The Return of Brandon Duckworth

The Phils have signed soon to be 34 year old Brandon Duckworth to a minor league deal, with Lehigh Valley sure to be his 2009 landing spot.  Duckworth, a righty, came up through the Phils organization going 15-18 in his three seasons with the big club (2001-03). Since that time, he spent two years with the Astros, followed by the last four in the Royals organization. Last year was the first year since 2001 that Duckworth did not appear in a major league game, pitching solely for Omaha, the Royals AAA affiliate, going 3-6 with a 5.31 ERA in 20 games, 19 of those starts. He walked 37 and struck out 67 in his 105 innings and will provide some depth for the big club in the event of injury.  He should land a job in the Lehigh Valley rotation which currently projects as:  1.  Kyle Kendrick or Andrew Carpenter (the other with the big club) 2. Joe Savery 3. Ryan Vogelsong 4. Brandon Duckworth and 5. Mike Stutes. The most compelling aspect of the Duckworth signing should be whether or not the Duck Pond moves from its 2001-03 Philadelphia location, up the turnpike to Allentown.

45 thoughts on “The Return of Brandon Duckworth

  1. Always liked Ducky. An easygoing guy. He had good stuff. Very good curve, Pretty good FB with movement. At times overmatched a few hitters. But never really successful. An enigma wrapped ina conundrum.

  2. Stutes will be at Lehigh and he deserves it. He was 8-8 with an ERA in the low 4′s at Reading. He will be the #5 at Lehigh Valley. Worley should start the season at Reading whether in the pen or starter. Reading should have a lot of options to start; Flande, Cisco, Aumont, Naylor, Ramirez, Cloyd….

  3. This a big,big year for Cisco. I often wonder what it’s like to be on the fringe like Bump. It must be hard mentally to have a dream that close.

  4. Nate Bump actually spent parts of three seasons in the majors, albeit a few years ago. He’s got a World Series ring, so he’s gone much further than a lot of guys at his level.

    There’s a decent documentary on the 2001 Indianapolis Indians. It’s worth checking out if you’re a fan of these type of players.

  5. PP with you stating the projected LHV rotation and Kphilly his projection of the reading phils, I started composing lists of potential starters for each league and it seems way to packed at most levels. One example is my projected clearwater rotation(no order) May-way-sanchez-defratus-sampson-correa-and then hyatt and noles who are also potential bullpen guys. Any way was wondering if this might be an interesting topic in between our top 30 or after. Am I the only one who has done this, trying to predict where each pitcher would go and what role they would play?

  6. At CLW I have May (who might be in REA by end of the year), Sancez, Way, Velasquez, Correa(Sampson and Garcia are 6 and 7)
    AT LWD I have
    Hernandez, Zeid, Noles, Lebron, and Angelle to start the seson. I could Cosart and Colvin getting looks later on.

    I would like to see DeFratus in CLW as a reliever and Hyatt in LWD as a reliever

  7. ****Stutes will be at Lehigh and he deserves it. He was 8-8 with an ERA in the low 4’s at Reading. He will be the #5 at Lehigh Valley.****

    I wouldn’t go that far. He had an okay season but nothing special for a guy age appropriate in AA. His peripherals weren’t that impressive. A high WHIP, too many hits and walks and only an okay K/9 ratio.

    He handled being double jumped to his credit.

  8. gregg took us “Around the System” in posts in September for individual prospects, projecting where most might end up in 2010. PP also made suggestions in his tiers in November.

  9. Ny penn-shreve, colvin, inch j. rodriguez, sasaki,
    Lake-N. hernandez,cosart,zied, pettibone,angelle
    clear-J. sanchez, May, way, defratus, correa, sampson
    Read-Aumont, worley, flande,JC ramirez, cisco, cloyd, naylor,
    velasquez, E garcia
    LHV- carpenter,savery,stutes, duck vogel,brummett

  10. I expect Bastardo to be a starter at LHV by May when Moyer, Lidge, and Romero return to the active list in Philadelphia. Duckworth could end up as reliever by midseason as some Reading prospects and they advance to AAA, if not earlier to break the logjam of starters in Reading. I think spring training will be important to determine the roles and levels of many of the Phillies’ minor league pitchers.

  11. I think Bastardo will get the first shot at being the #2 lefty in the pen but as you say ST is important.

  12. I agree-I bet Bastardo sticks in the Philly bullpen all year. What’s the rationale that has Sampson at Clearwater as opposed to Lakewood-his age?

  13. It hardly seems worth the trouble to project the Williamsport rotation when half their club is formed by the June amateur draft. Even Lakewood is tricky since it’s difficult to get good information on who the club has kept or let go, who is healthy or who is having visa issues.

  14. Duckworth was a hell of a minor league player. It looked for all the world that he would turn into a valuable major league starter (somewhere between a 2-4), but it just never happened. It just goes to show the vagueries of projecting minor league prospects and how you need a good 3-5 years before you really know if a trade you made was good or a huge mistake.

    I hope he can turn it around and, honestly, I wonder why he scuffled so much. Did he lose velocity, or confidence or both?

  15. Duck’s control wasn’t sharp enough and his fastball wasn’t fast enough and didn’t move enough. He excelled in the minors on his curve ball but that’s not nearly enough in the show. As for Bastardo, I think the fact that he pitched in relief in the winter league means he’s staying in the bullpen. I think he’ll be in the big league bullpen all year if he pitches well enough. Matheson has a shot at holding Lidge’s spot until he returns mid April but Bastardo could be there all year. There’s still a spot for a long man for a short while since Kendrick will probably be starting until Moyer comes back. Carpenter could hold the spot until Moyer comes back. I’m actually hoping they sign one more arm who could start or long relieve which would take this spot.

