March 6, 2015

Antonio Bastardo: What to expect?


Antonio Bastardo will make his MLB debut tomorrow against the Padres. Bastardo burst onto the scene as a hot prospect last year, only to get injured in Reading and fall off the radar. However, after a healthy return this year, he’s torn up Reading and Lehigh Valley and is looking to do the same in Philly after he became the surprise replacement to Brett Myers. Because of his performance, as well as some scouting reports comparing him to Johan Santana, Bastardo is coming up with a good deal of hype. Probably the most for a rookie pitcher since Cole Hamels. That’s not saying much considering our system has only recently gone on the upswing, and that the hype for future call-ups Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Drabek will probably be considerably higher, but it does give some extra reason to stay up for the west coast game on Tuesday.

So, the big question is, what should we expect from Bastardo?

Well, let’s start with the basic scouting report. He’s small and skinny, listed at 5’11”, 195 lbs. He is basically a fastball/change-up pitcher. His fastball reportedly comes in around 90-91 mph, and he has a deceptive delivery that makes it appear faster to hitters. I don’t know the speed of his change-up, but he uses it very well to get strikeouts. He does have a slider that he is working on, but doesn’t use it as often, much like Hamels and his curveball. 

In terms of strengths and weaknesses, I created this chart below to show how his minor league numbers compared t0 3 recent Phillies lefties, Cole Hamels, Randy Wolf and JA Happ. 


So what can we learn here, besides the fact that Hamels was an insanely good prospect? Hamels bests Bastardo in pretty much every category, as you would expect, so there is no reason to think he’s going to come in and set the world on fire like Cole did. However, he has significantly better numbers than they very-hyped Randy Wolf, and somewhat-hyped JA Happ. Bastardo let up 2 less hits/9 than Wolf, while striking out almost 2 more batters/9. His walks are a little high, but that is largely from when he was pitching hurt at Reading last year (37 BB in 67 IP). Looking at his numbers, I almost think of JC Romero, who when on, is very very hard to hit and gets his strikeouts, but when’s he’s off, he’s usually walking people, still not really giving up hits. 

All-in-all, I think it’s clear that Bastardo isn’t in Hamels range, but should be considered at least a viable a prospect as Wolf and Happ. 

Now – that’s more a long-term expectation, how about what we should expect on just Tuesday. I looked back over the past several years and put together another chart showing the results of the 1st start of pitchers drafted/signed by the Phillies who made their way through their system. This is for only starters, not guys like Robinson Tejeda and Ryan Madson who started as relievers but made spots starts here and there. 


So, over the years, young Phillies pitchers have gone 7-3 in their debuts. The average start couldn’t be more “average” as it meets the lowest possible requirements for a quality start. I actually think that Bastardo will do better than that, something like 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, because he is facing a so-so line-up in a pitcher’s park. 

It’s always exciting when a young prospect gets called up. You might be looking at the next Johan Santana, or you might be looking at the next Brandon Duckworth. On Tuesday, we’ll begin to find out with Bastardo. 

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  1. Jeff says:

    who the hell was (is?) Carlton Loewer? What happened to him?

  2. Pete says:

    haha. first round pick in 1994. was pretty much horrible after his amazing first start. 

    I have his autograph. here’s his pic…
  3. Chris McC says:

    Great article Pete.  Not being a huge stat guy myself I really dig reading your stuff and seeing how well you work the numbers.

    You know, I was a big advocate for Bastardo and/or Corrasco in the beginning but the more I think about a Hamels – Moyer – Sloppy Joe – Bastardo – Happ rotation the more nervous I get.  I am very cautiously looking forward to tomorrow night’s game.

  4. so tell me what do you see out of the other hyped minor leagers (pitchers and that awesome shortstop dude)

  5. jurnee16 says:

    If Bastardo struggles tomorrow night does he get another chance and if not who takes that spot in the rotation?(Please don’t say Kyle Kendrick…)

  6. Pete says:


    thanks. I try to keep it simple, but still interesting. The only thing I don’t like about that rotation is the 4 lefites. I think eventually we are going to need to trade for someone, but for now, I’m OK with it. 
  7. Pete says:


    I think Bastardo gets at least 3-4 starts. You can’t judge a guy from his first start, the jitters change the game. 
    Kendrick hasn’t shown enough (any) improvement to warrant another chance. I’d hope Carrasco continues his string a good starts and gets called up, otherwise I’d think maybe Carpenter for a couple starts while they ramp up the trade talk. 
  8. Pete says:

    I’m excited, I love watching (good) pitching prospects make their debuts. Doesn’t really happen that often. For the record, I never considered Kendrick a good prospect, and still have no clue how he was so good in 2007. 

