Around the System–Starting Pitching, Bottom Half

We look at the Starting Pitchers in the Bottom Half of the organization….Next up are relievers in the top half (LV, REA, CLW).


Ervis Manzanillo, 20, Signed as a free agent in 2009; 26 games, 8-7 with a 5.02 ERA; 118.1IP 114H 71BB 105K; 5 HR allowed; 1.56 WHIP; 5.4BB/8.0K; 1.27 GO/AO; .257 opp. avg., .200 vs. LH, .277 vs. RH, .281 with RISP; 4-3 with a 5.30 ERA in 2nd half.  At times very good, and at times very bad for Manzanillo.  No reason to rush him, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in Lakewood at the start of 2012

Jesse Biddle, 19, Phils 1st round pick in 2010; 25 games; 7-8 with a 2.98 ERA; 133IP 104H 66BB 124K, 5 HR allowed; 1.27 WHIP; 4.4BB/8.3K; .211 vs. LH, .221 vs. RH, 226 with RISP; 4-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 12 Post All Star starts.  A very good year for Biddle who dominated post all star break and walked far fewer during that same time period.  2012: Clearwater rotation.

Garrett Claypool, 23, Phils 11th round pick in 2010; 27 games (23 starts); 5-7 with a 3.47 ERA; 137.1IP 111H 46BB 151K; 12HR allowed; 1.14WHIP; 3.0BB/9.9K; .201 vs. LH, .240 vs. RH, .236 with RISP; 3-4 with a 3.80 ERA in 2nd half. Claypool pitched well this year, with a nice K rate and a very good WHIP.  I would be tempted to double bump to Reading based on age but they should but probably would be best to get 10-12 starts in High A.

Mario Hollands, 23, Phils 10th round pick in 2010; 28 games (15 starts); 6-6 with a 4.24 ERA; 97.2IP 109H 36BB 73K; 1.48 WHIP; 3.3BB/6.7K; .269 vs. LH, .289 vs. RH, .295 with RISP; 4-4 with a 4.64 ERA as a starter. More was expected out of Hollands then what he gave this year. I suspect he moves to Clearwater but his role may be outside the rotation.

Lisalberto Bonilla, 20, Signed as a free agent in 2008; 26 games (15 starts); 4-5 with a 2.80 ERA; 4 saves; 106IP 91H 29BB 95K; 1.13 WHIP; 2.4BB/8.1K; 4-4 with a 3.35 ERA; .282 vs. LH, .185 vs. RH, .131 with RISP; Bonilla climbed up the prospect ladder this year dominating at times. He had a few difficult outings towards the end of the year but his year overall was excellent. 2012: Clearwater rotation.

Austin Wright, 22, Phils 8th round pick in 2011; 8 games in Williamsport; 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA; 34.2IP 30H 13BB 44K; 1.23 GO/AO; .231 opp. avg., 3.4BB/11.4K; Lakewood: 7 starts: 1-2 with a 2.67 ERA; 33.2IP 29H 9BB 41K; 1.12 WHIP; 2.4BB/11.0K; 1.39 GO/AO; .238 opp. avg., .200 vs. LH, .253 vs. RH, .241 with RISP. A very good start to Wright’s minor league career, who signed quickly and got a good deal of work in before year’s end.  2012: Clearwater rotation.


Colin Klevan, 20, Phils 33rd round pick in 2009; 14 starts, 4-6 with a 4.84ERA; 67IP 68H 28BB 42K; 1.49 GO/AO; 5 HR allowed; .261 opp. avg; 1.43 WHIP; 3.7BB 5.5K; .295 vs. LH, .235 vs. RH, .316 with RISP. Klevan is a “pitch to contact” type of pitcher and needs better command if he is going to be successful.  He pitched well at times, but was inconsistent.  Most likely Lakewood to start 2012.

