Aaron Rawl may exude a confident attitude, but on the inside, it's a different story. "I'm definitely nervous before a game," said the 21 year old, 21st round pick out of the University of South Carolina. To combat the nerves, he looks at what he's done to date to reassure himself that he can handle the current task ahead of him. "I know I can pitch. The numbers have been there and I've done well in the past, so it's just a matter of battling the nerves."
You have to figure that the nerves got a little more intense when Rawl was promoted from Batavia to Class-A. Rawl's numbers at Batavia weren't dominating, but they certainly weren't bad either. Plus, with his strong college experience at a big time school, the Phillies felt that Rawl could make the jump to the higher level. Wednesday night, Rawl was in the right place at the right time, pitching 2/3 of an inning in his Lakewood debut and picking up the win. Actually, it was even easier than it may sound. Catcher Mike Lombardi threw out a runner trying to steal second and Rawl got the only hitter that he had to face to hit a lazy fly ball to center field. The Lakewood offense then came up with four runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 7-6 lead that would hold up when rain would cancel the remaining two innings of the game.
Rawl has a good attitude and has always been known for being a good, coachable kid. He's the kind of player that the Phillies love to draft and he should fit in well with the organization. He didn't let the fact that he wasn't drafted in 2004 change his approach. "They're going to draft who they think is going to help their club the best. If I don't fit into that plan, oh well. I enjoy playing in college and I wouldn't give anything for it. if I don't get drafted, I'll go get a job. If I do, I'll play baseball a little bit longer," Rawl told a South Carolina newspaper after the 2004 Draft.
|Year / Team||W||L||ERA||SV||G||GS||CG||IP||H||R||ER||BB||KO|
|Career - Minors||1||2||3.24||2||9||0||0||16.2||22||7||6||0||8|
All stats through July 13, 2005.
Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 21st round of the 2005 Draft. Signed on June 13, 2005 and was originally assigned to Batavia. Promoted to Lakewood on July 12th.
Repertoire: Rawl is your basic fastball, slider type pitcher. None of his pitches are awe inspiring, but he knows how to mix his pitches and he's ready to do battle with any hitter on any field at any time.
Pitching: The key to Rawl is his control. At the University of South Carolina, Rawl had a career ratio of one walk for every 3.6 strikeouts. He didn't walk a hitter in 16 innings at Batavia. He was starting to look a little tired toward the end of the college season, but he appears to have found his second wind as a pro.
Projection: Rawl may stick with Lakewood for the rest of the season. How he does will obviously help to decide where he winds up in 2006. It's likely that he'll be back at Lakewood. The Phillies will also have to decide if they want him to start - as he did in college - or work out of the bullpen. For now, they're trying to save a few miles on his arm by having him pitch in relief, but he could be moved back to the rotation next season.
Comparison: With a little luck and a lot of hard work, some scouts think that Rawl could turn into a Ryan Madson type pitcher. He has the same type of bulldog mentality that has helped to make Madson successful. His stuff isn't quite as good as Madson's, but with some work, he could get there.