Like Brett Myers and Randy Wolf, Duckworth is one of the prospects that have developed through the Phillies minor league system that is yielding more solid pitchers then ever before, with many more yet to come. Although the 27-year-old righty began his season on the 15 day disabled list, he may slowly be turning 2003 into a solid campaign. Even though his ERA is a lofty 5.47, Duckworth has come out of his first six starts with a 3-1 record.
Last season was one that would have any pitcher questioning himself, but not Duckworth. With himself and Terry Adams both struggling, and the emergence of Brett Myers into the starting rotation, Duckworth found himself bouncing back and forth between the bullpen and the starting five. It appears that after recovering from elbow tendinitis this spring, Duckworth has finally found a way to get his career back on track. Also, last season he became the 70th pitcher to record double-digit strikeouts in a game, fanning ten against the Florida Marlins in the home opener.
Despite last season’s success, many questions have been raised when it comes to Duckworth’s ability to take command of games early on, and keep the Phillies in a position to win during each of his outings. Also a glaring uncertainty is his ability to stay healthy. It seems that during the past two years Duckworth has struggled to stay on top of his game throughout an entire season, 2003 must be a proving ground if he hopes to live up to the expectations of those in the organization.
If Brandon Duckworth does not turn out to be fit for the organization, he is still young enough to yield some serious trade value. There have been talks in the past couple of months about a possible return of Curt Schilling, and if this deal is to materialize Duckworth may be one of the key components from the Phillies side. So whether it is in Philadelphia, or elsewhere, Brandon Duckworth’s career will be worth watching. Especially if he can become the pitcher that many in the Philadelphia organization hope he can.