Around the System–Bullpen, Lower Half

The last of the Around the System reports….


Tyler Knigge, 22, Phils 12th round pick in 2010; 43 games; 4-3 with a 3.32 ERA; 4 saves; 65IP58H 24BB 54K; 0.97 GO/AO; .243 opp. avg., .237 vs. LH, .246 vs. RH, .290 with RISP; 1.26 WHIP; 3.3BB/7.4K. Knigge had a pretty good year, although was inconsistent at times.  2012: Clearwater

Jay Johnson, 21, Signed as a free agent in 2010; 40 games; 1-5 with a 2.94 ERA; 5 saves; 49IP 41H 35BB 49K; 0HR allowed; 1.94 GO/AO; .228 opp. avg., .208 vs. LH, .236 vs. RH, .213 with RISP; 1.55 WHIP; 6.5BB/9.0K; Johnson pitched well and didn’t give up a homer in his 49 innings, a nice trait for a late inning guy.  Still, his walk rate is huge and will need work in Clearwater next season.

Chase Johnson, 23, Phils 21st round pick in 2009; 38 games; 4-6 with a 4.31 ERA; 71IP 73H 27BB 64K; 3 HR allowed; 0.60 GO/AO; .268 opp. avg., .309 vs. LH, .249 vs. RH, .291 with RISP. 1.41 WHIP; 3.3BB/7.9K.  Not awful, but not good for the 23 year old Johnson.  More was expected of him after making the NYPL All Star Team in 2010.  2012: Clearwater bullpen.

Lendy Castillo, 22, Signed as a free agent in 2006; 21 games; 4-2 with a 2.54 ERA; 46IP 37H 16BB 46K; 1 Hr allowed; 0.84 GO/AO; .220 opp. avg., .271 vs. LH, .184 vs. RH, .150 with RISP; 1.15 WHIP; 3.1BB/9.0K. Castillo threw very well and should start 2012 in Clearwater with the potential for a July callup to Reading.

Ryan Duke, 23, Phils 25th round pick in 2011; 21 games between WIlliamsport and Lakewood; 0-0 with a 0.78 ERA; 7 saves; 23IP 10H 5BB 27K; 1.00 GO/AO; .128 opp. avg; 0.65 WHIP;1.9BB/10.5K. Duke completely dominated the lower levels as a 22 year old should.  Other than his age, no reason to rush the 2011 draft pick.  2012: CLearwater.

Hector Neris, 22, Signed as a free agent in 2010; 15 games in Williamsport; 1-1 with a 1.13 ERA; 24IP 17H 8BB 29K; 0.38 GO/AO; .198 opp. avg; 19 games for Lakewood; 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA; 35IP 34H 9BB 43K; 1.00 GO/AO; .245 opp. avg., 1.22 WHIP; 2.3BB/11.1K.  Dominant for Williamsport, less so in Lakewood, but with very good peripherals.  2012: Clearwater.


Gabrial Arias, 21, Signed as a free agent in 2007; 24 games; 1-2 with a 2.97 ERA; 7 saves; 36.1IP 36h 12bb 31K; 0Hr allowed; 1.43 GO/AO; .261 opp. avg., .304 vs. LH, .234 vs. RH, .232 with RISP; 1.25 WHIP; 2.7BB/7.6K. 2011 was Arias’s 5th season playing in the organization but first in the States.  If the Phils have a long term interest in him, he has to be pushed to at least Clearwater in 2012.

James Birmingham, 23, Signed as a free agent in 2011; 22 games between GCL and WIlliamsport; 3-1 with a 1.72 ERA; 9 saves; 31.1IP 16H 14BB 39K; 1.45 GO/AO; .148 opp. avg., 0.95GO/AO; 4.0BB/11.2K.  Time to be aggressive with Birmingham’s movement.  A start in Reading isn’t out of the question, although Clearwater is more likely.

Austin Brough, 23, Signed as a free agent in 2011; 20 games; 2-3 with a 0.47 ERA; 1 save; 38IP 35H 5BB 23K; 1.28 GO/AO; .254 opp. avg., .111 vs. LH, .323 vs. RH, .229 with RISP; 1.05 WHIP; 1.1BB/5.4K. Brough pitches to contact and has excellent command.  The lefty is clearly ready for a move up, but I’m not sure how far. I would start him in Lakewood, but with aggressive early season movement to Clearwater if successful in April and May.

