You’ll find no rational thought here.
You’ll find no “small sample size” arguments within.
What you’re about to read is full on overreaction to one appearance against a team that looked incredibly ready for the season to end. It’s always dangerous to see a hyped up pitching prospect come into the majors, blow away the competition with relative ease and get lost in the dreams created by such an appearance. Most of the time, it’s a starter, one that explodes onto the scene as Stephen Strasburg did oh so many years ago.
Last night, it was a bullpen arm, a bullpen arm that seemed to have been touched by some kind of angel on his way to the Citizens Bank Park mound. We were told, we were sufficiently hyped up, yet maybe we weren’t ready.
It is enormous stuff and they have a ton of 40 man spots to play with, so they can take the inefficiency. He has also thrown the MLB ball in AAA with no adverse effect now. https://t.co/775Fbtfpmk— Matt Winkelman (@Matt_Winkelman) September 22, 2023
As Orion Kerkering entered the game Sunday (in a high leverage situation no less!), there was some excitement felt. Once he left the mound, there was no doubt.
Orion Kerkering's Ridiculous Stuff.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 25, 2023
"Orion is not just a star, he's a whole constellation." ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/uUpKSXmCMa
Now, I’ve been here for a while at The Good Phight. At this point, many of you may or may not realize, I’m not one for hyperbole. I try and keep a pretty level head, an even keel, with everything about the team. There may be some points in the past where things have gotten a bit out of hand, but for the most part, I feel like I keep it calm, keep it realistic.
I’m not prepared to do that right now: Orion Kerkering should be on the postseason roster and should be getting high leverage innings from the jump.
It’s one appearance against a Mets team that clearly was ready for that game to end. But watch that swing again from Brett Baty on the third strikes. Watch how Rafael Ortega reacts to seeing a slider in the zone remain there for a fraction of a second, then disappear to the nether regions behind his back shoulder. That’s as good a pitch as there is on the Phillies team right now! Baseball America just put out an issue in which they rated different parts of the game across the minor leagues. They got down to the nitty gritty, polling players about such things as best baserunner, best outfield arm, etc. For pitchers, they asked about specific pitchers. Kerkering’s slider was rated the best across three levels.
THREE DIFFERENT LEVELS!
Once he threw that last night, it was obvious why it was rated that way. That pitch was filthy, disgusting stuff.
And I loved it.
With the team heading into the postseason, there is going to be a temptation to ride with the group that got them there. As has been said multiple times on other platforms, once the playoffs start, those pitchers like Dylan Covey, Yunior Marte - they aren’t going to be seeing any time on the mound once the games start. Outside of a huge blowout, there is only going to be 7 or 8 pitchers that throw pitches for the Phillies during the postseason. They cannot waste innings and every situation is high leverage, so it makes sense to go with their best at all times.
Kerkering is among those eight pitchers right now.
Think about it. It’s one thing to read scouting reports about him, study video, try to replicate what stuff he has as much as possible with as advanced equipment as possible. It’s quite another to actually step into the box and see what the young man has at his disposal. That lack of appearances against anyone that is projected to make the playoffs has to be something that is in the Phillies’ favor.
There’s also the group that one might consider the team’s best relievers. There will be 13 pitchers on the initial NLWC roster. Likely only a few of them will be starters since there is no reason to carry them if they won’t pitch, so how many relievers will they carry in those first three games. Nine? Ten?
Isn’t Kerkering one of those arms?
These next few games that he gets into are all about how much work he is getting before he unleashes hell on the National League playoff group. But if last night was any indication, I’m ready to proclaim him the team’s fireman right now.
I’m completely right.