We end the preview of the system with a look at relievers including those still in the minors and the large group of young guys right on the door to the major leagues.
The common saying is that relievers are merely failed starters, in many cases this is true, the Phillies however have been very good at finding college guys who will transition well to the bullpen. The consequence is that the system is stocked with high upside arms who are not that far away from major league contributions.
As always please re-read gregg’s end of season bullpen recaps GCL/WPT, CLW/LKW, and LHV/RDG. Just a note: I have left off players in the bottom level, if you would like see someone added to this list just ask and I can put them on.
Phillipe Aumont (23) – Aumont may have the best raw stuff of any pitcher in the organization, a 70 fastball, 70 curveball, and a 60-70 splitter. The problem is that it comes along with below average command, due to mechanics that often fall apart. All of Aumont’s pitches have incredible movement, which cause both swings and misses in addition to weak contact. If Aumont can consistently throw strikes he is a back of the bullpen reliever, with elite closer upside. Continue reading
A bit of clarity was added over the weekend with addition of set up man Mike Adams into the mix as the key 8th inning bridge to Papelbon. Beyond Adams and Papelbon, the bullpen is filled with questions marks. It seems the only relievers assured of Phillies roster spots are Papelbon, Adams, and Antonio Bastardo, who was less than solid last year. After that, questions abound.
From the left side, Jeremy Horst is a front runner to land in back of Bastardo. Horst was impressive during his second half call up to the Phils, throwing in 32 games and going 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Horst struck out 40 in 31.1 innings of work.
The health of Mike Stutes is the first question mark from the right side. Recovering from significant surgery, Stutes may need some time in AAA before he reaches the level at which he pitched during the 2011 season for the Phils. The rest of the pack consists of Justin DeFratus, Phillippe Aumont, Michael Schwimer, BJ Rosenberg, Raul Valdes, and Jacob Diekman. Continue reading
Per Matt Gelb.
This is obviously a bad sign, and your mind starts to wander toward the possibility that he is going to need surgery. Get well soon Justin.
Per Todd Zolecki, Justin De Fratus will be shut down for a week with elbow soreness. Given that he will now be behind all the other pitchers, and there weren’t many openings available anyway, he’s probably a lock to start the season in AAA. This is the first time he’s had any health issues, and its all just guesswork as to how serious this is. He may have just overworked himself this winter, or it may be a sign of something else. No use speculating right now.
The Phillies have brought in the usual mix of veterans this winter, meaning there aren’t many clear cut openings in the big league bullpen. Assuming the Phillies go with 12 pitchers (which they almost assuredly will), the current crop looks like this
SP (5): Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Worley, Blanton
RP (7): Papelbon, Bastardo, Willis, Contreras, Kendrick, Stutes, Qualls
This would leave zero openings for the likes of Phillippe Aumont, David Herndon, Michael Schwimer and De Fratus. However, this supposes that Contreras is healthy and ready for opening day. If he isn’t, there will be one spot open. Herndon has the most experience and would probably be #1 on the depth chart, but if Aumont has a lights out spring, I think they’d give him a look, since he is on the 40 man roster.
Per the man himself. And now its a race between Justin and Schwim to see who reaches the majors first.
Matt Rizzotti continues to swing a very hot bat, going a combined 5-10 in games Monday and Tuesday, with 2 doubles and 4 RBI’s. In 39 Fall League AB’s, Rizzotti is at .410/.531/.462 with 0 HR and 7 RBI. He has walked 10 times and struck out only 4 times.
Tim Kennelly has been opening eyes in his limited action going 2-3 with 2 runs and a double in the 15-1 Mesa win Monday. Kennelly was behind the plate with 5 hurlers from the Phils organization on the hill. Kennelly is now at .429/.500/.619 in his 21 AB’s, with 0HR and 2 RBI’s. Continue reading
In yesterday’s column
Justin De Fratus, Philadelphia Phillies: De Fratus absolutely looks like a big league bullpen arm, with a 92-95 mph fastball that touched 96 mph once when I saw him, and good tilt on an 83-85 mph slider that can get strikeouts. A strong pitcher with a good frame who uses his lower half well, De Fratus does a good job finishing his pitches. De Fratus isn’t far from a call-up and looks like he could fill a seventh- or eighth-inning role at the big league level, and from there anything can happen. Then again, he’s also in an organization that left Scott Mathieson behind to dominate Triple-A hitters all year.
B.J. Rosenberg, Phillies: Rosenberg appeared in only 20 games this season due to a lat strain, so we can give him a bit of a pass if he’s still getting up to speed. In one of his outings I saw, he gave up three homers in four batters, all on poorly located fastballs. He has been working in the 91-92 mph range and occasionally touching 93 mph, but with not a lot of movement on it. His low-80s slider projects to “solid average,” and his 80-81 mph changeup has been below average. I’m just not seeing good stuff or command right now.
I love that De Fratus is getting his deserved props now. He’s done what every prospect needs to do, continue to prove himself while he climbs the ladder. 2011 could be a big year for him. Rosenberg, well, not as optimistic.
I was fortunate to be able to ask personal favorite Justin De Fratus a bunch of questions, and he provided some great answers. I’m going to put this up now and leave it at the top for a few days, so enjoy. I’ll start my 2008 draft recap on Monday or Tuesday, so check back for that.