Top Prospect #46: Cory Dueitt

The Phillies basically picked Cory Dueitt up off of the scrap heap. He went undrafted in 2004 and signed with the Phillies after the draft. His first pro season in the Gulf Coast League was a learning experience. In 2005, he put what he learned to good use for the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Cory Dueitt wasn't exactly what you would call dominating in his time at Auburn. His career stats there - 17-11, 4.57 - don't lend themselves to drawing a lot of attention from scouts. Still, at times, Dueitt was impressive enough that the Phillies at least knew his name. While they weren't willing to use a draft pick on him, they did sign him after the draft as an undrafted free agent.

Dueitt's first stop was in the Gulf Coast League and again, his numbers weren't the thing that scouts drool over. Again though, he was good enough that the Phillies held onto him and brought him back for another year and even challenged him with a promotion to Lakewood. Now, scouts know more than just Cory Dueitt's name. He responded to the challenge and put up pretty solid numbers, although he did wear down late in the season. With a little more stamina, Dueitt could have possibly found himself a little higher on the list of Phillies prospects.

The change in numbers between 2004 and 2005 was pretty impressive. Where opponents hit .286 against Dueitt in '04, they managed to hit just .226 against him at Lakewood. His strikeout ratio wasn't quite as good at Lakewood, but there are a lot of pitchers that find that to be true. Plus, many of Dueitt's walks came late in the season as he started to tire. The funny thing though is that even though he was tiring, he still put up respectable numbers and saved five of his seven games in August and September. While opponents hit slightly higher against him in those months, he found a way to work out of jams and get hitters out. His late season control was really the issue though.

2004 GCL 1 1 4.87 2 13 0 20.1 26 13 11 2 7 19
2005 Lakewood 2 6 3.21 7 49 0 73.0 62 33 26 8 23 48
Career 3 7 3.57 9 62 0 93.1 88 46 37 10 30 67

Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an undrafted free agent following the 2004 Draft. Pitched four seasons for the Auburn Tigers.

Projection: Dueitt started a few games in his time at Auburn, but the Phillies believe he's best suited to pitch out of the bullpen. He generally keeps the ball down in the zone, but gets it elevated when he tires. He was one of the more reliable pitchers at Lakewood in 2005 and there's no reason to think that he'll return to Lakewood; instead, he's likely to be promoted to Clearwater and work out of the Threshers' bullpen in 2006. Long-term, there is no reason why Dueitt couldn't become a fixture in the middle portion of the Phillies' bullpen. Dueitt worked as Lakewood's closer late in the season and it would be interesting to see if he can reprise that role. The bottom line though is that as he moves through the organization, he'll need to add a little velocity and a chunk of rubber to his arm if he's going to endure the rigors of closing on a long-term basis.

ETA: It would be remarkable if Dueitt were to climb one level per season. If he does, the Phillies will be overwhelmingly excited with their find. Figure that as he moves higher, Dueitt may need a little more time to adjust to each level. It's likely that by the middle of 2009, Dueitt could be ready to push for his major league audition. By that time, he'll be 27, which certainly isn't too old. The question mark is how quickly he'll progress. He was a pleasant surprise in 2005 and if he keeps that up, certainly, he'll speed up the timetable.

Comparison: One scout believes that he sees a little of Amaury Telemaco in Cory Dueitt. The difference is that he is a little concerned about Dueitt's ability to give a lot of innings out of the bullpen, because he can start to lose it pretty quickly when he tires.


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