It must be difficult to walk around Clearwater, Florida, without bumping into a potential Phillies starting pitcher.
With Jarred Cosart, Brody Colvin, Trevor May, Julio Rodriguez, and Jonathan Pettibone, the Phillies have the makings of a major league rotation in advanced-A ball.
Trevor May is the oldest of the five.
At 21 years old.
Any trade involving Hunter Pence of the Houston Astros or Carlos Quentin of the Chicago White Sox would have to include at least one of these starting pitchers
Cosart’s name has been mentioned in trade proposals for Pence, as part of a package with Singleton and catcher Sebastian Valle.
In 18 starts, Cosart is 8-8 with a 4.19 ERA and 75 strikeouts. In May alone, Cosart went 4-0 while compiling a 1.95 ERA and 28 strikeouts in six starts. He also held opponents to a .188 batting average.
Originally a 38th-round pick in 2008, Cosart was the winning pitcher in this month’s Futures All-Star game. His pitching repertoire includes a sinking fastball that can reach 99 mph, as well as an above average changeup and a curveball that needs better consistency.
Cosart also has a strong mental make-up that will come handy if he pitches in Philadelphia.
Colvin is 2-4 with a 3.87 ERA in 14 starts this season, along with 56 strikeouts. Similarly to Cosart, Colvin’s name has been mentioned as part of any deal bringing back a top-level right handed bat.
Colvin has hit 96 mph consistently and also has a 12-6 curveball and a changeup, both of which are considered above average.
The oldest of the “Baby Aces,” May, has struck out 151 batters in 112 innings this season while walking 49. May has also thrown two complete games and one shutout.
A fourth round pick in 2008, May throws a fastball that reaches the mid-90’s consistently as well as a curveball and changeup that he isn’t afraid to throw in any count.
Julio Rodriguez is another high strikeout pitcher this season, with 113 in 115.2 innings. Rodriguez has a 13-6 record with a 3.03 ERA in 20 starts. He has also held opponents to a .194 average.
Jonathan Pettibone has also contributed in Clearwater, going 8-7 with a 2.81 ERA and 87 strikeouts in 20 starts.
The bright pitching future for the Phils isn’t limited to just Clearwater.
Class-A Lakewood also boasts a group of pitchers who have turned themselves into big league prospects.
David Buchanan is currently 11-5 with a 3.38 ERA and one complete game in 20 starts this season. Since the All-Star game, Buchanan is 3-1 with 31 strikeouts and just 9 walks.
Jesse Biddle is a true home grown prospect whose 5-6 record, 102 strikeouts, and 3.10 ERA are helping to justify his ranking as the Phillies' eighth-best prospect by Baseball America.
Garrett Claypool’s 117 strikeouts and Lisalberto Bonilla’s 2.62 ERA since June 11th are helping to add even more depth to the Phils starting pitching prospects.
Double-A Reading has two pitching prospects of their own in Austin Hyatt and J.C. Ramirez.
Hyatt is 9-5 with 125 strikeouts in 20 starts this season, while Ramirez has held left handers to a .219 average.
With Roy Halladay signed through 2013 and a club option for 2014, and Cliff Lee signed through at least 2015, the Phils do not have nearly enough spots in the rotation for these prospects.
If the Phillies can resign Cole Hamels, their rotation through 2014 can potentially consist of Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and Vance Worley.
That leaves one opening for ten possible candidates.
The Phillies did not want to trade Cosart or Colvin for a two month rental player such as Beltran, and have been hesitant to pull the trigger on a deal for Bell.
However, at some point, if the right deal comes along, the Phils would have to look at their starting pitching depth to draw talent.
And then consider a 10-man rotation for 2014.