Missing a full season of minor league ball is never a good thing for a young prospect. Missing it because of Tommy John surgery is definitely a bad thing for a pitching prospect. Had Segovia pitched in 2004, the Phillies would have seven candidates for their starting rotation in camp instead of six. Instead, Segovia will likely start the year in Ottawa pitching at the Triple-A level and waiting his turn for a shot at the majors. You can never tell what's going to happen with a starting rotation and there is no denying that Segovia could be in the majors at some point during the 2007 season.
After successful stops at Clearwater and Reading last summer, Segovia has shown that there are no lingering effects of the surgery and that he's one-hundred percent healthy. He followed the typical path of TJS survivors, struggling in his first season back, but looking at least as good as new once the surgery's effects have passed. "I feel great," said Segovia last week. "I don't know if I'm a better pitcher because of the surgery, but I've gotten better just by learning how to pitch. And I do know that my arm feels a lot stronger."
Segovia made another key step in his development over the winter joining the long list of Phillies players who got married. He's enjoying his new life and is glad that he took the step. "My wife is great. She's not really a big baseball fan, but she's supportive of me and is always there for me. I can't say enough good things about her," gushed an obviously happy Segovia.
Zack Segovia's career stats
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Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the second round of the 2002 Draft out of Forney High School in Forney, Texas. Segovia had accepted a scholarship to attend the University of Miami, but decided to sign with the Phillies instead.
Repertoire: Segovia had a very good fastball and slider in high school. His fastball is generally in the low to mid-90s and his slider has gotten even better than it was and it generally sits in the low 80 mile per hour range. He gets late movement on his pitches and can be somewhat deceptive.
Pitching: One of the things that the Phillies absolutely love about Segovia is his character. He's a born leader and other players enjoy being around him and respect him. He's got good poise on the mound and is competitive, but not to the point where he gets out of his rhythm if things go wrong. Instead, he just bears down even harder to get the job done. You have to wonder if throwing 143 pitches in a high school game started to put the wear and tear on his elbow that eventually sent him into an operating room, but the good news is that the injury is behind him and he's pitching well again.
Projection: It figures that Segovia can be at least a middle-of-the-rotation starter at the major league level. He's likely going to be at Ottawa this season, although it might be tempting to keep him at Reading just to avoid some of the severe cold of April in Ottawa. Physically and developmentally, he's ready for Triple-A and will be there if not to start the year then soon after.
ETA: If things went horribly wrong for the Phillies and they needed Segovia to start the year in Philly would he be ready? "I would hope so. I would like to be pitching in the majors, but I know that they have a good staff there," said Segovia. Odds are that he could work his way through a start or two in the majors now, but a little work at Triple-A won't hurt him. If needed though, he would likely be one of the first to get the call to head for Philly. By September, he could be a reinforcement for the starting rotation and could add something to the staff. Certainly for next spring he should be fighting for a spot in the major league rotation and will definitely be ready to pitch at the major league level.You can hear an interview with Zack Segovia Saturday March 10th at 9:00 a.m. Eastern on 1230 and 1320 AM, WEEX and WTKZ in Easton, PA. He'll be interviewed on Philly Baseball News Radio.