Advance Scouting Report

Filed by: Javier Barragan

Player Name: David Phelps, RHR, Miami Marlins

Report Date: 7/19/17






























Context: This report is generated from Friday, 7/14/17 to Wednesday, 7/19/17, with the Miami Marlins facing the LA Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies in Miami. In all cases, Phelps came in the eighth inning. In his first, appearance, against LAD on 7/14, he recorded a hold, that was later blown, facing the minimum thanks to a GIDP. The second appearance, also against LAD on 7/16, he came in with his team down 1-3, leaving unscathed facing the Bellinger, Pederson and Utley. In his third, against the Phillies on 7/17, he came in 5-5 to face the heart of the PHI lineup. He got into a jam, however soon managed to finish the inning by recording two consecutive strikeouts looking.


Physical/Health: Phelps looks 6-foot-2, 200 pounds with good physicality; athleticism of a ball player. Last general injury was in Sept 2016 with a Left Oblique Strain; his last arm injury was in 2015 with a forearm strain occurring in August, missing the remainder of a non-contending season but coming back for the beginning of 2016. Has been generally durable. No concern here.


Phelps uses a four-seam, cutter, and two-seam. His main pitch is the four-seam, followed by the cut-fastball. The two-seamer is least used of the three, and is leveraged mainly against lefties, for that tailing away action.

The four-seam ranges from 93-96, averaging 94.7 mph with an above-average spin rate at 2344 RPM. He uses this pitch in many forms: to steal strikes, tunnel off with his fastball variations, and to put away hitters, especially at the higher velo band and up in the zone. Hitters swing through for misses in the north half of the zone and a few more misses higher than high. This is his preferred out-pitch, as it is graded a 70 on the 20-80 scale.

The cutter sits 90-93, averaging 91.1 mph, and has an above-average spin rate, at 2427 RPM. The cutter shows good depth and darting action. He uses this pitch glove-side and arm-side to right-handed hitters. Against lefties, he will look to place it arm-side to make it appear as a ball and then cutting back for a strike late. He will also come into LHB to keep them honest. It’s an above-average offering and Phelps’ second preferred out-pitch.

The two-seam ranges from 89-95, sitting 92-95, averaging 93.5 mph with an about-average spin rate at 2266 RPM. An average offering, this two-seamer shows late mild arm-side run and sink. He’s comfortable throwing the two-seamer to both sides of the plate, however, this pitch is used more against lefties, as mentioned before, as it breaks away from them. Overall, it is the least used of the three fastballs, and least used of the main four pitches (FF, CF, KC, FT, in that order).

vs. LHB

Uses all variations of the fastball on any quadrant the plate. Four-seam location is scattered throughout. He likes to locate cut-fastball on the arm-side of the plate—backdoor to LHB—and will use the two-seamer arm-side, too.

With two strikes and fastball usage, Phelps has a slight tendency to locate his four-seam up, whether intentional or not. The CT is located arm-side for backdoor location. The two-seam is worked mostly in to LHB.

vs. RHB

Uses all variations of the fastball on any quadrant of the plate, but is mainly FB-CT. The four-seam location is scattered, but is concentrated glove-side. The cut-fastball location is middle-down and scattered. The two-seam is least used of main four pitches against RHB, and the location is scattered.

With two strikes and fastball usage, Phelps locates four-seamers middle to away, with a very slight concentration on the north half of the zone. The cut-fastball is located front-hip to RHB, both in and outside the zone. Occasionally, the two-seam is thrown, and if thrown, it is worked away.

Four-seam vs. Cutter vs. Two-seam FB against RHH (2017 season)

Four-seam vs. Cutter vs. Two-seam FB against LHH (2017 season)

Breaking Pitches

Phelps features a knucklecurve that has good, late 11-5 bite with moderate depth, and is not afraid to use it versus either handedness. The pitch ranges 81-83, averaging 81.6 mph, and has above-average spin, at 2590 rpm. Though the pitch is above-average, it is the third most used pitch (an example of the KNCV being used as an out pitch versus a RHB). He will use this pitch to steal first pitch strikes 34 percent of the time, just ahead of the four-seam at 33.5 percent.

Nearly 20 percent of Phelps’ knucklecurves were thrown to LHB were to steal first-pitch strikes. Following an 0-0 count, he goes to it most in a 3-2 count, as seen in the link above, at 11.3 percent of the time. Outside of 0-0 and 3-2 counts, hitters should be more concerned with the four-seam, cutter and two-seam.

For RHB, 13.2 and 11.8 percent were thrown in 0-0 and 0-1 counts, respectively. Outside of these counts, the KC plays third-fiddle to the four-seam and cutter. Prepare for the four-seam and cutter.

Phelps does not throw any other kind of breaking balls.

Breaking Pitch Locations for LHHs with two strikes (2017 season)

Knucklecurve locations vs. LHB

Breaking Pitch Locations for RHHs with two strikes (2017 season)

Knucklecurve locations vs. RHB

Off-Speed Pitches

Showed a changeup in warm ups, but never uses it. The average velocity is 86.2 mph with a below-average spin rate of 2045 RPM. In 2017, he has used the pitch three times, all thrown to left-handed batters. In 2016, he used the pitch 19 times, also all against left-handed batters.

vs. LHB

vs. RHB

Changeup usage by Count in 2017 and 2016

Never thrown to RHB in the last two seasons.

Notable Games 7/17/17

Date 7/17/17

With his team being swept by the Dodgers, Phelps came in a 5-5 game in the top of the eighth to face the heart of the Phillies lineup (Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Maikel Franco). He got the first out via a Herrera groundout to second, but gave up a double to Williams and a walk to Franco. The Marlins then intentionally walked Andrew Knapp to face Brock Stassi and Daniel Nava. Phelps managed to escape the inning without giving up the lead, getting both Stassi and Nava out via a backwards K. This hold was a contributing factor in the resulting walk-off in the 10th inning that broke the three-game skid. His out pitch? A lightly used knuckle-curve in the middle of the plate. In Mexico, we say, Phelps tiene cojones.


Solid defender, competent, manages run game.

Additional Notes


From the third-base side of the rubber, Phelps throws across his body while also creating better-than-average angle to the plate to a three-quarters release point, thus creating a “from left field” illusion. He repeats his delivery well, but as a result of his manufactured angle, he occasionally flies open, creating a tendency to miss east to west and resulting in fringe-average control. The arm action is clean and quick, with some length.

Mound Presence

Goes after hitters, not afraid to pitch in high leverage moments, good controlled intensity.

Recommendation to Acquire:

Yes, though Phelps is not an elite shutdown reliever, he does record a strikeout per inning, gives you confidence in the ‘pen and veteran experience. Phelps fits primarily into a 7th/8th inning role, fairing decently against the heart of a lineup to championship-caliber team.

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