  9. raro says:

    bastardograph… awesome.

  10. Dan says:

    I’m not really sure why people are still convinced that Carrasco is a high level prospect. The guy’s ceiling was thought to be that of a 3-4 starter. Now he looks like he shouldn’t even be called up to the major leagues. This is what, the 3rd year in a row where he has been underwhelming at best?

    I’d trade him and Donald as fast as possible. If we can package them and Lou together for a reliable starter then I hope Amaro does so without hesitation.

  11. Pete says:

    Dan -

    While I agree that Carrasco has been a let down this year, I don’t think it’s time to throw in the towel. 

    First off, he just turned 22, and is younger than most AAA pitchers, he’s hit a rough patch, but his K/9 rate still shows he’s got the pure stuff to be a good major league pitcher (104 K in 91.2 IP in AAA). He’s needs some more time to mature and develop his confidence, but as long as his stuff is there, he’s still a good prospect. 

    Now, does he now look like he’s just a 3-4 starter max? Yeah. But, paying something $250K to throw 200 IP and a 3.90 ERA is gold in baseball. Especially in an era where Carlos Silva gets $10 million a year to do far worse.

    But, if another team would give us a high quality pitcher for him, Donald and Marson, as you said, I would probably do it in a heartbeat. Certainly for Peavy, maybe for Oswalt (only because of his contract). The only untouchables right now for me are Drabek and Brown, with Michael Taylor being real close behind.

  12. Drolz says:

    I agree with the idea of allowing Bastardo at least 3-4 starts for a couple of reasons.

    One start obviously isn’t enough to get a sense of how well he can pitch at this level.Send him out for a few turns in the rotation and we’ll have a better idea of what he can do.

    In addition to that, I’m hoping Bastardo can buy time for the organization in more ways than one.

    If he’s able to hold the fort in our rotation that’ll reduce the urgency to make a deal for a starting pitcher. That in turn would take away leverage from other teams we might negotiate with. They’re less likely to try gutting our farm system if we don’t seem desperate to make a deal.

    The other way it would buy time is I think it would allow some of our under-performing minor leaguers to get their numbers up.

    Carrasco competed for the number 5 spot in spring training. He wasn’t the favorite, but I’m sure he felt he had a chance.

    Last winter Donald was practically guaranteed a spot on the team as a temporary replacement for either Utley or Feliz. Both of them did a remarkable job rehabbing from hip and back surgeries. So back to the minors Donald went.

    Marson was here for a cup of coffee last Fall and again this Spring while Ruiz was on the DL. I’m sure he feels he’s major league ready.

    And now Carrasco, Donald, and Marson are a bit off in the minors. I wonder if this has something to do with the Big Show Carrot being dangled in front of them and then taken away. It has to be a mental letdown to some degree. I believe that in time their numbers will improve to reflect what they’re really capable of.

    So if/when Bastardo pitches well for an extended period, the other three players’ stats will go up.
    That in turn increases their trade value, so we’d be more likely to be able to make a deal in July without giving up the whole farm.

    I think I just put the weight of the entire organization on Bastardo’s shoulders tonight. LOL I still think he’ll do a good job. Looking forward to seeing him pitch :)

  13. Pete says:

    uh……tell me Bastardo actually throws 94-95 and this isn’t just him fired up for the first inning…

  14. Pete says:

    OK – so first inning, he throws more balls than strikes (hopefully from jitters) – BUT, he threw 19 fastballs…

    2 were 93mph
    10 were 94mph
    7 were 95mph

    scouting reports had his fastball at 90-91. If he’s consistantly at 93-95? uhhh…start getting excited.

  15. Pete says:

    great job by Antonio. I was 1 hit, 2 walks and 1 K off on my predicition, sorry guys.

    Curious as to why he never used the change-up though. 
  16. jurnee16 says:

    I wasn’t able to watch after the first couple innings.  Did Bastardo continue to throw 94-95 on his fastball?

