Acquired: Selected by the Phillies in the 10th round of the 2005
B: L T: L / Height: 6' 1" Weight: 180 lbs.
Birth Date: September 14, 1984
2007 Team: Clearwater (20 g), Reading (7 g)
Games/Games Started in 2007: 27 g, 27 gs
School: Central Missouri State
Last Year's Ranking: 12
Why he moved from #12 to #5: At two levels last summer, Josh Outman put up some impressive numbers, including an overall mark of 12-7 and an ERA of 3.11. His numbers were hurt a little by a late season promotion to Reading, but he had just seven games at the Double-A level and that's generally not enough time for a pitcher to adjust to the added level of competition. In fact, had the Phillies left him at Clearwater to finish the season, it's likely that Outman would have put up very big numbers with the Threshers and there would be no doubt why he moved up in the rankings. Outman has shown an ability to be consistent and keeps getting better every season, which is exactly the type of growth that you like to see.
Repertoire: Outman continues to have a slider and change-up that are both a work in progress, but he showed a lot better command of them last season and has gotten much more comfortable with throwing them at any point in the count. His fastball is consistently in the low to mid-90s and he gives the impression of pitching downhill thanks to a high release point that he repeats well. He did find out that pitches he could get away with at lower levels, such as the ever popular hanging curve, are usually given a one-way ticket out of the park now that he's at Double-A ball. The five home runs that he allowed in just 42 innings at Reading were a much higher rate than he has allowed in the past, but as he gets better, those pitches will be fewer and further in between.
Pitching Style: Outman depends heavily on control and keeping the ball down in the zone. He tried to put a little extra heat on his fastball when he got to Double-A and was sometimes guilty of leaving pitches up and over the plate, which got him into trouble. The fact that he was pressing once he was promoted was a little out of character for Outman since he's generally very poised and doesn't get rattled very easily. His walks per nine innings average (4.3) is a little high and he saw a mild dip in his strikeouts per nine innings number last season, but that was due to over throwing and he should rebound to get very close to his strikeout per inning standards that he showed in his first two seasons in the minors. When Outman came to the Phillies, he had very unorthodox mechanics, but many believed that his style actually put less strain on his shoulder and elbow, so the Phillies were content to let him run with it, although they did offer some tweaking suggestions, which Outman took and has worked into his routine. His pitching style was actually developed by his father, who spent a lot of time studying biomechanics and kinesiology and Outman is somewhat of a guinea pig for his father's ideas on preventing pitching injuries.
Projection: With a little luck and continued development, Outman can be a middle of the rotation type starter in the majors. He's got one of the best pure arms in the organization and just needs more work on his slider and change-up to get to where he'll need to be and relaxing and fitting in at the Double-A level will go a long way toward making that happen.
ETA: It's likely that Outman is going to need full seasons at both Double-A and Triple-A before he can truly be considered for a spot in the Phillies rotation. That would put him in line for a battle in the spring of 2010 or possibly a late season audition in 2009 if all goes well.
Josh Outman's career stats
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