Scouting Phils Prospect #14: Justin De Fratus

Justin De Fratus has pitched in the majors in each of the past two seasons. Perhaps 2013 will be the year when he opens the season with the big league club and stays there all season long.

Justin De Fratus

Position: Relief Pitcher
Bats/Throws: Both / Right
Birthday/Age: October 21, 1987 (25)
Ht/Wt: 6' 4", 220 pounds

How he became a Phillie: Drafted by the Phillies in the 11th round of the 2007 Draft.

Repertoire: De Fratus best pitch is his mid-90s fastball that has a natural break downward as it approaches the plate. Because he also keeps it low in the zone, De Fratus can get a lot of swing and misses and a lot of ground balls with the pitch. The slider is his second-best pitch and at times, it can rival his fastball. Again, he has the ability to generally keep it down in the zone. Over time, De Fratus has worked to develop a change-up and he'll throw it now and then, but it's primarily a pitch to keep hitters honest with. 

Scouting Report: Initially, De Fratus was a starter and the Phillies switched him into the pen primarily because he didn't have enough of an arsenal to be effective and he tended to lose velocity on his fastball pretty quickly. The move has paid off and he's excelled as a reliever, which got him to Philadelphia a lot faster than he would have as a starter. De Fratus has a good approach to the game and works down in the zone. In the minors, he averaged a strikeout per inning and allowed just 0.8 home runs every nine innings. Since reaching the majors in 2011, he's had a tendency to overthrow and his walks have been higher than usual. As he gets more comfortable pitching in the majors, those walks will shrink and he'll be fine.

Ceiling: It's not out of the question that De Fratus could be a potential closer. It's likely that he'll take a path much like Ryan Madson did with the Phillies and work his way toward the back part of the bullpen and might eventually be a closer candidate. The fact that he routinely pitches down in the zone is a huge plus.

ETA: De Fratus has pitched for the Phillies in each of the last two seasons. He has to battle for a bullpen spot out of spring training, but it's very possible that he could win a spot on the opening day roster and this could be the season that he locks himself into the major league bullpen for the Phillies.

Justin De Fratus' career stats

2011 Philadelphia 1 0 2.25 5 0 4.0 1 2 1 0 3 3 1.000 0.0 1.00
2012 Philadelphia 0 0 3.38 13 0 10.2 7 5 4 0 5 8 1.125 0.0 1.60
2 Years 1 0 3.07 18 0 14.2 8 7 5 0 8 11 1.091 0.0 1.38
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 2/12/2013.

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