Mike Nesseth, 23, Phils 17th round pick in 2010; 13 starts, 3-6 with a 3.21 ERA; 61.2IP 56H 19BB 34K; 2 HR allowed; 1.72 GO/AO; .240 opp. avg., 1.21 WHIP; 2.7BB/4.9K; .282 vs. LH, .198 vs. RH, .254 with RISP. 0-4 with a 5.51 ERA since AUgust 1.  Nesseth is recovering from significant arm injuries and pitched very well at the beginning of the season, only to have real issues late in the year raising red flags about his health.  Nesseth has a good deal of talent and knows how to pitch, but it is a real question mark where the 23 year old starts next year based on his limited innings and his health.

Lino Martinez, 19, Signed as a free agent in 2009;13 starts; 6-2 with a 2.79 ERA; 67.2IP 64H 23BB 46K; 1.10 GO/AO; 3HR allowed; .258 opp. avg., 1.28 WHIP; 3.0BB/6.1K; .318 vs. LH, .225 vs. RH, .277 with RISP.  Martinez threw very well, with his stats against lefties the concern.  Still, ready for Lakewood in 2012.

Adam Morgan, 21, Phils 3rd round pick in 2011 draft; 11 starts- 3-3 with a 2.01 ERA; 53.2IP 42H 14BB 43K; 2HR allowed; 1.18 GO/AO; .206 opp. avg., 1.04 WHIP; 2.3BB/7.2K; .314 vs. LH, .149 vs. RH, .268 with RISP.  Morgan is clearly ready for the next level of competition after posting an excellent line after signing. WOuldn’t be surprised to see him in Clearwater very quickly.

Percy Garner, 22, Phils 2nd round pick in 2010; 8 games, 4 starts; 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA; 30IP 29H 9BB 30K; 2.11 GO/AO; .252 opp. avg., 1.26 WHIP; 2.7BB/9.0K.  Garner was finally healthy at the end of the season, but is way behind after missing parts of two seasons injured.  He pitched well but I think there is a need for him to get 10-12 good starts in Lakewood before moving him to CLearwater.


Ethan Stewart, 20, Phils 47th round pick in 2010; 13 starts between GCL and Williamsport; 5-4 with a 3.39 ERA; 63.2IP 66H 27BB 60K; 2.18 GO/AO; .275 opp. avg., 1.46 WHIP; 3.8 BB/8.6K. Stewart proved that he knows how to pitch, which may earn him a start at Lakewood with a push back to Williamsport at the beginning of their season.

Ramon Oviedo, 21, Signed as a free agent in 2010; 12 games (10 starts); 4-2 with a 3.86 ERA; 56IP 51H 22BB48K; 0.97 GO/AO; .248 opp. avg., .153 vs. LH, .286 vs. RH, .218 with RISP; 3.5BB/7.7K. Oviedo pitched well and is probably ready for a shot at the Lakewood rotation.

Josh Warner, 18, Signed as a free agent in 2010; 12 games (10 starts); 2-6 with a 6.91 ERA; 54.2IP 72H 12BB 48K; 7 HR allowed; 1.19 GO/AO; .319 opp. avg., 1.54 WHIP. .258 vs. LH, .335 vs. RH, .412 with RISP.  Warner was hit very, very hard after coming over from Australia.  Back to the GCL for 2012.

Jon Musser, 19, Phils 21st round pick in 2010;14 games (9 starts); 1-6 with a 6.44 era; 43.1IP 52H 26BB 25K; 0.89 GO/AP; .284 opp avg., 1.80 WHIP; 5.4BB/5.3K; .242 vs. RH, .324 vs. LH, .276 with RISP.  Musser was generally unimpressive, struggling with his control and getting hit hard. Hard to see him getting promoted based on this sample.

Luis Gonzalez, 19, Signed as a free agent in 2010; 12 games (7 starts); 3-2 with a 5.74 ERA; 42.1IP 51H 24BB 40k; 1.43 GO/AO; .298 opp. avg., .259 vs. RH, .306 vs. LH, .284 with RISP; 1.77 WHIP. Gonzalez struggled in his first go around in the STates. Back to the GCL in 2012.

