Report Card, Starting Pitchers, Top Half

The report card on starting pitchers at the upper levels. Next up: Starting pitchers at Lakewood, Williamsport and the GCL on Thursday or Friday.

Lehigh Valley

Adam Morgan, 23, Phils 3rd round pick in 2011 draft; 16 starts; 2-7 with a 4.04ERA; 71.1IP 84H 26BB 49K; 10HR allowed; 0.73 GO/AO; .296 opp. avg., .284 vs. LH; .300 vs. RH, .266 with RISP; 3.3BB/6.2K per 9; 1.54 WHIP; Since Aug 1: 1-2 with a a3.18 ERA in 6 starts. A disappointing year for Morgan who spent a good portion of it on the DL with shoulder issues. When he came back, his ERA was good but he was pitching in and out of trouble in each start never lasting more than 5 innings.  I am concerned that he was still hurt at the end of the year. Grade: D+; 2014: Lehigh Valley rotation; Prospect Ranking: 8

David Buchanan, 23, Phils 7th round pick in 2010 draft; 28 starts between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 10-13 with a 4.40ERA; 169.2IP 178H 53BB 108K; 1.10GO/AO; .274 opp. avg; 1.36 WHIP; 2.8BB/5.7K per 9; In 6 starts with Lehigh Valley: 4-2 with a 3.00ERA; 1.23 WHIP; and .250 opp. avg. Buchanan really opened some eyes during his call up to Lehigh Valley at the end of the year pitching very well with a lot of innings already on his arm this year.  Coming back from a significant injury in 2012, Buchanan substantially raised his profile with his final month of the season.  Grade: B; 2014: Lehigh Valley rotation and a 40 man roster spot; Prospect Ranking: 38

Tyler Cloyd, 26, Phils 18th round pick in 2008 draft; 19 starts; 5-9 with a 4.71ERA; 2CG; 112.2IP; 125H 21BB 93K; 21HR allowed; 1.11 GO/AO; 1.30 WHIP;  .276 opp. avg; 1.7BB/7.4K per 9; .261 vs. LH; .288 vs. RH; .354 with RISP; Since July 1: 9 starts; 4-2 with a 2.31 ERA. It was a tale of two different seasons for CLoyd who was absolutely brutal during the first half of the year with home runs flying out at a very high rate and then in the second half, Cloyd looked much more like the pitcher he was in 2012, which was simply outstanding.  Cloyd does not have much margin for error because of his well documented “fringy” stuff.  He currently owns a place on the 40 man roster and is pitching for the Phillies but could just as easily find himself designated for assignment if the Phils acquire additional depth in the starting pitching department.  Grade: C; 2014: Really tough to predict with all the moving parts the Phils currently have with their pitching staff. If I were a betting man, he is still on the 40 and starts the year in Lehigh Valley 

Tom Cochran, 30, Re-Signed as a free agent in 2013; 23 games between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 3-11 with a 5.33ERA; 106.1IP 123H 59BB 72K 11HR allowed; 0.69 GO/AO; .290 opp. avg; 1.71 WHIP; .242 vs. LH, .314 vs. RH, .306 with RISP; Since July 1: 0-6 with a 5.97 ERA. Generally, it was pretty painful to watch Cochran pitch in 2013 with his season culminating with a suspension for his failure to report to Reading to pitch in the season finale.  Grade: D-; 2014: Gone.

Ethan Martin, 24, Acquired from Dodgers in 2012; 21 starts; 11-5 with a 4.12ERA; 115.2IP 94H 67BB 107K; 11HR allowed; o.86 GO/AO; .229 opp. avg; 1.39 WHIP; .249 vs. LH, .211 vs. RH, .215 with RISP; 5.2BB/8.3K per 9; In his last 10 minor league starts: 6-3 with a 2.80 ERA; This was a successful year for Martin, although he did continue to struggle with his control.  His short time in the Phillies rotation were inhibited by those same control problems.  I debate whether his move to the bullpen in Philadelphia was because the Phils wanted to limit his innings (he is right around 150 on the year, with a ton of pitches), or if they believe this is legitimately the time to make the move to the bullpen. His stuff can be overpowering but a walk rate of over 5 per nine will never fly in the Phillies rotation.  Grade: B-; 2014: Lehigh Valley to begin the year; Prospect Ranking: 5

