Wednesday, January 19, 2011

ProspectNation 2011: #18 Michael Schwimer RHP

Phillies right-handed pitching prospect Michael Schwimer had a tremendous season at two levels of the system in 2010 and is on the list of talented young relievers that the Phillies have at the higher levels of their farm system.

After making his pro debut with short season Williamsport and posting a 1.96 ERA in 22 relief outings in 2008, Schwimer skipped Class A Lakewood and began his 2009 season at High-A Clearwater, where he went 2-1 with 20 saves and a 2.85 ERA in 48 games. He earned a promotion to Reading of the Double A Eastern League by season's end.

The Virginia native began the 2010 season back with Reading where he posted a 5-3 record with 11 saves and a 3.60 ERA in 32 games. As a member of the R-Phils, Schwimer recorded 58 strike outs and 14 walks in 40 innings. After a July promotion to Triple A Lehigh Valley, Schwimer continued posting remarkable numbers, going 2-2 with a 1.35 ERA while striking out 18 batters and walking 7 in 20 innings.

The 24-year-old Schwimer has a bit of a reputation as a whiff artist, racking up loads of strikeouts all throughout his minor league career. In three professional seasons, Schwimer has struck out 227 batters in 166 innings.

A 14th round draft selection in 2008 out of the University of Virginia, Schwimer throws a fastball that ranges in the low 90's, a very deceiving change up and what is regarded as a plus slider.

Schwimer, who stands 6'8", focused heavily on improving his consistency this past season after being told by the Phillies organization that it was where he'd need to progress if he wished to become a Major League pitcher. In 48 relief outings in 2010, he held opponents scoreless 36 times and allowed multiple runs in an appearance just three times. That sounds about as consistent as it gets for a minor league reliever.

With virtually nothing left to prove in the minors, it will be up to the 2010 Eastern League mid-season All-star, Schwimer, to capitalize on his shot in Major League camp this spring. He'll turn 25 years old before the Phillies play their first Grapefruit League game this year.

Projection-wise, you can look for Schwimer to be a bullpen contributor at the Major League level. His physical size and downward throwing angle are to his advantage, even if his velocity is not overly impressive.
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