Philadelphia Phillies’ Ken Giles was called up in June and has made an immediate impact. Starting the year in Double-A, the 23-year-old relief pitcher has now won the setup role. Although Jonathan Papelbon is handcuffing Giles from obtaining the closer role, Giles will soon be the future closer in Philadelphia.
Ken Giles isn’t nearly as high a prospect as Maikel Franco or Jesse Biddle, however, his pitches seem to confuse hitters at the plate. His fastball, topping at 100 MPB, moved him quickly through the minors. Since being drafted in the seventh round in 2011, he failed to consistently throw strikes, walking one batter every two innings. Since his June call up to the MLB, though, he has reduced that number in half, nearly one every four innings.
Is Triple-A harder than the MLB?
The MLB is certainly tougher, yet his numbers have gotten better. He has been in control of both of his pitches and is now attacking hitters effectively. But when can we see him as the Phillies’ closer?
The closer role is typically given to the team’s best reliever. After surprising the Phillies with his excellent start in the MLB, it is reasonable to compare Papelbon to Giles at this point in the season. The factor that is holding back the Phillies from making this change is Papelbon’s contract. What team would put a rookie as their closer when you currently have a closer who has over 300 career saves? I don’t merely suggest that the Phillies should make this happen, but it is appropriate to bring up the fact that Papelbon certainly isn’t what he once was.