Greg Smith, 29, Signed as a free agent in 2013; 26 games (17 starts) between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 9-6 with a 3.34ERA; 116IP 124H 23BB 57K 8HR allowed; 0.94 GO/AO; .275 opp. avg; 1.27WHIP; .236 vs.LH, .299 vs. RH, .239 with RISP; 4-3 with a 4.12ERA in 9 Post All STar Game starts; Smith was signed as a free agent very early in the year when a rash of injuries hit and he ended up being perhaps Lehigh Valley’s most consistent starter. He is far from overpowering but simply gets the job done and knows how to pitch. Grade: B+; 2014: I imagine SMith goes where he has the greatest opportunity to return to the majors and his 2013 pedigree should help him get a legitimate shot.

Raul Valdes, 35, Signed as a free agent in 2012; 14 starts; 4-5 with a 2.86ERA; 78.2IP 67H 22BB 66K; 5HR allowed; 0.64GO/AO; .228 opp. avg; 1.13WHIP; .269 vs LH, .213 vs. RH, .200 with RISP. Valdes pitched well for Lehigh Valley and was awful when he was called up to Philly on multiple occasions.  He simply no longer has major league stuff (if he ever did).  2014: The Phils intentions were made clear when he was not called up on Sept. 1.  He will not be back.


Jesse Biddle, 21, Phils 1st round pick in 2010; 27 starts; 5-14 with a 3.64ERA; 2CG; 138.1IP; 104H 82BB 154K; 10HR allowed; 0.94GO/AO; .210 opp. avg; 1.34 WHIP; .195 vs.LH; .215vs. RH; .225 with RISP; 5.3BB/10.0K per nine; Since July 1: 2-6 with a 4.80ERA (36BB in 45IP). Biddle was borderline unhittable this year, however the control problems have reached a truly worrisome proportion to the extent that if it is not fixed (and quickly), Biddle’s ascent to the majors will be placed on hold. He can be simply overpowering, but this year was in trouble with his control just as often.  Grade: I really can’t go above a C+ with the control issues that developed.  2014: Lehigh Valley; Prospect Ranking: 2

Seth Rosin, 24, Acquired from San Francisco in 2012; 26 games (23 starts); 9-6 with a 4.33ERA; 126.2IP 120H 35BB 96K; 13HR allowed; 0.80 GO/AO; .248 opp. avg; 1.22WHIP; 2.5BB/6.8K per 9; .261 vs. LH, .237 vs. RH, .317 with RISP; Post All Star Break: 3-2 with a 5.02ERA. A very good season for Rosin who made the successful transition to a starter this year.  He did slow down towards the end of the season having thrown many more innings than his previous max of 89, but over the course of the whole season Rosin was certainly one of the more dependable starters in the organization. His control is a notable asset.  Grade: B+; 2014: Lehigh Valley rotation and a 40 man roster spot; Prospect Ranking: 19

Mario Hollands, 25, Phils 10th round pick in 2010; 27 games (20 starts) between Clearwater and Reading; 7-3 with a 2.86ERA; 132IP 130H 32BB 114K; 1.23WHIP; 0.92GO/AO; .256 opp avg; For Reading: 13 games (10 starts); 3-2 with a 4.31ERA; 62.2IP 70H 20BB 53K; 1.43WHIP; 2.9BB/7.6K per nine. Signs of progress for Hollands who had a difficult 2012. That said, I am still unsure whether he possesses major league caliber stuff.  Grade: B; 2014: Reading rotation. Note: I don’t believe Hollands will be protected on the 40.

Ryan Demmin, 25, Signed as a free agent in 2013; 5 starts between Lakewood and Reading; 1-4 with a 4.13ERA; 32.2IP 34H 5BB 22K; 0.73 GO/AO; .279 opp. avg; 1.19 WHIP; 1.4BB/6.1K per nine; Demmin was plucked out of Independent baseball late in the year to give the Phils a guy that could eat some innings with all the injuries they were suffering.  Demmin did a good job doing that but his skill set is somewhere around High A.  I dont see him back in 2014.

