Apologize for slacking here on High Cheese today. Things are winding down here in Clearwater and there are a bunch of loose ends to tie up. Figured I'd fill ya'll (that's what they say down here in Florida) in on one of the more intriguing performances of the spring. Andrew Carpenter, a 22-year-old prospect who went 17-6 at high-A Clearwater last season, pitched four scoreless innings against a Yankees lineup stocked with regulars. He struck out six, and was uber impressive in working his way out of a self-made jam in the ninth inning, loading the bases with no out yet escaping without allowing a run.
Carpenter opened up a lot of eyes today. He isn't regarded as one of the organization's top prospects, at least not by Baseball America. He wasn't invited to big league spring training. But pitching coach Rich Dubee and manager Charlie Manuel loooooved what they saw today out of the kid. He doesn't have the fastest fastball, but he's got five pitches, including a trickly little split fingered fastball that he uses as his out pitch.
Manuel's an old school guy, and he pretty much said, "I don't care who you are or what level you are at, if you got 17-6, you are doing something right." So they've heard about this kid. But today was the first time either Dubee or Manuel saw him in person. Afterward, I asked Dubee if Carpenter could help the team this season, possibly in the bullpen.
"He's not far down the road," Dubee said.
Carpenter's a starter, and afterward said he hopes to become "the next Kyle Kendrick." In other words, a guy that wasn't even invited to spring training but still helped the team. He could do that in the rotation. Or he could do that in the bullpen, a la Joba Chamberlain and Jonathan Papelbon back when they arrived on the scene.
It was only one appearance, but Carpenter showed the coaching staff a ton. If he plays as well in the first half of the minor league season as he did last year, I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a shot in the second half if the Phillies are pressed for arms.