Outman and Castro to the bullpen

The Reading Eagle has the scoop

Word came down from Philadelphia Thursday to shake up the Double-A club’s pitching staff, with Josh Outman and Fabio Castro sent to the bullpen.

The move of Castro isn’t a surprise: All but one of his 26 appearances with Philadelphia over the last two seasons have come out of the bullpen.

For the 23-year-old Outman, however, it’s big news since he’s been projected as a starter and a potential member of the rotation in Philadelphia.

The order to get him accustomed to coming out of the bullpen signals that the Phillies see him helping them, and soon. He could very well be in the big leagues by mid-June.

“They feel like the need in the major leagues (right now) is for a left-handed reliever,” said Phillies minor league pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller. “I think he suits that (role). I have no doubt that he’s got the stuff to do it.”

Veeeeeeery interesting. If the goal is to break Outman into the majors as a reliever, with the ultimate goal of having him start next season, then I like this move. If they have already given up on him as a starter, then I don’t like the move at all. Only time will tell.

46 thoughts on “Outman and Castro to the bullpen

  1. Also, Gillick was on with Jody Mac (950AM) and said they see Outman’s future as a reliever…

  2. Are they really giving up on Outman as a starter? It seems like they’re throwing both Castro and Outman in the bullpen to see which does better and then calling them up to Philly. I think its way to early to quit on Outman as a starter though but I guess if he shows his worth as a reliever he can force his way back into the rotation.

  3. Do they view him as a potential closer? I could see why they would do it for this yr but not long term. Why not bring him up as a reliever this yr. Then again, we will have a huge whole in our pen next yr when Lidge and Gordon go.

  4. Excellent. I wish I lived in Reading. Bastardo in AA and Outman and Castro Duking it out in the Pen.

  5. If what Bedrosian’s saying about Gillick is true, then I have to admit being somewhat disappointed. Who knows… maybe he’ll take to the bullpen better than he does to starting, but I can’t help but think of this sabermetrically: you want your better pitchers throwing the greatest number of innings possible.

    You also wonder about the timing, don’t you? If they saw his future as a reliever, why not do it before the year started?

  6. I really hate it when solid starting pitching prospects are turned into relievers for reasons OTHER than stamina. I mean, if the guy’s got great stuff, why not let him pitch 7+ innings and help the team out alot more by throwing 100 pitches vs. pitching 2-3 times a week as a secondary reliever?

    I mean I could understand this if Outman came to his coach saying “hey, I really fell like my arm is getting tired with all these innings, but if you turn me into a reliever I could crank it up for an inning or two and that would work well for me.” But if his harm is healthy and he is capable of starting and going deep into games, why waste that talent? (This was my argument for why it was the right decision to put Brett Myers back in the rotation).

    As far as Castro goes…he showed alot of potential as a reliever his first year with us when he was used very sparingly but was pitching tremendously when called upon. However it seems like he’s had some really good starts lately…and I just don’t see the point of relegating him to the bullpen as well if he has the stamina and “stuff” to go 7 innings.

  7. Good news I suppose…have we confirmed that Bastardo got the call? If they’re replacing two starters in the rotation does that mean that Savery is also coming up?

  8. Well, I think Gillick is from the old Earl Weaver school of promoting pitchers. You take a young pitcher, you bring him up without pressure to pitch middle relief, and you get him used to the majors. Then, when the player has shown he can play at the major league level, he gets some starts.

    The Phillies are not always as stupid as they appear. My view is that they know that, presently, they have no place in the rotation for Outman and they are probably right about that. However, they like him and they want him around to see what he can do. If he impresses then it gives them a lot of flexibility for this year, including slipping into the rotation as a result of a trade or injury.

    I would find it very hard to believe that they view Outman’s long-term future as being in the bullpen. Everything I read about him and see in the box scores suggests that he should ultimately end up in the rotation. I’m sure they see that too. How could you not?

    One thing that is, interesting, however, is that this is confirming my suspicion that they are very worried about dumping any of their top prospects with the Bad News Boars.

  9. With Hamels at #1 and Savery coming on soon, the lefty part of the rotation seems ok…according to their thinking.

    There appears no other lefty reliever available through their farm system any time soon. IMO, Castro is more problematical than Outman. Castro seems to be the girl with the curl: very bad or very good. As said elsewhere, CONSISTENCY from one game to another is sought.

