Bisenius, 24, was taken by the Phillies in the 12th round of the 2004 Draft and signed within two weeks after being drafted. He immediately started to show dividends in the starting rotation at Batavia, but the Phillies saw something different in him. They saw a young right-hander who would make a quality reliever and probably put up even better numbers over the long-run than he would as a starter. So, the change was made and Bisenius, who accepted the change, found himself struggling with the 2005 Lakewood BlueClaws.
Showing that judging prospects is much more than just a numbers game, the Phillies did another unexpected thing when they promoted Bisenius to Clearwater to start the 2006 season. He took off and was eventually moving along again, this time to Double-A Reading, where he also found success.
Joe Bisenius' 2006 Stats
|Ariz. Fall Lg||1||1||11.57||0||4||0||4.2||7||8||6||0||4||6||2.36|
2006 Prospect Ranking: 32
Status: After going through a learning curve in the bullpen, Bisenius has put it all together and is showing that the Phillies made the right move with him. He's also proving them right for moving him along when the smart money was that he would repeat a season - or at least start a second season - at Lakewood.
After going through a tough time in the Arizona Fall League, Bisenius headed for Venezuela and is pitching very well in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Scouting Notes: As a starter, Bisenius seemed to get himself into a groove and stay there. In his first season as a reliever, his mechanics were all over the place and at times, he found himself absolutely lost. He's got a pretty big build (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) and it's easy for him to get himself sort of tangled up if his mechanics aren't perfect.
One of the reasons for the move to the pen is that Bisenius is basically a two-pitch-pitcher (fastball and slider) and he wasn't able to do much on improving his change-up. He would definitely need a third pitch as he were to stay in the starting rotation, but as a reliever, Bisenius can rely on his fastball and slider to get by.
Bisenius gets both right-handers and left-handers out and was actually tougher on lefties, allowing them to hit just .199 against him at Clearwater and Reading. Right-handed hitters managed just .216 against him. He will give up a few more homeruns to left-handed hitters, though. At Clearwater, he was very tough in tight spots, but lost some of that edge at Reading. If there is anything that he'll have to improve on, it's those numbers in pressure spots (a .455 opponents' batting average with runners in scoring position at Reading.)
Analysis: Bisenius is one of those tough calls on where to have him start the season. You could understand a return to Reading to give him more experience at the Double-A level, but an argument can be made for promoting him to Triple-A Ottawa in 2007. Odds are that he'll make a quick start at Reading and be moved along to Ottawa by about mid-season.
Watch for our prospect rankings for 2007, which will be released in January.