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The Phillies Bumper Crop Of High Minors Starting Pitchers

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  • The Phillies Bumper Crop Of High Minors Starting Pitchers

    An article today in the website, which pools articles from The Philadelphia Inquirer,The Philadelphia Daily News, plus some original website content pointed out what good shape the Phillies appear to be in with their starting pitching at the AAA and AA levels.
    The author pointed out that there are eight top talents at those levels ready to mature into major leaguers over the next two years or so. Six have never appeared in the majors, one RHP Andrew (Drew) Capenter has appeared in two MLB games and Kyle Kendrick has about 1.6 years' experience in the majors under his belt.
    Kendrick's case is curious. He had a big impact on the Phillies when he made his first MLB appearence in June 2007. Without his contribution (10-4, 3.87 ERA) the Phillies definitely wouldn't have been division winners or make the playoffs that year. He started to lose steam early in 2008 and finished the season with an ERA nearly two runs per game higher than his 2007 performance
    (11-9, 5.49 ERA). He was a non-factor in the postseason last year. Still a month from his 25th birthday, he's young enough to regain the spark that triggered his early success.
    At AAA Lehigh Valley (Allentown, PA), International League, Carlos Carrasco, Kendrick and Carpenter are awaiting the call. Carrasco has long been thought to be the jewel in the crown of Phillies minor league talent and Phillies fans are anxiously awaiting his major leagues' debut (which I predict will come in less than one month).
    Then at AA Reading (PA), Eastern League you have an all-meat, no-filler rotation of five standout prospects - Joe Savery, Kyle Drabek, Vance Worley, Mike Stutes and Yohan Flande. Drabek and Savery were first round draft picks. Savery is 10-1 and was just named to the Eastern League All-Star game along with Worley. Probably the only thing that prevented Drabek from being named to that game has been the short time he has been at the AA level. He has dazzled fans going 4-0 after his promotion from (High A) Clearwater, Florida State League. Flande also has been with Reading just a short time after moving up from Clearwater. After being stuck in the Dominican Summer League for three years he has really opened some eyes and made rapid progress through the farm system the last two years.
    Worley was a third round pick just last year and Stutes, out of Oregon State, was also a 2008 pick who has soared through the organization.
    Some may have to be converted to relief roles if they are to thrive in the majors one day, but the Phillies have lots of options in that regard.
    Let's not forget LHP Antonio Bastardo, who began the year in AA, advanced to AAA and made five starts with the Phils before suffering a shoulder strain. Thought to be a minor injury, he's probably due to remain on the Disabled List for only the minimum 15 days. That makes nine young arms. Shall we go for an even 10? Sure! Don't forget that J.A. Happ is still technically a rookie, despite brief appearences with the team in '07 & '08. Off to a 5-0 start with the defending Worlds Champions he's played a big role this year first as a dependable reliever then later as a number 5 starter who has pitched like a team's Ace. He's one of the strongest 2009 National League Rookie Of The Year candidates around.
    At this point the phrase "An embarrassment of riches" comes to mind in describing the Phillies pitching prospect situation. Things definitely look rosy both in the short-term and at the very minimum, over the first half of the next decade.

    Last edited by philliesfiend55; 07-02-2009, 06:09 PM.

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