Philadelphia Phillies prospect Kyle Drabek has been in this blog a lot as of late. Widely known as one of the best prospects within the organization, Drabek’s name has been brought up for a variety of reasons. When Antonio Bastardo went down, fans wanted to see the 21-year old flame thrower up in the big leagues. When Toronto Blue Jays GM J.P Richardi decided to put pitcher Roy Halladay on the trading block, Drabek was mentioned as one of the centerpieces of the a potential proposed trade. With all the notoriety surrounding the 21-year old kid flamethrower, it was no surprise seeing Drabek in the Futures Game when it took place Sunday night in St. Louis as a part of the 2009 All-Star festivities.
For baseball fans who have never heard of the Futures Game, you’re missing out. It’s no ordinary all-star game. It’s the best prospects from all around minor-league baseball meet to play in a game on the eve of the MLB All-Star festivities, truly the most accurate look into what baseball will be like 20 years into the “future”. If you don’t believe that, here are some of the recent MVP’s of the game. Alfonso Soriano, Jose Reyes, Grady Sizemore, Aaron Hill, all guys who have been in the MLB All-Star Game in the past two years and were featured in the Futures Game. It’s a pretty big deal if you haven’t noticed after reading this last paragraph.
So for Drabek, the Phillies 1st round draft pick in 2006, to be able to go to St. Louis and play in this game with the best prospects in baseball, is a huge step forward in his career. This is a kid who was destined for greatness when he came out of the womb. That’s what happens when you have a Cy Young Award winning pitcher, Doug Drabek, as your father.
Needless to say, that’s a lot to live up to, and Drabek must have felt pressure doing so. A bad temper, a few minor bouts with the law, and general immaturity issues led to Drabek falling to the Phillies in the middle of the first round. It’s was too tough to pass up, the pedigree, the genes, the 97 mph fastball and knee-buckling curveball, all of it. The Phillies selected him 18th overall in the 2006 draft.
Three years later, after shedding the spoiled rich kid mentality, Tommy John Surgery, and a humbling 2008 season in the minors, Drabek finally looks like the kid who was regarding as the top high school prospect in the country in 2006. After being promoted from Single-A Williamsport to Double-A Reading in June, Drabek’s domination (9-1 overall record, 110 K’s) earned him a bid to the Futures Game. Finally, he was going to be able to showcase ability on a national level, as fellow Phillies prospects Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, and Jason Donald have been able to do in years past.
As he has done all year, Drabek continued to impress. On Sunday though, it all came together. As the second pitcher for the U.S team, he pitched a 1-2-3 second inning. Baseball fans from around the world were now able to see that his once-cocky attitude has now turned into a quiet confidence, a symbol of the maturation process he has gone through over the past three years.
Talent has never been an issue for Kyle Drabek. However, now that he has learned to become a good professional athlete and a better man, his “future” is brighter than ever. The only question now is whether that “future” will be with the Phillies or some other team.
Read more about Kyle Drabek’s standout performance at the 2009 Futures Game here.