It's not often that a young fellow breaks through in the Phillies farm system and turns from a Twitter rumor into a bonafide prospect with promising numbers and a face and everything. Word came up from Reading this season - there's a kid, Ken Giles, chucking baseballs 100 m.p.h. Next thing you knew, they were calling him "100 Miles Giles," as if that were necessary or good.
He's 24-years-old, a 7th round pick in 2011. "Raw as a pitcher, but premium arm strength, sitting 92-95 hitting 99 with potential to sit 94-96. Secondary pitches a work in progress," wrote Phuture Phillies. He was projected to go as early as the third round, having made vast improvements the previous spring.
Flash forward three years. The Phillies are terrible. Sometimes, they get a random hit out of their farm system - you never know when a big, nameless kid out of Creighton will suddenly contend for the Eastern League Triple Crown. One of the the sole bright spots is a young, 24-year-old rando named Ken Giles. He throws really hard and he strikes everybody out. Accompanied by Jake Diekman, Mario Hollands, and Justin De Fratus, as well as a dominant stretch from Jonathan Papelbon, Giles would become one of the most critical parts of the league's best bullpen.
Phillies have had the best bullpen in MLB with a 1.97 over the last month #Phillies— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) September 13, 2014
So, just what in the hell is going on, Ken Giles? Other than your natural public speaking abilities.
If I had traded you midseason, would the team have done better or worse?
Well I appeared in 19 games and 20.2 IP combined in June and July, so if you had traded me in midseason, you probably would have been sending me away after only a mere 30 K's. Other teams would have looked at me and been like, "30 K's? You act like he's going to set a team record or something. Hard pass."
Imagine their horrible surprise when they see the kid in the red pinstripes with half a season under his belt getting NL Rookie of the Year nods. So yeah, that probably would have been a pretty under-the-radar move, seeing as how a complete lack of a ML track record would have made me little more than an extra chip to balance out your acquisition of Darwin Barney or some stupid thing.
All my options are open for next year. Should I trade you, release you, or keep you?
Well, I throw a 101 m.p.h. fastball and struck out 64 of the 166 batters I faced this season, and I'm 24 years old and I'm a rookie, so why don't you just evaluate those "options" you're so proud of and then come find me at your leisure to tell me whether or not I - owner of the best K% in the history of your 131-year-old team (38.6%) - am welcome in your clubhouse next year.
I can wait.
Do you think you will be part of the next great Phillies team?
I am the next great Phillies team. There will be others, one day, but right now, it's just me. From my loins will spawn the rest of your champions. Drink me in, Philadelphia. I am the first of your Chosen Ones.
Overall, explain to me how your time with the Philadelphia Phillies has been the highlight of your life.
I no longer have to fantasize about being on the mound in the eighth inning of a game in which we're down by six runs to the Reds and both teams have already been eliminated - that's my life! Gosh, you know, it's every young Albuquerque boy's dream to get the wave from the manager four different teammates have just openly criticized in the press and jog into a game that neither team even wants to win. Instead of seeing my grandmother hobble around the house, I get to see Ryan Howard dive desperately for a ground ball six inches to his right, and miss.
They tell you nothing prepares you for The Show! But I mean, I know 64 batters who'd say I seem pretty ready.
On a scale of 1-0, with 10 being the worst, how do you rate on the "it's my fault we're in this freaking mess and finished in last place" scale?"
Hey, I just got here. I helped throw a no-hitter. I had more strikeouts than Jonathan Papelbon and I didn't even have to grab my crotch. You dropped me in there for 45.2 IP and I let six runs pass through. Blame me if you want, but you've gotta share some of those drug you're on.