Steven Inch, 20, Phils 6th round pick in 2009; 8 games (5 starts); 0-1 with a 5.70 ERA; 23.2IP 31H 9BB 20K; 1.29 GO/AO; .316 opp. avg., 1.69 WHIP; 3.4BB/7.6K; Inch struggled as much as anyone else but has the advantage of being a 6th round draft pick in his 3rd year with the Phillies. They will need to push him to at least WIlliamsport to get another good look.

Casey Barnes, 23, Signed as a free agent in 2011; 5 games (3 starts) between GCL and WIlliamsport; 2-1 with a 6.52 ERA; 19.1 IP 23h 3BB 9K; 2.62 GO/AO; .295 opp. avg. A 23 year old at Rookie Ball, pitching ineffectively…I would be surprised to see him next year.

49 thoughts on “Around the System–Starting Pitching, Bottom Half

  1. This is a much different group of pitchers than we are used to at the bottom levels. Instead of the Baby Aces you have a bunch of polished college guys here who could move very quickly given their experience (also the LHP down here is nice to see). If one of them emerges in the next few years as a LH KK (note not Happ clone) and we maybe get a reliever out of another I would say that is a nice haul.

    I would have to say that Biddle is the most underrated prospect in the system. He has all of the tools to take the jump from very good to an elite prospect. Big power lefties do not grow on trees and as he strengthens in the offseason I would expect him to be sitting in the low to mid 90s all year as opposed to the small velocity drop he had in the middle of the season (which may have been a blessing in disguise because I suspect it made him focus on pitching to guys and not just blowing the fastball passed them).

    1. I wouldn’t say Biddle was underrated, at least on this forum or Philliesphans. Just about everybody has him among their top two prospects.

    2. I agree. Our system seems to have better balance across the lower levels. I also like the flexibility of having some collegiates who have a chance of moving thru the system in two years.

      Williamsport and Lakewood combine for ‘at least’ 7 interesting starters

      Biddle starting to look like something special. 19 going on 20 (October I think), he still has some filling out to do yet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him have an equally good season in Clearwater next year.

      Great stuff Gregg.

    3. I’d rather have someone become the next Happ than the next Kendrick. I think Happ has had a lot of bad luck this year and is better than his ERA and record suggest. While Kendrick appears to have some deal with the devil that allows him to win with pretty mundane peripherals. I don’t think there’s a huge difference between them, but I think Happ will have a decent career as a #4/5 starter and KK will likely bounce from bullpen to emergency 5th starter and have a Durbin like career.

      Just splitting hairs, I guess.

        1. If he finishes out the season he could have a winning record and an ERA sub-3.00. I think he’d become a fairly bad value at the cost he’s likely to get in Arbitration. I prefer Ruben lets him walk away, but it would leave a hole to fill for emergency 6th starter/long man. I don’t see anyone in AAA he can step into that role this year.

          1. Corm…….one long-shot possibilty for long-man if Kendrick is gone—would be Hyatt, but it would be imperative he gets good revues at LHV in April and early May.

        2. Kendrick may now actually be at the point where he is attractive to some other teams. It would be neat to work out some type of trade where the contract terms between Kendrick and the new team are pre-arranged.

          1. catch…….that would be an idea…he could have vale, plus, after all he is only 27. Remember five years ago, one of the Phillies scouts drew a possible future comparison of a young KK to one-time Giant Jason Schimdt.

      1. Kendrick seems to have solved his main problem this year, inability to get left-handed bartters out. They are only hitting .230 against him this season; right-handed batters are hitting .265. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in the lowest ERA of his career. Kendrick could be for real!

        1. FIP doesn’t really seem to agree with you. Plus KK got fairly lucky this year with a .256 BABIP. I kinda hope he’s just non-tendered and can go to some crappy team as a starter. I think that would be the best case for both parties.

