If not for injuries, Zack Segovia would be getting a lot more attention than he is right now. Tommy John surgery cost him the entire 2004 season and as is usually the case, his first season back wasn't exactly stellar. While pitchers can come back from TJS in a year, they aren't truly recovered until their second season back. While that's bad news for Randy Wolf in 2006, it's great news for Segovia. Now that he's officially healthy, he can concentrate on putting up the kind of numbers that he was used to before his surgery.
If other pitchers are any indication, we should see more of the Zack Segovia that the Phillies were figuring on pushing for a major league job by now and less of the pitcher that we saw on that struggling Clearwater Threshers club of 2005.
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Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 2002 Draft out of Forney High School (Texas).
Repertoire: In 2005, Segovia was slowly starting to get his velocity back to form. He was throwing his fastball in the low-90s prior to the injury and was reaching that level at spots in 2005. He's also got a good, hard slider to keep hitters off-balance.
Pitching: One of the things that the injury did to Segovia - at least in 2005 - was cause him to get the ball up in the zone more than he had before. That resulted in more homeruns being hit off of him. His control was still decent, but wasn't as good as it was prior to the surgery. As his velocity returned, Segovia started to correct those things and gained more confidence. His location and control will be things to watch in 2006. He's never been afraid to pitch and even threw 143 pitches in a high school game. You have to use 20/20 hindsight now to see that there is no way he should have thrown that many pitches or pitched as often as he did.
Projection: While he's slid down the prospect chart, Segovia still has a very high ceiling of potential. Don't forget, he was drafted right behind Cole Hamels in 2002 and there's a reason why he was a second round pick. When he's on and healthy, Segovia can simply dominate hitters. It's very possible that the Phillies will keep him at Clearwater to start the season and let him soak up the warm sun of Florida before a promotion to Reading. If all goes right though, Segovia will be in Reading by the time the weather gets warm and should be making people ask where he was last season. He could go one step behind Hamels, with Hamels starting at Reading and when he moves to AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre, Segovia will replace him at AA Reading.
ETA: By the spring of 2008, Zack Segovia should be pushing for a spot in the Phillies rotation. The Phillies are known to be a little cautious, especially when a pitcher has been injured, but Segovia has a lot of talent and will likely move pretty quickly once he starts to return to the form he showed early in his career.
Comparison: Before the injury, it was thought that Segovia could eventually put up the kind of numbers that Brett Myers hit in 2005. He's healthy now and it will be interesting to see how he progresses in 2006 and if he can come anywhere near those sort of numbers in the minors. Segovia may not have quite the talent that Myers has, but would be a step under him and a mid-to-upper rotation pitcher in the majors.