Phillies Mailbag: Closer, Leiter, Rosso
We are back once again with a Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and respond to them on the air on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill. Send your questions anytime on Twitter to @FrankKlose or hit up the 97.3 ESPN Text Board.
Who do you keep when Leiter Jr. comes off DL, Leiter Jr or Hutchison? Only need for one of this type.
This question is rather difficult to answer because we are not yet at the point where the move is imminent. Out of Spring Training, Drew Hutchison made the team almost because Mark Leiter, Jr. went down with an injury. Leiter has been rehabbing at Advanced-A Clearwater. In three appearances there, Leiter has allowed one hit and one walk in five innings, striking out nine.
It seems reasonable to assume Leiter will head north soon and face some stronger competition as he works his way back. Leiter's rehab assignment officially began on May 6, so there is plenty time left of the 30 days allowed for him to show that he can pitch multiple innings. So far, Leiter has maxed out at two and one-thirds innings (Sunday).
I hesitate to answer questions like this since we see that almost regularly another player gets injured and spots open up. If I'm the Phillies, I actually consider letting Hutchison go. It is not because I think he has not pitched well (he has), but because options abound.
Aside from Leiter returning, Jerad Eickhoff began an official rehab assignment today at Double-A Reading, where he threw 53 pitches. Victor Arano is also rehabbing there. It is really hard to find three names to remove from the active roster for Leiter, Eickhoff, and Arano, especially considering how well the likes of Yacksel Rios and Seranthony Dominguez have pitched.
The Phillies optioned Jake Thompson to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and have a slot open right now. It remains to be seen who will occupy that spot. Maybe it is even Leiter.
But it might be that Hutchison has to depart soon, just because there are only so many slots.
Who is the Phillies closer 30 days from now?
This is a great question. If I had to answer the question simply, I would have to say, "no one".
As we saw on Sunday, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler seems to be willing to do whatever it takes to win on any given day. Kapler frequently spoke during Spring Training about not necessarily having a set closer. I think that would be ideal long-term (and there will be many options next offseason).
I think that the Phillies will still give Neris some opportunities to close, but we will start to see some opportunities given to others Dominguez has really shown to have a really nasty slider to go with his high-speed fastball. That makes for a lethal combination.
I think the Phillies will just sort of go with the flow for now. There will not
Please evaluate Ramon Rosso, RHP Lakewood. His stats for last year & this year are off the charts!
This is a great question. Rosso is perhaps one of the more under-the-radar Phillies prospects. You will not find him on any top prospects lists. The Phillies signed him after he was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers. At 21 years old (turning 22 next month) there is lots of room for further growth.
So far in seven starts with the Blue Claws, Rosso is 1-0 (only one win, but...) with a 0.93 earned run average. He has walked 12, but batters simply cannot make contact with his pitches.
Last August, Matt Winkleman of Phillies Minor Thoughts took a look at Rosso, suggesting that the jury is still out on Rosso. But striking out 52 in under 39 innings including an 11 strikeout performance on Monday shows that Rosso seems to really have something worth keeping an eye on
What's clear is that the competition at Class-A Lakewood is no match for Rosso. The Phillies could get a clearer picture of what they have with Rosso. Nothing is really going to be gained by letting Rosso beat up on the South Atlantic League.