  2. Next year will be big years for Wright and Morgan if Way and Hernandez don’t come back from injuries. Phils only have one strong left handed prospect (Biddle).

    1. In the last 2 years, the Phils signed 8 lefties. In 2010: Biddle #1, Morgado #4, Hollands #10, Davis # 36 and Stewart #47. In 2011: Morgan #3, Wright # 8 and Shull # 27. The effort is there. I would expect Biddle to rise to the top because he’s a #1. Wright and Morgan have shown a lot of promise. Stewart was a GCL top 30 this year. Can’t ask for much more than that. We haven’t seen Shull yet. He could be the Ethan Stewart in 2012. The others are relievers. I think a few LA guys will also become useful. Will they all become Major Leaguers? No way. Could any and all of them push into the top 30 next year? Possibly. When we do our top 30 this year, I’ll bet Wright, Stewart and Morgan get some votes for top 10 or 15.

      I have a feeling that Wright is a left-handed version of Worley. I think we’d all love to see that.

      1. My sense, too, is that Wright has the ability to turn into a special pitcher and I think he is going to steamroll his way to AA next year and remain on a fast track thereafter. Biddle is just flat out going to be a beast. As I have said since the middle of the year, he would be the one guy that they are least likely to trade. There are a bunch of other intriguing players, including Morgan, Garner, Claypool and Bonilla.

  3. Love Biddle as a #1 choice. Phils did their homework on him. Not a typical hometown favorite like Costanzo, who was a reach and then complete bust, even as a R2 choice.

    That said, not sure what his ceiling is. I get all the excitement, but is he a possible ace, like Hamels, or a solid middle of rotation guy?

    Let’s compare to Hamels. Hamels has always had a very nice FB that he can put on the knees for strike one or elevate to strike out a guy when he’s been around the knees with other pitches to get the first two strikes. Then he has a curveball that’s on and off, but an effective pitch when he is locating it. Then the coup de grace, his changeup, which is one of the best pitches in all of baseball, most times unhittable, they can’t pick it up, they can’t square it up, they just can’t hit it. Then, even in minors, his control/command was veteran-like right out of high school, at least most or much of the time. Minor league hitters were dramatically mismatched and that translated well to the majors, given a couple years to get his MLB legs and consistent health.

    Not sure Biddle can dominate to that degree. Can anyone identify similar punchout type pitches, or is he one of those guys who has a “nice” FB, some “nice” complementary pitches, and fairly good command. Just an unscientific feeling, but I would slot him as better than Kendrick/Worley (#5s) and Blanton (#4 type), but not a #1/#2 type yet. I know we don;t get a clear picture when a guy is pitching in the low minors, it’s hard to tell how much he is dominating guys who are just not that good. But right now he looks middle of rotation, with a chance to show develop some hammer pitches and consistent control, which could make him better. He certainly looks to have the makeup and drive to be a high achiever if he has the talent for that.

    Is this an accurate view? Can anyone provide solid observations of real plus pitches and a top of rotation repertoire?

    1. I saw Biddle pitch last August in Williamsport. At that point he was showing two pitches. A fastball sitting 89-91 and a big breaking ball about 71 mph. The drawback was his command, he had absolutely none that night. Biddle’s BB/9 reinforces that, he has to improve in order to become an MLB starter.

      As far as ceiling, I hesitate to draw a ceiling on a 19 year old pitcher. There’s so much possible variance. Right now I think there’s a small chance of being a #1, a more likely ceiling being that of a #2 starter. But as with any kid his age, there’s still a great deal of risk as well.

    2. I will keep this brief so as not to derail, but pairing Worley and Kendrick is very unfair. Worley will regress some, but he is at least a legitimate 4, more likely a 3 IMO. Again not going into great detail, just compare K rates – 7.95 versus 4.57.

