Phelps Getting Real Close

David Phelps has been the model of consistency since being drafted back in 2008. But while his numbers continue to shine, it's been his ability to throw strikes and have the great success he's had all while improving his game that has gotten him close to being big league ready.

"It's been good," David Phelps said of his season. "I made a lot of improvements throughout the year. The curveball is really something that I had to work on. Towards the end of the year [last season] it was the big thing that I needed to get to the next level and once I got it here it was the one weapon I've had to develop the most because it's the pitch I need to get guys out here.

"Lately it's been a little more up and down than I'd like it to be, but this year has been good [overall]. I still feel strong and ready to close this one out."

Phelps, who allowed three earned runs in six innings of work in Scranton's playoff victory over Columbus on Thursday night, finished the regular season with a combined 10-2 record and 2.50 ERA.

It was his third straight year with a sub-3.00 ERA, but what has separated Phelps from most prospects has been his ability to constantly look to improve no matter how much success he has and he knew a year ago that he needed another weapon.

"It's just another look that I can give the hitters," he said of his curveball. "It's going to have its off days, obviously, but it's definitely the biggest improvement I've made here and it's the one big adjustment I had to make when I first got here.

"They're not going to swing at my fastball and slider all of the time, I've got to give them something else that's a little slower and change their perspective of it. Working with Scotty [Aldred] and the catchers here, it's been really good."

Adding a curveball that has been a plus pitch at times but a serviceable big league pitch pretty consistently all year, Phelps thinks there has been one other key to his success in 2010.

"Being consistent in the zone and trying more or less to keep my pitch count down as much as I can," he said. "I'm trying to get contact on three or fewer pitches and giving our team a chance to win has been the biggest thing for me.

"Just keeping my team in the ball game whether it's a couple of runs or no runs, that's what I'm trying to do out there."

Always putting the team first, Phelps, while extremely confident in his abilities, knows he always has work to do and he refuses to toot his own horn by proclaiming himself one of the top pitching prospects despite the great success he's had in his career thus far.

"It's so hard in this organization," he admitted. "I'd like to [think so] but being in this organization there are a lot of guys that have better pure stuff and guys whose ceilings are much higher. I'd like to think I opened up some eyes this year for sure."

With little left to prove at the minor league level and showing his ability to mix in his four-pitch repertoire, Phelps knows what he needs to do to get to the big league level and stay there.

"I was talking to [Mark] Melancon before he left – he was my roommate here – the one thing he really tried to impress upon me was take your time here and make sure you can throw all of your pitches for strikes in any count whenever you need to because up there they're not going to swing at balls," Phelps said.

"The biggest thing for me is getting consistent with every pitch and putting them wherever I want it. For any pitcher that's obviously the biggest thing. That's what we strive to be, throw all of your pitches for strikes when you need to."

Barely walking two batters per nine innings over his career and racking up a 31-8 minor league record so far, Phelps is pretty confident he can do exactly that.

"I'm very confident," he said. "I'm starting to show more and more that I can do that. It's something that I've been making progress with since I've been here but it's something that I'll have to keep getting better at.

"I'm very confident with my stuff. I've proven I can get guys out in Triple-A so now it's just a matter of pitching my game and going out there and pitching like I can."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"It's been good,\" David Phelps said of his season. \"I made a lot of improvements throughout the year. The curveball is really something that I had to work on. Towards the end of the year [last season] it was the big thing that I needed to get to the next level and once I got it here it was the one weapon I've had to develop the most because it's the pitch I need to get guys out here.
\r\n
\r\n\"Lately it's been a little more up and down than I'd like it to be, but this year has been good [overall]. I still feel strong and ready to close this one out.\"
\r\n
\r\nPhelps, who allowed three earned runs in six innings of work in Scranton's playoff victory over Columbus on Thursday night, finished the regular season with a combined 10-2 record and 2.50 ERA.
\r\n
\r\nIt was his third straight year with a sub-3.00 ERA, but what has separated Phelps from most prospects has been his ability to constantly look to improve no matter how much success he has and he knew a year ago that he needed another weapon.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's just another look that I can give the hitters,\" he said of his curveball. \"It's going to have its off days, obviously, but it's definitely the biggest improvement I've made here and it's the one big adjustment I had to make when I first got here.
\r\n
\r\n\"They're not going to swing at my fastball and slider all of the time, I've got to give them something else that's a little slower and change their perspective of it. Working with Scotty [Aldred] and the catchers here, it's been really good.\"
\r\n
\r\nAdding a curveball that has been a plus pitch at times but a serviceable big league pitch pretty consistently all year, Phelps thinks there has been one other key to his success in 2010.
\r\n
\r\n\"Being consistent in the zone and trying more or less to keep my pitch count down as much as I can,\" he said. \"I'm trying to get contact on three or fewer pitches and giving our team a chance to win has been the biggest thing for me.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just keeping my team in the ball game whether it's a couple of runs or no runs, that's what I'm trying to do out there.\"
\r\n
\r\nAlways putting the team first, Phelps, while extremely confident in his abilities, knows he always has work to do and he refuses to toot his own horn by proclaiming himself one of the top pitching prospects despite the great success he's had in his career thus far.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's so hard in this organization,\" he admitted. \"I'd like to [think so] but being in this organization there are a lot of guys that have better pure stuff and guys whose ceilings are much higher. I'd like to think I opened up some eyes this year for sure.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith little left to prove at the minor league level and showing his ability to mix in his four-pitch repertoire, Phelps knows what he needs to do to get to the big league level and stay there.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was talking to [Mark] Melancon before he left – he was my roommate here – the one thing he really tried to impress upon me was take your time here and make sure you can throw all of your pitches for strikes in any count whenever you need to because up there they're not going to swing at balls,\" Phelps said.
\r\n
\r\n\"The biggest thing for me is getting consistent with every pitch and putting them wherever I want it. For any pitcher that's obviously the biggest thing. That's what we strive to be, throw all of your pitches for strikes when you need to.\"
\r\n
\r\nBarely walking two batters per nine innings over his career and racking up a 31-8 minor league record so far, Phelps is pretty confident he can do exactly that.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm very confident,\" he said. \"I'm starting to show more and more that I can do that. It's something that I've been making progress with since I've been here but it's something that I'll have to keep getting better at.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm very confident with my stuff. I've proven I can get guys out in Triple-A so now it's just a matter of pitching my game and going out there and pitching like I can.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

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