Friday, January 22, 2010

Pitching Prosect #7: B.J. Rosenberg

B.J. Rosenberg is my next rated pitching prospect and he lands at the #7 spot. This is much higher than most people rate Rosenberg due to his lack of pre-draft hype and the fact that he is a relief pitcher. Relief pitching prospects typically hold less organizational value compared to starting pitching prospects. This is another reason why the Phillies recently converted Phillipe Aumont to a starter.

Rosenberg was drafted in the 13th round in 2008, out of the University of Louisville. There, Rosenberg was a starter until he had a shoulder injury which forced him to miss the entire 2007 season. When Rosenberg came back from injury, the Louisville Cardinals converted him to a reliever where he really seemed more comfortable.

Rosenberg has really forced his way into the prospect rankings due to his success at the minor league level. At the time of the draft, he was not highly touted in any way and wasn't really expected to make the major league roster anytime soon. Rosenberg has completely dominated in his 2 years as a minor league relief pitcher, and that cannot be ignored. In 2008, Rosenberg pitched at Williamsport and completely embarrassed the New York Penn League hitters. In 36 innings, he went 3-1 with 10 saves and posted a 1.00 era, Rosenberg struck out 52 batters compared to only 15 walks. In 2009, Rosenberg continued his dominance as he started the year in Lakewood and finished up in Reading. Rosenberg pitched a total of 61 innings between the two leagues and finished with a 7-3 record and 22 saves. He posted a 1.18 era while striking out 73 batters compared to only 14 walks.

Rosenberg will probably start the 2010 season at Reading, as he didn't pitch too much at that level. Assuming Rosenberg continues his success, he will probably see Lehigh Valley pretty quickly in 2010. The Phillies think enough of Rosenberg that he will be invited to spring training this year, so it will be nice to see what he can do against actual major league hitters. He hosts a 92-95 mph fastball and a good slider, he also has a changeup but doesn't use it too often. The most impressive thing about B.J. is his ability to command his pitches as he can throw them at anytime. He is 23 years old and due to the combination of his pitching ability and maturity, he probably has the ability to get major league hitters out right now. He also may get the chance to prove that in 2010 as Contreras is 38 years old, Baez and Durbin have both been injured in the past 2 years, and both Romero and Lidge will start the season on the DL. If the Phillies bullpen does need to bring somebody up, Rosenberg will probably get a look right after Mathieson.

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