Phillies Prospect #28: Vance Worley

Vance Worley was put on a fast track - perhaps, too fast of a track - for his climb through the Phillies organization. After struggling through the 2009 season, Worley is back for another crack at Eastern League hitters.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 3rd round of the 2008 Draft.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 6' 2"  Weight: 205 pounds
Birthdate:  September 25, 1987
2009 Team(s): Reading
Games/Games Started: 27 G / 27 GS
School: Long Beach State University
2009 Ranking: #24

Why Worley fell from number 24: The Phillies had hoped that Vance Worley could be on a faster track toward the majors than he will be able to handle from the way his 2009 season went. After pitching at Low-A Lakewood in 2008, the Phillies tried to skip Worley over the High-A level and sent him straight to Double-A Reading to start the 2009 season. They expected some growing pains, but the Phillies were surprised that Worley struggled the way that he did with the R-Phils (7-12, 5.34) and he may have just been better off with a single jump to pitch at Clearwater. After all, Worley hadn't even had a full season at Lakewood, making just 11 starts after being drafted by the Phillies in the third round of the 2008 Draft. Through it all though, Worley did all that he could to keep his composure and is getting a second crack at the Eastern League in 2010 as a member of Reading's starting rotation.

ERA 5.34 3.89
H/9 IP 9.6 8.8
HR/9 IP 1.0 0.7
BB/9 IP 2.9 3.5
KO/9 IP 5.9 7.1
WHIP 1.38 1.37
WP/9 IP 0 0.4
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: Worley has a low-to-mid-90s fastball that will likely be his bread and butter pitch throughout his career. He has good movement on his fastball, but tends to overthrow it a little and leave it up in the zone, with the result being 17 home runs against him in 2009. He's learning quickly that to get hitters out at higher levels, you have to keep the ball down and can't sacrifice movement for a couple extra miles per hour on your fastball. His change-up is coming along, as is his curve, but neither is a dominant pitch for him at this point in his career. He'll need to keep working on his secondary pitches if he is to have enough of an arsenal to get hitters at higher levels out on a consistent basis.

Pitching Style: Worley has an aggressive style on the mound and prefers not to mess around with setting up hitters, preferring instead to go right after them. He's a completely different pitcher when he gets ahead of hitters than when he falls behind and limits himself to what he can throw. He's averaged 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings over his short pro career, but isn't afraid to let his fielders earn their keep. When he pitches down in the zone, he's effective and can get a lot of ground ball outs. Still needs to work on his consistency and to stay ahead of hitters.

Projection: With his aggressiveness and slow to develop secondary pitches, Worley may be better suited to working out of the bullpen, but for now, the Phillies are sticking with him as a starter. Even with his sub-par numbers last season, Worley did average 5.7 innings per start, so it's easy to see why the Phillies hope that he can develop his secondary pitches and become an innings-eater as a member of the rotation. He's got some quality stuff, but just has to avoid overthrowing and getting himself into trouble. It's going to be interesting to see how the Phillies handle Worley this season and to watch whether or not they let him stick in the starting rotation if things don't start off well for him as a starter.

Comparison: Interestingly enough, Worley has some of the same traits as Mike Zagurski, who was him teammate in 2009. Both have bulldog mentalities and prefer to go right after hitters. Zagurski has slightly better stuff to work with, but if Worley can harness some of his talent, he could become a right-handed clone of Zagurski, who is inching his way back toward the majors after Tommy John surgery.

Mike Zagurski's career stats

2008 Williamsport 0 0 1.12 2 2 8.0 3 1 1 0 1 8
2008 Lakewood 3 2 2.66 11 11 61.0 58 25 18 4 7 53
2008 2 Teams 3 2 2.48 13 13 69.0 61 26 19 4 8 61
2009 Reading 7 12 5.34 27 27 153.1 163 102 91 17 49 100
2010 Reading 0 1 8.31 1 1 4.1 5 4 4 1 2 3
TOTALS 10 15 4.53 41 41 226.2 229 132 114 22 59 164

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/10/2010.

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