    3. Biddle’s physique is a lot more ‘fuller’ then Hamel’s at the same age. Biddle’s strength will prove to be advantageous for him in the bext levels. Not sure how is pitches will pan out.

  4. Musser was certainly a disappointment for a prospect who received over $300,000 in bonus money to bypass college. Hoping that it was just a first season of pro ball issue and he makes the necessary adjustments for 2012. At 19, another season at GCL isn’t killer to his progress.

    Any update on the status of Kevin Walter??

  5. Ramon Oviedo- maybe you can now bump his stock up for having good bloodlines if he is found to be a close relative to the former Leo Nunez, who is now Juan Oviedo, 29 instead of 28 , and back in the Dominican awaiting governmental action.

    The way the signing issue was presented for Jon Musser, Kevin Walter, and the OF Pointer, was that the highly evaluating of own abilities Scott Frazier turned down a Cool Million, and then it was simply evenly divided among the so far underachieving Musser, the recipient of unknown injury Walter, and the as yet to excel against LHP’s Pointer. Goes to show the possible pitfalls of making decisions based upon money rather than plain old common sense. At the time of the draft, had more interest in Brenton Allen, Daniel Palka, and might even say a prescient interest in Keenyn Walker and the other OF SW Hitter Justin Cummings. But have a saying, Don’t complain about unsigned draft choices, Don’t be a Nobody.

  6. I realize this is more “general Phillies chatter” but seems like it’s been a while since we’ve had an new thread along those lines. Anyway, Mike Zagurski traded to the Dbacks for a PTBNL. Kind of a head-scratcher there. I guess he became vulnerable to a claim when they outrighted him off the 40-man, but I’m not sure why it was necessary to do so–basically, I think Savery took his spot, and hasn’t been used much, as you would expect. So in order to get the briefest of looks at one left-handed bullpen guy, they parted with another, who as recently as midseason was having a lot of success in AAA. I’m not saying he was likely to figure largely in their plans next year, but he could have provided a little organizational depth, at the very least. But maybe there are roster issues I’m not considering. I suppose Savery will have to be protected after this year, but there’s going to be a lot of 40-man flux after the season anyway.

  7. I’ve lost count of how many times Zagurski has been called up to the show. He has been terrible every time. Good luck to him. We won’t miss him.

  8. I’m gonna get in way on the ground floor here and call dibs on the conductor of the Josh Warner bandwagon. His overall numbers are ugly but he had some pretty good starts this year as well. He’s probably behind the curve because he’s and Aussie and he’s got a good frame at 6’3″ and had a very nice 48/12 K/BB ratio. I’d like to know anything about his current offerings though.

  9. Biddle is #2 in the system…just after May. Biddle has become “untouchable” ; the Astros wanted him more than Cosart in the Pence trade but the Phils refused.

  10. I might of included a starter or two and Brown to also nab Bourne. One thing this dry spell has proved the Phils are a one trick pony..Mb leading off would of added another element. Unless Utley can regain his power things may get grim.. Pence has the makings of a good LEFT fielder.
    Add the problems of Polonco and you can see what is wrong. Hopefully the playoffs will energize .
    Agreed Biddle is untouchable.

  11. Interesting comments about Pence – he is very much looking like a left fielder. I had no idea he was so rough in the outfield – he does some really cooky things in right field, including taking terrible routes to balls and flubbing balls he gets to. Why don’t they just start next year with Pence in left and leave Brown and Mayberry to sort things out in right field? Brown has enough adjustments to make, so keeping him in right takes away one set of adjustments.

    1. Pence’s RF Stats:
      631 — .986—19 — -14 — 34
      …he may not look very graceful out there, but his stats are not bad to say the least.

    2. My apologies, this comment board has gone sideways. My comment had no place in this string and neither do the other Pence/Mayberry comments.

      PP – would it be possible for you to set up and off season general comments board. Most comments do have relevance to the minor league system, but, clearly they are not relevant to posts like this.