    Outman seems to have pitches that somehow are confusing to hitters….and has been more consistent from start to start than Castro is from start to relief to start, etc.

    We all know that many clubs bring up a pitcher who fits into their pen; pitching there has been a good entre to MLB who later become part of the team’s rotation.

    Outman was named the most likely guy to be called up by many even before the season began. His main value to this team is probably in the pen where only ONE lefty won’t suffice over the whole season.

    Seems like they are “arming” themselves for the push to go deep as possible into post season play. Good!

    We can wait to see what role he will play in the long future. Right now, the aim is making it happen in ’08. Outman can help fill this need , now.

    Looking forward to his arrival. Does Condrey then get axed?

  10. What exactly has Outman done that he deserves the Phils giving up on him as a starter. That is a joke. They signed Romero to a fairly lengthy multi year contract so it is clear he is the primary lefty out of the pen and his performance shows he deserves to be. Outman has the potential to be far more than a situational lefty to get a batter or two out of the bullpen. I believe he has the potential to be an above average #3 or #4 starter.

  11. I doubt they’re truly “giving up” on him right now but rather keeping as little pressure on him as possible while at the same time getting him ready for a big promotion.

    As for the ax, you gotta believe it would be Condrey…the rest of the Pen has been outstanding so there is no one else to get rid of.

  12. I think the move by the big team shows surprising preplanning. I’m sure they haven’t given up on Outman being a starter, there’s no reason to make that decision now. They’d like to have another lefty in the pen so as to not burn out Romero and they’ve come to the conclusion that Steve Kline isn’t it. They look below and see two good arms starting and their need is in the pen so they’re going to get them both throwing out of the pen to be ready. While Condrey looks like the odd man out, it seems to me that Madson can’t pitch this year without giving up runs and I’d send him down to throw more innings. Interesting stuff.

  13. By the way, Segovia is starting tonight for Reading so that’s who went back into the rotation.

  14. Murray-

    I got to agree with you on Madson, but to be fair that last homer he gave up against the Padres would have been an out in any other park. I still don’t know how that went out. Still he isn’t right. They would probably move Madson into Condrey’s role and Outman in and Condrey out. Hopefully he makes the majors this yr.

    I think sending Outman to the pen to move up is ingenious. At this rate we could have the best pen in the NL, and who would have thought that would be possible in Philly.

    Still I think Outman deserves a shot at the rotation at least in one spring training.

  15. It appears that the “strength” of the Phillies minor league organization is what bit Outman in this case. Having Savery, Carrasco, Carpenter, Happ, etc. in the minors with Hamels, Myers, and Kendrick in the majors gives them some room to make this move. I hope this isn’t permanent for his sake. At least they aren’t messing with Outman like they did with Gavin Floyd (man I wish we had him back).

  16. Segovia seems like he’d fit right in with the Iron Pigs’ modis operandii, I can’t see any scenario where Reading pulls out the win tonight.

  17. I think Gillick is being aggressive where he can, not letting the grass grow, just because the pen has been good so far. Keep improving it. I agree. Seems like a good plan.

    Also agree you have to keep looking at Outman as a potential starter down the line.

  18. Does anybody know where Rosario is? Last I heard he was on the 15 DL but haven’t seen an update.

  19. i don’t see what the big deal is. we heard earlier this week that Carrasco projects as a middle of the rotation guy. Savery is still rated behind him. Outman grades out behind Savery. which makes Outman a #5 starter at best. so if this guy can become a top lefthanded reliever, he can help the big club hugely. why are people so upset that he is being moved to the pen?

  20. PP Fan–

    I don’t undertsand your logic. Just because Savery is rated behind Carrasco doesn’t mean Savery can’t end up ahead of Carrasco; a #2/3 while Carrasco ends up a #3/4. I think Savery actually has more upside.

    Still I agree, and I think EVERYoNE agrees, that moving Outman to the pen for ’08 is fine but if he can be a capable starter why not use him like that for beyond ’08.

  21. I think we all need to take a step back and think about things logically. Just because he comes out of the pen this year, it does not mean that he is switching to a reliever for his entire career. This move is being made simply to help the big squad THIS year, and in the process Outman will get to face major league hitters thus accelerating his development. When next year rolls around, which is the earliest he would have been a big league starter anyway, his situation will be reevaluated and he will likely compete for a starting job.

  22. EDIT: In my above post I meant to say “more THAN a 5th starter” not “more OF a 5th starter”…in case it wasnt clear from my context.

