coach following the 2019 season, the team has boasted arguably the best staff on an annual basis. This past year, their bullpen compiled an 8.6 fWAR, Phillips being a main piece to their success.
In his first full season with the Dodgers, Phillips expanded upon the glimmers he displayed during the 2021 postseason and hit the ground running. In 63 innings he posted a 1.14 ERA, 1.94 FIP, and a 0.76 WHIP.
Phillips, 28, is under team control through 2026, and recently discussed his breakout year on “Dodger Talk” with David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports, and how the Dodgers and their staff made him strive to be one of their go-to guys:
“I think having the success that I did, all of that was relatively new to me. So I think understanding that I was capable and I unlocked a new level of confidence in myself. I went out there on the mound and simply knew that I could do it. I had shown that I could do it over and over, and that consistency was what I was lacking in my career. So just as simple as that fact is, I’m going to try to continue that for hopefully many seasons to come. … I would say any Major League pitcher would tell you, especially to have sustained success like Clayton (Kershaw) has had in his career, you have to be the kind of guy that your manager and teammates can rely on day in and day out.
Phillips further explained that he found it important to become more consistent
“Especially as a reliever, I want to be available for my team as often as possible. And also I want them to be able to know that they’re getting the same kind of pitcher every time. That was one of my flaws early in my career, was that I’d go out there and sometimes be good, sometimes be OK. It was really hard for my manager to know what they had that day. So I think that was one thing I was really proud of myself for last season. It’s probably the thing I was most proud of, was the fact I was able to be that consistent guy for Dave Roberts and the rest of our staff as someone they could rely on day in and day out.”
Phillips was nominated for the 2022 All-MLB Team, but didn’t earn a selection. His play earned him the respect of a few of his Dodgers teammates, including former Dodgers third baseman, Justin Turner.
Looking ahead to this season, Phillips could see an increased role in the form of a shot as the Dodgers’ primary closer.
Evan Phillips qualifies for salary arbitration via Super Two Status
A player becomes eligible for arbitration following three years of Major League service time, but a select group of players can become eligible for arbitration prior to accumulating three years of service time, a Super Two designation.
Alongside fellow Dodgers, Tony Gonsolin and Brusdar Graterol, Phillips qualifies for Super Two status following a career year. Phillips is projected to earn $1.4 million in 2023.
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