Prospect #43: RHP Darin Naatjes

Darin Naatjes had a lot of athletic choices ahead of him as he went to Stanford University. While there, his choices narrowed and led him to be picked by the Phillies in the 14th round of the 2002 Draft. Now, Naatjes has a couple of minor league seasons under his belt and will start to show whether the Phillies made the right choice in going after the athletic right-hander.

In high school, Darin Naatjes was Mr.Athlete. Football seemed to come easiest to him, but on the baseball field, he could present an imposing figure both as a pitcher and as a hitter. Academically, Naatjes had the brains to go along with the athletic ability.

 

The Colorado Rockies drafted Naatjes out of high school with their 22nd round pick in 1999. Naatjes decided to turn down the Rockies offer and went off to Stanford University to play both football and baseball. The struggle of different types of training hit Naatjes, but he found a training regimen that worked for him in both sports. Figuring to be used as a center fielder, but there wasn't much room in the lineup for a new face. Coach Mark Marquess had a different plan for Naatjes and told him he wanted him for his arm. He wanted Naatjes to be a reliever for the Stanford Cardinal.

 

Pitching wasn't anything new to Naatjes. In high school, Naatjes pitched 125 innings and posted a 1.44 ERA with 182 career strikeouts. He had the athletic ability to pretty much do anything he wanted with a baseball, but Marquess hoped that he could get his young pitcher to be just that; a pitcher. The plan worked out and Naatjes became a major part of the bullpen at Stanford. In his last season at Stanford, Naatjes went 4-0, 2.57 for the Cardinal.

 

The Phillies liked what they saw out of Naatjes and snagged him in the 14th round. They liked him well enough to send him to Batavia in the New York – Penn League for his first taste of professional baseball. Unfortunately, his late arrival allowed him to pitch just four innings in 2002, meaning a return trip to the Muck Dogs in 2003. Another reason for his return was that the Phillies wanted to convert him to a starter. The plan worked pretty well and Naatjes did a nice job for the 2003 Muck Dogs, going 1-3, 3.62 in 7 starts. The Phillies aren't sure whether they'll keep Naatjes in a starting role for the long term or whether they'll move him back to the bullpen. For now, they're likely to keep him in the rotation to get him more innings and to develop arm strength.

 

Scouts who have followed Naatjes like his smooth delivery and believe that he should be ready to move along through the system. The Phillies have worked with Naatjes to refine his motion and are working on his repertoire of pitches. Now, they believe he has the knowledge to go along with his skills.

 

 

Darin Naatjes' Career Stats

 

Year/Team

W

L

ERA

SV

G

GS

IP

H/9 IP

BB/9 IP

KO/9 IP

2002 Batavia

(Rookie)

0

0

0.00

0

2

0

4.0

6.8

2.3

15.8

2003 Batavia

(Rookie)

1

3

3.62

0

8

7

27.1

7.6

3.3

7.9

Career Minor League Totals

1

3

3.19

0

10

7

31.1

7.5

3.2

8.9


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