Phillies Prospect #4: Joe Savery

While Joe Savery didn't have a dominating 2008 season, it wasn't as bad as it may appear at first glance. This season, Savery has a chance to put himself on more solid footing as a prospect with a strong season at Triple-A.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies (19th overall) in the first round of 2007 Draft.
Bats: L  Throws: L
Height: 6' 3"  Weight: 215 pounds
Birth Date: November 4, 1985
2008 Team: Clearwater (27 G)
Games/Games Started: 27 G / 24 GS
School: Rice University
2008 Ranking: 3

Why Savery fell to #4: It's easy to just look at the numbers and say that Joe Savery didn't have a season worthy of a top five prospect, but you have to realize a couple of things. First, he skipped over a level to pitch at Clearwater last season and when all is said and done, when you consider the jump, he finished with a 4.13 ERA, which isn't all that shabby. Over the past two months of the season, Savery had a 3.11 ERA, showing that he had adapted to the league and gotten his feet under him. Should he have accomplished that a little earlier? Yes, but he did make the adjustments and pitched very well late in the season.

STAT Joe Savery Florida State League
ERA 4.13 3.80
*DRA 0.90 0.59
H/9 IP 10.20 8.76
HR/9 IP 0.60 0.65
BB/9 IP 3.60 3.37
KO/9IP 7.30 7.22
WHIP 1.54 1.35
*WILD 14.85 13.94
*EFF 0.85 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: One thing that made Savery better late in the season was the development of his slider. While it was just an occasional pitch for him prior to last season, he threw it more and more last season and made great strides with the pitch as far as location and movement. Savery's four-seem fastball is in the low-90s and he was able to maintain velocity all season long, which is a good sign for a young pitcher in their first full-season league. His change-up is impressive and impossible to pick up just by watching his mechanics when he throws the pitch, because his motion and arm speed are both exactly what you see from him when he throws his fastball. 

Pitching Style: Savery pitches inside and does it very well. He's got good enough command of his pitches that he can get away with pitching inside and can move to the outside part of the plate without any problem. He goes right after hitters, but with the increased value of his slider, has better pitches to set up hitters with when he wants to be a little more careful with a hitter. When hitters do get on base against Savery, they have a free pass to run; catchers were able to throw out just 22% of the runners trying to steal off of Savery and the vast majority of those stolen bases weren't the catcher's fault. Savery just isn't good with a slide step and can't keep runners close enough to prevent them from running at will.

Projection: With an expected promotion to Double-A Reading this season, Joe Savery will be making a major step. If he can succeed at Reading, he'll reestablish himself as a legitimate prospect and sooth the fears of fans who were concerned about his performance at Clearwater in 2008. He's 23 and has the tools to succeed, so it's really just a matter of putting it all together for the full season. Hopefully, his adjustment period won't be nearly as long as it was last season and his numbers will reflect his ability.

ETA: Savery could be one of those pitchers who just take a little more time than normal to adapt when they jump a level. Keeping that in mind, he's going to need a little more time to reach the majors than it was originally thought. Best case scenario would be for him to get an audition for the 2011 season, but it may actually take a little longer for him to be considered a legitimate option for the Phillies starting rotation.

Joe Savery's career stats

2007 Williamsport 2 3 2.73 7 7 26.1 22 9 8 0 13 22 1.33 .214
2008 Clearwater 9 10 4.13 24 24 150.1 171 84 69 10 60 122 1.54 .286
TOTALS 11 13 3.92 31 31 176.2 193 93 77 10 73 144 1.51 .276

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