Prospect Spotlight: Ben Lively
Edward Bennett Lively, better known to baseball fans as Ben Lively, has the stuff to be a starter near the front of the Phillies future rotation.
Acquired in the Marlon Byrd trade, the 6-4″, 190 pound righthander throws four quality pitches for strikes already: a fastball, slider, curve, and changeup. With a little developmental time down in the minors, I think Ben will be ready to begin a long quality career in Philly.
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As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, I believe Ben is an underrated prospect with the stuff to exceed current expectations of many experts, who peg him with the ceiling of a number 3 starter in the middle of the rotation.
Lively is slated to begin the 2015 season with the AA Reading Fightin Phils. The Phillies would be best served if they left him in Reading for the entire season to work on his four-pitch arsenal, allowing him to sharpen each of those pitches further and simply gaining valuable innings on the mound.
“It should be everyone’s goal here, to play over there with the big guys, to play in the big leagues. You just gotta perform, do your job, and hopefully it works out for you soon.” ~ Lively at spring training
Lively has a deceptive pitching motion with which he is able to hide his arm well from opposition batters. This ability to hide his arm has been compared favorably in the past to that of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani.
Prior to the trade, Lively impressed Phillies scouts, which led directly to the Cincy deal. The 4th round draft pick out of Central Florida University put in enough quality work last season to be named the 2014 Minor League Player of the Year for the Reds.
Lively was interviewed by WFMZ-TV recently during his first minor league camp with the Phillies organization: “I’m definitely excited to be here. It’s gonna be a good time. It should be everyone’s goal here, to play over there with the big guys, to play in the big leagues. You just gotta perform, do your job, and hopefully it works out for you soon.“
If he continues to put in the work and further develop his arsenal of pitches, fans will soon begin to get excited about welcoming him with open arms to the City of Brotherly Love. It may not be long before Lively joins last year’s top Amateur Draft pick, Aaron Nola, in the Phillies rotation, where they could form a reliable duo for years to come. Until then, those fans will have to be patient and play the waiting game while the players continue their development.
That is now the big question: how patient will the Phillies and their fans be with Lively, Nola, and the other developing prospects? Despite the current lack of quality pitching options and inevitable surgery awaiting Cliff Lee, there shouldn’t be any reason to push them through the system this year. Lee’s elbow issue doesn’t help matters, but it’s also no reason to rush Ben Lively’s timeline.