Thursday, December 17, 2009

Plenty of Arms Left on the Farm

For those of you out there who are still somewhat displeased about the Phillies giving up Kyle Drabek in the Roy Halladay deal and who are concerned about the depth of starting pitching prospects in the Phillies' organization, I am here to reassure you that there is still a solid collection of pitching prospects on the way up for the defending National League Champions. Here's a rundown of guys who I feel make the system fairly deep with quality arms.

Former 1st round draft pick (19th overall, 2007) Joe Savery has progressed nicely. Savery started his 2009 Double A campaign with a 9-1 record. He was 12-4 with a 4.41 ERA in 21 games at Reading, before being promoted to triple A Lehigh Valley. With the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Savery posted a 4-2 record with a 4.38 ERA in 7 starts. While his ERA's at both levels could use improving, a plus with Savery is that he allowed no homeruns after his promotion. The lefty should start the 2010 season at triple A and could be an option to fill some voids on the Major League club this season.

2008 3rd round draft pick Vance Worley was an all star in the Eastern League in 2009. Worley slumped after starting 5-4 with a 3.63 ERA through June. However, after that the right hander posted a 2-8 record with a 7.73 ERA. Worley's season ERA was 5.34.
Teammate Mike Stutes, another 2008 draft pick (11th round), is also a righty. Through 27 starts in 2009, Stutes went 8-8 with a 4.26 ERA. Again, perhaps another unimpressive ERA, but the combo of Worley (22 yrs old for the entire 2010 season) and Stutes (23 yrs old for the 2010 season) were the first Phillies pitchers to start the season at the double A level the season after they were drafted since Randy Wolf...and they stayed there all season in their first full year of professional baseball. That counts a lot.

Mike Stutes

Yohan Flande, appeared in MLB's Futures Game in 2009. The Dominican born lefty will turn 23 before next season starts. Flande started off very hot with high A level Clearwater, going 7-1 with a 2.52 ERA. He was promoted in early July and after starting off slowly with a 7.50 ERA through his first 3 starts with Reading, he settled in and went 4-3 with a 3.97 ERA over his final 10 starts of the season. Flande displays excellent command and the sky may be the limit.

Yohan Flande

The low minors are laced with talented pitching prospects as well. Names like Trevor May and Jesus Sanchez may not be familiar to you yet, but they should be. And so should Matthew Way and Justin De Fratus.

Sanchez led a Lakewood charge through the stretch run and into the post season that ended with the team's second South Atlantic League Championship. In the regular season, Sanchez went 10-6 with a 3.44 ERA in 26 starts. In game 2 of the SAL finals, Sanchez threw 5 shut out innings and earned the win. Sanchez will be 22 through the 2010 minor league season and is on the Phillies' 40 man roster.

Jesus Sanchez

May was a 4th round pick in 2008 who spoke to me earlier this year about young phenoms like Rick Porcello and Trevor Cahill who have broken into the Majors by ages 20 & 21. May is rather confident that he could also very well be a guy who succeeds at a similarly young age. May will be 20 years old for the entire 2010 minor league season. In 17 starts for Lakewood in '09, he went 5-1 with a 2.24 ERA, striking out 106 batters in 88 1/3 innings.

Trevor May

De Fratus, an 11th round selection in 2007 was a key contributor all season long for the SAL champion Lakewood BlueClaws, but was kept out of the post season with an injury. De Fratus saw his role change in 2009, going from starter, to reliever, then back to starter again. Baseball America gave Justin the distinction of having the best control in the Phillies' system with recently released rankings. De Fratus, a righty hurler, has walked just 41 batters in 193 1/3 innings combined over the last 2 seasons. The '09 SAL all star De Fratus will be 22 yrs old for the entire 2010 season.

Justin De Fratus

Matthew Way was a 5th round pick in this year's amateur draft and became Lakewood's game 1 starter in their first round playoff series. He certainly established himself as a deserving pitcher. After earning a promotion from Williamsport with a 1.67 ERA through 8 starts, Way had a 4-1 record and a 3.11 ERA in 6 regular season starts with Lakewood. Keep your eyes on this lefty who will turn 23 in January, especially if he develops more confidence in his breaking pitch.

Matthew Way

Alright, so surely none of these prospects are as highly touted as Kyle Drabek has been. And they might all be further away from a Major League debut than Drabek is at this point, but these hurlers are all reasons to feel confident in the minor league arms that the Phillies have left, aside from the pieces they are adding, in return for Cliff Lee. Don't forget...In Ruben We Trust.

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