Matt Campbell, 24, Phils 24th roud pick in 2011; 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in 15 games; 29.1IP 26H 9BB 13K; 1.69 GO/AO; .239 opp. avg., .218 vs. LH, .255 vs. RH, .323 with RISP; 1.19 WHIP; 2.7BB/3.9K.

Cody Fick, 23, Phils 23rd round pick in 2011 draft; 15 games (2 starts); 3-1 with a 3.89 ERA; 37IP 29H 22BB 28K; 3 HR allowed; 0.95 GO/AO; .213 opp. avg., 1.37 WHIP; 5.3BB/6.7K; Walked too many hitters but otherwise was decent.  2012: Lakewood.

Juary Gomez, 21, Signed as a free agent in 2008; 24 games; 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA; 10 saves; 38IP 32H 10BB 31K; 0.77 GO/AO; .227 opp. avg., 1.10 WHIP; 2.4BB/7.3K.  Gomez threw very nicely and is ready for a key role in the Lakewood bullpen in 2012.

Bryan Morgado, 22, Phils 4th round pick in 2010; 17 games between Lakewood and WIlliamsport (3 starts); 2-0 with a 2.30 ERA, 1 save; 43IP 36H 17BB 44K; 1.08 GO/AO; .225 opp. avg., .250 vs. LH, .202 vs. RH, .143 with RISP. 1.23 WHIP; 3.5BB/9.1K. Morgado’s biggest issue has been his health which has held him back.  He has very good stuff but spent time on the DL on two different occasions this year. 2012: Lakewood to start but potential quick movement.

Colton Murray, 21, Phils 13th round pick in 2011; 22 games; 1-2 with a 3.00 ERA; 30IP 28H 12BB 23K; 1.68 GO/AO; .241 opp. avg., .255 vs. LH, .231 vs. RH, .171 with RISP. The Kansas University product did what he needed to do to move to Lakewood to start 2012.

Jesus Pirela, 22, Signed as a free agent in 2006; 17 games; 3-0 with a 4.34 ERA; 29IP 27H 17BB 31K; 1.51 WHIP; 5.6BB/9.6K; .292 vs LH, .210 vs. RH, .167 with RISP. Pirela will be entering his 6th year pitching in the organization and has substantial control issues in Williamsport.  I can’t see him advancing based on what we have seen so far.


Ian Durham, 22, Phils 28th round pick in 2011; 18 games; 1-0 with a 3.62 ERA; 2 saves; 32.1IP 36H 10BB 24K; 0.84 GO/AO; .293 opp. avg., 1.42 WHIP; 2.8BB/6.7K; .158 vs. LH, .353 vs. RH, .294 with RISP. Durham probably showed enough to move on in 2012 to Williamsport, but barely.

Paul Cusick, 23, Phils 29th round pick in 2011; 18 games; 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA; 40.1IP 36H 16BB 39K; 0.95 GO/AO; .231 opp. avg., 1.28 WHIP; 3.5BB/8.7K. Cusick, a Penn product, got a cup of coffee in Williamsport at the end of the year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in Lakewood in a middle relief role.

Rye Davis, 22, Signed as a free agent in 2011; 17 games; 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA: 4 saves; 27IP 18H 10BB 25K; 0.79 GO/AO; .178 opp. avg., 1.03 WHIP; 3.3BB/8.3K. Davis was impressive and should start in Lakewood.

Fabian Cota, 19, 15 games; 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA; 23IP 21H 12BB 25K; 0.83 GO/AO; .250 opp. avg., 1.43 WHIP; 4.6BB/9.8K. Cota showed some promise in his first year pitching in the STates. Williamsport in 2012.

Andre Kinder, 22, Phils 42nd round pick in 2011; 13 games; 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA; 2 saves; 24.2IP 17H 12BB 31K; 1.17 WHIP; 4.3BB/11.3K; 0.68 GO/AO; .193 opp. avg., Kinder was a nice surprise for such a late draft pick. Could see time in Lakewood in 2012.

Craig Fritsch, 23, Phils 10th round pick in 2010; 13 games; 0-1 with a 9.58 ERA; 10.1IP 11H 18BB 9K; Fritsch obviously had all kinds of control issues. A relatively high draft pick who went backwards this year.  I would be surprised if he is back.

