Skip to main content

Bonilla Opening Eyes with Lakewood

With better known names like Jesse Biddle, Garett Claypool and David Buchanan getting most of the recognition on the Class A Lakewood pitching staff, Lisalberto Bonilla has been staying off the radar, despite soaring high for much of the season.

Despite being a guy that many have yet to hear of, the 21-year-old righty hurler continues to develop and mow down South Atlantic League hitters. Since his promotion to the BlueClaws from extended spring training on May 3rd, Bonilla has posted a 2-3 record with 4 saves, a 2.06 ERA and a .205 batting average against while striking out 73 batters in 70 innings pitched.

After beginning his time with Lakewood in the bullpen, Bonilla joined the starting rotation in mid-June. By his fifth start, Bonilla was officially a prospect to watch. In his July 6th outing against the Hagerstown Suns, Bonilla threw 9 scoreless innings, while striking out 12 and allowing no walks. Not only did the effort impress the fans in attendance and those listening to the game broadcast and reading box scores elsewhere, his manager, Chris Truby, found it quite remarkable as well.

"It was as good of an outing as I've seen at this level," Truby said. "And he didn't seem to work that hard. It was just a well pitched game by him, using all his pitches."

After signing with the Phillies in December, 2008, Bonilla looked sharp in 11 starts with their Dominican Summer League team, posting a 6-2 record with a 1.41 and 2 shut outs. However, last year, following a good stint with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, Bonilla joined the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters, where he struggled a bit, going 1-3 with a 6.49 ERA in 11 outings.

The key for Bonilla's turnaround this year has been the ability to locate his fastball (which registers regularly at 93-94 MPH), according to Truby, who managed Bonilla last year with Williamsport.

"The use of his fastball, the command of his fastball are the biggest differences," Truby said. "He's always had a good change up to fall back on and, last year, he didn't really command his fastball the way that he has from the start of this year. When you can command your fastball, it opens the door for the rest of your pitches and you can find yourself getting some quick outs as well."

After Bonilla seemed to dominate as a reliever, posting a 1.07 ERA in 11 games and earning a nod as a South Atlantic League All-star, the decision to move the Dominican Republic native into the starting rotation was an easy one, according to Lakewood pitching coach Steve Schrenk. As BlueClaws opening day starter Mario Hollands had a tough go of things early on, the Phillies decided to move him into a relief role, which opened a vacancy for Bonilla.

"He had already built up some innings in extended spring training and we wanted to get him up here to get him pitching, so (using him in relief) was an easy fit for him at first. We knew eventually, he was going to start. It was just a matter of time," Schrenk said.

His physical abilities and his three quality pitches are what could set Bonilla out and have potential Phillies trade partners inquiring about his services. Multiple scouts have been on hand for his recent starts and have seen Bonilla sport a 2-1 record and hold opponents to a .229 batting average while striking out 37 batters over 30 2/3 innings in 5 July starts. However, the Phillies hope his future is in their own organization.

Aside from the effectiveness of his mid-90's fastball, his steadily improving slider and his other pitch that Schrenk describes as "a big league change up", his mental make up is something that folks within the Phillies organization seem to be most excited about.

"His strengths are that he loves to compete and he wants to win. He wants to give his team a chance and he does that," Schrenk stated.

Bonilla, who stands 6-feet-1-inch tall and weighs around 165 pounds, certainly possesses the tools to pitch at higher levels, but, with a history of both starting and relieving, his role as he moves forward and ascends upward in the minor leagues, is unclear.

"Being in the rotation at this level allows him the opportunity to work on all three of his pitches and that, right now, is our main focus and his main focus," Truby said. "Whatever happens (going forward) happens."

As one of 2011's breakout prospects, Bonilla has had a lot happening and has become one to watch, in the Phillies' developmental system.
____________________________________________________

You can follow PhoulBallz on Twitter by clicking HERE.

You can also connect with PhoulBallz on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #7 LHP JoJo Romero

JoJo Romero, image- Jay Floyd With a growing crop of very talented pitching prospects in the Phillies organization, left-hander JoJo Romero is certainly among the standouts. The five-foot-11 200-pounder was the Phils’ 4th round draft selection in 2016. That year he helped Yavapai College, the same school that the Phillies drafted Kenny Giles from in 2011, clinch the JuCo World Series, leading the way with an 11-5 record, a 3.64 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 mark. He also tossed a complete game gem to earn the win in their title game. After signing with the Phillies, Romero made his professional debut as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. There, he notched a 2-2 record with a 2.56 ERA while striking out 31 and walking 11 in 45 2/3 innings. In 2017, he got off to a terrific start with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. In 13 starts, Romero tallied a 5-1 record with a 2.11 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 mark and was honored as a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star. R

McGwire Stays Phony, Despite Admitting Drug Use

Mark McGwire made an effort to publicly come clean today, admitting to the world that he took performance enhancing drugs during his playing career. Steroids and human growth hormones were among the drugs that McGwire admitted to using. MLB Network featured a one on one interview with Bob Costas and McGwire on Monday evening. The broadcast was virtually garbage, thanks to McGwire. Ahead is a list of quotes from McGwire's interview. McGwire repeatedly stated his point of view that there were no dishonorable intentions involved when taking steroids, and that he was merely using them as a means to recover from varying ailments. When asked if he felt like he cheated... "As I look back now...I can see how people would say that. As far as the talent goes and the hand-eye coordination, the ability, the genetics I was given...I don't see it." "I did not take this for any strength purposes." Denial. Read on for similar B.S. He whined about the abuse he'

Diekman a Late Addition to Mesa AFL Roster

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 f