Pitching will need to carry Reading Phillies

With three very young, but good pitching prospects in the rotation and other highly touted prospects dotting their staff, the Reading Phillies hope to rely on pitching to conquer the Eastern League.

Vance Worley and Mike Stutes are both making big jumps this season to pitch for the Reading Phillies. Both were just drafted last June and had quick indoctrinations to professional baseball last season with both rising as high as Low-A Lakewood in their debut season. Now, in their first full season in the minors, both are skipping past Clearwater, not to mention not even getting any more experience with Lakewood, to pitch at the Double-A level.

Between them, there's just over 100 innings of experience at Lakewood, but loads of talent, worthy of their promotion to Double-A.

Then, factor in Joe Savery, one of the top left-handed prospects in the organization and a former first round draft pick. Last season, Savery skipped over Lakewood and started his first full minor league season at Clearwater and suffered through some growing pains, but by late in the season, seemed to have settled in nicely.

Tyson Brummett, who started 14 games at Reading last season in his first full season in the minors, adds another young arm to the starting rotation for the Reading Phillies.

The rotation is rounded out by Alex Concepcion, who has bounced back and forth between starting and relieving and is bouncing back to starting this season at Reading.

Meanwhile, Antonio Bastardo makes the switch from starting to relieving and the expectations are high for him. Bastardo tended to struggle in later innings as a starter, but excelled in his first couple of innings, so the change makes a lot of sense. Overall, Bastardo had success for the Reading Phillies as a starter last season, but will likely find more success as a reliever.

Relievers Joe Bisenius and Patrick Overholt are looking to right themselves after having success early on in their careers. Overholt has pitched in 64 games at Reading over the past two seasons, both as a starter and reliever, with a combined mark of 9-17 and an ERA of 5.88 to show for his efforts. Bisenius has pitched briefly in the majors for the Phillies (two games), but has also struggled of late when the Phillies have tried to advance him to the Triple-A level. Last season at Reading, he found success with a 3.43 ERA in 28 games, but posted an ERA over seven at Triple-A Lehigh Valley and had a 5.48 ERA at Triple-A in 2007.

While the focus will be on pitching, Reading features some offensive prospects in Quintin Berry and Michael Taylor.

Berry is known for speed on the basepaths and has stolen 106 bases over the past two seasons. Taylor split last season between Lakewood and Clearwater and hit 19 home runs with a .345 average. Both will patrol the outfield for Reading.

Brad Harman hit 17 home runs for Reading last season and returns to the R-Phils infield along with Neil Sellers, who hit 19 home runs at Double-A in 2008. Kevin Mahar, who played briefly in the majors with Texas in 2007 and who had a great spring training, joins the Phillies organization as does Brian Stavisky, who hit 16 home runs at Double-A Arkansas last season.

Manager Steve Roadcap and pitching coach Steve Schrenk take over for their first season in Reading, leading this young squad of players.

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