Adversity has only made Phillies shortstop Bailey Falter a better pitcher
Every team needs pitching.
Especially the starting pitching.
The Philadelphia Phillies they are not different.
Despite a deep run to Game 6 of the World Series, it was abundantly clear that the Phillies could have used another starter or two. That was arguably the biggest difference between winning and losing the World Series to the Houston Astros.
Let’s assume the Phillies sign at least one starting pitcher in free agency.
Beyond that, help could be in front of them in terms of player development.
Meet Bailey Falter.
The young lefty showed his mettle at times during the regular season with a 6-4 record and 3.86 ERA in 20 games with 16 starts.
Falter started one game against the San Diego Padres in the National League Championship Series and allowed three hits and four runs over two-thirds of an inning. Those aren’t huge numbers, but the experience will be valuable as Falter progresses in his career.
Falter was one of the nicer bright spots in the rotation as the season progressed. When Falter was locating his pitches, he was extremely effective. When he was out of command, the results were not so good.
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This is not surprising, as this scenario would be the same for a Cy Young candidate.
That improved command came late in the season, when Falter began relying on the four-seam fastball as his primary pitch, rather than his pen.
Player development is often overlooked in Major League Baseball.
The Phillies want a rising standout in Falter.
It goes back to August when Zack Wheeler got hurt. Falter went 5-0 with a 2.43 ERA in five starts during one stretch. It was clearly the best stage of 25-year-old Falter’s young career and showed what a promising future could be expected.
Falter had been optioned to the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs seven, count ’em, seven times. It’s enough to shake the confidence of any young player.
But Falter kept working, and that was evident in August, when the Phillies needed him the most.
“I’m not going to lie,” Falter told MLB.com in September. “The first two or three times, it’s a bit frustrating. And then I was like, “Dude, you’re literally doing everything you can, but don’t get frustrated.” It’s not in your control. Just control the only thing you can, which is to come and give the team a chance to win. That’s how I’ve been living this year.”
If the Phillies can continue to see this kind of development, another top-tier starting pitcher will be ready to go in 2023.
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