      Again, sorry for contributing to the madness.

  12. Brown may improve. I think Pence is what he is. A more talented Lonnie Smith. Very entertaining!
    Only two HR in Sept and none against RHP is troublesome.
    BTW List Wallace/Gose as another one of Wade’s total failures. Happ on the other hand has been decent 5 out of the last 6 starts.(I’d like to hear that story)

    1. Pence has a .311 average with 21 hrs and 93 rbi…Lonnie Smith? Stop! Lonnie Smith was the right player at the right time as he went to four World Series. He only had 1yr of 20 + hrs and 2 yrs of 60 rbi or more. Pence has already hit for 20 or more Hrs 5 of 6 yrs and has 6 yrs of 60+ rbi. They are not even the same type of player. Smith is more of a speed guy and Pence is more of a #3/#5 hitter.

    2. I have seen your posts before and I have a sense the wheels fell off tonight.  Ordinarily you have a good sense of what is going on…Lonnie Smith and Pence, please ?  other than his incredible luck at being in the right place at the right time – which I hope Pence exhumes, I fail to see any comparability whatsoever between Lonnie “the lucky guy to have been on somebody’s WS trailer” and Pence.  Two entirely different players.

  13. isnt bourn a free agent. like to put him in left next year and trade pence and put mayberry in right, get two relief pitchers and let rollins go and use galvin sign pujous to play third

    1. Bourne: 2012 Contract Status: Signed thru 2011, 1 yr/$4.4M (11),
      Service Time (01/2010): 3.028….. Arb Eligible: 2012, Free Agent: 2013 ……Agent: Scott Boras,

    1. What happened here ?  I think the wheels fell off ?  How do we get from Pence being a lousy player and comparing him to a speed merchant en toto- ala M. Bourne to Lonnie Smith ??? Are you people even Phillies fans or what ???  Pence is the near Utley—he plays with an energy and verve that energizes the rest of the team. Whether we like to admit it or not, the greatest player – and I mean greatest in all aspects of the game – not just hitting homeruns  etc. at third base (Sir Michaeal Schmidt) with his many gold gloves —-IS CHASE UTLEY.  He is now entering the end of his career due to a multitude of injuries that are too severe for him to return to the great player (look at all the Warps , please), that we are used to seeing.  These injureies do not deter the spirit and guts of the best player other than Pujols in the last 6 years, it just makes him less than the 3 hole hitter and perrennial line drive hitter we are used to seeing day in an day out.    Pence, if nothing else was an attempt by management to reinvorgate a batting lineup that is suffering from age and infirmity.  Pence belongs in the 3 hole now and Utley in the no. 2 slot.  Hopefully that will produce enough offense to win some games.  And, ultimately, if not, leave Pence in right field, and go out an get a power hitting left fielder other than Dom Brown and his resume that can reinvorgate this lineup again- Berkman would have been the ideal candidate -albeit he signed with Cards. 

  14. Certainly barring a rebirth Utley should bat second and probably Pence third but I see the problem also at third base, a power position with no power.When others were hitting hard it didn’t matter but There needs to be a change.

    1. I agree. Keep Polanco to fill in at the oft broken/injured infield slots in the last year of his contract. Get a 3B who is right handed homerun hitting machine – even Mark Reynolds, though he is a lousy fielder and K machine. With the pitching one or two dingers is enough to win most games and put Polly in in the later innings for defense.

  15. Did around the system starting pitchers become Phillies talk? Get a hold folks and get back to the future, which consists of starting pitchers in our minor league system.

  16. By the way ArtD, I also read about the Astros wanting Biddle above all others. Your mind did not deceive you. That is where we got sidetracked by “the madness”. Thinking back on it, the Phillies kept Biddle, but Ed Wade didn’t do badly if he wanted good prospects. Cosart, Singleton, and Santana showed what they can do. One or two of them should make a contribution to the Astros.

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