Phillies Prospect #22: Michael Stutes

Michael Stutes no longer worries about how he gets hitters out. Instead, he just lets his pitching do the work and lets the hitters get themselves out.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 11th round of the 2008 Draft.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 6' 1"   Weight: 185 pounds
Birth Date: September 4, 1986
2008 Team(s): Williamsport (6 G), Lakewood (7 G)
Games/Games Started: 13 G / 13 GS
School: Oregon State

Repertoire: Michael Stutes tended to fall in love with his curve ball when he was in college. Back then, the objective was to strike out as many hitters as he could, but that's all changed. The Phillies, realizing that he's got a rather sturdy arsenal of pitches, are encouraging him to simply go at hitters and get them out early in the count, allowing him to pitch deeper into games. His curve is a pitch that's easily capable of freezing hitters, but Stutes can be a little erratic with the pitch at times, so he has started to rely more and more on his fastball. The fastball gets some good, late movement and was in the low-90s this past season, but he had pitched a lot this past year, so he may have been a little worn down. When all is said and done, he should be able to consistently keep his fastball in the mid-90s and he already is focusing on moving the pitch in and out to hitters. His change-up is a quality pitch and Stutes is working to make it even better.

STAT Michael Stutes South Atlantic League
ERA 1.48 4.02
*DRA 0.21 0.73
H/9 IP 4.22 8.90
HR/9 IP 0.21 0.70
BB/9 IP 3.80 3.12
KO/9IP 11.18 7.84
KO:BB 2.9 : 1 2.51 : 1
WHIP 0.89 1.34
*WILD 16.45 13.43
*EFF 4.86 1.00
*DRA (Defensive Runs Average) - a measure of how much a pitcher was hurt by his defense. Basically, the number of runs that the defense allowed through errors. The lower this number, the less a pitcher was hurt by his defense.

*WILD (Wildness rating) - a measure of how many  "bad pitches" a pitcher made during an average game, resulting in walks, hit batters and wild pitches. The lower this number, the better for a pitcher.

*EFF (Efficiency rating) - A basic measurement of how a particular pitcher ranks among other pitchers in his particular league. The higher this number, the higher the pitcher ranked among other pitchers in his particular league.

Pitching Style: The straight forward approach is working well for Stutes. He had success at both Williamsport and Lakewood last season and could be challenged with an assignment to Double-A Reading to start this season. His motion has a bit of a whirling motion to it, but the Phillies are okay with that as long as Stutes can keep his weight back and not let himself get unbalanced, which he has worked on with good results. Stutes has made peace with not being known as a strikeout type pitcher and is willing to let hitters put that bat on the ball, as long as they're hitting his pitch. The ironic thing is that even though he doesn't pitch to strikeout hitters, he wound up striking out 84 batters in 69 2/3 innings last season in the minors. Much of that comes from improving his fastball and finding a willingness to mix his pitches better.

Projection: Initially, the discussion about Stutes was whether he could start at Clearwater last season, but he showed enough progress and worked hard enough that now, the discussion is whether to move him ahead to Double-A to start the year. Generally, the Phillies do challenge a pitcher or two with an early over-jump and Stutes would make a good candidate for that challenge. 

Comparison: Stutes reminds some of a younger J.A. Happ, who moved pretty quickly through the Phillies minor league system. While there are similarities in the quality of their pitches and their solid work ethic, they're not identical twins. First, Happ is left-handed and was taken in the third round of the 2004 Draft, while Stutes was sitting around until the 11th round last June. While Happ was supposed to be a quick mover, Stutes was expected to need more time than he has shown he'll need early on.

career stats

2008 Williamsport 2 1 1.33 0 6 6 27.0 16 5 4 2 11 31 1.00 .172
2008 Lakewood 5 1 1.48 0 7 7 42.2 20 8 7 1 18 53 0.89 .139
TOTALS 7 2 1.42 0 13 13 69.2 36 13 11 3 29 84 0.93 .152

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