Phillies Prospect #11: Antonio Bastardo

Antonio Bastardo lost a good chunk of the 2008 season to shoulder inflammation, but still made a good impression while he was healthy. With just a little more polishing, Bastardo could be a near dominating pitcher.

Acquired: Signed as an amateur free agent in January, 2005.
Bats: L   Throws: L
Height: 5' 11"   Weight: 190 pounds
Birth Date: September 21, 1985
2008 Team(s): Clearwater (5 G), Reading (14 G)
Games/Games Started: 19 G / 19 GS
2008 Ranking: 14

Why Bastardo moved up to #11: Antonio Bastardo quickly conquered the High-A level early in the season and moved along to Double-A Reading, where he pitched very well for the rest of the season. If you just look at the basic numbers, you might think that Bastardo would have jumped a little more than just two spots, but his walk numbers are still high - five per nine innings - and he'll need to bring those down before he can truly start to handle hitters better. Bastardo also missed a chunk of the season with shoulder inflammation. Keep in mind too, that the higher you get in the organization's rankings, the tougher it is to move up the rankings list. The Phillies have a strong group of prospects and if Bastardo knocks down those walk numbers, he'll be better able to push other prospects aside.

STAT Antonio Bastardo Eastern League
ERA 3.76 4.22
*DRA 1.75 0.57
H/9 IP 7.50 9.15
HR/9 IP 1.70 0.84
BB/9 IP 5.00 3.63
KO/9IP 8.30 7.03
WHIP 1.39 1.42
*WILD 20.42 14.73
*EFF 1.29 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.

Repertoire: Bastardo's fastball is so effective, because of the late movement that he gets on the pitch. His velocity is average - around 90 miles per hour and sometimes a little higher - and the pitch looks at first like it might be something for a hitter to rip into, until that late movement hits. He's gone to more of a pure slider rather than the slurve that he used earlier in his career and he's had a little more success with the pitch. His change-up is average and he relies on it pretty much, but mixes his pitches well enough that hitters are still caught off guard. With all of his pitches, the biggest drawback is being able to throw them consistently for strikes.

Pitching Style: Besides struggling with his control, Bastardo tends to work up in the zone and the higher quality hitters that he's facing now are able to launch some of those pitches. He averaged nearly two home runs per nine innings last season at Reading and those numbers are a definite drawback for him. Because of his propensity to give up walks and home run balls, Bastardo averaged just under five innings per start last season, although some of the time he was being watched closely because of the shoulder issues. He wastes too many pitches and will need to go right after hitters more. After all, when you look at his stats, it's easy to see that giving up too many hits isn't his problem - opponents have a career .198 average against him - but his walk numbers increase the dangers that he gets into, especially when he gives up home run balls.

Projection: All Bastardo really needs to do is continue to work on his secondary pitches and get them to a point where he can throw them more consistently for strikes. Once he learns how to do that, he'll be able to use less pitches to get hitters out and become a much more effective pitcher all the way around. For right now, Bastardo could work out as a back-of-the-rotation starter or possibly wind up as a long-man out of the bullpen, depending on how he continues to develop. This is an important season for Bastardo, who needs to put the finishing touches on what is a promising career. After all, he's still just 23 years old, so there is some time for him to develop. Bastardo also needs to stay away from injuries, which have hit him pretty often, although none of them have been extremely serious, it's never good for a young pitcher to have so many issues.

ETA: Bastardo may get a September invitation to the majors depending on how things work out for him this season. It's also possible that he's going to continue to work in the minors for much of the next two seasons or so until he has things truly worked out. Most likely, he'll be ready to establish himself for the 2011 season.

Comparison: Last year, we compared Bastardo to Clay Condrey and the comparison still fits pretty well. Condrey spent a lot of time jumping back-and-forth from the majors to Triple-A and even now, isn't completely established as a major league pitcher. Bastardo does have the potential to be better than Condrey though once he fully develops.

Antonio Bastardo's career stats

2005 DSL 2 2 2.13 11 5 38.0 22 14 9 0 22 63 1.16 .162
2006 GCL 1 2 3.91 9 2 23.0 20 16 10 1 14 27 1.48 .220
2007 Lakewood 9 0 1.87 15 15 91.2 63 23 19 3 42 98 1.14 .189
2007 Clearwater 1 0 7.20 1 1 5.0 5 4 4 0 3 12 1.60 .250
2008 Clearwater 2 0 1.17 5 5 30.2 20 4 4 2 10 47 0.98 .183
2008 Reading 2 5 3.76 14 14 67.0 56 35 28 13 37 62 1.39 .223
TOTALS 17 9 2.61 55 42 255.1 186 96 74 19 128 309 1.23 .198

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