  16. Baez was signed because of his closing experience. I promise you that he will be the Closer on Opening Day, not Scott Mathieson. Mathieson might make the 25 man as a result of the injuries to Lidge, Romero, and Moyer but it wont be as a late reliever.

    Bastardo, barring a terrible ST, will be on the 25 man as a LOOGY.

  17. Ducky DID have a decent FB, with some movement. There are pitchers in the majors today who are effective with the same FB or not as good. Happ is one with less movement than Ducky, near the same velocity, but he pitches aggressively, both inside and high, and hits his spots, keeping them off balance. Hitters are not comfortable with Happ. Ducky tried to nibble at the corners, would miss very often, but not by much, and find himself in a hitters count. If he did not have perfect control of his curve, he would be forced to come in with a FB in bad counts and hitters would just look for it and tee off.

  18. Happ gets by on pure location…that is all.

    And he was extremely lucky at times last year. He’s not a sub 3 ERA guy by any means.

  19. I agree Nepp, about Happ and would sign up for 13-11 with 3.85. Ducky was a high profile prospect for us a decade but we had a terrible farm back then. arms like coggin and figeroa from the padilla trade stand out in my mind as our typical prospects. we’ve come a long way!!

  20. GTU, if we had someone right now like Duckworth was when he was in Reading and Scranton, we would be drooling all over him. He was a tad old for the league, but his peripherals were excellent. Catch22 is right when he says that at the time he projected to be an average to above-average MLB starter.

    While I like the drafting philosophy better now than back then, do not forget how exciting some of these guys were at the time.

  21. Speaking of old prospects, if any of you get a chance, check out some of the “all decade players” that the R-Phils have been showcasing on readingphillies.com.

    Man, imagine what this site would have been like if it was around when Adam Walker was tearing it up in AA. Sure he was a tad old for AA, but he was dominating at that level. I think the site would have shut down the day we traded him for Turk Wendell and Dennis Cook (I think those were the two).

  22. I’d almost never be excited over a 25 year old in AA. But man the Phillies made out like bandits on that one. Who would’ve guessed that Walker only had 32 pro innings left in him?

  23. Alan –

    You’re right, but looking at his AA numbers, and the fact that he was a lefty, I’m sure there would have been some people on this board that would have been clamoring for him to be the Phils #4 starter at the time.

  24. Give me a break – Happ does not get by on pure location. When he’s having a good day, Happ throws his FB between 91-93 and it is difficult for hitters to pick up. He has just enough of a breaking ball to keep them honest. Does his ability to locate the FB help him a lot? Sure it does, but he’s got good stuff, smarts, an aggressive approach, and he’s likely to develop his other pitches this year and next. I agree that, right now, he’s probably a 13-11 guy with around a 4 ERA, but that’s a very fine #4 starter, which is what he is right now.

  25. SIFPA, Matt wasn’t referring to Duckworth with that comment. Rather, he was talking about Adam Walker

    I can remember being upset when they traded Donnie Elliot – don’t really recall who they got, I seem to think it was the Andy Ashby deal.

  26. Actually, now I remember (or my internet search did), Elliott was traded for Ben Rivera of Atlanta. Atlanta shipped him to the Padres.

  27. Nepp
    With all due respect, Happ pitched ONE bad game all year and there are no mirrors on the mound. And you know he has never had close to the full backing of the coaches. Do i have to say the “Park” word.

  28. If Dubee didn’t recognize his talent then he can’t help him improve. He just doesn’t understand. And I put Bastardo in that class also.

  29. Okay, I’ll go slow so you both understand.

    Happ threw fastballs nearly 70% of the time last year…add in his cutter and it was 85% of his pitches. He changes location and speed to survive.

    Despite “sitting 91-93″, he averaged 89.7 MPH on his fastball in 2009 and 82.6% on his cutter.

    His FIP last year 4.33. He had a ridiculous strand rate as well at 85.2%.

    I never said he wasn’t a good pitcher. I said he gets by on his location and that he’s not really a sub 3 ERA guy. Both of those are largely true.

  30. Well at least I have a name.

    Nepp
    I don’t see any reason for Happ not to improve next year. As long as we are looking at stats check Happ’s ERA for away games. We will see this year as long as they don’t bring back
    Garcia,Eaton, Park or any other pitcher they placed before him.

  31. Duckworth had a super-terrific minor lg season before coming up to the Phils. His season was so impressive that fans were waiting anxiously for his arrival. He seemed lost on the mound and had little agressiveness with his pitches, pitching defensively.

    Question: was Dubee the pitching coach then?

    It would be the Phils’ story of the year if Ducky could–with some Dubeeism–find his way back to the bigs.

    But, I ain’t taking any bets.

  32. That would be nice I would add Bump who was out of baseball but found a new rabi and was 7-1 at AAA last year after correcting mechanical flaws that caused injuries. I wish I had the new coach’s name.

  33. The DUCK was messed with by BOWA , it was his daughter that started the DUCK POND and from there it went down hill , to bad that personal items get in the way of some things , he was a miserable type of manager nothing was ever as good as his world series team and he let them know it
    thank god BOWA has gone

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