Bobby Bramhall, 28, Signed as a free agent in 2013; 29 games (7 starts) between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 1-3 with a 4.17ERA; 69IP 72H 29BB 47K; 0.98 GO/AO; .260 opp. avg; 1.36WHIP; 3.8BB/6.1K per nine; Bramhall was signed in early June and started with Lehigh Valley where he did not pitch well.  He was demoted down to Reading where he improved, having success as both a starter and long reliever for the Fightins’. At this stage however, Bramhall is an extra arm if a wrath of injuries hit.  Grade: C+; 2014: Another organization

Perci Garner, 24, Phils 2nd round pick in 2010 draft; 25 starts between Clearwater, Reading and LV; 7-6 with a 4.41ERA; 136.2IP 147H 74BB 109K; 1.87 GO/AO; 7 HR allowed; .276 opp. avg; 1.60WHIP; 4.9BB/7.2K per nine; Made two starts at the end of the year for Reading and was 0-0 with a 6.52ERA. Garner allowed far two many baserunners for any semblance of long term success. A very high walk rate left him pitching out of jams more often than not. In his second full season at CLearwater, his numbers pretty much mirrored 2012. Grade: C. 2014: I do not expect Garner to be protected on the 40 man roster and do not expect him taken in the Rule 5.  I see him in the Reading rotation next year  

Rob Rasmussen, 24, Acquired from Dodgers in 2013; 28 games (24 starts) between AA and AAA in the Dodgers organization; 3-11 with a 4.11ERA; 135.2IP 124H 60BB 113K; 15HR allowed; 0.97 GO/AO; .243 opp. avg; 1.35WHIP; 4.0BB/7.5K per nine; In AAA: 12 games (10 starts); 0-7 with a 6.46ERA; Rasmussen comes with a decent pedigree as a 2nd round pick in 2010 out of UCLA.  He very definitely struggled with his AAA transition and was sent back to AA where he pitched well.  I admittedly dont know Rasmussen’s profile well enough to grade him for 2013.  I do see him being protected on the 40, and with any modicum of success of Spring Training, starting 2014 in Lehigh Valley. Prospect Ranking: 22


Severino Gonzalez, 21, Signed as a free agent in 2010; 25 games (14 starts) between Lakewood, CLearwater and Reading; 7-5 with a 2.00ERA; 103.2IP 84H 22BB 119K; 5HR allowed; 0.63 GO/AO; .224opp avg; 1.02 WHIP; 1.9BB/10.3K per nine; Gonzalez was simply outstanding this year and consistently over matched hitters at the “A” level. He was rewarded with an end of the year start for Reading where he pitched well. 2014 and the step up to Reading will be where we truly learn what we may have with Gonzalez.  Grade: A+; 2014: Reading rotation; Prospect Ranking: 18

Hoby Milner, 22, Phils 7th round pick in 2012 draft; 26 starts; 12-7 with a 3.83ERA; 143.1IP 147H 39BB 108K; 11HR allowed; 1.74 GO/AO; .270 opp. avg; .189 vs. LH; .294 vs. RH; .291 with RISP; Post All STar: 6-5 with a 4.31ERA; 1.29WHIP; 2.4BB/6.8K per nine; Overall a very good 2013 for Milner, although it did appear he was significantly tiring (as with most pitchers) towards the end of the season.  He is clearly ready for the challenge of AA.  Grade: B; 2014: Reading rotation; Prospect Ranking: 20

Ethan Stewart, 22, Phils 47th round pick in 2010 draft; 21 starts; 1-6 with a 6.00ERA; 96IP 111H 80BB 64K; 0.77GO/AO; .298 opp. avg; 1.99WHIP; 7.5BB/6.0K per nine; .341 vs. LH, .284 vs. RH, .297 with RISP; Since Aug 1: 5 starts, 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA (11BB in 34IP); Looking at the overall body of work for 2013, pretty much the worst line for a starting pitcher over a 15 start period that I have seen.  The Phils must see something in Stewart to stick with him for the extended period they did and it paid off in August where he strung together a number of quality starts. Among many issues this year, his control clearly topped the list. Grade: He saved himself an “F” with his performance the last month. D-; 2014: Clearwater

