2016 Stats: 86.2 IP, 2.28 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, .197 BAA, 11.8 K/9, 2.6 WAR
David Phelps did it all in 2016 for the Miami Marlins. He was a Swiss army knife; he saw time as a starter, a closer, a setup man and a long and middle reliever. In the midst of doing all of this, he had his best season by far with career best (lows) in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, and hits allowed, run allowed, home runs allowed.
The season started off with Phelps being in a back-of-the-bullpen role but he soon blossomed into a bullpen ace. The Marlins suffered injuries to many pitchers throughout the season including Carter Capps, Bryan Morris, Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos, Adam Conley and Wei-Yin Chen. On top of the many injuries, the lack of success of other bullpen arms opened up opportunities for Phelps to take on many different roles. He excelled at all having a 2.31 ERA as a reliever and a 2.22 ERA as a starter.
Phelps put up a consistent performance despite inconsistent roles, which made said performance particularly valuable. Phelps was good throughout every inning; innings 1-3 was 0.53, innings 4-6 was 2.76 and innings 7-9 was 2.70. He has shown ability to face any part of the lineup in any part of the game and have success. Phelps also did not get into any type of major slump throughout the season; his ERA was 1.20 for March/April, 2.57 for May, 3.46 for June, 3.65 for July, 2.22 for August, and 0.00 for September.
Looking at 2017 and beyond the Marlins continue to have questions in both the rotation and bullpen. Phelps is under team control until 2019 and it will interesting to see where Phelps ends up next season. His role will ultimately depend on what the Marlins get either in free agency or a trade.
It's probably in the Marlins best interest to keep him in the pen and use him as starting pitching depth in case of injuries, but it's comforting to know that he can excel in either role.