Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Slow ball offerings

Shortly after the announcement that the Phillies announced Myers assignment to the minors they announced the promotion of left handed relief pitcher, RJ Swindle.

I can hear most of you now-


Well for starters- he's not Myers replacement in the rotation. He's filling in the bullpen for Clay Condrey who is on paternity leave. Secondly, he's a guy who isn't considered by many professional baseball scouts to be a good prospect or even a major leaguer.

"Why?" You ask?

He's a tad old as he's turning age 25 this Monday (Happy Birthday RJ!!) and his best pitch is a curve ball that travels at the speed of 51 mph. Yes, you read that right; that's not a typo. He throws a ball at a speed that you and I can throw without much effort. His fastball can reach speeds up to a Jamie Moyeresue 84 mph.

"He sounds like he sucks, are the Phillies' minor league system that bad that they have to call up this guy?!"

Well, while the upper tiers of the system don't exactly inpire confidence, RJ's performance has forced the Phillies' hand to make this move. His numbers are very, very good despite having what you would might consider an unimpressive repetoire of pitches. He's struck out 48 batters in 40 innings for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and has an ERA around 2. If you didn't know what he throws you might think we have another Lidge waiting in the wings. Funny thing is- if you look at his stats throughout his career he has very similar numbers. Yet he keeps getting dropped by teams like the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

I highly recommend that you read this interview that was conducted at The Good Phight about a month ago when his stats started to receive some attention. I guess scouts and talent evaluators don't know everything and I truly hope that he has a chance to show his stuff and has success at the major league level with the Phillies. Pitching is often about changing speeds and location and pure speed isn't everything. Greg Maddux and Jamie Moyer are proof of this.

Congrats RJ!

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