It didn’t take long for former Phillies reliever Sam Coonrod to find a new home. The New York Mets claimed the ex-Phillie off of waivers, a week after Philadelphia designed Coonrod for assignment. Now headed to New York, the Mets will look to get the career of a reliever who does have intriguing stuff back on track.
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A Look at Coonrod
New Mets reliever Sam Coonrod has only accumulated 97 career innings at the MLB level between 2019-2022. During that time, the 30-year-old has shown potential, but has yet to put it together thus far.
In an injury-filled 2022 campaign, Coonrod posted a 7.82 ERA with the Phillies after coming back from a shoulder injury in August. The season prior, though, the former Phillies reliever did put together a solid campaign in Philadelphia. Coonrod struck out 48 over 42.1 innings that year, and recorded a slightly-above-average 4.04 ERA.
So, what are the positives with Coonrod? Well, Coonrod does boast a very hard fastball that can consistently hit the upper-90s., and can also generate ground balls with a sinker. In 2021, Coonrod recorded a Weak% (5.9%) rate three percentage points higher than the league average, as well as a Topped% rate over 10% above the league average. In addition to the heat, Coonrod has owned a hard slider in the past — one that sat in the high-80s to low-90s and could generate whiffs. Reports from Philadelphia last year indicated that Coonrod opted to remove the slider from his repertoire, and now uses a similar-looking cutter.
Control and command has been a primary issue, though, for Coonrod. Although the righty did boast a solid 3.2 BB/9 in 2021, the righty struggled with hitting his spots in 2019-2020, and again in 2022. After coming back from a shoulder strain in the summer, Coonrod tossed six scoreless innings in August before a brutal September. Later that month, the Phillies sent Coonrod down for the remainder of the season.
Given the recent acquisitions of Craig Kimbrel, Gregory Soto, and Matt Strahm, it wasn’t going to be easy for the Phillies to find a spot on the roster for the 30-year-old reliever. Late in January, Coonrod was DFA’d by the Phillies when the team officially announced the signing of infielder Josh Harrison. In a corresponding move, the Mets DFA’d outfielder Khalil Lee.
What it Means
The claiming of Coonrod gives the Mets a bit of added depth for the bullpen come 2023. The Mets did lose a number of notable arms from last season, including Joely Rodriguez, Seth Lugo, and Trevor Williams. GM Billy Eppler did a solid job of replenishing that ‘pen this winter, with the additions of Brooks Raley and David Robertson.
Coonrod could join those new additions, but consistency with his command will be key. The 30-year-old’s hard fastball and cutter combo can be nice weapons, a fair explanation as to why the Mets claimed the righty. Now, the Mets’ staff will get a crack at seeing what can be done with the flamethrowing right-hander.