Jake Diekman has been impressive this spring, despite not having pitched above AA.
The Phillies sent four more to the minor league camp today: Michael Schwimer, Philippe Aumont, Jeremy Horst, and David Purcey.
This could be an interesting development to the left-handed part of the Phillies bullpen. After Dontrelle Willis was released, the only lefthanders that remained were Antonio Bastardo (a lock for the roster), David Purcey, Jeremy Horst, Jake Diekman, and Joe Savery.
Now, both Savery and Diekman remain.
Savery is a great story. Once a first round pick of the Phillies, his velocity had flamed out so much the Phillies removed him from the roster and offered him a minor league opportunity last year to play first base and DH in the minors. He succeeded as a hitter, hitting .307 with 25 RBI in 54 games for Class A Clearwater.
But last season's 23-inning Threshers game presented an opportunity (or a severe need) for Savery to pitch. And then he got to pitch again.
Joe Savery's major league debut
Savery worked his way back up the organizational ladder to Lehigh Valley as a reliever, where he went 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 18 games before getting called up to the Phillies in September. In four big-league appearances, Savery was unscored upon.
Spring Training 2012, Savery has kept it up, going 1-0 with no runs allowed during his 5 1/3 innings of work.
At 6'4, lanky, and wearing number 63, Diekman is reminiscent of Ryan Madson from the other side. Diekman has also impressed, unscored upon in his four innings of work, holding batters to a .143 clip.
Working against Diekman is that he has not appeared above AA Reading. Last year in Reading Diekman was 0-1 and three saves and a 3.05 ERA in 53 appearances. While Savery may have the better shot as of right now, Diekman could be a factor this coming season if he can put up similar numbers at AAA Lehigh Valley.
The bullpen projects as follows:
Jose Contreras was rocked in his only Spring appearance and may be a ways away from the active roster. If he indeed starts the season on the disabled list, there would be room for either Savery or Diekman, especially since Antonio Bastardo would be the only left-handed reliever.
The Phillies did use six relievers at times during the season last year, but I would think that is highly unlikely at the beginning of the season when many pitchers are not as stretched out. As of right now, I would say the chances of Savery or Diekman making the Phillies roster look good.