Acquired this off-season from Cincinnati, righty hurler Ben Lively would quickly land among the ranks of top Phillies prospect. He’ll enter this coming season looking to prove why.
Originally selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, the Florida native would begin his pro career as a member of the rookie level Billings Mustangs. In 12 starts, Lively would tally a 0-3 record with a 0.73 ERA and an 11.92 K/9 mark. He was promoted to Class A Dayton to close out the season with a single start, allowing one earned run in four innings of work while striking out seven and walking one.
This was fresh off his junior season at the University of Central Florida where, in 15 games, he went 7-5 with a 2.04 ERA and an 8.57 K/9 mark as the team’s ace.
Lively would follow up his exceptional year by becoming the Reds’ minor league player of the year in 2014. Opening the season with Class A Advanced Bakersfield, Lively posted a 10-1 record with a 2.28 ERA, a .201 batting average against and a 10.82 K/9 mark in 13 starts. A stretch of 31 consecutive scoreless innings as a member of the Blaze got Lively some considerable attention and he was selected as a California League All-Star.
In mid-June, he was promoted to his hometown Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. There, he would sport a 3-6 record with a 3.88 ERA, a .232 batting average against and a 9.5 K/9 mark.
The six-foot-four 190-pounder features a repertoire that includes a low-to-mid-90’s fastball, a slider, a change up and a curve ball. All of his offerings come with a deceptive delivery that helps Lively gain an advantage on the opposition.
Projections would have Lively, who will turn 23 years old in early March, as a big league starter. His progress will determine where he might land among a team’s five starters.
Out of high school, where he was also a varsity athlete in football and basketball, Lively was drafted in the 24th round by Cleveland, but chose not to sign.
Lively, who was dealt by the Reds for veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd, is primed to open the 2015 as a member of a stacked Double-A Reading starting rotation.
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