The big news coming out this weekend is that Phillies first round pick (#7 overall), Aaron Nola will make his pro debut with the Clearwater Threshers today. On the mound Nola will bring a fastball that sits 91-94 but touches 96 when he needs it. He has shown the ability to command the fastball around the strike zone. Depending on who you talk to some people like the changeup or slider better, both have shown plus potential. The knocks against Nola are that his short stature (6′ 1″) and side arm delivery could make more home run prone, and could lead to potential injury down the road. For now Nola’s projection is as a future #2/#3, the Phillies will likely take it slow with him given his workload at LSU. I would expect shorter outings so they can keep him going deeper into the year, but it is also possible they shut him down early.
In Lakewood former first round pick Larry Greene returned to action for the Blueclaws. He went 3-7 over the weekend with 2 2Bs, 2 BBs, and a K. Greene will show a decent looking swing and plus power in batting practice, but in games it can all fall apart as his ass drops out and his lower body is no longer connected to the swing. This leads to weak contact, holes in his swing, and an unsustainable approach. This coupled with a body best suited for first base and a lack of pitch recognition skill makes it a tough road for Greene to regain any prospect status.
Over the weekend the Phillies released Brody Colvin and Tyson Gillies. Colvin peaked as the #56 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America, following the 2010 season, here is what they wrote about his stuff and makeup.
Scouts love Colvin’s live arm and strong frame. His fastball sits at 92-94 mph and he can reach back for 97 when needed. He shows signs of two aboveaverage secondary offerings, an upper-70s curveball and an 83-85 mph changeup. His competitiveness helps him maximize his stuff. Philadelphia worked to clean up Colvin’s delivery, but it still needs some refinement. He throws across his body from a high three-quarters arm slot and sometimes gets on the side of his curveball. Some scouts have questioned Colvin’s makeup-he was arrested on three misdemeanor charges last February-but the Phillies aren’t concerned.
By the end of 2012 the delivery had fallen apart and Colvin was sitting 87-90 out of the bullpen with below average secondary pitches. The Phillies gave him a lot of time to correct things, but in the end the pitcher who once had #2 starter promise, was no more.
Gillies came over in the Cliff Lee trade with Seattle following a .341/.430/.486 year in the Cal League. Gillies struggled to stay healthy as well as keep out of trouble as he was arrested on drug charges (which were dropped), got into an altercation with a team bus driver, destroyed a bat rack, and took lead in the Canada-Mexico fight. On the field Gillies had the tools to be a good centerfielder, but lacked route running and instincts, his speed was reduced from near elite to just plus. At the plate he would show a swing with good loft and power and then a jail break high contact swing. The first was unreliable and the second was untenable for major league success. The move clears the way for Leandro Castro to get the majority of centerfield reps for the IronPigs.
Aaron Nola photo by Baseball Betsy