With the amateur draft coming up on Monday the Phillies still have not completely solve its organization pitching depth just because they have acquired starting pitchers from other organization recently. Based on the five starting pitchers they picked up in those trades they may not have improved their starting pitching depth much in my opinion.
We can only hope the pitchers the Phillies draft will be a little more dominating than these five newcomers have been so far this season: Lehigh Valley, Joely Rodriguez (2-5, 5.76 ERA), Reading, Zach Eflin (4-4, 3.38), Ben Lively, (4-3, 3.79 ERA), Tom Windle, (1-3 4.44 ERA), Clearwater, Victor Arano (0-6, 6.46 ERA).
With one-third of the minor league season in the books these five starters are a combined 11-21 with an ERA just under 5.00. All of them are more “pitch to contact” throwers than pitchers with “swing and miss” stuff”. So far, nothing much to project as starting major league pitchers there.
What is even more amazing these five have blocked existing pitchers from last season in the Phillies organization from moving up. Holy Milner, Mark Leiter Jr., Colin Kleven, Miguel Nunez and Ranfi Casimiro have been forced into do-overs at the same level this season. Several of them have been bumped even out of the starting rotation, Milner and Nunez, and one, Leiter, had to fight his way back into into a starter role after spending all of April in the Clearwater bullpen.
They are putting up strong numbers in their do-overs: Reading, Milner, (1-1, 1.53 ERA), Clearwater, Kleven, (4-3, 3.72 ERA), Leiter, (3-1, 1.75 ERA), Miguel Nunez (0-1, 4.35 ERA), Lakewood Ranfi Casimiro (2-3, 2.96 ERA). Milner after coming off an injury has pitched only in relief. Nunez started out as this season a starter for Clearwater but has been moved to middle relief. The five of them have a combined record of 10-9 with an ERA under 3.00.
Last night we walked down to the Threshers-Blue Jays game and watched Miguel Nunez pitch in middle relief. He was dominating in 2.1 innings allowing only one baserunner on a walk. He had two strikeouts on a 93 mph fastball and a swinging strike three on a 94 mph heater. From the Dunedin scoreboard speed gun, he threw 20 fastballs (five at 92, 12 at 93 and 3 at 94). He threw nine off speed pitches from 78-81 mph. Yet, the Phillies can not find a starting spot anywhere in its minor league rotations for him. See Nunez 94 mph strikeout HERE.
The Phillies will likely be looking for minor league pitching for much of July. Baseball is a big sport in the upcoming Pan-Am games which will take place in the Toronto area, July 11-19 for baseball. Canada is the defending baseball champions having won Gold Medal in the 2011 games in Mexico. Only players not on the 40-man MLB rosters are eligible to play in the seven nation tournament.
It appears that the Phillies have more Canadian pitchers than any other organization in baseball. At the AAA level, they have Phillippe Aumont and Chris Leroux; AA, Ethan Stewart and Adam Loewen; Clearwater, Colin Kleven and Jesen Therrien. Reports are the Canadian team will be announced next week and workouts start the first week of July. It will be interesting to see if any Phillies minor leaguers make any of the teams. In addition to the USA and Canada, other countries include Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Columbia and the Dominican Republic.
Usually merit promotions take place in the minor league system after the Low and High- All Star games which take place the third week of this month. Add in the pitchers signed out of the Draft starting on Monday and the upcoming Pan-Am games in July, look for some movement in the Phillies minor league pitching rotations. Maybe some of the guys will finally get a chance to move on up!