Phillies surging relief prospect Jesen Therrien promoted to Triple-A

The Phillies promoted Jesen Therrien to Triple-A Thursday after the relief prospect utterly dominated Double-A hitters as Reading’s closer.

With Ricardo Pinto coming to the majors to fill Vince Velasquez’s spot on the roster, Triple-A Lehigh Valley had a hole in their bullpen. The Phillies filled that hole by promoting Jesen Therrien to Triple-A from Double-A.

Therrien has been utterly dominant in Reading this season. In 21 games, he has a 39.4% strikeout rate and 3.0% walk rate with a 1.26 ERA. The 24-year old Canadian has seven saves as well as a 2-1 record.

Therrien’s success has come from his consistent strike-throwing ability this season. He has changed his approach on the mound, thanks to the help of Cy Young winner Eric Gagne. The Canadian closer is friends with Therrien’s agent, and the two worked out together over the winter. Therrien said that it really helped him with his approach on the mound: [quote via Ryan Lawrence of Philly Voice]

“The thing I worked on (this winter) was just to try to be consistent, to give my best, 100 percent every time I go on the mound, and to throw one pitch at a time,” Therrien said. “I don’t really look back to what I did or look at my numbers, I just, every time I step on the mound, it’s an opportunity for me to do what I can do and prove myself. … I always had that gamer mentality, to be on the mound and to be aggressive.

“But to see him and to work out with him, everything he does he gives his best, 100 percent. That’s why he was so good. Because he was like that and he was a gamer.”

Therrien has a four-pitch arsenal with a four-seam and two-seam fastball, splitter, and slider. It is his slider that garners the greatest reviews. It has drawn a comparison to the slider of Brad Lidge, the closer whose perfect season was a huge part of the team’s 2008 World Series championship.

Joe Jordan, the team’s director of player development, broke down Therrien’s arsenal to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:

“He’s 93-94 with his sinker and his slider is a finishing pitch,” Jordan said. “He’s got as good a breaking pitch as anyone in our minor-league system. The slider has two shapes, one that he throws for a strike, one that he uses to finish a hitter. It’s got power at the end and downward finish.

“He’s been spot-on all year with a combination of stuff and execution. This is the guy we’ve been waiting for. He’s shown it in the past. He’s just been inconsistent. But he came into camp this spring in good form and has been consistent night in and night out.”

Jordan said the team is going to follow how Therrien does in Triple-A against a higher caliber of hitters. If he carries over his success from Reading to Lehigh Valley, Therrien may be in the majors sooner rather than later.

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