Nick Hernandez, 25, Phils 12th round pick of 2009 draft; 18 starts; 3-5 with a 5.28ERA; 88.2IP 102H 36BB 86K; 8HR allowed; 0.64 GO/AO; .291 opp. avg; .188 vs. LH; .316 vs. RH; .286 with RISP; 1.56 WHIP; 3.7BB/8.7K per nine; Post All Star: 0-4 with a 7.71ERA in 7 starts. AFter missing two full seasons injured, Hernandez tried to come back and did with some success at the beginning of the year but went steadily downhill, ultimately culminating with a trip back to the DL in August.  Its pretty clear his health will be an ongoing issue at this stage.  Grade: C-; 2014: If his injuries have not ended his career, I would expect one more shot, most likely in the bullpen in Reading.

Nic Hanson, 21, Phils 16th round pick in 2012 draft; 21 games (15 starts) between Lakewood and CLearwater; 2-4 with a 3.44ERA; 102IP 112H 16BB 68K; 4HR allowed; 1.22 GO/AO; .272 opp. avg; 1.25WHIP; 1.4BB/6.0K per nine; For Clearwater: 5 starts; 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA. Hanson had a very good year, but struggled a bit towards the end of the year as his innings began to add up in CLearwater (after a DL stint).  He has clearly earned a spot in the Threshers rotation for 2014.  Grade: B. Prospect Ranking: 36

Gabrial Arias, 23, Signed as a free agent in 2007; 12 games (7 starts); 6-2 with a 2.47ERA; 1CG; 54.2IP 50H 14BB 39K; 0.72 GO/AO; .248 opp. avg; 1.17 WHIP; 2.3BB/6.4K per 9; .224 vs. LH, .257 vs. RH, .217 with RISP; Arias was pitching extremely well when he went down in late May with a significant shoulder injury. It remains to be seen how he recovers. Depending upon recovery, he lands back in CLearwater to get back up to speed in 2014.

Colin Kleven, 22, Phils 33rd round pick in 2009; 3 starts; 0-3 with a 14.29ERA; 11.1IP 21H 5H 19K; 1.00 GO/AO; .389 opp. avg; Kleven only made three starts in 2013 and each start was very poor and we ultimately learned he was pitching injured.  I am unsure of the nature of the injury but it was significant enough that he did not come back in 2013.

35 thoughts on “Report Card, Starting Pitchers, Top Half

  1. Sevey not in top 10? I think most lists will have there. Is he velocity reason behind the low ranking? Or is this last years ranking?

        1. He’s definitely higher than 18, imo. What he did at that level at his age warrants a much higher ranking.

        2. The problem is that the reports have been all over the map from as low as 88 to as high as 94. I would say the low ranking has to do with his frame, the inconsistency of reports, and being an A ball pitcher with no buzz/pedigree before this season.

        1. If he consistently sat 92-94 (I am more concerned with where the velocity sits not where he can throw it to), then he is in the discussion in that 8-15 range or so. I still have a ton of worries about his size. Short pitchers have plane issues, and he is not only short but he is skinny with a small frame, there is not a lot of track record of pitchers being long term starters with that build

  2. I think Ethan Martin will be with the Phillies next year in the bullpen. He could hang around Lehigh Valley for a long time as a starter. He can help immediately as a reliever. He will be a reliever. Garner looks like he will follow the same trajectory into the bullpen. Same problem; same solution. Buchanan can be effective, but he is another 4th-5th starter. He may get a chance next year if the pitching problems continue on the Phillies. Biddle has a couple of years to steady his control. He’ll be awesome when he perfects it. I think he can. I want to see Gonzalez. They say he has a pitch like Mariano Rivero, his countryman. If only… I like Nick Hanson. Hope he throws harder than the others. He seems to have good stuff.

