Called up to the majors on Thursday, Phillies prospect Michael Schwimer had to wait until Sunday to make his debut, and it wasn't under the normal circumstances under which you'd expect a young reliever to be eased in. With Roy Halladay's day over after a lengthy rain delay, Schwimer was tasked with protecting a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the 6th inning, and it didn't exactly get off on the right foot, with Danny Espinosa taking Schwimer's second pitch deep and gone to center field to tie things up. The big righty would settle down shortly thereafter, though, striking out the side in order in the 7th, and spinning another scoreless frame in the 8th. His final line: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K. Schwimer was understandably frustrated with himself for letting the lead slip away, but overall it was a successful debut for a guy who has certainly earned his major league shot.
So now is a good time to ask: what does Schwimer project to be? His statistical profile over the course of his career is nearly flawless, but he's never had one real knockout pitch that made would make scouts think of him as a high leverage reliever. But he showed yesterday how he's had success: he mixes his pitches well, changes the eye level of hitters, and generally has excellent pitchability. The two areas for concern: (1) even throwing on a downward plane at 6'8", he doesn't get a ton of grounders; and (2) he's struggled a bit against lefties this year. He's never had problems against left handed hitters before 2011, but they went 2-for-3 off of him in his debut, so it's something worth monitoring going forward. To me, Schwimer looks more like a guy with a ceiling of "solid set up man" than "shutdown closer," but for six cost-controlled years, he should prove to be a really nice asset for the organization.
As for guys still in the minors, check below the jump for 10 capsules.
Trevor May, RHP, Clearwater: I've probably never been quite as bullish on May as some others, as I've seen the control problems and fly ball tendencies as red flags -- but at some point, I've had to stop nitpicking and just appreciate what May has done this year. His 189 strikeouts are second in all of minor league baseball, with a rate of 12.1 K/9 standing as a testament to true swing-and-miss stuff. He's been better with his control this year (3.8 BB/9), has been equally tough on both righties and lefties, has been the subject of glowing scouting reports, and has been very durable (as he's been for this entire career). I ranked Jesse Biddle ahead of him in last offseason's rankings, and again when I reshuffled the rankings a few weeks ago, but the more I think about it, May almost has to be the organization's top prospect at this point.
Phillippe Aumont, RHP, Lehigh Valley: The subject of a writeup from John Sickels two weeks back, Aumont has continued to make batters swing and miss since his midseason promotion to Triple-A, punching out 29 in 18.1 innings (after notching 41 strikeouts in 31 innings for Reading). If the big right hander can stay healthy and throw strikes, there's really nothing to stop him from blossoming into a high leverage reliever who gets guys out with nasty stuff (a mid-90s fastball and hammer curve combination). It would be nice to see his excellent year rewarded with a cup of coffee in September, but as he's not on the 40-man roster, his major league debut may have to wait until 2012.
Perci Garner, RHP, Williamsport: The organization's 2nd round pick in the 2010 draft, Garner has thrown just 19.0 pro innings to this point, but has shown enough in recent weeks to keep himself firmly on the prospect radar. His longest pro outing came on Thursday, as he tossed 4.1 innings, surrendered 1 run on 5 hits, and struck out 6 without issuing a free pass. His raw stuff has never really been in question, but having split his time at Ball State between football and baseball, Garner is as raw of a 22-year old college product as you're likely to find, and he's had trouble staying healthy. Definitely question marks here, but the upside is exciting.
Tyler Greene, SS-R, GCL Phillies: Speaking of upside, the book on Greene after the Phillies drafted him this year and paid him $375K to forego college was that he was oozing with tools, but they didn't always show up in games, where his aggressive approach at the plate held him back. Small sample size caveats and all, but Greene's hit .293/.400/.415 in the early going, ripped 5 doubles in 41 at bats, walked in 16.0% of his trips to the plate, and even stolen 5 bases without being caught. The swing and miss (32.0% K) is something to monitor, but Greene doesn't look at all out of place in pro ball, which the organization must be absolutely thrilled with.
Joe Savery, LHP, Lehigh Valley: Honestly, who even knows at this point? After moving to first base full time to start the year (and hitting a respectable .307/.368/.410 in Clearwater), the 2007 first round pick suddenly shifted back to the bullpen more or less full-time at the end of June. What's interesting is that he's having easily his best year as a pro, posting a 35-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 29.0 innings and running an impressive 58% GB. What's more, he's been effective against both lefties and righties alike. Southpaws who can get people out will always get a shot, and the fact that he can handle the bat a little bit is just an added bonus.
Jacob Diekman, LHP, Reading: Unlike Savery, Diekman is a true LOOGY, a sidearmer who struggles against righties but has been very tough on lefties throughout his pro career. He's surrendered just 7 hits in 25.0 innings thrown against left handed hitters this year (good for a .089 BAA), striking out 35 of them and running an impressive 5.20 GO/AO (ground outs to air outs). On the negative side of the ledger, he's issued free passes to 17 left handed hitters over that span, and his work against right handed hitters is far less impressive, with 33 hits and 23 walks allowed in 31.0 innings. In the Era of La Russian Bullpens, Diekman could potentially find a major league role at some point, but his limitations are obvious.
Austin Wright, LHP, Lakewood: Wright had good-not-great numbers at Ole Miss despite being a lefty who throws 94, but represented good value when the Phillies popped him in the 8th round of this year's draft. And while college products are expected do well at the lower levels, Wright's been better as a pro than he was as an amateur, whiffing 67 and walking 20 in 56.2 innings splits between Williamsport and Lakewood. Friday's start for the BlueClaws was the Wright's best outing yet, as he allowed just 2 hits, 1 walk and 0 runs while striking out 9 in 5 innings. It will be interesting to see if his 2011 success earns him a 2012 assignment to Clearwater, as it probably should.
Austin Hyatt, RHP, Reading: The 25-year old Alabama product just keeps on keepin' on, surrendering just 2 hits and an unearned run in 6 innings of work on Friday. Hyatt's proven that his arsenal will play at the Double-A level, with a cumulative season line that's certainly encouraging: 10.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, 30% GB, all good for a 3.68 FIP. The extreme fly ball tendencies have led to an elevated home run rate, which is the biggest statistical red flag at this point, but with the 2011 minor league season winding down, it looks like Hyatt has cemented his status as a future big leaguer of some sort, whether as a back end starter or a reliever.
Kyrell Hudson, OF-R, Williamsport: The book on Hudson when the Phillies grabbed him with their 3rd round pick in the 2009 draft was that he was athletic but extremely raw -- stop me if you've heard this one before -- so it wasn't a huge surprise when he hit just .173/.205/.205 with a 5:45 BB:K as a 19-year old in the New York-Penn League last year. Repeating the level this year, Hudson's been much better, and he's been on an absolute tear lately, including ripping off a string of four straight multi-hit games. At .284/.336/.370 on the season with 7.0% BB and 20.9% K and 22 stolen bases (in 31 attempts), Hudson still has a ways to go in honing his baseball skills, but this year has been a big step forward in that department.
Chace Numata, C-S, GCL Phillies: I went out on a limb putting the Hawaii high school product at the back end of last offseason's Top 30 list, so I was disheartened when he began the season with an undisclosed injury. The switch hitting catcher has started working in with the Gulf Coast League club over the past two weeks, though, and while he's only had 6 at bats, he's got 2 hits, worked a walk, and stolen a base during that span, which is enough for me to fit one of my personal favorites into the prospect roundup. Hawaii is hardly a baseball hotbed, and Numata was a pitcher and shortstop in high school, so there are no worries if he's on an elongated developmental timetable, because the tool set is here for a nice catching prospect.