Don’t Phil your glass with too much Coke, yet

Time to scratch the surface a bit

Phil Coke was a September Call-up for the New York Yankees. He seemingly shot out of a cannon, only to land in the Bronx carrying unstoppable momentum. In 15 innings, Phil coke allowed only 8 hits and 2 walks, good for a 0.68 WHIP. He allowed 1 run, struck out 10 and didn’t give up any long balls. His ERA was 0.61.

He is left-handed, with power, strike out ability and seemingly great control. We all know how rare these attributes are for left-handed pitchers. As of right now, his value is very high and he could fetch a pretty penny in the trade market. I am excited about Phil Coke, but I’m not yet ready to fall in love with him. People are comparing what he did to what Joba did last season, and rightfully so. Their numbers are almost identical. The difference here though, is that Joba is younger, shot up from A ball and did it during a pressure packed, October-bound September with much more hype.

Phil Coke’s been toiling in the minor leagues since the year 2003. For most of his minor league career, he was a starter. His numbers as a minor league pitcher, while impressive, do not blow you away:

Record: 31-29

Innings pitched: 496

Hits allowed: 489

Strike outs: 413

Base on Balls: 163

WHIP: 1.31

ERA: 3.53

K9: 7.49

These numbers are all levels of the minor leagues, from Rookie ball to AAA. He has never started a game past the Double A level, and has had only limited time at AAA, with not too much success. At the AAA level in 2008, he had a 4.67 ERA and a 1.38WHIP while pitching in relief.

In conclusion, I say this: He did blow MLB hitters away in September of 08, but we cannot disregard what he did in the 496 innings prior to that. He might be a late bloomer, or he could possibly be one of those guys who elevate his game every time he’s challenged–I hope to God he is, and has a successful career with the New York Yankees. But to be perfectly blunt, this could also be a fluke.

Don’t fall in love with Phil Coke just yet, Yankee fans.


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Filed under analysis, bullpen, left handed, New York Yankees, Phil Coke, Pitching, prospects, relief pitchers

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