Savery Picks Up A Bat

Rick Ankiel resurrected his career when he stepped off the mound and grabbed a bat.

Joe Savery could do the same.

Phillies assistant general manager Chuck LaMar said yesterday that Savery will see some time this season as a hitter with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He also said the Phillies are considering bringing him to the instructional league to hit.

Savery, the team’s first-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, is 1-10 with a 5.09 ERA in 24 games (16 starts) with the IronPigs. He moved to the bullpen earlier this season, but returned to the rotation because of various injuries and roster moves.

Savery played college baseball at Rice, where he hit .360 with 18 doubles, four home runs and 54 RBIs in 64 games as a senior. He has hit .273 (6-for-22) with one double, one home run and two RBIs this season in limited at-bats with Lehigh Valley.

“We still think of him — and I still think he thinks of himself — as a potential Major League starter,” LaMar said. “He has struggled as a pitcher and he has shown some promise as a hitter. We knew he had the ability at home plate, but we wanted to let him pitch and let him get to the Triple-A level and see where pitching takes him. So we’ll give him the opportunity to hit in a couple games this year, and hopefully, we’ll bring him to instructional league and let him continue to swing a bat.”

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8 Comments

W-T-F I can understand a first round pick assuming a diminished role such as a reliever but going from pitcher to position player? A really, really bad pick.

Do moves like this usually happen when the team gives up on you being a pitcher?

I’ve heard more frequent stories of moving from catcher to pitcher, but not often from starter to reliever to position player.

From LaMar’s quote it seems he might still be a good(?) starter, but want to be safe and try to have him develop as a hitter in case he continues to struggle or has hit his peak?

Aren’t they giving up too early? Savery was 16-6 with 2 complete games in 150 innings last year. Say it ain’t so, Joe.

I guess we have to rely on the same screw ups to decide that Savory’s performance last year was an outlier as we do now to decide he should look into being a position player. Are these the same scew ups who picked him in the first round to begin with? If so many position players who were mediocre in the minors excel when they get to the majors, why not try the same thing with a pitcher? Cut against the grain, give him a shot. Bring him up in September.

It was a bad pick when it happened, and an even worse one now. Until Montgomery and company stop kowtowing to the commissioner’s office in regards to the draft, we are going to continue to see picks like this flame out. Next up on the flame out list will be Anthony Hewitt.

Savery’s decision is made worse by the fact that Porcello was on the board, as was Matt Harvey. While both wanted large bonuses, those bonuses were commensurate with their individual talents. Consider that Porcello would have been drafted this year out of UNC and consider that he already has a season and a half of MLB service.

It is consistently mediocre signings of mid range veterans rather than investing in legit young talent that has thinned us out in recent years.

When the Phils originally drafted Joe Savery, I wondered which way they would develop him, since he was a star position player as well as pitcher. They chose to develop him as a starter, which was their prerogative.
But suddenly this year they started viewing him as a relief pitcher, and NOW they want to make him an everyday player? I don’t think the Phils would change him to an everyday player on a whim, or just because of his performance this year. There must be something else going on. Maybe Savery himself is the one who asked for the change. Maybe he’d rather hit evry game than pitch every fifth day.
I think he can be a great hitter someday. We’ll have to see what Baseball America thinks of him as a prospect now…

I guess the question becomes would the Phillies have drafted him in the first round as a position player?

pherris, maybe not in the first round. But the fact is that the kid can pitch and hit at a high level, which indicates that he is, simply put, “a baseball player.” And scouts are always high on draft candidates that can be labeled as such.

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