When he was pitching at Oklahoma
, Will Savage
never thought he was so close to being in a minor league pennant race. Before long though, he was pitching at Lakewood and found himself on a team that won the South Atlantic League Championship. "I could have never envisioned being in that position," said Savage. "To be in my first season in the minors and move into that situation was great."
Savage came to know quickly that hitters in the pros are much more dangerous, especially after he moved up to Lakewood. "The hitters were a lot better and you can't make mistakes as you move up. That's probably the biggest thing that I learned," confessed Savage. He's going to have to remember that lesson, since he'll be moving along again in 2007.
Will Savage's career stats
Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 26th round of the 2006 Draft out of the University of Oklahoma.
Repertoire: Savage has a strong two-seam fastball that he generally throws between 90 and 92 miles per hour. He mixes it well with a change-up, giving him a great velocity change to keep hitters off balance with. After getting a psychological lift from pitching in a pennant race, Savage was pumping his fasstball closer to the mid-90s. "I sort of hit a wall mentally and physically in August, but that sort of excitement [pitching in a pennant race] gave me my fourth or fifth wind," said Savage.
Pitching: Savage knows how to keep the ball down and in 40.1 pro innings, he didn't allow a homerun, which is a little unusual for young pitchers who move as quickly as Savage. He also showed excellent control, walking just six hitters.
Projection: The Phillies have told Savage that a spot on the Clearwater roster is his to lose and he doesn't plan on doing that. He's been working hard this off-season and is ready mentally for a step up in the minors. Savage isn't just looking toward Clearwater though, he's looking beyond. "The ultimate would be to reach Double-A. I get better every day and learn more every day, so who knows?"
Comparison: Savage has the same kind of control and poise that scouts love in Scott Mathieson. Many scouts have thought that Mathieson's future is in being a reliever and Savage is already earning his pay in the minor league bullpen.
The 22 year old right-hander made his professional debut last summer and worked his way up to Lakewood where he found himself in the middle of a pennant race. Who knows just how high Savage can climb in 2007?
Savage sent a message in his first pro season.