5 pitchers who failed to turn into aces with the Phillies

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Brandon Duckworth

After being drafted in both 1995 (by the Blue Jays) and 1996 (weirdly by the Diamondbacks, who didn't exist yet) and not signing a contract either time, Brandon Duckworth inked a free agent deal with the Phillies in 1997 to begin his professional baseball journey. He performed impressively at all stops along the way, and he got the call to join the Phillies in late 2001, making his first start on August 7 of that year. He'd put up a quality start that day, earning a win over the Padres with six solid innings. Even more impressively, he held the Dodgers to a single run over seven innings in his next start to register another victory. At this point, you'd better believe the Duck Pond was already in full force at the Vet.

Duckworth would actually put up eight quality starts in his first nine big league appearances, and his ERA stood at a sparkling 2.93 at that point. He stumbled a bit in his final two starts of the season, which is a shame, because those were important games for the team as they jockeyed with the Braves for the NL East title. Ultimately, Duckworth would finish with a 3-2 record and a 3.52 ERA in 69 innings pitched. It certainly looked like you could pencil him in as an important member of the 2002 rotation.

This sounded good on paper, but Duckworth just couldn't recapture his initial magic. He took a regular turn in the rotation all season, but he only managed to go 8-9 with an alarming 5.41 ERA. Any dreams of a resurgence in 2003 went by the boards when he posted a 4.94 mark over just 93 innings. He was removed from the rotation in August, never to return. Duckworth was included as part of the package in the Billy Wagner blockbuster trade that offseason, and he ultimately stuck in the majors through 2008. He actually signed with the Phillies again in 2010 and logged over 100 innings at Lehigh Valley that season, but an MLB return of the Duck Pond never materialized.