Drabek's Stay In Camp Will Be Short

The Phillies wasted little time last June in grabbing Kyle Drabek with their first pick in the draft. After a tough summer in the Gulf Coast League, Drabek is in Major League camp this spring, but his stay will be short.

Kyle Drabek came to the Phillies with some baggage. Part of the baggage came from his alleged attitude that seemed to have him thinking he was better than other players. Reports have been that he's not afraid to let anybody know just how good he thinks he is. Maybe that's the reason that he negotiated a clause into his contract that requires the Phillies to give him an invitation to Major League camp when there is no way that he'll be making the team.

Actually, clauses like that aren't unheard of for first round picks and there is actually a good reason. It gives a player an opportunity to hang with veteran major league players and learn from them and the major league coaching staff. If Drabek has an attitude, a visit with the major leaguers could be just what he needs. Don't think for a second that someone like Jamie Moyer or Jon Lieber will put up with attitude from some young pitcher who is barely a veteran to shaving let alone pitching at the highest levels.

As with a lot of the young players invited to camp, Drabek and everybody around him knows that he's not going to be headed north when camp breaks. In fact, Drabek's departure date is pretty much set; March 2. That's when minor league camp opens and it's the date when spring training truly starts for Kyle Drabek.

Actually, once March gets here, Drabek will be under close scrutiny. The Phillies will be deciding where he starts the season and while the date that he's going to be sent out is set in stone, just where he'll start the season isn't. It's likely that he'll be held back for extended camp and head to Williamsport when the short-season leagues begin in June. The longer shot is that if he puts it all together this spring, he'll start the year with the South Atlantic League Champion Lakewood BlueClaws. Drabek wil need to show all that he can throw strikes and is ready to move to a full-season league. Something in the middle is also a possibility; the Phillies could keep Drabek in Florida for extended camp and then ship him to Lakewood sometime between the time the season starts and when the short-season leagues begin after the draft.

This will be the summer when Drabek truly faces scrutiny. He got a bit of a pass last season when he struggled in his pro debut in the GCL, but this summer, he'll be expected to show why he was taken in the first round of the draft. No matter where Drabek winds up, the spotlight will be squarely on him and his perceived attitude. Odds are that Drabek's time in the major league camp will be the easy part of 2007 for young Kyle Drabek.

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