5 pitchers who failed to turn into aces with the Phillies

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Carlton Loewer

A towering (6'6", 220) and highly-regarded right-hander, Carlton Loewer was selected 23rd overall in the 1994 MLB draft, one where the first round turned out to be extremely lousy in retrospect aside from Nomar Garciaparra, Paul Konerko, and Jason Varitek going consecutively in the middle of the round. After working his way through the Phils' system for a few years, Loewer got off to an excellent start at Triple-A in 1998, leading to his first taste of big league action on June 14, 1998. And what a debut it was.

Toeing the rubber at the Vet against the Cubs on a Sunday afternoon, Loewer tossed a complete game, striking out eight Cubs (including Sammy Sosa) in a 4-2 victory. It was pretty magical, and with a name like 'Carlton', it seemed like fate that the Phillies had unearthed a stud. Unfortunately, we may have jumped the gun on Loewer. In a rematch against the Cubs at Wrigley Field five days later, he allowed five runs over seven innings (although the Phils won the game), then was tagged for seven runs in six innings against the Red Sox in his next start, which he bizarrely also won. First off, Terry Francona let this guy go that deep in his first three MLB starts. It was a very different era. And yes, Loewer was 2-0 at that point, but with a 5.73 ERA, and things would only get worse.

The Yankees rocked him for eight runs on June 30 to really kill the mood and hand him his first loss. Loewer took a regular turn in the rotation for the rest of the season, and he was able to mix in some palatable starts along the way, but by the time the dust settled on the 1998 season, his ERA stood at 6.09 over 122.2 innings pitched.

Despite this, Loewer opened the 1999 season in the team's rotation, and he generated similar results. Then, on May 4, he twirled a complete game shutout against the Padres, which suggested he might be figuring things out. But it turned out to be a fool's gold, as he muddled along after that, then missed a large chunk of the season due to a stress fracture. He made it back for September and pitched sparingly out of the bullpen, and that was the end of his Phillies career. Loewer was traded to the Padres (presumably impressed by the way he shut them out) that offseason.

Before ever throwing a pitch for them, however, he injured himself falling out of a hunting blind and ultimately missed the entire 2000 season. Loewer started two games for San Diego in 2001, left baseball in 2002, then re-signed with the Padres and made five more starts in 2003. That was the end of his MLB career. Now, just a few weeks shy of turning 50, he apparently owns a real estate company in Wyoming.