Phillies Prospect #46: Michael Cisco

Michael Cisco has moved from Williamsport to Reading in the space of a season-and-a-half. His rapid movement is thanks to the fact that he is one of the smartest pitchers in the organization and he simply knows how to throw strikes.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 36th round of the 2008 Draft.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 5' 11"   Weight: 190 lbs.
Birth Date: May 23, 1987
2009 Team(s): Clearwater / Reading
Games/Games Started: 22 G / 21 GS
School: Univ. of South Carolina
2009 Ranking: 58

Why Cisco jumped to #46: In 2010, Michael Cisco not only handled the move to High-A Clearwater from his previous comfy home in Lakewood, but he handled it so well, that the Phillies decided to move him along to Reading to get him some experience at the Double-A level. His performance at Double-A wasn't stellar, but it also was better than might have been hoped for considering Cisco's rapid movement. The fact that he's moving at a good, brisk pace and has handled every jump with some semblance of ease is reason enough to believe that he can rise above the level of most 36th round picks.

CATEGORY Michael Cisco Florida State League AVG
ERA 3.31 3.55
H/9 IP 8.50 8.59
HR/9 IP 1.10 0.54
BB/9 IP 1.80 3.16
KO/9 IP 6.30 7.30
WHIP 1.15 1.31
WP/9 IP 0.37 0.51
A player's stat posted in white indicates that he performed above the league average in that category. A player's stat posted in black indicates that he performed below the league average in that category.

Repertoire: Cisco lacks a lot of size and his fastball isn't blazing fast - generally around 90 to 92 mph - but he does get good movement on the pitch. More than what he throws, Cisco survives on why he throws a certain pitch at a certain point in the count. Every pitch that he throws has a purpose to it, whether it's to set up his next pitch or see how far he can get a hitter to chase, and he's not afraid to work hitters. None of his pitches - fastball, slider, curve and change - are among the best in the organization, but he locates his pitches well, mixes them well and has a plan for approaching every hitter.

Pitching Style: Cisco has the best control of any pitcher in the organization. You're not going to get a lot of walks off of him and he rarely makes a mistake with a pitch, so hitters have to beat him by simply hitting off of him. He is poised and serious on the mound and knows how to control a game with his pacing and getting ahead of hitters and forcing them to hit the pitch that he wants them to hit.

Projection: To start 2010, Cisco will be back at Double-A Reading. Even if he would have pitched better at that level last season, he simply needs more work there. His pitches have gotten better in each of his two seasons in the pros and it's likely that he'll continue to show progress in 2010, but what is going to make or break him is just how smart of a pitcher he can be to overcome the fact that he doesn't have magnificent stuff to work with in terms of what he throws. As long as he continues to get ahead of hitters and work them how he feels comfortable, Cisco should be able to have success and move along in the system. A late season audition with Lehigh Valley wouldn't be out of the question for the 22 year old.

ETA: As mentioned, Cisco needs more time at Double-A and will likely need at least a full season at Triple-A before he would be anywhere near ready to get a shot in Philadelphia. His earliest shot will likely come no earlier than late in 2011 and possibly not until 2012. He's moving quickly enough though that he can put himself into consideration along the way and might be able to fill an emergency spot in the bullpen as a long reliever and be able to get a couple early cups of coffee in the majors before he makes it there to stay.

Comparison: Cisco compares pretty favorably to Chad Durbin. Neither has great stuff, but they know how to pitch. Considering that Cisco has better control than Durbin, the South Carolina grad should be able to put together a decent major league career for himself, probably as a long reliever or possibly at the back end of a major league rotation.

Michael Cisco's career stats

2008 Williamsport 1 0 1.86 9 1 19.1 18 5 4 1 5 22 1.190 0.5 2.3 10.2
2008 Lakewood 2 1 0.51 8 6 35.0 22 4 2 0 0 30 0.629 0.0 0.0 7.7
2008 2 Teams 3 1 0.99 17 7 54.1 40 9 6 1 5 52 0.828 0.2 0.8 8.6
2009 Clearwater 7 3 3.31 15 14 73.1 69 32 27 9 15 51 1.145 1.1 1.8 6.3
2009 Reading 2 4 4.58 7 7 39.1 44 21 20 4 9 20 1.347 0.9 2.1 4.6
2009 2 Teams 9 7 3.75 22 21 112.2 113 53 47 13 24 71 1.216 1.0 1.9 5.7
2 Seasons 12 8 2.86 39 28 167.0 153 62 53 14 29 123 1.090 0.8 1.6 6.6

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