Top Prospect #20: Beau Richardson

Beau Richardson has shown that he has a lot of talent and has handled any responsibility that the Phillies have thrown at him. He worked as a starter for part of his first pro season, was a closer in his second and a set-up man in his third. Now, Richardson will look to settle into a comfortable role as he moves closer to Philadelphia.

The Phillies finding Beau Richardson may have been somewhat of a fluke. They were scouting Tulane teammate Nick Bourgeois and Richardson caught their eye. Bourgeois was drafted in the fourth round of the 2002 Draft, while Richardson would go thirty rounds later. Some scouts believe that Richardson was well worth the pick though and so far, he's put up decent minor league numbers.

After having Richardson split his time between the bullpen and the starting rotation during his first pro season, he's been settled into a bullpen role since then. Each of the last two seasons, Richardson has pitched in 47 games and has shown little trouble in moving up the ladder. His 2004 season at Clearwater wasn't as good as his 2003 season at Lakewood, but was still strong enough that Richardson should get a promotion to AA in 2005.

A combination of the fact that the Phillies have enough starting pitching prospects and the fact that Richardson projects best as a situational left-hander have somewhat necessitated the move to a relief job for Richardson. The good news is that he's fine with the move and seems to be taking it all in stride.

2002 Batavia 5 4 3.54 1 16 6 0 61.0 68 29 24 18 35 2
2003 Lakewood 6 5 2.66 16 47 0 0 91.0 82 34 27 29 55 4
2004 Clearwater 6 1 3.61 1 47 0 0 42.0 45 23 17 16 35 5
Career 17 10 3.14 18 110 6 0 194.0 195 86 68 63 125 11

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies out of Tulane University in the 34th round of the 2002 Draft.

Repertoire: Richardson has the basic four-pitch repertoire. None of his pitches are outstanding, but they're all average or slightly above. It's that combination that makes Richardson effective.

Pitching: Richardson is by no means a strikeout pitcher, but showed more development at Clearwater. One of the factors is that his pitches have all gotten a little better and he's learning to mix pitches better. Unfortunately, his KO/BB ratio hasn't shown much progress over his college numbers. The Phillies used Richardson as a closer at Lakewood, but don't think that's really the right role for him. There are better closer candidates in the organization.

Projection: It's going to be interesting to see how Richardson continues to develop. He seemed to become more of a developed pitcher in '04 and the progress was definitely noticeable even though his ERA was higher than the year before with Lakewood. The Phillies will likely start Richardson at AA Reading in 2005 and probably won't look to move him until possibly very late in the year. Richardson could be the classic one level per year player with some added time thrown in at the upper levels.

ETA: By the spring of 2007, Richardson should be getting a look in major league camp with serious consideration for a spot on the club. He may not make it on the first try though and it may be either later in 2007 or even 2008 until he's truly ready for a spot with the Phillies big league club.

Comparison: Richardson has a chance to be a left-handed version of Tim Worrell. Not a guy who does anything in a spectacular manner, but who can get hitters out with regularity. He could potentially step in to close a game or two here and there, but will more likely be pigeon-holed into the role of the ever loved situational left-hander.

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