In his latest outing on Sunday in Trenton, prized Toronto pitching prospect Kyle Drabek held the Yankees Double A affiliate to 1 run and 3 hits over 6 innings to earn a win. The victory helped lock down a series victory for Drabek's New Hampshire Fisher Cats who overtook the Thunder for first place in the Eastern League's Eastern Division and gave New Hampshire their 65th win of the season, which topped their 2009 total.
It seems to many that Drabek, who was a 1st round draft selection by the Phillies in 2006 and was sent by Philadelphia to Toronto in the Roy Halladay trade last off-season, has nothing left to prove at the Double A level.
The son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek celebrated the nation's birthday in big time fashion, when he hurled a no-hitter against the New Britain Rock Cats on Independence Day in Manchester.
In his last 6 starts overall for the Fisher Cats, Drabek has a 4-0 record, a 1.89 ERA.
At two levels of the Phillies' system last year, Drabek posted a combined 12-3 record with a 3.19 ERA and 150 strike outs in 158 innings pitched before the Phils chose to trim down his work load and ended his season early.
Word has it around Toronto that the Blue Jays likely have a set innings limit for Drabek's season this year as well, which has led to him being pulled from his two most recent starts after 6 innings with a low pitch count in each game and minimal runs (1 total) allowed. Drabek suspects the Jays are protecting him the same way the Phillies did last season, but no one has addressed it with him directly. "No one's put a limit, yet, on how many innings I'm supposed to have. I know that last year (the Phillies) shut me down a month early because it was my first full season after Tommy John (surgery). So this year, maybe that's in the back of (the Blue Jays') minds, or they just want to keep my innings down to keep me healthy."
The 22-year-old Drabek projects to be a top of the rotation starter in the Majors and was ranked as the 17th best minor league prospect by MLB.com prior to the 2010 season.
Drabek, whose fastball often reaches the mid-90's, carries his confidence with him when he leaves the baseball diamond, stating that he is prepared to compete on the biggest stage there is. When asked what his personal estimated time of arrival to Toronto's Rogers Centre might be, Drabek said, "I feel like I'm ready. All my pitches are where I want them." However, Drabek knows that all he can do is pitch his best and the uniform he wears while doing so is not up to him. "It's up to (the Blue Jays). If they have a plan for me...I'll be ready for whenever I get the call," Drabek told PhoulBallz.com in an exclusive interview.
Aside from the no-hitter, the Eastern League All-star, Drabek, describes performing at a high level, overall, for his new organization, as something that has made him proud this season. "Coming to a new team, I wanted to do well and show them that I can pitch and that the deal they made (to acquire me) was the right thing," Drabek said.
The level of fun with the Fisher Cats club has also helped Drabek stay motivated throughout the season. According to Drabek, "This is a very fun team to play on. And just being with all the guys, I'll be able to look back on this year and realize how much fun I had."
But, the ultimate goal of pitching in the Majors will surely be the most fun of all for Drabek. "From talking to guys, any time you get to go up, it's amazing. It's a whole different world. And I'm ready for that."
To read my previous piece on Drabek, click here.
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