Phillies minor league pitching prospect Colin Kleven has good stuff. He showed it on a hot humid Wednesday noon start this past week at Bright House Field for the Clearwater Threshers. He pitched a strong first five innings, striking out five with no walks. Kleven missed on one pitch and that was a two-run homer in the fifth but otherwise it was an outstanding outing until the sixth.
The Thershers we leading 4-2 going into the top of the sixth. Kleven gave up two hits to start the inning and he was removed by manager Nelson Prada for a relief pitcher and Port Charlotte Stone Crabs went on to score the two runs which were charged to Kleven. As has happened so many times this season the Threshers where then on the way to yet another defeat.
Winning or losing is no longer the reason we go to Phillies minor league games. It is to watch the development of pitchers like Colin Kleven to see if he is a pitching prospect for next season. The answer for him is yes. He has “swing and miss” stuff as we show here in four of his strike outs with his 92 mph fastballs and off speed pitches down in the zone. See Here, Here, Here and Here.
Having fought back from a back injury earlier in the season, the tall 6’5″, 23 year-old Canadian from British Columbia put on a good show for his parents who were at the game and me who was in a sun drenched seat behind home plate with a lot of camp kids in the shady seats under the overhang behind me who could have cared less about the game.
Kleven, who was a 33th round, 1007 overall, draft pick back in 2009 does have major league stuff. So did Mario Hollands and David Buchanan who were Rule Five draft eligible pitchers last year but were not chosen and made the Phillies 25 man major league roster this season. Kleven will be eligible for the Rule Five draft this December. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for him.
On Friday I was at yet another noon baseball game. This time it was the GCL Phillies and the GCL Yankees No. 1 team at Robin Roberts Field at the Carpenter Complex. It was not much of a game as the Yanks beat up on the Phillies 14-1 but I did get to talk to a young left-handed reliever Elniery Garcia who was not in uniform for the game and had only been recently sent down from Williamsport.
The 19 year-old Garcia from the Dominican Republic has the fastball to be a reliever out of the pen. He told me that he throws a trailing 92 mph fastball and it shows. He has struck out eight in 7.2 innings so far this season.
Later Friday night I watched on MLB-TV the Phillies take on the Arizona Diamondbacks and saw another left-handed Dominican, 28 year-old Antonio Bastardo throw 92 mph out of the Phillies pen.
I once remembered Bastardo warming up for Reading back in the day with great late life on his fastball. Some day in the future after Bastardo is long gone, we may see another Dominican left hander out of the Phillies pen, now about nine years younger than Bastardo, named Elinery Garcia who can also throw 92 mph with late life.
This is the beauty of watching minor league Phillies baseball. What does the future hold for a starter like Kleven now in his fifth season in the organization or a young teenage left- handed reliever like Garcia? To find out is why we show up at high noon in the blazing heat and humidity of the Florida sunshine to watch them play.