You sent in some questions, I’ll answer a few of them today, and maybe a few more tomorrow. If I didn’t get t yours, I might use at some point in the near future.
From Chapel Hillian: does anyone else buy the Phillies’ argument about their first Rule 5 pick (Blackley, I believe)? That he is still on the upswing from his shoulder surgery and thus could be a legitimate big-league pitcher? Also, how long do you think the Phillies should give Jiwan James to show he can pitch before they switch him to the outfield?
Well, I don’t buy it. His numbers were pretty poor last season, though he had very good control before the labrum surgery, so I guess maybe the Phillies just took a flier, thinking maybe his control will return in spring training. I don’t believe the talk of him challenging for the #5 spot, considering we have Hamels, Myers, Moyer, Kendrick and Eaton under contract. If Eaton’s shoulder is really messed up, then I suppose he could compete for that final spot, but the Phillies keep talking about upgrading the pitching and looking for at least one starter, so I’m not sure he fits there. He doesn’t have the profile of a LOOGY, as he doesn’t have strong platoon splits. To me, he’s a mop up reliever candidate, but I don’t think he’s ultimately going to stick.
As for the 2nd part of your question. James was a highly regarded two way player, and is a very gifted athlete. The more I think about this actual question, the more I think it makes sense to start a guy as a batter, and if he can’t hit, move him back to the mound. I think it’s tougher to stop hitting on a regular basis and then just pick it up again against professional pitching. If the Phillies are going to give him a shot at the outfield, they should probably do it in 2008, and give him 2 seasons in the field to see where his bat is, and how he’s going to project out. If he struggles with a bat, you can always move him back to the mound, as arm strength really doesn’t diminish, as long as you’re working hard and getting your reps in.
From Section 113: My other question is if you had to rank the pitching prospects you would would like to hold on to who would they be? In other words, if their were several trades out their and you could protect 1 or 2 pitchers out of let’s say all those pitchers on your top 30, who would they be?
Interesting question. The two pitchers in our system I am most excited about, right now, are Carlos Carrasco and Julian Sampson. Carrasco has some control issues he needs to sort out, but he’s only 20 years old and has already made it to 2A. Sampson already sits in the 89-92 range, and most scouts think he’s going to add more velo as he fills out, meaning he could end up sitting in the 92-94 range. He has the perfect pitcher’s body, he already has some understanding of a changeup, and has decent secondary offerings as a whole. Since he can’t be traded until July, that’s an easy pick for me to hold onto. I think in the right deal, I’d trade Carrasco, but I wouldn’t give him away for less than full value. I don’t think a realistic trade is out there right now that makes sense for the Phillies. For Bedard or Haren, sure I’d trade Carrasco, but for a third tier starter, no thanks.
Feel free to debate these issues below.