Things Looking Up For Chantres

This time last year, Carlos Chantres was far from pitching in the majors. In fact, he wasn't even pitching in the United States and it didn't appear that he would have the opportunity to pitch in the states anytime soon. Fast forward one season and the 29 year old is a step away from Major League Baseball.

Luckily for Carlos Chantres, the Phillies were desperate for pitching help in the minors last season. By mid-summer, injuries and trades had depleted their minor league staffs and the Phillies scoured waiver wires and independent league rosters for any sign of help.

Pitching for the Nashua Pride of the Atlantic League, the Phillies took a quick look at Chantres and decided he was good enough to add to their AA staff. Chantres came into Reading and seemed to be a great find and fans were asking who this guy was and where did he come from?

Since Chantres had pitched in the Mexican League and then in the Atlantic League, it wasn't long after his arrival in Reading that his arm was wearing down. By the end of the year, he wasn't the same pitcher that had shown up just a few weeks before. There was even talk that he might find himself back in independent baseball, since the Phillies had an influx of other pitching and Chantres might not be needed for the 2005 season.

This past spring, Chantres had seemingly survived and arrived in camp throwing well. His arm and mind were well rested and the Phillies watched with interest as he went through the spring. Not only was Chantres assigned to AA Reading, but he had thrown so well in camp that he was picked to be Steve Swisher's opening day starter.

Of course, Reading's opening day didn't go well for Chantres. The weather wiped out the game, but only after Chantres pitched the top of the first inning. With the game eventually suspended and slated to be made up the next night, the decision was made not to have Chantres return for the continuation, meaning that the glory of the opening day start lasted just one inning.

Chantres accepted it all in stride and was preparing for his next start when he got the news. He would be trading in his Reading Phillies uniform for one in the style of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. The news came down on Sunday and the next night, Chantres was the starting pitcher as the Red Barons opened a series against Richmond.

Chantres took the mound with precious little time to prepare and the feeling of having been thrown into the eye of a hurricane. He lasted six innings, giving up four hits and three walks. The result was four runs - three earned - and a decent outing in his first time on the hill for Scranton, although it wasn't his first time pitching in AAA.

Chantres first reached AAA back in 2000 at the age of 24 as a prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization. He would go 10-4, 3.53 that season, which would be his last with the White Sox. In 2001, he signed a minor league deal with Milwaukee and was again pitching at AAA, but the results weren't as good. He bounced around at AA and AAA with Tampa Bay in 2002 and eventually wound up back in AAA with the White Sox before his career seemed to fall apart.

In the winter between the 2002 and 2003 seasons, Chantres didn't get the calls that he figured on getting. There was no interest from major league clubs to add him to their organizations and the best situation he could find was to pitch for Nashua in the independent Atlantic League. He took the opportunity and pitched well, establishing a 14-4, 2.76 record in his time in the Atlantic League. It was then that the Phillies spotted him and decided to use him to fill one of the holes in their system.

At 29, Chantres is no longer thought of as a premier prospect. He's also no longer thought of simply as someone to fill a roster spot. He's in that in between land, working toward his first taste of the majors. There's no telling how long his stint at Scranton will last or where it will lead. Chantres knows one thing though. It's already been better than where he was just one short year ago.

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