Yacksel Rios, 18, Signed by Phils as a free agent; 10 games; 0-1 with a 8.74 ERA; 11.1IP 14H 14BB 10K.  First time pitching in U.S. and needs a good deal of work.  Back to GCL next year.

Jorge Serrano, 18, Signed by Phils as a free agent; 7 games; 0-0 with a 9.35 ERA; 8.2IP 12H 11BB 3K.  See Rios, above.

Carlos Best, 20, Signed by Phils as a free agent in 2008; 4 games; 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA. Converted OF, who needs alot more work on the hill.

Kenny Giles, 21, 7th round pick in 2010 draft, 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in 3 games.  Giles, who has a good deal of talent, was a late signee and didn’t get much of an opportunity to pitch.  Williamsport in 2012.

Marek Minarek, 18, Signed as a free agent in 2010 by Phils. Pitched in 2 games in GCL.

40 thoughts on “Around the System–Bullpen, Lower Half

  1. If Leonel Bastidas is still in the organization do you think he’ll start again in Williamsport? He seems destined for a relief role.

  2. Have to say when I see a list of bullpen pitchers in the lower half I just assume that none of them will ever help the big club. Typically major league players don’t land in the bullpen until they reach the higher levels.

    If they are pitching relief in the GCL they aren’t high-level prospects.

      1. Yes, there are always exceptions to any rule and Heath Bell is a poster child for being an exception. Didn’t become an effect relief pitcher until he was in his 30’s.

    1. I remember looking this up before. I’d say off the top of my head about 60-80% of good relievers were starters in the minors. There are exceptions of course, but as a solid rule you’ll find better relief prospects among your low level starters.

      1. The two most prevelent in the Phil’s org are Schwimer & Rosenberg. Both were drafted to move quickly as relievers. Schwim has never started a professional game and Rosy started him 1st games this year. He’s doing the opposite of most pitchers. The Phil’s have tried to draft a few of these guys each year in hopes of finding the next Papelbon.

          1. I see your point, but it’s probably not the best week of the year to invoke Papelbon’s name.

        1. Rosenberg’s career progression is kinda proving my point since he’s been terrible in AA ball the last 2 years and will be 26 in 2012.

          Schwimer would be an exception but he also pitched just 22 games below high A ball so he’s not a great example of an Lower-half bullpen guy who made it.

        2. This is a good point. It shows how smart the Phils draft strategy is in many respects. They draft a lot of good, projectable arms. And they’ve had the luxury in recent years to develop some very good arms as relief specialists from the ground up. Schwimer, Rosenberg, as you mentioned. But also DeFratus, Zagurski, Diekman, Zeid, Ellis, Pettis, Knigge, Johnson, Duke, Arias, Birmingham, the list goes on. Stutes was converted belatedly, as was Cisco, Herndon and Friend are guys they Rule-5’d for that role, Aumont was a reliever when they got him and they saw him as one even when they started him to get more innings. Lots of teams have some decent arms in relief roles, but Phils have developed and acquired some better arms than avg in that role, and that’s the resut of drafting a slew of outstanding arms, so they can afford to build a relief specialist pipeline. We’ve seen some of the benefits this year, and will see more in coming years, specifically DeFratus and Aumont.

          They have the other type too. Starters who did not develop and became decent relievers–Savery, Stutes, Bastardo are just a few. But it’s not all that type with the Phils and they will enjoy financial relief from having these guys in the pen and not having to pay the Dannys Baezes of the world $4M.

          1. Cisco was a starter. Herndon was a Starter. Stutes was a starter.
            3Ks original comment in this thread is exactly right.

            1. So was DeFratus for the 1st 2+ years of his career. He was converted at Lakewood in his 3rd season.

              Zeid was a starter his first season and split time starting/relieving his next 2

              Diekman, starter.

              etc. etc.

            2. Also of note Aumont was tried as a Starter in the M’s system before going to relief, and tried again in the SP role by the Phillies. Starters are simply more valuable commodities, so they are right to try guys there until they prove they can’t cut it.

        3. My comment wasn’t intended to refute 3Up’s comment or Alan’s. It was intended to identify a change in approach the Phil’s have taken in the last few drafts. Take a shot on a guy who only has reliever label.

