Who is Making the Velocity Jump

Yesterday Chris King wrote a piece for Fangraphs detailing the increase in velocity and stuff for Williamsport right hander Franklyn Kilome.  Kilome is obviously the most prominent member of the following group, but he is not the only player to keep an eye on this season.  So I went through our pitch database and found all pitchers with a noticeable increase in fastball velocity this season.  This is an exhaustive list of my information, but not of potential information because I don’t have full information for this season and last season (for example I know that RHP Seranthony Dominguez has been 93-95 this season, but I don’t know about last year).

Adonis Medina, RHP, GCL – Age 18
2014: 88-89 T90
2015: 90-94 (Starting) 94-97 (Relief)

Adonis popped up when he came in after Kilome late in Extended Spring Training and was 94-97 with a hammer curve in front of a lot people with radar guns.  His last two starts in the GCL he has been 90-94 with a mid 70s curveball and low 80s changeup.  He is really young and interesting, ven if the 97 was more mirage than sign of things to come.  Ricardo Pinto this year has shown what a solid fastball and good changeup can do.

Franklyn Kilome, RHP, WPT – Age 20
2014: 89-92 T94
2015: 93-95 T97

The man, the myth, the legend.  Kilome is all kinds of projection, this may not be the highest he gets to.

Denton Keys, LHP, WPT – Age 20
2014: 87-88
2015: 88-90 T92

Denton started off his year by out-dueling Tyler Glasnow, which is not a bad way to get going.  Keys still could use some more velocity as he fills out his frame in order to have a major league future, but this is a good start.  It wouldn’t be surprising if Keys is 90-92 T94 in a year or two.  If he gets there he has the stuff that a starter ceiling is not out of the question.

Edubray Ramos, RHP, CLW – Age 22
2014: 90-93 T94
2015: 93-96 T97

Ramos is the top relief prospect in the Phillies system.  Between the velocity and wipeout curveball, the ceiling for Ramos is very high.

Felix Paulino, RHP, GCL – Age 20
2014: 88-90
2015: 90-94

I will be honest, I know nothing about Paulino other than the fact that he was dominant in a start on June 25 in the GCL and throws with enough velocity to keep tracking.

Ismael Cabrera, RHP, GCL – Age 21
2014: 86-91
2015: 92-95

The Phillies are using the older Cabrera out of the bullpen in the GCL, he also throws a changeup at 82-83

Sam McWilliams, RHP, GCL – Age 19
2014: 84-91
2015: 89-93

The book on McWilliams out of HS last year was that one start he would be around 84 and the next around 94.  He seems to have found some consistency this year after the Phillies cleaned up his delivery.  There is plenty of room for projection in McWilliams’ 6’7″ frame so there may be more to come.  He showed better control in a dominant start today and is able to put movement on his fastball while also generating good plane from his height.  McWilliams is still a complete project, but so far it has been a huge step in the right direction for the 8th round pick in the 2014 draft.

Colin Kleven, RHP, REA – Age 24
2014: 91-94
2015: 93-96

Kleven has seen his velocity tick up this year a bit more as he is further removed from his back injury.  In reality his fastball range is 89-96 with the lower range being cutters and 2-seamers.  The problem with Kleven is that velocity is not everything in a rotation and Kleven lacks a good enough breaking ball to rely on it as a weapon, and doesn’t have a changeup to neutralize left handers.

Tyler Knigge, RHP, REA – Age 26
2015 (Spring Training): 93-95
2015 (Since Demotion): 97-99

This one is still developing because it is so recent.  I have been told there is a story around this but I couldn’t be told it yet.  Knigge is currently making a brief trip to the DL so it will be another week before we can see if this continues.  If it does, he is a very interesting arm to watch down the stretch.

Image of Denton Keys by Baseball Betsy

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman
Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.

3 comments

  1. Jack

    What is the ceiling and floor of Keys and McWilliams?

    • Matt Winkelman

      Ceiling – ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
      Floor – Never make it to AA

      I don’t mean to take your question lightly, but in reality neither has all the pieces to major league pitchers right now. McWilliams has tons of projection, but the changeup is nonexistent. Keys has some feel for secondary stuff, but at 88-90 he isn’t a major leaguer. We have plenty of time worry about ceiling/floor for them.

  2. Romus

    Thanks Matt for that velo report on Sam McWilliams.
    In some ways, physique -wise and pitch strength and skill-level, he and Franklyn Kilome could be developing as if in a parallel universe…a year apart.