A look at Starting pitching in the upper portion of the organization. A reminder that grades are based on expectations against that particular player pre-season, as opposed to each other. Next up: Third Baseman
David Whitehead, 23, Phils 34th round pick in 2013; 25 starts, 9-11 with a 4.44ERA; 135.2IP 152H 51BB 94K; 10HR allowed; .291 opp avg; 1.50 WHIP; 1.50 GO/AO; 3.4BB/6.2K per 9; .292 vs LHH, .290 vs RHH, .316 last 30 days; Double bumped after a successful 2014 in Williamsport, Whitehead was simply “ok” this season. He showed he can pitch a full season which is a plus after injury issues years ago, but he was pretty consistently hit. Grade: C; 2016: Whitehead may get caught in the numbers game. I see him being kept in the Extended Spring awaiting roster shake ups in the Spring.
Victor Arano, 20, Acquired from Dodgers in 2014; 24 games 22 starts; 4-12 with a 4.72ERA; 124IP 131H 26BB 69K; 7HR allowed; .276 opp avg; 1.27 WHIP; 0.75 GO/AO; 1.8BB/5.2K per 9; .350 vs LHH, .239 vs RHH, .298 last 30 days; At times excellent and more often brutal, Arano was up and down, getting absolutely crushed by left handed hitters and running out of gas at years end. Only 20, there is still time. Grade: C; 2016: Back to Clearwater
Brandon Leibrandt, 22, Phils 6th round pick in 2014; 17 games; 7-3 with a 3.11ERA; 101.1IP 83H 21BB 67K; .227 opp avg; 1.03 WHIP; 0.84 GO/AO; 1.9BB/6.0K per 9; .213 vs LHH, .232 vs RHH, When healthy, Leibrandt was outstanding. That said, he missed three plus weeks in June and the last month of the season with arm issues. He generally has excellent command, which is his bread and butter. When off, even a little he will be hit hard. Grade: B; 2016: Reading
Matt Imhof, 21, Phils 2nd round pick in 2014; 18 starts, 8-5 with a 3.94ERA; 77.2IP 72H 45BB 59K; .249 opp avg; 1.43 WHIP; 0.79 GO/AO; 5.2BB/6.8K per 9; .250 vs LHH, .248 vs RHH, .281 last 30 days; .247 with RISP. Imhof averaged just 4.3 IP per start and had significant control problems this year combined with missing 7 weeks on the DL. Add that together and it was a disappointing campaign. He has the talent but needs to be far more consistent at High A before a move up. Grade: C-; 2016: Clearwater to start
Mark Leiter, 24, Phils 22nd round pick in 2013; 27 games (21 starts) between Clearwater and Reading; 8-7 with a 3.09ERA; 142.2IP 135H 34BB 121K; .251 opp avg; 1.18 WHIP; 0.80 GO/AO; 2.1BB/7.6K per 9; For Reading: 8 starts; 2-6 with a 4.79 ERA and .303 opp avg. Overall, you have to consider Leiter’s year a success. He was excellent for Clearwater in multiple roles, however struggled when called up to Reading in their rotation. Grade: B; 2016: Reading bullpen
Ricardo Pinto, 21, Signed as a free agent in 2011; 24 starts, 15-4 with a 2.97ERA between Lakewood and Clearwater; 145.1IP 129H 37BB 105K; .244 opp avg; 1.14 WHIP; For CW: 13 starts, 9-2 with a 2.87ERA; 78.1IP 64H 19BB 45K; .231 opp avg; 1.06 WHIP; 0.85 GO/AO; 2.2BB/5.7K per 9; .220 vs LHH; .237 vs RHH, .202 last 30 days. Pinto was outstanding all year and is likely to win the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Year. There were no issues with his mid-season transition to Clearwater and was still very strong at year’s end. Grade: A; 2016: Reading
John Richy, 23, Acquired from Dodgers in 2015; 24 games (20 starts); 10-4 with a 4.07ERA all in High A; 137IP 153H 35BB 115K; .281 opp avg; 1.37 WHIP; 1.44 GO/AO; 2.3BB/7.6K per 9; .285 vs LHH, .278 vs RHH, .261 last 30 days. Only 2 starts for Clearwater after his acquisition in the Chase Utley deal for difficult to pass judgment but decent numbers from a guy with a real big frame. Grade: C+; 2016: I see another half dozen High A starts before Reading
Ben Lively, 23, Acquired from Reds in 2014; 25 starts; 8-7 with a 4.13ERA; 143.2IP 160h 45BB 111K; 14HR allowed; .290 opp avg; 1.43 WHIP; 0.81 GO/AO; 2.8BB/7.0K per 9; .320 vs LHH, .267 vs RHH, .298 last 30 days. Mediocrity for Lively in 2015. He was hittable and the home run ball hurt him, mixing in starts here and there where he would show his true potential. Grade: C; 2016: Reading
