In a recent conversation with CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury, Phillies’ director of player development Joe Jordan definitely didn’t make any depressingly obvious statements, exposing the team’s recent philosophy about minor league pitching.
The importance of throwing strikes will be hammered home from Day 1 of spring training 2014 and it will continue into the season.
And it won’t just be hollow talk, Jordan said. Pitchers will have to meet certain requirements for throwing strikes, command their fastballs and pitching aggressively. If they don’t meet those standards, they will not move up the minor-league chain.
Aside from the fact that it appears they are still treating walks as an issue defensively but refusing to acknowledge the glaring lack of them in their own offense, this is explains a lot.
If throwing strikes isn’t a requirement to be promoted – (and all three of the “certain requirements” above mean just that) what exactly are the qualities of a promoted pitcher? What has “development” in a pitcher looked like in recent seasons other than a more effective ability to throw their pitches? If a player doesn’t to develop their control in the earlier, skill-developing levels, then when will they do it?
This past season, Mauricio Robles had showy ERAs in AA and AAA, 2.77 and 1.42 over 66 total IP, and made it to the majors despite BB/9’s of 4.5 and 7.3, respectively.
Phillippe Aumont didn’t even have the ERA taken care of when promoted to AA after his trade from Seattle in 2010, with an ERA of 4.48 and 5.2 BB/9. Those numbers didn’t get better against harder competition (shockingly), increasing to 7.43 and 6.9, respectively. Its an issue he never has overcome, resulting in a 9.6BB/9(!) after his demotion to AAA in 2013.
Hopefully, this year they’re serious, but there’s only so much you can do with mostly the same group of “stuff”-centric pitchers.
But hey, at least we don’t have any issues with walks OFFENSIVELY, right?