Every good prospect has his day in the Florida sun. Yesterday, it was side-whirling lefty Jake Diekman, who has a apparently captured Rich Dubee's heart.
Beerleaguer: I was in Allentown visiting relatives Sunday and Diekman, to my delight, anchored the Phillies inside sports spread of the Morning Call. How's this for praise? "You've got to love Diekman's arm," Dubee said. "He's got a tremendous high ceiling. [Diekman] doesn't have Bastardo's breaking ball, but he's got a better fastball. There's more velocity there and more action for sure. He just doesn't have the breaking ball."
Nice. Diekman's success last season and in the Arizona Fall League reportedly stems from a new arm slot, which means his breaking pitch is still being retooled. He's also crafting a change-up, according to the report. The Phillies thought enough of the 25-year-old lefty that the protected him from the Rule 5 draft by carving out room on the 40-man roster. He may be flying beneath most radars, but he would have surely been snatched away and stashed in another bullpen. Last season in Reading, he held lefty hitters 9 for 91 while allowing just three hits in 11 1-3 innings in the AFL.
If Jose Contreras can stay healthy, and if one or two of these bullpen prospects like Diekman take off, the Phillies could have one hell of a 'pen this season.