  17. Pat says:

    great game for bastardo. great game for everyone until chan ho park entered the game. thank goodness romero is going to be back.

  18. Adam says:

    i thought bastardo had a really good fastball tonight, but his off speed stuff obviously needs some work.  I did see him use his changeup and a slider here and there, and except for a few exceptions, he left them up in the strike zone.  He can get away with that against the Padres, but not against good hitting teams.  Overall I was very pleased with the way he attacked hitters and Ruiz definitely helped him with his pitch selection, throwing fastballs was the right thing to do with a multi run lead all night.

  19. Pete says:


    he wasn’t around 95 anymore, but he was consistantly 91-93, occasionally hitting 94.


    I didn’t see enough of his off-speed stuff tonight to make a judgement. Apparently his change-up is his best pitch. He didn’t need to throw any off-speed stuff though because we were up by so much, and the Padres weren’t hitting the fastball, so why change it up. Also, Charlie said something along the lines of “he was gripping the ball too hard” because he was fired up, so the off-speed pitches he was throwing weren’t showing their normal movement.

  20. Pete says:

    Drabek makes his first AA start tonight…

    Our 2011 rotation (with ages in 2011)?

    1. Cole Hamels, 27
    2. Kyle Drabek, 23
    3. Antonio Bastardo, 25
    4. Carlos Carrasco, 24
    5. J.A. Happ, 28

    That could be a very good, very cheap, rotation… and if someone doesn’t work out, we also have Vance Worley and some others…

    Other option would be trading one of these guys and inserting someone like Peavy in there.

  21. Stu says:

    2011 – Where is Joe Savery?

  22. Pete says:

    I guess Savery could be in the mix. What I’ve read is that his fastball rarely touches 90, and he throw mostly junk, which works somewhat in AA, but won’t the majors. 

    Of course, there is time for improvement, but right now, he’s below all those guys by a lot. 
  23. Jon says:

    It was a little surprising that he threw so many fastballs especially at that velocity.  I am attributing that to his major league debut and the huge lead that he had the entire night.  Hamels walked 5 guys in his debut, so you cant take that much into a debut.  Ive seen him a decent amount in reading and in his AAA debut and he does throuw the change a decent amount, especially with 2 strikes.  I thought it was impressive to see how easy he made it look throwing  only fastballs.  Once he develops that slider he could be a devastating pitcher.

  24. Pete says:

    his slider def has potential…

    his next start? Sunday night baseball on ESPN in LA. 
  25. Drolz says:

    That 2011 rotation looks very promising! I know it’s way too early to start drooling at the possibilities, but if those pitchers live up to the hype then we might have a rotation similar to what the Braves had in the early ’90s.

    This makes Ruben Amaro’s job all the more challenging. He needs to find a top-rate starting pitcher now to take advantage of the current team’s window of opportunity to win another championship or two.

    At the same time, we could be on the verge of a nice, long winning tradition with several of the up-and-coming players. Hell of a balancing act for Amaro.

  26. Drolz says:

    By the way, I heard that Savery is pretty good with a bat. Any chance the Phillies will turn him into Rick Ankiel II and reinvent him as an outfielder/first baseman?

  27. Pete says:


    Savery is very good with the bat – in 2007, he led Rice in hitting (.356) and played 1B when not pitching. 

    in 70 games he had 19 2B, 6 HR, 60 RBI, .435 OBP, .505 SLG% – not spectacular, but decent. 

    I personally, would not be surprised if they try him as a hitter once they are certain he can’t be a starting pitcher in the majors. 

  28. Pete says:

    looks like he had better hitting (and pitching) numbers his junior year in college

  29. Pete says:

    Kyle Drabek’s first start after being promoted to Reading…

    7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K
    good stuff!
  30. Adam says:

    Apparently I am no longer the only “adam” on this board. 

    Anyway, did you notice Drabek also had the Bastardo adrenaline.  He was throwing 99 in the first inning.  Pete, any idea what his usual fastball speed is?  He was throw low to mid 90s the rest of the game.  If Savery throws junk, why was he a first round pick?  Were his college numbers that deceiving?  Could Savery drop that quickly in just one year?

