Scouting Patrick Overholt

Photo: Lehigh Valley IronPigs

Patrick Overholt hopes to be fighting for a spot in the Phillies bullpen next spring, if all goes as planned. He's been at Triple-A long enough to pitch in eight games, so we thought we would scout his outing against Scranton in Sunday's game.

Like many young pitchers, control and consistency have been issues for Patrick Overholt. His walks per nine innings numbers have slowly crept from 4.3 two seasons ago to 6.2 this season between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Despite his penchant for issuing walks, Overholt has found some success this season after struggling last season at Reading. One reason for his struggles could be the fact that the Phillies were slow to decide on what role they wanted Overholt to fill - starter or reliever - and kept bouncing him back-and-forth between the two roles. Now that he's locked into a bullpen role, things have started to come around for the 25 year old right-hander and will only get better if he harnesses his control.

Overholt continues to work on his pitches, with the fastball pretty well locked in and the slider being a close second. His lack of a consistent change-up could hurt him, but since his fastball velocity is generally in the mid-to-upper 80s, he would really have to come up with a supreme change to keep hitters off pace.

On the night that we scouted Overholt - August ninth against Scranton Wilkes-Barre - he was generally around 86 or 87 miles per hour and was called on to pitch two innings, as he often does.

Overholt walked the first hitter that he saw, but then notched his ninth double-play groundball of the season - in 54 total innings - to erase the runner. From there, he struck out Reegie Corona to end his first inning of work with no damage.

In his next inning, Overholt started by getting the number three and four hitters in the lineup to ground out and looked like he would be able to cruise to an easy inning. From there though, things got tough. Overholt got a fastball out over the plate to Juan Miranda, who doubled high off the right field fence and rather than a quick rebound, Overholt walked the next hitter to put himself into a jam. He did find a rebound when Colin Curtis grounded out to short to end the inning and allow Overholt to emerge with a zero in the runs column.

In a lot of ways, it was a typical outing for Overholt, who tends to get himself in trouble with some mistakes, only to work his way out of them; usually.

A quick look at Overholt's stats doesn't tell the whole story. His combined ERA of 3.83 in stops at Reading and Lehigh Valley is certainly tolerable, but when you look at his walks and the fact that he gives up almost two home runs per nine innings pitched, which is a no-no if he wants to pitch at Citizens Bank Park.

Basically, the tools are there, but Overholt is going to have to cut down on the walks if he's going to have success and keeping the ball down in the zone will help him in that area. Too many times, he misses high in the zone and gets hurt.

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