          Conventional wisdom says to take really good arms and let them start. When you have no starter’s spots left or you think a guy’s strengths are in the relief area.. then switch them.

          1. Precisely. Pretty salient point and worth making. The old cliche of relievers being failed starters is not wholly true with Phils. Regardless of when some of thee guys I mentioned above were converted, there was and is, as you say, a strategic and concerted effort to groom quality relievers earlier than is classically the case, using both drafted arms that fit the role and some acquisitions.

            1. Except that the old cliche is still basically true. The Phillies aren’t drafting guys specifically with the idea that they are relievers. The are drafting guys with high potential arms and trying to make them starters. When they fail as starters, they are moved to the pen.

              In the last few years, Schwimer is probably the only guy drafted specifically with the plan to make him a reliever. Zeid might be the only other although they never did seem to make up their minds with him either way.

          2. There is no new Phillies draft strategy. The Phillies are doing what everybody else in MLB does, and that is taking all of the “real” talent and making them start until it is obvious they can’t do it. Some guys, like Schwimer, show they aren’t good enough to be starters early, that’s all.
            The notion that the Phillies have all of these great relief pitchers (above what any other team has) is just perception, because we have now a place to read their names everyday until they get to the majors.

            1. There’s some truth to what you’re saying, but it’s not quite correct. I think we exaggerate how much bullpen talent there is on the Pharm, but both Justin DeFratus and Aumont are top-shelf bullpen prospects. With Stutes and Bastardo already in the ML bullpen and the possibility that Savery and/or Schwimer might still work out (possibility), I’d say that young bullpen arms are a strength of the system.

    2. In general I agree, though as others are saying – there are exceptions. More pitchers are being groomed for the bullpen these days like Schwimmer. If they move quickly they can be prospects. The second exception is really young players like Rios, Cota, and Serrano at GCL. These guys are in the bullpen because they are not ready to start yet. Though if they are not starting in a couple of years their prospects probably become dimmer.

      In general, the better relief prospects still start out as starters (Aumont for instance) because that gives them an opportunity to get experience and develop multiple pitches.

        1. Here is an oddity……Mariano Rivera is considered a ‘pretty good’ MLB reliever. He had one save in the minors–his first year in the GCL…then 68 more minor league starts of little significance. Amazing how that all turned out!

      1. Only thing that has probably changed is the the decision is being made faster than it used to be when pitchers were giving more time to show something as a starter before being converted.

        With the increased value of relief pitchers in today’s game, teams are willing to convert a quality arm faster if they struggle to show success as a starter.

  3. One name I don’t see on here is RHP Ebelin Lugo – probably the only “prospect” in the CLW bullpen most of the year. I believe he started out well, got roughed up a little, and finally dropped back to Lakewood at the end of the year.

  4. FIL happenings……Larry Greene tweets he will only be out for two weeks or so with the groin issue. Thats good news. Judging by his picture, he appears to have some large quads/thighs. I guess that goes with the territory when you at 6’1″ or so and 235 lbs plus and use to play RB/LB in Georgia HS football.

  5. AFL starts on Tuesday. Yahoo!!! More minor league baseball. Galvis is going to play Winter Ball in Ven. and then back to his offseason workouts.

    1. Anyone know if Quinn is playing SS or CF? If SS, they’ve got lots of guys to choose from to play SS each day. We’ll have to wait to see whether Greene, Jr plays LF or 1B.

  6. Around the System-OF…..time to get excited over Anthony Hewitt.
    …. will spend his entire 2011/2012 off-season living in Florida, where he has relocated, near the Phillies spring training facility in order to maximize his workout time.
    Hewitt says, “I will start swinging the second week in November tweaking a few things and (adjusting) a few other things in my complete game,” Hewitt stated. “I live in Florida now, so I can hit with Howard when ever he gets down here and I will be able to use the spring training facilities, as often as I would like, to hit. So far, since the season has been over, I took about two weeks off. Started working out doing a little weight training and watching lots of hitting video on my self and other hitters in the big leagues, to study them, and learn and apply some things to my game,”
    …………..the Freddy Galvis of 2012!

  7. For what it’s worth, Jay Johnson and Christopher Kissock are part of Team Canada at the ongoing World Cup. Tim Kennelly and Joel Naughton are starting for Australia, while Tuffy Gosewisch is the USA’s backup catcher.

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