A cool nickname indicates potential. And so, the reality and legend of Ken '100-mile' Giles continues to grow.
Yes, the Philadelphia Phillies' hard-throwing, 23-year-old, right-handed pitching prospect has buzz in abundance. But, will chatter translate into lasting major league career?
General Ruben Amaro, Jr. recently promoted the team's 2011 seventh-round draft pick from Reading to Lehigh Valley after more than month's worth of Double-A domination. If the Phillies' major league bullpen were deep, or even just good, it's likely that Giles would have remained with the Fightin Phils for awhile. Instead, he's been given an earlier opportunity to face more mature hitters as part of the Iron Pigs' staff.
As 6 feet 2 inches, 205 pounds, Giles has the physical makeup and more importantly, the proper throwing motion, to overpower opposing hitters. Clearly, his 128-plus innings, across four professional seasons, don't reveal a deep mound resume. Yet, exceptional results often inspires hope among minor league development staffs.
Fortunately, Jonathan Papelbon has been very steady as the Phillies' stopper this season. Mike Adams also seems to be healthy enough to likely handle his eighth inning responsibilities this year. As for the other relievers, only Mario Hollands' mostly-encouraging efforts have offered hope this spring.
Major league opportunity is all that any baseball man wants. As for Giles, he's struck out nearly 13 batters per nine innings through less than 100 games since first stepping on a minor league mound three years ago. If he continues to hit that double-digit strikeout mark, the New Mexico native will wear red pinstripes at some point this summer.
When Giles makes his debut, he'll need to demonstrate consistent pitching poise to complement his well-known arm. If (and it's a big if) all goes well over time, Papelbon's heir apparent will be groomed to assume that veteran's position. But, make no mistake, this kid has a real shot.