Philadelphia’s closer role may be in limbo, but down on the farm, some of the season’s best performers reside in the back of the bullpen.
Right-handed closers Scott Mathieson (Lehigh Valley: 0.54 ERA, 5 SV, 18/4 K/BB, 16 2-3 IP); Justin De Fratus (Clearwater: 1.80, 7 SV, 18/5 K/BB ratio, 15 IP); and Phillies minor league pitcher of the month Joshua Zeid (0.86, 4 SV, 18/9 K/BB, 21 IP) are giving hope to the future of the final frames. Mathieson is a noted dart-thrower and known quantity among Beerleaguer, but the others probably aren’t. An 11th-round pick in 2007, De Fratus was moved to the bullpen last season and it appears that’s where he’s going to stay. A strike-thrower who keeps the ball down, his future may be more David Herndon than Ryan Madson, but that remains to be seen. Zeid, a 23-year-old Tulane University product, has made a seamless transition into a closer for low-A Lakewood. Unranked as a prospect heading into the season, the right-hander has been getting raves for his maturity and work ethic from the coaching staff.
In Reading, they’ve gone with Sergio Escalona and 6-8 right-hander Michael Schwimer in the ninth. Save situations have been so infrequent for the last-place R-Phils it's hard to make heads or tails of the situation. Schwimer, who keeps a running journal on PhuturePhillies.com, is considered one of the better relief prospects in the system; a fastball-slider guy, but not especially overpowering considering his size.
Transactions: First baseman Matt Rizzotti, 24, was promoted from Clearwater to Reading. He was hitting .352/.421/.454 with a homer. Links: Prospects from Lee deal struggling; Brown impresses, but same can’t be said for R-Phillies