    Any move that gets him closer to a big league callup is a good one…and Gillick’s strength is making in-season moves to help the club.

  23. I always saw Outman as a future closer or setup guy. His velocity, deceptive motion and questionable stamina make him a perfect candidate for the 8th or 9th inning. I love Outman in the pen, but I’m worried about the future implications of this move. Is Outman being groomed to replace Lidge in 2009?

    Maybe the Phils are thinking: “Uh-oh, 7 saves in 7 opportunities with a 0.00 ERA in a contract year? Too rich for our taste. Do we have anyone who might be able to replace him?”. The first guy who comes to mind is Josh Outman.

  24. This leaves room for not only Savery but also for Happ–he of the confusing inventory of magical pitches—should he locate the strike zone more consistently. So our lefty brigade could be arriving in topwn during these next several months…into ’09 for those short in ’08.

    Go Happ! Here strikey strikey!

  25. ***Just because Savery is rated behind Carrasco doesn’t mean Savery can’t end up ahead of Carrasco; a #2/3 while Carrasco ends up a #3/4. I think Savery actually has more upside.***

    ok. true. anything can happen. but i assume that ratings are based on probability. therefore, the probability is that of our current pitchers in the minor leagues, carrasco will be the best pitcher and peak out at a mid rotation guy. further, there is no way that savery is a top of the rotation guy or a #2. he just doesn’t show the dominating, put you away, type of stuff. never has at any level including college.

    another example to keep in mind is joba chamberlin, not that outman is even close to joba. but there is nothing to suggest that people can’t start in bullpen and migrate to starter.

    that being said, i think people on this blog are over-rating Outman. if he really projected as a top starter, gillic would keep him there to build up his stamina. we need starters just as bad as relievers. we really only have 1 reliable starter right now and our pen is very strong. actually, i think that our pen has the best era in the majors.

  26. PP Fan-
    These BA ratings also use how far they have progressed and how close they are to the majors as projection. I believe Drabek was rated as a possible frontline starter while Carrasco has never been really billed as that. Now Drabek has had tj so we don’t know yet but he has as much upside if not more than Carrasco.

  27. We must remember that this is Gillick’s last year! He is going to do all that is (reasonably) necessary to get this team to the series.

    Moving these 2 guys to the pen and bringing one, if not both of them up before the trade deadline could give him an idea of what they need; as well as, opening the door to having more “chips” to trade, whether that be one of these 2 guys or someone else (Seanez, Durbin, Madson or Gordon).

    Good move for 2008 and we should assume that noting is in granite and that all options will be open in 2009.

    PS – for the same reason, would not be surprised to see a starter here by July either (Happ?? … Possibly Mathieson if the arm starts feeling better??).

  28. Outman had little coming out of the pen last night in with two out in the bottom of the third against Harrisburg. His fastball was hit hard and he showed little with his other stuff against mostly righthanded hitters. Guess because he has yet to to give up a run to a lefthanded hitter and has struck out 8 of his 18 outs against them this year he can become a lefty specialist. Outman as the second lefty out of the pen might work against lefthanded hitter s but righties is another story. Let’s see what Bastardo does tonight.

  29. I love the idea of breaking him into the majors, but for a guy who struggles with location he would be much better served in his development to be treated as a started and to be given a consistent, high amount of innings. He’s just not ready for the big show yet and making him a reliever isn’t going to magically make him ready.

    I agree it’s a short-term move where Gillick is sacrificing the clubs future for its present so he can retire in glory. I doubt it’s going to work out.

  30. It looks like Bastardo pitched pretty darn well yesterday. 5 H, 1 R in 5 2/3, 4 Ks, 3 BB and got the win . Castro came on in relief and tried to give it away. Overholt continues to close.

    I think the first lefty called up will be Kline. He’s pitching okay for the Pigs. He has Major League (a lot of) experience. Outman and Castro are getting ready… just in case. The big club had it’s first decent April in a long time. Usually, about this time, we’re talking about who to trade and who should be brought up from the minors to be tested. They can see a long grind and they aren’t starting from the big April hole.

    If Howard was hitting, they might be 5 games up in the NL East. He’s hurting the team. He either has to sit or at least moved out of the 4 spot or be DL’ed . The minors have no one ready to bring up. Against lefties, Utley can slide to first. Harman, Robles or Donald could play 2nd but that’s taking a big chance. Teams still fear Howard and they won’t fear H, R or D. When Thome was in a rut, Howard was blowing up AAA and he got the call. The cupboard’s bare at 1st base.

