On Wednesday, Phillies lefty pitching prospect Jacob Diekman made his Arizona Fall League debut. Diekman, who was drafted in the 30th round of the 2007 amateur draft, was assigned to Mesa late, in order to increase his 2010 innings total, according to Mesa hitting coach Mark Parent, who managed Diekman in Lakewood this past season.
Diekman, 23, posted a 2-0 record with 1.90 ERA in 21 games with Class A Lakewood before being promoted to High-A Clearwater on June 24th. In 24 games with the Threshers, Diekman went 0-2 with a 3.66 ERA. Combined, Diekman tossed 55 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .187 batting average against at two levels in 2010.
However, after not pitching in an official game since he threw a shutout inning to wrap up the Clearwater season on September 5th, Diekman was unable to record an out as all seven batters he faced reached base, six with hits, one on an error. Diekman was charged with 5 earned runs in the outing.
Diekman had spent time at instructional ball from mid-September through mid-October, but with some Mesa pitchers already approaching their allotted appearances and possibly because John Mayberry Jr. is sidelined by a calf injury and organizations are required to have 7 players each on an Arizona Fall League roster, Diekman, who generally registers in the low-90's with his fastball, was called upon to contribute to the Mesa staff. Unfortunately for Diekman, he was not credited with any innings. Generally, AFL starting pitchers throw 24-30 innings, while AFL relievers are given roughly 10-12 outings.
With so many righty hurlers, like Justin De Fratus, Austin Hyatt, Jarred Cosart, Brody Colvin, Trevor May and plenty more, on the rise within the the Phillies' system, Diekman is one of very few left-handers that has potential to reach the higher levels of the organization. One poor outing against a tough Peoria Javelinas lineup that includes former Major Leaguer Adam Loewen, 2009 number 2 overall draft pick Dustin Ackley, Mariners OF Nate Tenbrick, who batted .318 in 116 games at two levels in 2010, and Houston prospect Koby Clemens, son of Roger Clemens, who was a mid-season all-star in the Texas League (Double A), won't impact Diekman's value very much, especially considering the lengthy span between games for the Nebraska native.
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