BEN LIVELY – STARTING PITCHER
Ben Lively, 24, is one of the more seasoned prospects that the Phils have in their minor league system. At 6’4” and 190 lbs., he’s a bit lankier than Thompson.
Originally drafted all the way back in 2010, a 26th round selection of the Cleveland Indians, the Gulf Breeze, Florida native elected not to sign, and instead attended the University of Central Florida.
He was eventually taken again in the 4th round of the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He’s posted a respectable 3.14 ERA in 450+ innings of MiLB work.
Lively’s start with AA Reading last season was a rocky one. The righty went 8-7 over 25 starts, with a 4.13 ERA as a result of surrendering 10.0 H/9 IP. He recorded a shaky 1.427 WHIP overall.
He managed to turn that around this season and came out firing back at AA, rattling off a spotless 7-0 record with a 1.87 ERA, punching out 8.3 batters per 9 IP while allowing fewer than one (0.943) per frame. This led to a well-deserved promotion to AAA Lehigh Valley.
Lively has been up and down this year for the IronPigs: 4-3 with a 3.63 ERA over 10 starts thus far. He has seen his H/9 increase from 5.9 to 7.4, his home run rate from 0.2 to an even 1.0, and his K/ 9 dip from 8.3 to a disappointing 5.8.
Despite his recent struggles, Lively is still regarded as one of the top pitching prospects within our organization. One problem for him will be establishing a place for himself in a young group that already includes Velasquez, Eflin, Aaron Nola, and Jerad Eickhoff, and that has Thompson ranked ahead of him on the pecking order.
When the rosters expand to 40 for the September push, you will probably see Lively get his first opportunity to toe the rubber at one point or another, and we’ll have the chance to better assess exactly where he will stand with the Phillies moving forward.
Next: NEEDED POP IN RIGHT FIELD