Bailey Falter was one of many pleasant surprises during the 2022 season. The Philadelphia Phillies weren’t counting on him to be much more than pitching depth, but he turned in a solid season and stepped up when it mattered most.
Falter made the Opening Day roster as a long man out of the bullpen. There were questions about how deep the starting five could pitch into games in April, so Falter was there to throw multiple innings when the need arose. He allowed four runs on eight hits in his first four appearances, and he was optioned to Triple-A by the start of May.
With the IronPigs, he began stretching out as a starting pitcher again, and it wasn’t long before the big league team came calling. For the next several months, Falter shuttled back and forth between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley. He worked as a spot starter for double-headers or whenever there was an injury on the MLB club.
All in all, the young left-hander was called up and sent back down seven times throughout the season.
Eventually, however, the Phillies realized Falter was pitching too well to send him away. He stayed in Philadelphia from late August through the end of the regular season.
He was originally called up to fill in for an injured Zack Wheeler, but when Wheeler returned, Falter stuck around. He took Noah Syndergaard’s regular turn in the rotation, with Syndergaard relegated to a piggyback role. That would have been unthinkable just a few months earlier. But it was well deserved.
In his final 10 appearances of the season, Falter posted a 3.00 ERA and 6.43 K/BB. He went at least six innings in more than half of those starts. He only had one difficult outing during that stretch — when the Braves knocked him around for six runs on 10 hits over 3.2 IP.
Unfortunately, Falter struggled badly in his one postseason appearance, giving up four runs to the Padres in Game 4 of the NLCS. He failed to escape the first inning of the game. It was a poor way to finish off an otherwise strong season.
One terrible start aside, Falter made great strides during the 2022 season. He still has work to do — especially if he wants to succeed against good teams — but he proved he has the potential to stick around in a big league rotation. He’ll get the chance to earn the Phillies’ fifth starter job next spring.
Final Grade: B-
Falter should be proud of the 2022 season he put together. He wasn’t a star, but he exceeded expectations and served a necessary role. The Phillies won 11 of his 16 starts, and there’s a high likelihood they wouldn’t have made the postseason without him.
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