After yesterday’s no-hit game by the Dodgers Josh Beckett, it would appear the Phillies need a lot of everything. I still say they need more pitching in the organization first before they can ever hope to compete for the post season in future years.
In a recent article by Matt Gelb, beat writer for Philly.com, most scouts seem to agree. A rival scout that Gelb spoke with said “You have to get very creative to find more,” pitching, Said another scout about the Phillies pitching: “Their pitching prospects are few and far between.” David Buchanan in his major league debut did pick up a win Friday against the Dodgers but the pitching need is great.
Yesterday in the farm system showed how the Phillies have tried to be creative to find pitching but with mixed success. They have been creative in signing Cuban Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez to a big free agent contract over the winter but he has been injured and so far ineffective in his rehab starts with the Clearwater Threshers. Yesterday, he lasted only two innings and faced 12 batters and six of them got on base, two scored on four hits and two walks. He was charged with his second loss of the season in the 4-1 defeat against the Daytona Cubs.
On the other hand, yesterday brought more good news from Lakewood’s Ranfi Casimiro. He started and went five inning of three hit baseball giving up only one unearned run. He has given up only two earned runs in his last three starts coving 17 innings for a 1.05 ERA.
Casimiro was another free agent international signing back in 2011 this time out of the Dominican Republican. This 21 year old is coming into his own after a slow start for the BlueClaws. He possesses a power arm and his development over his his last three starts has been impressive.
Another example of the Phillies creativity in developing pitchers was the start yesterday of lefty Adam Loewen in the second game of the doubleheader with Daytona. He went six innings to pick up the win, striking out five and giving up two runs on four hits. Most importantly he kept the ball on the ground getting eight ground ball outs to only two outs in the the air.
The Canadian Loewen, now 30 years old and a former No. 1 draft pick of the Baltimore Orioles in 2002, is trying to reinvent himself as a pitcher. He pitched up until 2008 when a stress fracture in his elbow forced him to transition to be a position player and since has played the outfield primarily in the minors before being released by the Toronto Blue Jays last season.
We watched Loewen pitch in extended spring training at the Carpenter Complex. He had a sinker that opposing hitters kept pounding into the ground. If he can keep his pitches on a downward plane and avoid arm injury he might be able to help the Phillies down the road this season.
The biggest surprise yesterday was the start of veteran left-hander Ryan Demmin for the Reading Fightin Phils. Demmin picked up the win going five shutout innings striking out 7 in Reading’s 3-0 win over Akron. He is a 26 year old signed out of independent ball by the Phillies last year after being released by the Washington National’s organization.
The Phillies are trying to be creative in trying to find pitching help. They are looking everywhere from north and south of the border to independent ball for pitching help. But, I still say they should take the best pitcher available with the seventh overall pick in the upcoming June 5th amateur draft.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez