Mid-Season Prospects: Top 10 Pitchers

Coming into the season, Carlos Carrasco was the highest rated pitcher in the Phillies system. Is that still the case at mid-season? We've got a look at how the pitching prospects in the Phillies organization rank right now.

  1. Kyle Drabek (9-1, 2.58 at Clearwater and Reading) The 21 year old right-hander has been just what was advertised when the Phillies drafted him out of high school with their first round pick in 2006, but without the attitude. Teams stayed away from Drabek because he was thought of by many scouts as being too immature and he was considered a risk. The Phillies signed him and have handled him perfectly. If not for Tommy John surgery, Drabek would be in the majors by now and it's still very possible that he'll be there by the end of the season. Advancing to Double-A Reading hasn't slowed Drabek at all and he's a dominant pitcher when he takes the mound. His velocity and the movement on his pitches have both returned and it's just a matter of how quickly the Phillies want to move him.
  2. Carlos Carrasco (5-8, 5.00 at Lehigh Valley) While his numbers are nowhere near what was expected of him, Carrasco is still a force to be reckoned with. All that has happened this season is that the Phillies have realized that he's going to need more work than they might have hoped. He battled through a rough spot earlier in the season, but has made adjustments and it won't be surprising if he pulls his ERA down to a respectable point by the end of the season.
  3. Joe Savery (12-1, 3.48 at Reading)  People don't realize that Savery made a jump over Lakewood last season and with hindsight being 20/20, it's obvious that the Phillies were pushing Savery a little faster than they should have. Rather than let it ruin him though, Savery put in a lot of extra effort during the off-season and has shown himself to be a key part of the Phillies pitching prospects. Rather than keep him at Clearwater to make up for the jump that he made coming into the 2008 season, the Phillies promoted Savery to Reading to start the season and he hasn't disappointed. Having said all of that, he is going to have to gain better control as he's walked 44 hitters in 98 1/3 innings this season and that's too high. Savery's 12 wins are the most of any pitcher in minor league baseball.
  4. Andrew Carpenter (8-2, 2.85 at Lehigh Valley)  Carpenter had a brief stint with the Phillies late last season and threw one inning in relief. This season, he was up with the club for an emergency start against Washington in May and picked up the win in a rain-shortened game for his first major league decision. Last season taught Carpenter a big lesson; conditioning is everything. He admits that his conditioning wasn't where it should have been last season, which contributed to his disappointing numbers (9-12, 4.59 between three levels in the minors), so he hired a trainer during the off-season and went to work. It all paid off and now, Carpenter is in great shape and has reestablished himself as a top prospect.
  5. Jason Knapp (2-7, 4.01 at Lakewood)  It's worth noting that Knapp is going to need some more work. Right now, he's just a guy who strikes out a lot of hitters, but as he continues to mature and develop, he should be able to become the complete package. Knapp is just 18 years old and in his second professional season, so he's giving the Phillies what he should be giving them at this point in his career. Knapp is third in all of minor league baseball in strikeouts.
  6. Yohan Flande (7-2, 3.19 at Clearwater and Reading)  Making the jump from High-A Clearwater to Double-A Reading has proved to be a tough move for Yohan Flande. After going 7-1, 2.52 at Clearwater, Flande has found out first-hand about the difference in hitters when you move to the Double-A ranks. It's the toughest jump to make in the minors and Flande is going through some growing pains, but the Phillies would be smart to let him battle through the process. There is no denying that Flande has caught the eye of folks around baseball and he's quickly becoming one of the better pitching prospects in the Phillies organization and cemented that honor with a trip to the Futures Game this season. Give this kid some time and he'll be back to form and continue his climb up the prospect rankings.
  7. Antonio Bastardo (3-2, 1.89 at Reading and Lehigh Valley, 2-4, 6.75 at Philadelphia)  Bastardo may have committed the biggest error of his career when he delayed telling the Phillies that he had soreness in his shoulder. What at first seemed to be a stubborn resistance to using his off-speed and breaking pitches at the major league level turned out to be an inability to use them because of what has been diagnosed as a shoulder strain. The concern is that the injury could be worse than is first thought and that Bastardo could miss considerable time because of the injury. When he's healthy, he has the ability to keep hitters guessing and can be a dominant pitcher.
  8. Sergio Escalona (0-1, 2.60 at Reading and Lehigh Valley, 1-0, 2.84 at Philadelphia)  Escalona is leading the Phillies in miles traveled between cities this season. He started at Reading, moved to Lehigh Valley and has done a near continuous round-trip route between Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia. Even with all of that moving around, Escalona has pitched very well no matter what city he's working in and he's done it all with a smile on his face. Some pitchers can't handle constant ups and downs and begin to fret when they don't stick with the big league club. Escalona is content to prove himself over and over. It's worth noting that the Phillies did the same thing with Clay Condrey a few years back and it worked out pretty well.
  9. Michael Stutes (5-5, 4.26 at Reading)  Stutes jumped over Clearwater to start the year at Double-A Reading. The move has provided some rough spots for Stutes, who spent last season - his first as a pro - between Williamsport and Lakewood and assembled a 7-2, 1.42 record. The good news is that Stutes hasn't shown any signs of frustration even though the league has adjusted to him and his ERA has slowly climbed over the past month. Now, comes the part where Stutes will have to adjust and show what he's made of and he's got the ability to do just that.
  10. Vance Worley (6-6, 4.33 at Reading)  Like Stutes, Worley also made the jump from Lakewood to pitch at the Double-A level this season and he too has had some obstacles. Worley followed Stutes last season, pitching at both Williamsport and Lakewood and then joined him on the jump to Reading this season, which is just his second in pro ball. Worley was breezing through the season, until his last two starts when he allowed 13 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings of work, pumping his ERA to 4.33 from a very comfortable 3.59 mark. Like Stutes, Worley is going to need to make some adjustments, but has the ability to get hitters out at Double-A and beyond. It's worth noting that all five of Reading's starters made the list of the Mid-Season Top 10 Pitching Prospects in the Phillies organization.

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