Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 18th round of the 2005
B: R T: R / Height: 6' 3" / Weight: 170 lbs.
2007 Team/Level: Lakewood (Low - A)
Games/Games Started in 2007: 26 g / 25 gs
School: Penn Forest High School
2007 Ranking: 44
Why he moved from #44 to #35: Darren Byrd moved up on our rankings not because of his numbers, which were pretty good, but not intimidating, but because of how he's progressed as a pitcher. The Phillies drafted him out of high school and he needed some work, to say the least. He's put in the time and effort and it's starting to pay off. He threw the most innings of his career in 2007 and was still pretty strong late in the season, turning in back-to-back efforts in early August where he didn't allow an earned run and threw seven innings in each game. He's developed his pitches well and his mechanics have become very smooth.
Repertoire: Byrd can now throw his fastball in the low-90s and he's packed extra velocity onto the pitch in every season that he's pitched. It's likely that he's pretty well topped out now and won't get too much more velocity, but since he also gets good movement on the pitch, he can get by with what he's got. His curve ball has made the most progress and when he's on, it's simply devastating. He has good command of both his fastball and curve. To keep hitters guessing, Byrd will occasionally show them a change-up, but it's not really an out pitch for him at this point, although it has gotten better.
Pitching Style: Generally, Byrd prefers to go right after hitters. He improved his walk numbers greatly last season, going from almost five walks per nine innings in 2007 to about 3.5 per nine innings last summer and he stands to improve on those numbers. One thing that happened is that his strikeout percentage fell, but Byrd has good enough stuff that he can get away with that.
Projection: Darren Byrd continues to get better, but still has some rough edges. He needs to be able to keep the ball down better than he did last season, but he was adjusting to a longer schedule and better hitters. Right now, he figures to be a back of the rotation type pitcher or possibly a long reliever, but he could pull himself up a little over those estimations. As with many young players, the Phillies will have a decision to make on where to send Byrd to start the year, because he could start by repeating at Lakewood or could move up a level to Clearwater and see what he can do there. Because he's 21 now and the Phillies believe he took good strides last summer, it's likely that he'll be at Clearwater to start the year.
What else you should know about Darren Byrd :
- He graduated from Penn Forest High School in Pensacola, Florida. That's the same high school that Lebo Powell, who was the Phillies first round pick in 1980 attended. In case you're interested, Lebo Powell - who was a catcher - spent two seasons in Low-A ball and finished his minor league career as a career .226 hitter. At least Powell was drafted ahead of the likes of Glenn Wilson, Terry Francona and Billy Beane.
- Teams turned away from Byrd in the draft, because they thought he would choose to attend junior college rather than sign a pro contract, but Byrd was quick to sign with the Phillies.
Darren Byrd's career stats
|Minor League Totals||16||13||3.61||0||48||40||252.0||228||126||101||12||101||177||1.31||.243|
Stats courtesy of The Baseball Cube.