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Dodgers: A Look At the Stats Projections for Evan Phillips in 2023

Baseball isn’t played on paper, but in the offseason, the “on-paper” projections are all we have. This is the latest installment in our series looking at the projections for key members of the 2023 Dodgers. We’ve done a handful of position players and some starting pitchers; now it’s time to take a look at our first reliever, Evan Phillips.

Here are the expected stat lines for Phillips from three projection systems: RotoChamps, Steamer, and Marcels (in the format of IP ERA K BB WHIP).

RotoChamps: 60 2.40 72 18 0.950

Steamer: 66 3.55 78 24 1.220

Marcels: 58 2.95 61 18 1.086

2022 totals: 63 1.14 77 15 0.762

I don’t usually include the 2022 numbers in these, but I think it’s important in this case. Look, I think it would be silly for everyone to just assume Phillips will be as dominant in 2023 as he was in 2022. Even the great Mariano Rivera, after posting a 1.38 ERA in 2005, saw his ERA balloon to 1.80 the next year.

But let’s be serious for minute. Phillips’ combined ERA going back four years, all the way back to 2019, is 3.11, and Steamer wants me to think it’s going to be 3.55 in 2023?

Relievers are the hardest to project, especially a guy like Phillips, who had a breakout season in 2022 and was far better than he’d ever been before. Projections, by design, are done by unemotional computers, to avoid buying into unsustainable one-year wonders. But until they figure out how to include “soft” factors for a player’s improvement or setback, they’re probably going to swing and miss on guys like Phillips.

The 2022 season wasn’t just a lucky fluke for Phillips. His FIP, while higher than his ERA, was still a ridiculously good 1.94. His pitch repertoire changed and improved, accounting for the improved performance. I believe in data over the eye test, but when a guy makes noticeable changes that lead to noticeable results both in the data and the eye test, I’m just old-fashioned enough to think there might be something to it.

Based on what we know about Phillips, if he’s healthy in 2023 — and all three systems project him with roughly the same number of innings as last year — an ERA in the low- to mid-2.00s seems the most likely outcome. And I’d say back in the 1.00s is definitely more likely than 3.55.

As we do more and more of these projections, it’s easier to figure out why season records using the Steamer projections only have the Dodgers winning 89.7 games. For whatever reason, Steamer just doesn’t buy the idea that players often get better when they go to the Dodgers. I’m not sure how many more times it’s going to have to happen for the computer to figure it out (probably ?), but until then, guys like Phillips will continue to be devalued and some people will call it surprising when LA wins 101 games this year.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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