    1. Yes…getting worth out of Martin would be a bullpen position. Should he welcome the move doing well in the 8th inning job and his control doesn’t go awry in those short stints, he could become a candidate for closer post Paps.

      He may already have had the shortest career as a starter in many years.

    2. I was one who was all for leaving Martin as a starter this year, but after reading Crashburn Alley’s analysis of his first 25 pitches versus 25+ has convinced me that it is time to make the move. It would be nice to find a cost controlled heir apparent to Paps and Aumont has taken himself out consideration after his struggles/attitude.

    3. I agree on Martin, he’ll begin next season in the big league pen and I also agree that Garner’s ultimate future is in the pen as well. I’m not sure they’ll move him there now or wait to get him more innings though. Buchannan does look like a guy who could be a #5 and that would be prety good. I think we all want Sev to be the real deal but it will be tough if he’s throwing 88-89. Hansen improved a lot last year and he’s huge with lots of upside to go. I also like Milner although I’m not sure he’ll stay as a starter long term because of his size but he knows how to pitch.

      1. I am hoping someday Martin gets to have the chance to start again. Kind of like some teams, like the Cardinals for one, do with some of their young pitchers. Bring some of their hightly touted prospects initially along in the bullpen and then convert them over to starters. Wainwright did that I believe

  3. We can understand how a fan would think that Biddle will take another two years to be ready for the big time. This season was filled with great expectations for him. After a spectacular game when he struck out seemingly everybody, he got that medical problem that put him out of action for 6 (?) weeks or so.

    When he came back he had lost the zip on his FB and began to have problems in throwing strikes. His change-up has been a work in progress and ’13 was going to cure its lack. Good idea; came up short along with the rest of his game when he tried to pitch through it all.

    Perhaps, what he needs is a winter of recuperation back to his prior health and strength. With that back in ’14 (hopefully), he continues on his better pathway to the bigs. That may be resolved soon than we may expect; if so, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in a Phils uni in September ’14.

    Worth waiting for. Nobody has ever indicated that he is anything but a good citizen player insofar as putting out the necessary efforts is concerned. Seeing him up in Sept (?) would be a fine welcoming to go along with an expected appearance by Franco, too.

  4. I see many LHV starters but not much else?
    Morgan, Biddle, Rosin, Rasmussen, Buchanan, Cloyd, Martin, Pettibone could all be part of rotation.

    In AA, there is Serverino Gonzalez (large promotion), Milner, and who else? Garner who should be a reliever. Colvin who should be a reliever. Wright who is a reliever.
    I could see Rasmussen and Rosin back to AA. Not sure about Cloyd in the organization at all.

    Giving up on Martin as a starter might be a mistake because the reward could be big. I’d like to see enough starters acquired so Pettibone starts in AAA as the frist reserve.

    MLB: Lee, Hamels, Josh Johnson/Ervin Santanna, Miguel Gonzalez, and Lannan (just since he will be cheap); with Kendrick non-tendered, Halladay signing with StL, Pettibone to AAA.

    1. what more do you have to see?? Martin is a twenty four year old, who has shown you, he loses his velocity after two or three innings, I have never seen a pitcher since I Have
      been watching baseball, who has shown you without a doubt he cant sustain his stuff any longer and is a good one to two inning pitcher with a plus fastall and curve for those two innng, what do you think all of a sudden at 25 or 30 he might hold his velocity longer, dont get your comments ,if you ever watched this kid, and ever scout who has commented, has the same opinion,

  5. The Inquirer ran an article today saying that an MRI of Adam Morgan’s shoulder shows no structural damage and he will get another 3 months rest before throwing again – a very good idea indeed. Assuming there are no hidden problems with the shoulder, this is outstanding news. If he had structural problems, I probably would have dropped him to somewhere around 12-15 in the prospect ratings because serious shoulder issues for a young pitcher can be disastrous. This is more likely a minor setback and, therefore, I would probably have him ranked somehwere between around 5-8 (not sure yet as I have not done my full rankings). Still this is extremely good news as Morgan has the ability to be a solid #3 starter on a good team – essentially Randy Wolf in one of his very good years, which is a very good pitcher.

