Who are the unsung heroes for the Blue Jays in 2022?

Jul 26, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider in the dugout before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 26, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays interim manager John Schneider in the dugout before a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Aug 16, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher David Phelps (35) throws a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles during the ninth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

As steady as they come

Back when the Blue Jays were putting the finishing touches on their bullpen ahead of the 2022 campaign, I was really excited about a MiLB contract that they had signed to bring David Phelps back.

Phelps was very good in 2021 with the Jays before his season was ended by injury, and I was thrilled to see them give him another shot, especially on a minor league contract. Once again he’s rewarded Ross Atkins and company for their faith in him, and this year he’s posted a 2.42 ERA and a 1.241 WHIP over the course of 51 games and 48.1 innings pitched.

Two things really stand out to me about Phelps’ role this year. First, he’s been as steady as anyone on the roster, and I imagine that both John Schneider and Charlie Montoyo have greatly valued having a veteran to call on out of the ‘pen. Secondly though, he’s played an important, and sometimes undesirable role.

More often than not you’ll see Phelps coming into the game while inheriting runners, which isn’t something that every reliever is comfortable doing. You’ll often hear about managers trying to get a pitcher a “clean inning”, but that doesn’t really matter for Phelps, and Schneider and the Jays have leaned on him to take on the dirtier frames, if you will.

For the most part he’s been very effective while doing this tough job as well, and if you look at his splits on Baseball Reference, he pitches even better when the pressure is on.

He might not fill up the stat sheet with saves or even holds, but the Blue Jays have really benefitted from having David Phelps on the roster this year. I know I’m repeating myself already, but where would this team be without him?

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