As the post-season nears ever closer, with each game offering a candid glimpse of the future, teams are more truthful. Playoff rosters are considered almost hourly as managers are preparing themselves for the complex realities of October baseball.
Many clubs are staging prospects in greater numbers as a simulation for the type of competition they will hopefully contend with in the majors. With this degree of honesty from a baseball franchise, A few observations have come to mind:
Vance Worley has been really impressive.
He is 11-3 going into the playoffs and has been a critical component of the Phillies’ rotation this season. In the month of July he was malicious.
Worley racked up 4 wins with an ERA of 2.04 and a 1.19 WHIP. All while holding opposing batters to a scant average of .165. Not bad for his first season as a starter, and only being two days shy of his 24th birthday.
Unfortunately for the rest of baseball, Phils’ GM David Montgomery can sleep easily for the next several years knowing that the future of his franchise will be safe in the hands of Worley and a few others, to some of whom you may have already been introduced.
Rightfielder Domonic Brown has 45 hits in 55 games this year with 5 of those hits ending up in the outfield bleachers. He’s going to be a fun player to watch and seems to possess the requisite skills to be a 5-tool guy for Philadelphia.
It’s tough not to gawk at Tampa Bay’s minor league muscle.
It started by unleashing Jeremy Hellickson, who has acquired an adult record of 13-10 for the Rays this season. In 9 of those losses, the Rays mustered one run or fewer while he was on the mound. Look for Hellickson to make a considerable run for AL Rookie of the Year. But Rays GM Andrew Friedmann didn’t stop there, on July 23rd Outfielder Desmond Jennings got the call to guard some real estate at Tropicana Field, and with his speed it’s no wonder why.
Since the last week of July, Jennings has managed to successfully snare 18 bags. His incendiary speed, in tandem with an .OPB of .376 can assure Rays fans that Jennings will eventually quell the overwhelming nostalgia for Carl Crawford.
And just when you thought the dust was beginning to settle, the Rays brought up LHP Matt Moore for his first start in one of the more interesting nights across the American League. Moore’s start was shadowed by Detroit’s work order for 20 year-old Jacob Turner.
Moore had a sensational MLB debut against the Yankees in which he struck out 11 in five scoreless innings.
That’s right, 11 K’s.
Granted New York’s preferred lineup wasn’t available, there are more difficult opponents to face on your first day at the new job. The lad only faced 20 batters, 4 of whom were able to salvage a safe hit off of the otherworldly starter.
Contrarily, there was Jacob Turner’s start for the Tigers.
The 20 year old allowed 5 runs in three innings of work against a foolishly underrated Orioles team. The real pain set in when Turner coughed up two home runs to left field courtesy of JJ Hardy and Adam Jones.
Turner is one of Detroit’s most highly touted prospects, and considering his age, Tigers fans can feel free to dismiss the blunder as nothing more than a little rust. Turner hadn’t pitched in three weeks before he was given the nod for Thursday night’s start at Comerica Park. With a little more maturation and command, Detroit will see Turner dicing through batting orders with a frustrating cutter and malevolent curveball.
What all of this adds up to has yet to be determined as there is an entire offseason looming around the corner. But what the last two weeks of the season do unveil is a rare look into the more truthful realities of a team’s makeup. And that can be a note worth savoring as the most rewarding part of the baseball season is finally upon us.