  31. bski says:

    How about this bit of news from

    “According to an industry source, suddenly out of work pitchers Tom Glavine and Vicente Padilla will not be jobless for long.”
    “One NL exec told on Wednesday night the Phillies “like both pitchers and will sign one of them before the week is out.””
    “The Phillies have been waiting for just this type of opportunity; take a veteran starter for a test drive for the next month or so before having to make any hard decisions about (San Diego’s Jake) Peavy or (Houston’s Roy) Oswalt.”
    “Glavine, who spurned the Phillies for the Mets back in 2003, is said to be “furious” with how the Braves handled the situation and “can’t wait to stick it up their (bleep).” Signing with the Phillies would go a long way towards fulfilling that goal.”
    “The Phillies are said to prefer Glavine (and the NL exec said the veteran southpaw’s agent made an immediate call to Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. as soon as the release was requested by Glavine, who chose to get cut rather than retire a Brave), but would gladly take a flier on the former Phillie Padilla if they fail to come to terms with Glavine.”

  32. Pete says:


    thanks for the link.

    however – my response to those rumors are as follows….

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!

    Glavine is beyond washed up and Padilla is a headcase and clubhouse cancer (Rich Dubee told me as much when I worked there). 

    Who would Glavine replace, Moyer? Would they be stupid enough to put him in Bastardo’s place?

    If I’m choosing between the 2, I’d prefer Glavine, who I guess could be better than Moyer. I want no part of the Floatilla. 

  33. Pete says:

    here are my thoughts, in picture form

  34. Pete says:

    Adam -

    I think Drabek is usually 93-95 on the fastball. 
    I’m not sure about Savery. He’s actually been better this year than last.
    This is from Baseball America….it’s his scouting report right after he was drafted…

    Strengths: As a lefty two-way player in college, he garnered comparisons to Mark Mulder. While his fastball velocity was down for much of the spring, Savery flashed 90-94 mph heaters by May and pitched at 88-92 mph in his pro debut. He also can be effective at 86-89 mph. His changeup has the potential to be an above-average pitch and his slurvy breaking ball grades as average to plus. The Phillies rave about his work ethic.

    Weaknesses: Just a year removed from surgery, Savery predictably struggled with the command of all his pitches in his pro debut. He didn’t repeat his delivery well, in part because he was worn down. The last four Rice starting pitchers drafted in the first round have had major arm surgeries, a track record that scared a lot of clubs.


    I guess the Phillies thought his work ethic / post-surgery would improve what appeared from above to be an 88-92mph fastball, average change-up and average slurve. He doesn’t appear to have improved, yet…

  35. jjg says:

    Picture looks like Red Lion, PA’s Scott Fitzkee breakin’ left on an out pattern.

  36. Tim says:

    Hey Guys great Blog.  I have been following yall everyday for about a year now.  I live in Texas but I am from the Lehigh Valley originally.  Missing seein my Phils play live at the ballpark, but i got the directv package and dont miss a game.

    Please no on Padilla!!!  Once we got rid of the guys with the poor attitudes (Padilla, Wagner and Abreu) we finally became serious contenders.  Lets not backtrack here.  Maybe a test run with Glavine but i like lettin these kids have a go.  If Happ continues to pitch like he has we are not in that bad of shape.

    On another note check out this article about the division rankins.  Pretty ridiculous in my opinion but surrounded by Rangers fans I need some hometown input!,-it's-time-to-rank-the-divisions

  37. Pete says:

    Tim -

    Thanks for commenting and sharing the link.
    In terms of a division as a whole, it’s hard to argue with the rankings, only because the Nationals are historically bad at this point, the Marlins aren’t far behind and the Braves are just at .500. However, the Phils/Mets are as good a top-2 as any division, and the Braves looked poised to make a move upward. 
  38. bski says:

    Yeah, I feel the same way.  I want absolutely no part of Padilla and, at this point, I really don’t see what we would do with Glavine, nor what he could give us above and beyond what we already have.  I too would much rather see us let it play out with Happ and Bastardo than to mess around with things now.  I’d love to see us have the rotation you posted in #20, Pete.

    I posted the link and the quotes from the article because I was surprised by it, especially considering the starts we’ve gotten from Happ and Bastardo.  Whoever that NL exec is, he seems pretty certain that we’re going to end up with one of them (probably Glavine) very soon.  I guess the only NL exec that really matters is Amaro.  Let’s hope he has enough sense to stay away from both of them.


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