Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Three guys to know for October
By David Schoenfield
My pal Eric Karabell suggested this post, so I give him the credit.
1. Joe Savery, LHP, Phillies. Savery made his major-league debut this afternoon against the Nationals, allowing a single to Chris Marrero and retiring Brian Bixler on a sacrifice bunt. Eric insists Savery has a chance to make the Phillies' postseason roster. Why? Antonio Bastardo, so dominant most of the season, is the only lefty reliever but has been struggling of late, allowing a .409 on-base percentage in September and complaining of fatigue. The Phillies may want two lefty relievers on the squad, especially if they're playing Prince Fielder and the Brewers.
But Savery's story is more interesting than that. The club's first-round pick in 2007 out of Rice, Savery didn't develop as a starter (he went 1-12 with a 4.66 ERA in Triple-A in 2010, with poor peripherals) and transitioned to an outfielder/first baseman this year at Class A. He contemplated leaving the sport and even signed up for a class at Rice. "I was trying to line up internships and jobs, whatever I could find," he told Kevin Cooney of PhillyBurbs.com. "When I got into this, I didn’t see myself hanging on as a minor leaguer. I wanted to give this a real shot and, if things didn’t work out, I was going to move on. So I figured that I was getting to the point where I had worn out my welcome, I wasn’t going to get in the way anymore."
Instead, he moved back to the mound as reliever and a pitched well as a lefty specialist, with a 41-to-6 strikeout/walk ratio in the minors. "I'll stick him out there," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We'll definitely take a look at him. We got good reports on him. They say he's been pitching good, throwing strikes and his velocity is up."
And now he could make the postseason roster. If anything, he would also give the team an emergency pinch-hitting option.
2. Felix Doubront, LHP, Red Sox. Like the Phillies, the Red Sox are hurting from the left side, where they have the shaky Franklin Morales, the even shakier Andrew Miller ... and maybe Doubront. He's a 23-year-old lefty who pitched 25 innings with the Sox last year and has appeared in nine games in 2011. In 16 starts at Triple, he posted a 4.22 ERA, struck out 60 in 70.1 innings and allowed 10 home runs. He's not overpowering, but considering Miller's control issues, Doubront could make the postseason roster as a second lefty. If Boston gets there, of course.
3. Craig Gentry, CF, Rangers. The 27-year-old center fielder has been platooning with Endy Chavez, drawing starts against left-handed pitching, so if the Rangers draw the Yankees or Red Sox, you'll likely see him starting against CC Sabathia or Jon Lester. Gentry is a speedster originally selected by the Rangers in the 10th round of the 2006 draft out of Arkansas. He has no power (five doubles, one triple, no homers in 121 at-bats) but is 18-for-18 stealing bases. He's managed to hit .273 and could be a late-inning weapon as a pinch-runner.