Age (Opening Day 2011): 25
How Acquired: 14th round, 2008 draft
There are a lot of good indicators that Schwimer can be a solid major league reliever, most notably his 11.4 K/9 rate last year. Before being moved up to AAA, Schwimer had a ridiculous 209K in 146IP in his minor league career (12.9 K/9).
In his 20 IP in AAA, Schwimer’s K/9 rate dropped considerably (still a solid 8.1), but his overall performance actually improved. In those 20 innings in Lehigh Valley, he only allowed 3 runs (1.35 ERA) and 16 hits.
Schwimer is a huge guy (6’8”, 246) but isn’t an overpowering pitcher. His fastball lives in the low 90s and his second best pitch is his slider, which he throws in the mid-80s. He is somewhat well known in Phillies prospect circles for his created metric called “Schwimlocity.” Essentially he wants to quantify (and yes, he does this himself, watching tape, etc…) how “deception” works with pitchers. He contests that the speed of the pitch and the perceived speed of the pitch can be different based on the pitchers release point. Example being that if 2 pitchers throw a fastball 90mph, but one releases it closer to home plate, the batter has less time to react, even though the pitch is the same speed. The example he used was JA Happ, who throws 89-91, but according to his measurements, looks like he’s throwing 94-95 to the batter. This works with Schwimer himself, as his large frame allows him to release the ball closer to the plate and gives it higher perceived speed.
What to Look For in 2011
Schwimer will likely get an audition to win a spot in the Phillies bullpen to start off the season along with guys like Scott Mathieson and Justin DeFratus. I would personally like to get a look at all 3, because given their minor league numbers, I feel they all could be cheap bullpen options for years to come. If he does not make the squad, he will start the year in AAA, perhaps as the closer. If you were to make a ranking of prospects likely
Grades (Out of 10)
Upside – 3
Probably not a closer. Best case scenario would be a 8th inning type, but most likely will be a solid reliever in a Chad Durbin / Jose Contreras type role.
Production – 7
You aren’t going to find a much better K/9 rate in the minors than Schwimer. His ERA in AAA was sparkling. But as a relief pitcher I can’t give him that high a grade here.
Proximity to Majors – 9
Could see him sometime in 2011.
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