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Prospect Rankings No. 16: Sergio Escalona

Phillies Padres BaseballSergio Escalona, LHP

Born: 8/3/1984 in El Tocuyo, Venezuela

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 178

This ranking might be a little high for a 25-year-old reliever, but there are reasons to think Escalona could be more helpful for the Phillies than any of the players below him in the near future. While the ceiling for a starter like Yohan Flande or an outfielder like Domingo Santana is certainly higher than Escalona’s, his ability to fit a key role makes him a valuable asset to the organization. His time in the big leagues earlier this season didn’t last terribly long, but in his brief showcase he displayed the skills necessary to be a situational lefthander out of the bullpen if nothing more. In an age of baseball when J.C. Romero commands $4 million a season, the left-handed reliever is a highly sought after, rarely found ingredient for a championship team.

Escalona was signed as an amateur free agent in 2004, so he has been around the system for a while now. He has developed a good fastball that shows deceptive speed. He is predominantly a fastball pitcher, but has a very good curveball to complement his heat as well as an average changeup that has room to become above-average. When he’s on his game, Escalona is an excellent groundball pitcher (better than 2-per-airout) who also happens to carry a career strikeout rate of 9.1 per 9 innings. Those two features combine to make him a great candidate to pitch in the majors as a situational lefty, finishing off an inning with runners on base when the team needs it most.

Another factor making Escalona an important prospect for the Phillies is his time in the majors this year. It wasn’t a lengthy stint, but he logged 6.1 innings and showed that he’s capable of pitching against major league hitters. Lefthanders were 1-for-7 against him (an admittedly small sample size) and batters were just 1-for-10 with runners on base. He had some difficulty immediately after his demotion back to triple-A and is currently throwing for the R-Phils, but it isn’t out of the question that Escalona is back up with the Phillies in September. By next season, when Scott Eyre is likely to leave as a free agent, Escalona could complement Romero as the second lefty in the bullpen, making him an important farmhand for Phillies fans to track.

Statistics – Escalona’s stat sheet runs long, but you can check out his numbers here.

RankingsAll previous prospect profiles can be found here, which is also on the left sidebar for easy viewing

16.  Sergio Escalona, LHP
17.  Yohan Flande, LHP
18.  Julian Sampson, RHP
19.  John Mayberry, Jr., OF
20.  Mike Cisco, RHP
21.  Freddy Galvis, SS
22.  Jonathan Pettibone, RHP
23.  Domingo Santana, OF
24.  Jonathan Singleton, 1B
25.  Drew Naylor, RHP

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