  31. I think its a little hasty to think about replacing Howard in the lineup…He’s been horrible so far but he’s a traditional slow starter anyway and as you said they are winning so why worry that much?

    As you said the cupboard is completely bare as far as 1B goes in the minors so there isn’t any real moves they can make.

    One Question though, if they had any confidence in Kline contributing, why move Outman and Castro to the bullpen?

  32. On the other hand, it could be that the Phillies and BA simply miscalculated on Outman’s potential. He will be 24 this year, he has been at Reading since mid-2007. He didn’t do well last year and he isn’t do well this year. He has an ERA of 3.4 but a WHIP of 1.72 which won’t get it done. He gets some K’s but he also walks some batters. So where’s his great potential? His Joey rating (WhAT’S THAT, YOU SAY?) is 99.57 which means as he has pitched so far, he is nothing more than a potential #4. By the way, Carraso has a JR of 100.13 which casts him as a potential #3, not #1. And he has a WHIP that is alarming for a second year at Reading. He is at 1.38 with an ERA of 4.03.

    I thought Carpenter might be a middle of the rotation pitcher, but considering his age and his college background, falling on his face at Reading sans injury, is terribly disheartening.

    So now where are we? The big five in Philly is running a collective ERA of about 4.50. That’s the average. The top gun his last four games is about 4.90 (Hamels). Carrasco and Outman are marginal prospects at this time. Castro was looking great but with his major league experience, that was probably why. hmmm Who is there that we should be cheering on?

    Down in Clearwater, I do like Joe Savery and young Carlos Monasterios but both have to win some games there and then prove they can make the jump to AA without losing anything and that’s not happening real soon.

    So folks, we are stuck with what we have. We need to root very hard for Cole to come back to form. For Kyle to pick up and at least be a competent #3,4. Adam has to continue pitching as well as he had been. And then the sleeper.

    Chris (married to Anna) Benson. He COULD turn out to be a golden nugget. He had the skills. He had the operation. Now it’s all in the hands of fate.

    We sure could use a miracle right about now. And yet, we still win games. Appollo may be with us.

    One can only hope.


  33. Oh yes, if they need a relief pitcher in Philly, have they ever hear of Pat Overholt or better yet, RJ Swindle?????

    Swindle would be a great addition. I want to see how they handle this kid up here.

    I know there is a bias against soft tossers in the bigs, but all this kid does is get people out. He has NO WHIP to speak of, NO ERA to talk about,. Last time I looked he had struck oiut12 while walking 1.

    Hey give him a shot.

    He could be better than Outman who has always been a starter and may find it hard to psychologically adjust to this relief role. UNLESS they think he might be able to start mid-year. Because they need help and he has some skills.

    We can hope but on his record, it is a forelorn hope at least to this point.

    Can anyone explain Phillip Hughes?????

  34. Phil Hughes=Overrated Yankees Hype…the same with Ian Kennedy. Hughes is a 3/4 guy not an Ace. He never has been an Ace.

    On Kris Benson…he’s still bothered by his shoulder and there is no timetable on him pitching…I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  35. Oh yes, I wanted to mention, you guys may be misreading Pat Gillick.

    He is retiring. Not from the Phillies, he says from baseball. He would like to win sure, but I doubt it’s a passion with him.

    I think the GM duties are being turned over to the team lackey, Rueben Amaro Jr.

    This is a guy who knows how to nod yes in the Phillies offices. He is well aware of which side of the bread, has the butter. He didn’t go to Stamford for nothing.

    I don’t know what kind of GM he could be if he was allowed to actually make decisions but I know he won’t be. This organization is controlled by David Montgomery. And David makes certain that Claire gets her money every year so she doesn’t have to consider selling the team which would put David the Incompetent out on the proverbial street.

    So keep Claire Happy (that meant no 4.5 million for Lohse), and she will keep the team and the boys will keep their cushy jobs and everyone’s happy. Except maybe the fans but who cares about them as long as the stadium is filled every night. Which it is.

    Do they know what they are doing? I doubt it. Wasn’t it three years ago that they told us 5-tool Chris Roberson was the system’s best player? And two years ago wasn’t it Michale Bourne? Where are they? They are gone.