Zach Eflin, 21, Acquired from San Diego in 2014; 23 starts; 8-6 with a 3.69ERA; 131.2IP 136H 23BB 68H .268 opp avg; 1.21 WHIP; 1.08 GO/AO; 1.6BB/4.6K per 9; .298 vs LHH, .239 vs RHH, .296 last 30 days. A good year for Eflin who struggled towards the end of the season after competing in the Pan Am games. When you watch him, he clearly is advanced in the “knowing how to pitch” category. Grade: B-; 2016: Lehigh Valley
Nick Pivetta, 22, Acquired from Washington in 2015; 25 games (24 starts) between High A and AA; 9-8 with a 3.96ERA; 129.2IP 121H 57BB 103K; .252 opp avg; 1.37 WHIP; 0.91 GO/AO; 4.0BB/7.1K per 9; In AA: 10 starts; 2-4 with a 7.25ERA; 43.1IP 51H 28BB 31K; 5.8BB/6.4K per 9; .302 opp avg; 1.82WHIP; Pivetta pitched real well for High A Potomac but his success didn’t translate at all to AA, both in Harrisburg or Reading. There is some legitimate fear of injury after Pivetta left his last start of the season after 4 pitches. Grade: C; 2016: Reading
Joely Rodriguez, 23, Acquired from Pittsburgh in 2015; 32 games (21 starts) between Lehigh Valley and Reading; 7-10 with a 6.12ERA; 129.1IP 162H 57BB 74K; 11HR allowed; 4.0BB/5.1K per 9; .312 opp avg; 1.69 WHIP; 1.71 GO/AO; .296 vs LHH, .304 vs RHH; .307 last 30 days. Simply awful Grade: F; 2016: Rodriguez is likely to removed from the 40 man roster at which time he will need to clear waivers if he is coming back to the organization. Based on his performance, clearing waivers shouldn’t be an issue. He probably has a couple months in Reading next season to prove he is worth keeping around post June,
Jake Thompson, 21, Acquired from Texas in 2015; 24 starts in AA; 11-7 with a 3.73ERA; 132.2IP 127H 42BB 112K 10HR allowed; .255 opp avg; 1.27 WHIP; 1.11 GO/AO; 2.8BB/7.6Kper 9; .283 vs LHH, .227 vs RHH, .211 last 30 days; For Reading: 7 starts, 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA; .217 opp avg; 1.00 WHIP; 1.07 GO/AO; Admittedly, I didn’t watch him before his arrival to the Phils organization but he was outstanding in his starts for Reading. Clearly knows how to pitch, keeps the ball down and keeps hitters off balance. Grade: B+; 2016: Lehigh Valley to start; likely Philadelphia by mid season if progress continues
Colin Kleven, 24, Phils 33rd round pick in 2009; 18 starts; 6-6 with a 4.42ERA; 97.2IP 98H 31BB 72K; .271 opp avg; 1.32 WHIP; 1.07 GO/AO; 2.9BB/6.6K per 9; For Reading: 5 starts; 1-3 with a 8.65ERA; .323 opp avg; 1.62 WHIP; Kleven’s 2015 started with alot of promise, conquering Clearwater after three years but came crashing to a halt with ineffectiveness and injury in Reading. Kleven was on the shelf for the last six weeks of the season. Grade: C; 2016: Another organization
Anthony Vasquez, 28,Signed as a free agent in 2015; 28 games (22 starts) between Lehigh Valley and Reading; 9-8 with a 4.10ERA; 1 save; 134IP 125H 51BB 76K; 7HR; .253 opp avg; 1.31 WHIP; 0.99 GO/AO; 3.4BB/5.1K per 9; .302 vs LHH; .243 vs RHH, .308 last 30 days; Vasquez did whatever was asked of him in both Reading and Lehigh Valley. Bouncing between the rotation and long relief in two locations, Vasquez had decent results. Grade: B-; 2016: Another organization
Severino Gonzalez, 22, Signed as a free agent in 2010; 16 starts, 2-7 with a 5.11ERA; 87IP 101H 18BB 45K;7 HR allowed; .291 opp avg; 1.38 WHIP; 0.60WHIP; 2.0BB/4.4K per 9; .276 vs LHH, .301 vs RHH; For Phils: 7 starts, 3-3 with a 7.92ERA; 30.2IP 44H 7BB 28K; .346 opp avg; 1.66 WHIP. In a perfect world, Gonzalez would have spent this entire season in the ‘Pigs rotation continuing his progression through the minor league system, however the beginning of the 2015 season marked a far from perfect world for the Phillies and they needed a “live arm”, which resulted in Gonzalez’s pre mature trip to Philly and disastrous results. He was awful in the majors and his progress in the minors was stunted with the yo yo between AAA and Lehigh Valley. Grade: D; 2016: The hope would be Lehigh Valley for a full season and a September call up.
