Here’s what ESPN.com’s Keith Law thinks of new Phillies pitcher Ben Lively, who was traded by the Reds for outfielder Marlon Byrd:
… Lively has had huge numbers in the minors so far, but he’s a deception guy, not a stuff guy, crushing the low minors because hitters at those levels can’t adjust to the difficulty they have seeing the ball out of his hands.
Lively will pitch in the low 90s with a slider at 83-84 and a short mid-70s curveball, keeping the ball behind his body well with a short arm stroke and coming at hitters from a higher arm slot than they’re used to seeing.
Major league hitters do make the adjustments high-A hitters don’t — that’s part of how they got to the majors, you know — I don’t see Lively as more than a back-end starter, given his arsenal and lack of projection.
But the Phillies’ system is very light on guys even at Lively’s level, back-end starters or quality swingman/reliever types who are major-league-ready or less than a year out. The Phillies could start him in Triple-A if they want to be aggressive — it’s not as if we’re waiting for Lively’s stuff to improve — and see whether he can help their rotation in the second half of 2015.