Top Prospect #32: Joe Bisenius

Joe Bisenius could have started his professional career a year earlier than he did, since he was originally drafted in 2003 by Montreal. Of course, he had one more year of college eligibility left, so he could have waited another year to see where things would fall. Instead, the Phillies drafted him in the 12th round of the 2004 Draft and he could prove to be well worth the pick.

Joe Bisenius fits the mold of the type of pitcher that the Phillies love to draft. Getting the 6' 5" Bisenius in the 12th round could turn out to be one of those steals that come along every now and then. The Montreal Expos - remember them? - tried to get even more of a steal when they drafted Bisenius in the 21st round of the 2003 Draft, but were unable to sign him.

Coming out of a highly regarded NAIA program at Oklahoma City University, Bisenius received solid college coaching and the Phillies have felt the need to make just a couple minor adjustments to his delivery. To Bisenius' credit, he was receptive to the changes and showed progress with the new approach. In college, Bisenius was somewhat of a power pitcher. He'll have to add a little velocity to keep up that reputation as he progresses through the pros. He's got good natural stuff and scouts believe that in addition to adding some velocity, his other pitches will get better.

2004 Batavia 0 1 1.43 0 11 11 0 50.1 39 12 8 14 38 5
Career 0 1 1.43 0 11 11 0 50.1 39 12 8 14 38 5

Acquired: Drafted out of Oklahoma City University in the 12th round of the 2004 Draft.

Repertoire: Bisenius relies heavily on his fastball, but mixes in a hard breaking ball and a change-up that the Phillies believe will get better.

Pitching: The minor tweaking that the Phillies did paid nice dividends and very quickly. He is a tall, strong pitcher, who needs work on his supporting pitches and the Phillies would like to increase the movement on his fastball. Bisenius mixes his pitches well and isn't afraid to throw any of his pitches at any time in the count to keep hitters on their toes. Another thing that the Phillies are working on is to make Bisenius a little better at holding runners.

Projection: It was a little surprising that the Phillies didn't give Bisenius at least a look at Lakewood late in the season. One reason they didn't is because they were working with Bisenius to correct flaws in his delivery and didn't want to interrupt the lessons. Starting 2005 at Lakewood is a lock and there will even be some consideration given to pushing him to Clearwater. If he does start the year at Lakewood, get your tickets for early in the season if you want to see Bisenius, because he may move quickly.

ETA: One scout we talked to believes that Bisenius could be ready for a major league audition either late in the 2007 season or early in 2008. The big question marks will be how quickly the Phillies allow him to move and whether or not he stumbles a little at any of the higher levels.

Comparison: Now, it might not be a good comparison, but some scouts see Jeff Weaver in Bisenius. That is of course, the Jeff Weaver of old, who was a budding superstar. You might notices some similarities between Bisenius and new Phillie Jon Lieber as well.

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