David Buchanan, 26, Phils 7th round pick in 2010; 10 starts for Lehigh Valley; 4-2 with a 2.80ERA; 54.2IP 58H 20BB 30K; .274 opp avg; 1.43 WHIP; 1.46 GO/AO; 3.3BB/4.9K per 9; .198 vs LHH, .321 vs RHH; For Phillies: 10 starts, 2-7 with a 9.00 ERA; 49IP 75H 21BB 26K; .355 opp avg; 1.96 WHIP. Buchanan was supposed to solidify the back end of the Phillies rotation this year and that clearly didn’t happen as he was consistently ineffective in the majors. A significant ankle injury limited his minor league season but in his starts with Lehigh Valley, Buchanan was very good at times and poor on other occasions. Grade: D; 2016: Lehigh Valley. Looks like another Tyler Cloyd at this stage which is a AAAA pitcher.
Jesse Biddle, 23, Phils 1st round pick in 2010; 24 starts between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 9-6 with a 4.95ERA; 125.1IP 147H 61BB 89K; 11HR allowed; .295 opp avg; 1.66 WHIP; 1.06 GO/AO; 4.4BB/6.4K per 9; .279 vs LHH, .317 vs RHH, 9 starts for Lehigh Valley, 2-4 with a 6.25ERA; .305 opp avg; 1.88 WHIP; 5.4BB/6.4K per 9. Just another awful season for Biddle who was unable to conquer the issues that began in 2013. His solid April is what keeps him from an “F”. Grade: D; 2016: Lehigh Valley to try to figure it out (again)
Sean O’Sullivan, 27, SIgned as a free agent in 2014; 9 starts, 5-2 with a 3.20ERA; 56.1IP 48H 19BB 41K; .227 opp avg; 1.19 WHIP; 0.68 GO/AO; 3.0BB/6.6K per 9; For Phillies: 13 starts, 1-6 with a 6.08ERA; 71IP 95H 20BB 34K; .322 opp avg; 1.61 WHIP. What to take from this is simply that there is a BIG jump from AAA to the majors and O’Sullivan does not currently (and likely wont) have the stuff to be a major league starter. He has been and will continue to be an effective AAA starter but really cant be counted on to even “eat innings” at the major league level. Grade: C; 2016: Another organization
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, 29, Signed as a free agent in 2013; Gonzalez missed the entire year other than the final two weeks of the season injured and was crushed in his two outings with Lehigh Valley. The only people that know the true extent of MAG’s medical issues are the Phillies medical staff. What seems clear is the $12M man should not be depended upon anywhere for help in 2016. If he does, it will be a very nice surprise.
Alec Asher, 23, Acquired from Texas in 2015; 24 starts, 6-10 with a 3.97ERA between Rangers and Phils AA/AAA clubs; 133.2IP 137H 40BB 109K; 20HR allowed; .263 opp avg; 1.32 WHIP; 0.68 GO/AO; 2.7BB/7.3K per 9; 0-2 with a 10.61 ERA in 2 starts with the Phils. Asher threw well and has bottom of the rotation potential in the majors going forward. May be running out of gas a bit as he reaches 150 plus innings on the year. 2016: Phils #5 starter. The home run ball is an issue that must be addressed.
Jared Eickhoff, 25, Acquired from Rangers in 2015; 23 starts, 12-5 with a 3.85ERA between AA/AAA Rangers and Phils organizations; 133.1IP 119H 39BB 126K; 15HR allowed; .238 opp avg; 1.19 WHIP; 0.54 GO/AO; 2.6BB/8.5K per 9; For Phls: 1-3 with a 4.70ERA in 4 starts. I watched Eickhoff live twice and like him a lot. He curve ball is a true “out pitch” and he uses it very well, and consistently pitches ahead in the count. 2016: Phils #4 starter