It has been a tough year for the Clearwater Threshers and pitching coach Bob Milacki but the Threshers starting pitching is starting to come together big time in the second half of the Florida State League season. And it is not just Jesse Biddle who pitched five no-run, no hit innings earlier in the week on his rehab assignment with the Threshers.
In the same starting rotation with Biddle this week, Miguel Nunez, Jordan Guth and Colin Kleven have combined for 18 innings, 12 hits, two earned runs and 18 strike outs. Not bad to have a rotation with four to the pitchers giving up only two earned runs in 23 innings averaging a strike out per inning for the week.
The Phillies AA Reading team’s rotation has veteran starting pitchers as old as 35 years and a 30 year old converted major league outfielder in its starting rotation. The four pitchers we watched this week for the Threshers are all 21 to 23 years old with live arms and a bright future ahead of them in the major leagues.
They all throw hard with fastballs sitting in the low 90’s with swing and miss off-speed stuff but do at times have control problems. Though Biddle walked his only base runner in his outing, the other three starters combined for a total of 10 free passes in their starts this week.
The following video clips show Jordan Guth pitching out of the stretch with his fastball, change up and curve “strike three” stuff in Friday night’s game against the Daytona Cubs: See Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here.
Nunez, Guth and Kleven have stood out in July and so far in August. In Nunez’s last five starts he has an ERA under 1.50. Guth in his five starts since leaving the bullpen has pitched to a 2.13 ERA. Kleven for his outstanding work last week was awarded the Canadian Baseball Network minor league Player of the Week from among 97 Canadians playing in the minor leagues. In his last three starts he is pitching to a 1.42 ERA. You can read the article HERE.
All three of them had out pitched No. 1 draft pick Aaron Nola during the time they all were pitching for the Threshers. Nola had a 3.16 ERA in 31.1 innings with Clearwater before called up to Reading last week.
All of the sudden the Phillies minor league starting pitching is showing promise with the work of David Buchanan, Jesse Biddle and Nola at the higher levels and in Buchanan’s case with his recall to the Phillies. But just below them in the Phillies organization Miguel Nunez, Justin Guth and Colin Kleven are having break out second halves of the 2014 season at the high A level and it’s been fun watching all of them with Clearwater Threshers.
The true test will come when the three Threshers starters pitch in Reading next season. As Kyle Kendrick proved back in 2007 when he was called up to the Phillies directly from Reading, they will be just one phone call away from the big leagues.