    1. Randy Wolf is a pretty comp for Morgan. However, take a look at Wolf’s minor league stats, they were tremendous.

  6. On a separate note – gosh the pitching in this system is thin. It makes me feel like we are back in 1998. They are going to have to shore it up with strong drafts and maybe a few trades and it would help if one or two fo the starters, including Biddle, comes up big. Having watched Ethan Martin for a little while now, it’s abundantly clear that his immediate, and perhaps permanent, future is in the bullpen because he just loses velocity too quickly to be an effective starter right now. Fortunately, his stuff is electric and, like Rosenberg, he has the pitch selection of a starter, which, if he can command one or two pitches well, makes him especially dangerous but, alas, less valuable as a prospect. For me, Martin would probably be in the 9-12 range, just because his future is likely in the bullpen.

    1. I think they were very comfortable with the pitchers they drafted in previous years, and most recently, they concentrated on drafting positional players, which we were all screaming for 2-3 years ago. With all of the trades sending our top pitching prospects elsewhere, we seem to be relatively bare in that area. I am sure you will see an abundance of pitchers drafted in the next 2 drafts.

      That being said, we need a couple of our top pitchers to rise to the top(Biddle, Morgan, Martin). And can someone please keep throwing steaks into the mouth of Sevy. Wash it down with a protein shake!

  7. Why was Morgan allowed to come back when he was still hurt?
    Issues with Doc, Howard, Utley over the years really show something is severely lacking in this organization when it comes to injuries.
    I understand the desire to keep Martin in the rotation, but with guys like Defratus, Stutes, and Aumont unable to hold down a spot in the bullpen, I dont think it leaves the Phils with any choice but to start him in the pen next year. Diekman has been extremely good in the 2nd half and adding Martin will really help to solidfy the pen.


  8. imo, Martin should be in the phillies starting rotation next year.And I mean from the get-go.He’s got a good four seamer, a good curveball, a good slider, a developing changeup, and a decent two seamer. You don’t put a pitcher that throws 5 pitches in the bullpen. Imo, he’s needed more in the rotation then the pen. The pen for next year looks pretty much set with Diekman, Bastardo, Defratus, Rosenberg, Stutes,, and Garcia.

    1. He just doesn’t maintain his effectiveness over the course of a game. He’s pretty lights out in his first 25 pitches and then his ability degrades after that threshold. Hence moving him to the bullpen.

    2. Martin should start in the bullpen, and maybe down the road go to starting again to see if he can sustain thru 7. Other teams do it that way and find success. There is nothing saying he will never have the opp to start again.

      1. It doesn’t work that way. Relieving will not increase his ability to sustain velocity through 7 IP.

        1. Incorrect…..Cardinals did it with Wainwright, Rangers did it with Feldman, and there are many other examlples of young pitchers starting in relif roles and transistioning to starters after a few years.. It has been done in the past and will continue. If he gets stronger or whatever maturation process occurs, it can be done.
          To blanketly say he is doomed to reliever purgatory for his entire major league career is being presumptuous.

          1. Not saying a guy can’t start in the minors, break into the majors as a reliever, and then become a starter again. I’m saying, for guys like Martin who can’t sustain velocity beyond a few IP and need to build stamina, that isn’t going to happen working out of the pen. I don’t think Wainwright was a guy who went to the pen because he had a history of not being able to maintain velocity past the first few innings.

            1. Ethan Martin’s minor league numbers will show that he does have the ability and stamina to at some point have the potential to start in the majors down the road.
              G -137, GS – 101, IP -582, BB – 354 (5.5/9), K – 583 (9/9).
              So for arguement sake, the 36 relief appearances amounted to 40 innings.
              Then his 101 GS and IP would approx 540, or an average of 5+ IP per GS.
              Add to the fact young arms are on pitch counts, and Martin is a K pitcher with poor com. and con., esepcially in his early years. That would have lowered his total IP.
              All I say is, at some point after next year, he should have the opportunity to try it again.
              The money is in starting.

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