Thursday, June 07, 2007

Joe Savery 2.0

I love the pick of Savery and it makes perfect sense to make comparisons between this year's first rounder and the Cole Hamels/Kyle Drabek duo.

As I'm sure 98% of my reading public knows, I follow all four major sports teams in Philly pretty closely. When you watch enough sports and obsess about it like so many Philly sports fans do, it gets easy to spot a well run organization from an incompetent one. It's easy to make the comparison between the well-oiled machine that is the Philadelphia Eagles front office/ownership group and the rusty outdated model of the Phillies, but it works in almost all areas when considering how the two teams are run. With one exception, of course - the way the two teams approach drafting.

To their credit, the Phillies have approached the past few drafts with Joe Banner's draft mantra in mind - value, value, value. Picking in the second half of the first round year after year is a real challenge for any pro sports franchise, and the best way to succeed is by thinking outside the box and taking calculated gambles on talented players sliding down the board. You don't get such obvious talents as Cole Hamels and Kyle Drabek where the Phillies got them without good reason; Hamels fell due to injury concerns and Drabek slipped due to worries about his bad makeup. Savery's arm is major league quality, but it was no surprise to see him slip in the draft because of the questions concerning his recovery from surgery to remove a bone growth from his labrum.

Joe Savery is a very good baseball player. Here are some of the basics...

Close to major league ready? I'd let him take the rest of 2007 off after he finishes up with Rice, then start him in Lakewood or Clearwater next year depending on how he progresses in the offseason. It's no stretch to say that if he's healthy, he could be in the big league rotation by the end of the 2009 season. I'll say that a timetable like that is worth of a check. Check.

Good size? 6-3, 215? Check.

Lefthanded? I'm a sucker for young lefties, you can really never have enough. Check.

Athletic? Savery gets high marks across the board for his athleticism and would have been a legit prospect as a first baseman with pop even if he didn't pitch (though obviously not a first rounder). Check.

His velocity was down after the surgery, but he has been quoted as saying he's had his fastball clocked in the mid-9os again as his arm has rounded back into shape. Prior to the injury, he sat 91-93 MPH and could touch the mid-90s; a return to that velocity makes him a heck of a lot more interesting. He also has a plus-plus changeup (and thus the comparison to Hamels) that really is a special pitch and a curveball that rates a 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale (pretty damn good). A three-pitch mix like that with the potential to command all three for consistent strikes? I'm excited.

So now that I've built Savery up into this great pitching prospect, how in the world did he fall to 19th overall? Not only that, but why do some fans I've already heard from consider selecting him at 19 an ugly overdraft? What's his flaw? Broken arm in high school like Hamels? Attitude problems like Drabek? To put it simply: injuries, injuries, injuries. He's damaged goods. He's a pitcher from Rice, a school with a weak recent history of protecting their most talented arms. That's the argument against, but take a deep breath - I have good news.

His combination of fastball-changeup-curveball does not portend future arm woes, especially the way he emphasizes the use of his fastball and change. His mechanics are a thing of beauty, so pretty that it is hard to imagine his easily repeatable delivery putting any additional undue stress on his arm.

I know this all sounds overwhelmingly positive, but if you can't be positive on draft day when can you be? Savery isn't the perfect pitching prospect, but he's got enough positives to be plenty excited that he is now a member of the organization...or will be when he gets signed.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site is terrible, I'm going to take it out of my favorites soon. Joe Savery 2.0 has been hanging out forever.

Just kidding, thanks for the draft analysis. I was reading up on the catcher we took with our second pick. Sounds like he'll be a pretty solid defender but nothing too impressive at the plate. I was wondering what you thought about the pick.

It's been fun to watch Phillies baseball lately. I made it to the game Thome actually got to play in, I thought it was pretty special and I was kind of proud to be a Philly fan that day (*tear*). There was even a White Sox fan near us who nobody tormented, he even gave me a "pound" earlier in the game (weird).


10:06 AM  

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