Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Phils' rookie defies scouting report
Talk about your freaky trivia. According to ESPN Stats & Information, with Philadelphia's Antonio Bastardo beating Jake Peavy and Oakland's Vin Mazzaro beating Bartolo Colon Tuesday night, it was the first time in MLB history that two pitchers won in their debuts against former Cy Young winners.
I missed Mazzaro -- and frankly, despite pitching a short shutout he wasn't all that impressive, which has been sort of a hallmark of Athletic hurlers this season -- but I did watch Bastardo's outing, and he was a surprise, both to me and to the Padres TV broadcasters, as we all were led to believe that Bastardo is sort of a finesse pitcher. From Baseball America's 2009 Prospect Handbook (which lists the small left-hander as the Phillies' No. 11 prospect):
Bastardo has made such rapid progress due to the deception and command he had of his average repertoire. His fastball sits at 87-91 mph and tops out at 93. It gets on top of hitters quickly and has some cut action. He pitches inside, but he's not overly physical or a power pitcher. It was fascinating watching Bastardo Tuesday night. Not a power pitcher? He threw mostly fastballs throughout his outing. What's more, in the first couple of innings, he was throwing 94 and 95. In the next couple of innings, he was throwing 92 and 93. And in the fifth and sixth, he was mostly down to 90 and 91, just like the scouting reports said. I will say this, though: I never did see a fastball clocked lower than 90. And if he can stay in the 90s while pitching into the sixth inning, he's got a shot. Of course, it's also possible that the gun was running a few miles an hour too fast.
What's most likely is that Bastardo's fastball was fueled by adrenaline (and perhaps a bit of physical maturity), and that he'll not spend much time this summer throwing in the mid-90s. Whether he's really the reliable No. 5 starter who might keep the Phillies in first place, no one can rightly say. This was just Bastardo's third start above Class AA. But he'll always have this grand debut.