Phillies Prospect #7: Kyle Drabek

Kyle Drabek has made a quick and effective return from Tommy John surgery. Don't be surprised to see and hear a lot about Drabek this season as he jumps closer and closer to the majors.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the first round (18th overall pick) of the 2006 Draft.
Bats: R  Throws: R
Height: 6' 1"  Weight: 190 pounds
Birth Date: December 8, 1987
2008 Team(s): GCL (4 G), Williamsport (4 G)
Games/Games Started: 8 G / 8 GS
School: The Woodlands HS (Texas)
2008 Ranking: #7

Why Drabek stayed at #7: Actually, for a guy coming off Tommy John surgery, staying at number seven is pretty good. The biggest reason why he stayed there is because he's got so much potential and the he pitched well late last season in the lowest levels of the minors to show that he at least had a shot at a successful return in 2009. While it didn't factor into the ranking, Drabek has also pitched well this spring, despite getting his butt handed to him by the Yankees in a pre-season game in Tampa on April 1.

Repertoire: It's never easy to tell just how a pitcher's repertoire may have to change after major surgery, but all accounts are that Kyle Drabek is still able to throw all four of his pitches with good command and movement. His fastball and curve are his bread-and-butter pitches. The fastball is just a tick away from the consistent mid-90s velocity that he was getting before the surgery and his curve has just about as much break and nastiness to it as it ever did and even now, is a better curve than many major leaguers throw. His slider and change-up aren't as good as his other pitches, but are both strong pitches and the fact that he can throw all four pitches for strikes makes him tough for hitters to figure out.

Pitching Style: Since being drafted, the Phillies have been able to coral Drabek's fiery personality and have turned him into a much more poised pitcher. He's no longer known for sulking or ranting and raving on the mound and instead, just keeps firing away with his pitches in a controlled and confident manner. He's learned that not everything is going to go his way and that he's got enough talent to overcome fluke hits or bad calls by umpires, where before he would have thrown himself into a tantrum that would be his undoing in those situations. Drabek goes right after hitters and always keeps them guessing about what he's going to throw next, since he can throw any of his pitches at any count.

Projection: It's very possible that he'll start the season with Clearwater to take advantage of some warmer weather and then start climbing north and could very well be at Lehigh Valley by the end of the season. The sky is the limit with Drabek and the fact that he has rebounded so fast and so well from Tommy John surgery is amazing. All the Phillies really want out of Drabek this season is to stay healthy and throw a good amount of innings so he can catch up to where he would have been had he not needed the surgery.

ETA: There is at least one person in the Phillies organization that believes Drabek will be ready for at least an audition at the major league level by the end of the season. That may or may not be realistic, but by next spring, he should be getting at least a bit of a look by the big league club in spring training of 2010.

Kyle Drabek's career stats

2006 GCL Phillies 1 3 7.71 6 6 23.1 33 24 20 2 11 14 1.89 .333
2007 Lakewood 5 1 4.33 11 10 54.0 50 29 26 9 23 46 1.35 .239
2008 GCL Phillies 0 1 2.25 4 4 12.0 6 3 3 0 6 6 1.00 .150
2008 Williamsport 1 2 2.21 4 4 20.1 11 6 5 1 6 10 0.84 .159
Minor League Totals 7 7 4.43 21 20 109.2 100 62 54 12 46 76 1.34 .240

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