So often, we forget that “young” and “talented” aren’t necessarily linked. Many times, the disappointing and often confused head shakes of my little league coaches indicated that despite my youthful age, raw talent and most motor skills were completely absent.
The Phillies current bullpen has the youth, but whether or not we’ve tapped the full potential of their skill remains to be seen. Nevertheless, we can’t let that stop us from assuming they will be the champions of the future.
Ryan Madson is going to close somewhere next year, and it’d be great if it could be with the Phillies, but if he still wants to be paid in money, its a strong possibility he’ll head elsewhere. That would rip open a closer’s role in the bullpen; a role that won’t be filled by Brad Lidge and instead would offer a stream of young guns the chance for a quirky nickname and some banging entry music.
One of these fellas is Justin De Fratus. Seedlings to Stars fired up a pretty comprehensive overview of his performance. Look at it. There’s a bunch of paragraphs and analysis and even one of those charts I keep seeing on baseball blogs with the dots and the colors. Neat!
And all of this is made all the more credible by the endless support of the general manager.
“I don’t feel comfortable with the guys we have internally. There are some people in our system who think [Justin] De Fratus or [Phillippe] Aumont can do that. I am not convinced of that yet.”
Instilling hope is a very small part of the GM’s job. Some would say, in fact, that it isn’t his job at all. And Ruben seems to be aware of this, if he’s stating publicly that he doesn’t believe in a person.
Justin’s stuff has inspired scouts and analysts and the occasional coach to mutter that “closer of the future” phrase, though some used to say that about Scott Mathieson, so until the future gets here, nobody really knows who is going to own the ninth inning and who is going to have their arm reassembled.
Justin, meanwhile, will be spending the winter embracing the emptiness of life. Which apparently is good practice for playing under Ruben Amaro.