Like Phildelphia needs more pitching. If you’ve watched the big league club at all this season you know that the starting rotation, at least one-through-four, is pretty sick. If the organization gets tired of trotting Joe Blanton out there, though, May could be ready to help the club by the second half of the season. Currently pitching in double-A, the right-hander has given up just 12 hits in 23.0 innings of work. He’s walked a few too many batters (eight) but has 26 whiffs. After giving up just eight home runs in more than 150 innings last season May has yet to allow a ball to clear the fences in 2012. He has the ceiling of a No. 2 starter.
Phegley’s career has been a bit of a disappointment to this point. The former supplemental first round draft pick out of the University of Indiana was once known as an offensive-minded catcher with big question marks about his ability to stick behind the plate. Then he stopped hitting. It turns out, though, that he had a serious medical condition, which wiped out much of his 2010 season. He returned in ’11 but struggled while catching up on lost development time. In 15 games at triple-A in 2012 Phegley is hitting .361 with eight extra base hits and just seven strikeouts. On the down side he’s walked just three times – which is in line with his aggressive nature. Behind the plate he’s throwing out base runners at a 50% clip, a number that is not far off his four-year career rate of 48%. The big question marks for him on defense are his receiving and glove work; the jury is still out on those skills. Even if he cannot hack it on defense, Phegley could be a valuable bat off the bench as he has a tendency to cream southpaws (.571, 8-for-14 in the early going).
Matt’s younger brother Jake Skole was actually the better prospect at one point. Jake was the Texas Rangers’ first round pick (15th overall) out of a Georgia high school in 2010, while Matt was selected by the Nationals in the fifth round out of Georgia Tech during the 2011 amateur draft. At this point, though, the elder Skole has probably surpassed the younger Skole, who has struggled to hit pro pitchers on a consistent basis. A little advanced for low-A ball, Matt is currently hitting .373 with 18 walks in 17 games. He has nine extra base hits, including four home runs, as well as 26 RBI. He’s averaging almost one strikeout a game, which is a small red flag. A promotion to high-A would probably help us get a better read on Matt’s abilities.
This past off-season I recommended some minor league players to a Major League club for consideration during the Rule 5 draft. Stowell, 25, was one of the players at the top of my list but, obviously, he wasn’t selected because he’s still with the Cleveland organization. The reliever shows electric stuff at times but he has a checkered medical history and he appeared in just 24 games in 2011. Now healthy he’s pitched 7.0 innings so far this season at double-A and has 15 strikeouts with no walks allowed. He’s given up just three base hits. If Stowell can stay out of the trainer’s room he could reach Cleveland by the end of the year and he has the potential to be a high-leverage reliever at the big league level.
At the beginning of the year I highlighted Williams as the one Yankees prospect that people weren’t talking about but would likely be raving about by the end of 2012. He’s off to a good start. The outfielder is currently hitting .347 in 17 low-A ball games. He’s swiped eight bags in nine tries and is showing some pop with eight extra base hits. Williams has been quite adept at handling the bat, having struck out just four times all month. However, he’s also walked just three times. The left-handed hitter is probably will about three years away from appearing in the Majors but he’s an exciting raw player to keep an eye one.