There was a kid in my fifth grade class who wasn’t there when we came back for sixth grade. No, he didn’t go live upstate with his grandparents after a hilarious wood chipper accident like that poor McFadden boy down the block. He just didn’t need sixth grade like the rest of us. This particular preteen genius electrified so many teachers and principals in fifth grade that he was deemed ready for the advanced social studies, algebraic equations, and poorly timed erections of seventh grade a year earlier than us “normies.”
We were in awe of the kid’s giant brain. Wow, seventh grade, we all thought. That’s some impressive shit.
Anyways, we never heard from him again.
B.J. Rosenberg is that kid in the Phillies organization; except chances are very good you will hear from him in the future as he packs for Clearwater this spring.
In 2008, the Phillies were busy slapping around the NL East and winning the World Series; thanks to their efforts, the citizens of Philadelphia politely burned the city to the ground.
But they were also selecting right-handed B.J. Rosenberg in the 13th round of the draft. Now, normally, this would mean he put in his time in the club’s minor league affiliates, and pitch his way through a cloud of other young players for a chance at hitting the big time.
Which he did.
Rosenberg is the product of severe prodding while at the disposal of Lakewood BlueClaws manager Dusty Wathan. It was an ungodly hot early August night this past season when the closer, who in an eerie bit of foreshadowing was being promoted at the ballpark that night, was beckoned into his coach’s office.
Not only had his pitching (7-2, 0.89 ERA, 65 K’s) gotten the right people’s attention; it was now sending him to the wildest place on earth: Reading, PA.
Most up-and-comers, in the midst of upping and coming, will go from Lakewood to the Clearwater Threshers for some continued Single A education, but not B.J. He was popping up two levels at once, finding a new home with the Double A Reading Phillies.
“I’ve been on a pretty good roll right now,” he said.
Yeah, I’d say that’s true. The guy hadn’t allowed an earned run since May. May. That month which is two entire months prior. That’s a lot of time to go by without watching the other team skip across home plate.
Considering a lot of the guys playing at Lakewood are still teenagers, B.J., at 23, was the “older kid,” the one in junior high that’s a head taller than everybody else and the teachers have hushed, worried conferences about in the hallways (What the hell is my fixation with junior high today?). But unlike that kid, B.J. wasn’t bringing dead birds into school in his backpack and screaming at them; he was proving himself a phenom, capable of slamming the door shut on a team late in the game.
Which is a skill that just might have caught somebody’s eye in the Phillies organization this past season.
So, B.J. set up shop in Reading. He went 0-1 with a 2.53 ERA, appearing in 10 games and saving three. Not great, but enough to get an invitation to Spring Training this year, with a whole slew of promising young talent.
With a Phillies bullpen in the midst of rebuilding, it is a good time to be a talented reliever in our farm system. One thing’s for sure, though: B.J. will certainly not be skipping a trip to Clearwater this time around.