    Both guys spent two years at Reading. Bourne hit about .260 and then upped that to .265. Chris actually hit over .300 but he was like 26 or maybe 27 at the time. Way past an acceptable age for AA. And Victoriino was at Triple AAA at the time, where he hit over .300 and was the International Leagues MVP – and still they in their genius picked Roberson as System player of the year.

    Talent shows fairly quickly. If we aren’t seeing any, we might not have any.

    I don’t see an Ace in sight unless Bastardo turns out to surprise all the experts. They think his size will eventually undo him. That and his ‘command’. So far neither has, but we have some time to go yet to be certain.

    The rest are a crapshoot. Not much for a system this big and this rich.


  36. Benson is having shoulder problems again? Do you have some actual information about him? I haven’t heard a thing from anyone who would know other than he long tossed and that was okay and then be threw some pitches off a mound and that went okay. He is/was supposed to start throwing seriously mid-May.

    Is that bad information? I hope not or I may have to shoot myself. We really need a solid pitcher from somewhere.

    Talking about Outman, his problem is he puts way too many people on base and even if he is a strike out pitcher ala Brett Meyers, you put a lot of guys on base in the bigs, they score runs.

    I could be dead wrong but to me and in my JOEY rating system which is wonderful (ahem), WHIP is very, very, very important in young pitchers. That and keeping the ball down particularly if you are going to pitch in Philly..

    The WHIP is more important than K’s, in my opinion.

    That was Hamels forte. And it is Bastardo’s strength so far. And Monasterios was excellent until his last start but he’s still pretty good. We’ll have to watch his next two starts.

    But over all, when you have a WHIP of 1.40 or 1.50 or 1.60, you are heading down a very bad path.

    OF the top 12 winningest pitchers in the league up to last Friday, only ONE of them had a WHIP over 1.19. That was Penny of LAD and he was 1.30. His JOEY rating is 100.34 and that’s a #3. So for now, he’s just been lucky.

    Six of those 12 have WHIPS 1.09 or less. Four are under 1.0. As I said, only 1 is over 1.19. That tell you how important this one stat is.

    I also looked at some Hall of Fame Pitchers using their better years and excluding their start up years.

    I looked at Spahn/Gibson/Clemens/ Nolen Ryan/Carlton, Koufax and Gooden. I threw in Cole Hamels (as of last Friday) and Johan Santana. The highest whip was Spahn’s 1.19. None of them even reached 1.20. Good pitchers don’t put a lot of runners on base.

    And if they can’t handle the minors, they won’t be able to handle the majors. Certainly some young pitchers need to grow so you have to monitor their numbers all the time but like racehorses, there is a schedule. If a kid comes to us out of college, he needs to begin to assert himself in his second FULL year usually at Clearwater. It then has to continue as he progresses with maybe a game or two stepping back at a new level. But he should turn it around quckly if he is a top of the rotation prospect.

    As to Phillip Hughes, if you know anything about minor league baseball, the man’s numbers were awe inspiring. They mirrored Cole Hamels progress. Hughes has stepped back this year as Cole has done his last four starts.

    But they are both immensely talented and I expect them to be showing their stuff by year end. Were I the Yankees, I would watch how I used Phillip Hughes. Confidence is a frail thing in a young player.

    Hughes rated a 104.00 in Double AA and Triple AAA a year back as Bastardo is doing now and Hamels did a few years ago. Not many players ever reach that level and few an maintain it for a full year. Phillip did.

    I’ll take him if they want to trade him. (The Phillies).


  37. ****Benson is having shoulder problems again? Do you have some actual information about him? I haven’t heard a thing from anyone who would know other than he long tossed and that was okay and then be threw some pitches off a mound and that went okay. He is/was supposed to start throwing seriously mid-May.****

    You’ve heard the same as me…that’s he’s been long tossing and not throwing in game situations. If he were completely healthy, he’d be pitching in at least XST, which he is not, thus his shoulder still isn’t 100%. I wouldn’t expect to see him in a Phillies uniform until late June at the earliest.

  38. I pulled this from another site about Benson
    “Apr 27 RHP Kris Benson’s first start in extended spring training Saturday was cut short in the third inning when he strained his right groin. He’ll be re-evaluated this week, but GM Pat Gillick said Benson likely would be shut down for a few days. Benson, who is trying to come back from right shoulder surgery on March 20, 2007, had been slowed by biceps tendinitis during spring training. He signed a minor league contract with the Phillies in February. “

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