Top Prospect #31: Keith Bucktrot

There are a few key prospects who have been slowed by injuries and Keith Bucktrot is one of them. It wasn't that long ago that Bucktrot seemed destined for a big league debut before too long. Now, he's just fighting to stay on the prospect radar.

The Phillies felt that they had a true find in Keith Bucktrot. A lot of scouts thought he would go much higher than the third round of the 2000 Draft and the Phillies insist that if they would have had a second round pick that year, they would have grabbed him in that spot. Luckily for the Phillies, he fell to the third round and the Phillies still wound up with their man.

After Bucktrot got his feet wet in the professional ranks, it looked like he was going all he was hyped to be. In 2004 though, injuries hit and while they weren't thought to be anything major, they lingered and Bucktrot suffered even more problems in 2005. Now, he's a pitcher with two injury-filled seasons and declining numbers. Coming into 2006, Bucktrot should be healthy and should be a big part of what should be an impressive starting rotation in Reading.

YEAR / TEAM W L ERA SV G GS IP H R ER HR BB KO
'00 GCL 3 2 4.78 0 11 7 37.2 39 21 20 5 19 40
'01 Lakewood 6 11 5.28 0 24 24 134.2 139 93 79 16 58 97
'02 Clearwater 8 9 4.88 0 27 24 160.1 167 101 87 10 78 84
'03 Clearwater 7 7 3.33 0 19 17 110.2 104 50 41 8 29 68
'03 Reading 3 1 2.56 0 7 7 45.2 34 17 13 3 15 30
'04 Reading 4 7 4.87 0 20 20 105.1 140 65 57 16 39 60
'05 Clearwater 1 1 4.60 0 3 3 15.2 12 8 8 3 7 9
'05 Reading 3 4 5.52 0 11 11 62.0 76 40 38 10 26 34
Career 35 42 4.59 0 122 113 672.0 711 395 343 71 271 422

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies out of Claremore High School (Oklahoma) in the third round of the 2000 Draft.

Pitching: Bucktrot has never had great walk/strikeout ratios and since his injury problems, they've gotten worse. That has always been a bit of a concern of scouts watching Bucktrot and he'll have to reverse that trend if he plans on making any progress through the system. Another issue that has come up is that Bucktrot doesn't seem to have consistency in his mechanics and that causes him to sort of get lost with where he's at and what he's throwing. At times, he overthrows, which has been a concern since he hit the pro ranks. Initially, the Phillies thought they had corrected it and his numbers improved, but it was happening again last season.

Projection: By now, Bucktrot was figured on to be fighting for a spot in the rotation. Instead, he'll be back at Reading or possibly even start in the warm weather of Clearwater. Last season, he started the year on the DL and then was sent to Clearwater for three starts. Hopefully, he won't have to start this season on the DL, but he could still stay in Clearwater for a few starts before moving along to Reading. If he stays healthy and regains his form, there is no reason why Bucktrot couldn't reach AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre at some point this season. It seems though that Bucktrot won't get much consideration for the major league roster until 2008 at the earliest. It's a telling sign that he was dropped from the Phillies 40 man roster this winter; In other words, he'll have to prove himself to be both healthy and effective.

 


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