Five Who Are Ready To Move

It may be a little early in the season to think about promotions, but hey, why not? There are five candidates who have already shown they are deserving of a move to the next level, including someone who might be able to help the big league club.

Ben Pfinsgraff, RHP Lakewood BlueClaws

While battling injuries, Pfinsgraff has spent parts of the last two seasons at Lakewood, compiling a combined mark of 3-3, 2.37 with the 'Claws. Now, he's healthy and it doesn't appear that there's much more he can accomplish by sticking with Lakewood and would be better served with a promotion to High-A Clearwater. In 2007, Pfinsgraff got to move up a level from Lakewood and the experience didn't go so well (0-2, 8.35 in 4 starts) but he's throwing very well at Lakewood and the results would figure to be much better this time around. The Phillies have Pfinsgraff back in the bullpen, which is probably where he belongs after giving starting a shot with both Lakewood and Clearwater.

Brett Harker, RHP Clearwater Threshers

Last season, Harker's stock fell sharply with a poor season at Clearwater. This season, he's straightened himself out and is putting up some strong numbers, which combined with his time at the High-A level would qualify him for a potential promotion. Some of his peripheral numbers (7 BB in 14 IP, .286 opponents batting average) are a little shaky, but Harker is throwing well and would likely respond to the challenge of climbing up a level to Double-A Reading. It's likely that the Phillies are going to be more conservative with Harker and keep him at Clearwater for much of the season and possibly all season to build his confidence and see if some of those peripherals improve.

Greg Golson, OF Reading Phillies

Now probably isn't the time, but by mid-season, Greg Golson deserves to move along to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. It would mirror the move that he made last year, spending half the season at Clearwater and then jumping to Reading and would put him in a position to possibly battle for a spot on the big league club in 2009. His M.O. is that he starts slowly when he moves up a level, but then turns it on when he gets comfortable. There aren't a lot of true prospects playing at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and it wouldn't hurt to get one or two more there by the end of the season, but with the team struggling so much, now wouldn't be the time to put a young guy who generally has a tough time adjusting anyway into that situation. That's probably why Javon Moran got the temporary move to Lehigh Valley earlier this season when Brandon Watson went on the DL.

Patrick Overholt, RHP Reading Phillies

Like with Golson, now probably isn't the time to move Overholt along, but the Phillies will definitely consider making the move sometime around mid-season. Overholt made 15 starts at Reading last season and struggled (6-9, 5.90) but pitching out of the bullpen this season, he's been strong for the Double-A squad, going 1-0 with a 1.08 ERA in 13 games and converting seven of eight save opportunities. You have to figure that time at Triple-A would benefit Overholt and the Phillies more than will hanging on to someone like J.D. Durbin or Gary Knotts.

Brian Mazone, LHP Lehigh Valley IronPigs

With Mazone a couple months away from his 32nd birthday, the Phillies wouldn't have to worry about the nervousness of youth if they were to call Mazone to the majors. Since he's left-handed, the first thought might be to pair him with J.C. Romero in the bullpen, but Mazone is much more suited to pitching out of the rotation. Adam Eaton is falling back into his old ways and the trend this season has been for teams to eat big contracts rather than keep sending guys out there to struggle. There aren't a lot of true, great prospects that the Phillies could plug into the rotation if they were to dump Eaton and rather than rushing someone like J.A. Happ, giving someone like Mazone - who has four of the IronPigs five wins this season - a shot wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. If it doesn't work, you're right back where you were before and still have time before the trade deadline to look for pitching help. Just something to think about.



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