Right-hander Joe Bisenius entered the off-season as an unheralded prospect. Today, he’s considered a future closer and darkhorse to break camp with a spot in the Phillies’ bullpen.
For a guy who's appeared in 16 games above A-ball, Joe Bisenius, the 24-year-old reliever with the "hammer curve," is generating an awful lot of hype. Beerleaguer first reported on the right-hander back in September, en route to going 8-2 with a 2.25 ERA and seven saves in 51 games between Class-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading.
Bisenius was the subject of two stories this weekend, one in the AP and one by Randy Miller of the Bucks County Courier Times, and I’ve got to be honest: It's a little crazy. And I know I've been pumping this guy. Truthfully, it doesn't even sound like Bisenius believes he's ready.
Obviously, he's got some tools, and the Phillies have fast-tracked his development. Scouts are calling him a future stopper. But let's not be hasty. How about making him Ottawa's closer first? Then, when Philadelphia needs an arm in September, bring in the hammer.
What about Fabio Castro?
Continuing the discussion from Friday's thread, from everything I've gathered from Phillies GM Pat Gillick in interviews, Castro's command isn't where it needs to be. However, the pint-sized southpaw has carried a hot hand for months, making him tough to ignore. If Castro shows better control, he could force his way into the bullpen as the second lefty.
What about Clay Condrey?
Everyone except Beerleaguer regular kdon is counting out Condrey. Let's not forget the Phillies reached for him a couple times last season and he didn't disappoint. Unless Antonio Alfonseca turns out to be the bomb, allowing Ryan Madson or Geoff Geary to bump down, they’ll need a mop-up man like Condrey to devour early IPs. They can't afford to tag Geary with 91 innings again. Condrey appeared in 21 games, and was typically quite good for an inning or two in B-list action. He might be a reliable, safe alternative, depending on how he performs this spring.
What about the rest?
Clout called Rule 5 pick Jim Ed Warden an extreme longshot to make the team in the last thread. The trouble with that is he’s competing against a handful of inexperienced longshots with options. An extended tryout with the big club isn’t out of the question.
Beyond that, Brian Sanches can throw reasonably hard, but figures to be on the outside looking in. Zach Segovia probably needs to get his feet wet in Triple-A, perhaps as a reliever. I'm still intrigued by junkball left-hander Brian Mazone and his 2.04 Triple-A ERA, but have a feeling he would get killed in a Major League bullpen. Eude Brito is nursing a neck injury, which is a shame since he had a positive winter in the Dominican.
Instead, keep your eye on talented left-hander J.A. Happ as a possible emergency starter/late-season call-up. Good poise, great command, they say. He may be the reason the Phillies appear confident with their starting depth. Happ probably has more natural ability than any of the possibilities mentioned above, and he's receiving real instruction this spring. If not this season, his time will surely come in '08.