As we can see from watching the major league playoffs, pitching plays a vital role in winning post season baseball. Today, Jim Salisbury Phillies beat writer for csnphilly.com has posted an excellent analysis of the problems the Phillies pitchers from top to bottom in the organization have had this season. HERE. He has identified the inability to throw strikes in key situations as a major problem with the Phillies minor league pitchers.
That’s why we have been so high on Severino Gonzalez and Hoby Milner when we saw them pitch for the Clearwater Thresher this season. They are strike throwers. Milner had a 2.4 walks per nine ratio and Gonzalez had a 2.3 walks per nine innings pitched in games they threw with the Threshers. Not quite Cliff Lee’s standards with the Phillies this year which was 1.3 walks per nine but close to Lee’s career 2.0 per nine walks per innings pitched.
Gonzalez made his Venezuela Winter League debut last night and his long lay off from pitching resulted in him uncharacteristically walking two batters in his two inning appearance.
It is clear from the Salisbury post that Phillies minor league director Joe Jordan wants his young pitching prospects to start throwing more strikes. I like to say they need to pound the strike zone. They will need to not only have control but command of the strike zone if they are to move up in the Phillies organization next season.
Twenty year old Phillies pitching prospect Feliberto Sanchez facing his final batter of the Instruct season against the Pirates a week or so ago at Brighthouse Field demonstrated the two words Joe Jordan wants to hear more from the plate umpires next season, “Strike Three” and less of “ball four”. SEE HERE