Phillies Prospect #40: Justin De Fratus

Justin De Fratus came to the Phillies from Ventura Junior College and admittedly needs work. All things considered though, he may not need as much work as the Phillies originally thought.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 11th round of the 2007 Draft.

B: T: R  /  Height: 6' 4"  /  Weight: 215 lbs

Birth Date: October 21, 1987

2007 Team: Gulf Coast League Phillies

Games/Games Started in 2007: 10 g / 8 gs

School: Ventura Junior College

Repertoire: Justin De Fratus throws a good, hard fastball that generally sits around 92 mph and peeks above that from time to time. The downside is that the velocity only stays there for about two innings and then starts to tail off, but it's likely that as he matures - he just turned 20 in October - and the Phillies work with him on his endurance, he should be able to pitch deeper into games. De Fratus also features a pretty good slider that he keeps down in the strike zone and is working on a change-up. Right now, the change-up is the weakest of his pitches and the Phillies will continue to work with him to disguise it better and get it consistently at a speed that will help to set up his fastball.

Pitching Style: Control comes easy for De Fratus. He walked just three hitters in 46 innings in the Gulf Coase League last summer, while striking out 34. He should be able to become a little more of a strikeout pitcher if he can get the change-up working. Right now, he's a relatively hittable pitcher and opponents hit .273 off him last season in the GCL. Again though, if he can develop some endurance and get his change-up working, that average should drop.

Projection: There are some questions about De Fratus coming into the season. First, is he a starter or a reliever? Look for him to stay in the starting rotation and get as much experience and work as he can to help develop that change-up. From there though, he could wind up in the bullpen if he doesn't improve his endurance and become a pitcher that the Phillies feel will be able to throw much deeper into games. The second question is where to put him in the organization. The Phillies want to get him exposure against live hitters, so a trip to Lakewood might be warranted, but then again, it would be a bit of a reach to put him at that level so quickly, especially since he came from a junior college program and isn't very battle tested against better hitters. Some work in extended camp may be the way to go and the Phillies can make a decision from there whether to send him to Lakewood at some point or just keep him in camp until the short-season leagues begin and send him to Williamsport.

Justin De Fratus' career stats

2007 GCL 2 3 4.30 0 10 8 46.0 51 25 22 1 3 34 1.17 .273

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