Arizona Fall League play ended Thursday, and Ken Giles threw 24 more pitches. One of them was clocked at 101 m.p.h. He allowed a hit but struck out the side to end his fall with a scoreless streak of 7 1/3 innings.
His final outing might have been his most impressive:
Giles' numbers, at first glance, do not look impressive. He was saddled with a 5.23 ERA in 10 games. But all six of his earned runs were permitted in one miserable outing Oct. 19 in which he faced seven batters and retired zero. Remove that game, and his AFL line looks like this:
10 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 16 K
This represented a step up in competition for Giles, who has pitched no higher than the Florida State League. He possesses the hardest fastball in the Phillies organization, and could quickly rise as a reliever. That, of course, will require improved command.
Giles is an outside candidate to be invited to spring training; the Phillies need not put him on the 40-man roster yet. He could come as a non-roster player. The Phillies, of course, practice conservatism in these situations. But this is an organization that needs homegrown help in the bullpen.
Cameron Rupp improved his stock even further with a solid AFL stint. He played 14 games (54 AB) and produced a slash line of .278/.339/.444. The backup catcher job will be a competition between Rupp and Erik Kratz during spring training. Both players have options remaining. Rupp, who began 2013 splitting time at double-A Reading, now projects as a capable major-league reserve.
Antonio Bastardo is back on a mound, as promised. He is pitching for Gigantes del Cibao in Dominican winter ball. He has struck out five and walked two in 2 2/3 scoreless innings so far. The Phillies will tender Bastardo a contract through arbitration. He made $1.4 million in 2013, although he forfeited approximately $460,000 of that because of a 50-game suspension for the Biogenesis scandal.
Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.