Reading's Joe Savery is finally beginning to get the recognition he deserves. With so many talented pitchers in the Phillies organization, the 23-year-old lefty has been flying somewhat under the radar.
After dominating in the first half, Savery got the nod to start for the Southern Division in Wednesday's Eastern League All-Star Game.
"I'm most excited about throwing first because I'll get to be done and watch," Savery said. "It's nice to be recognized as a guy who could be the starter for this division. I'm honored to be here and I'm looking forward to it."
With an impressive 12-1 record, it seems Savery is facing more in-house competition than anything else. Kyle Drabek and Vance Worley, the Phillies' 2008 first- and third-round selections respectively, join Savery in Reading's rotation.
"We're at Double-A and we've got five prospects in the rotation, which is pretty much unheard of," he said. "And then you've got three or four more in Triple-A. So starting pitching is not a problem in our Minor League system."
But Savery has distinguished himself by posting one of the best ERAs (3.48) in the Phillies organization.
"When you get into this [level], you realize how hard it is to really get there [to the Majors]," he said. "There are so few jobs and, in our organization, there happen to be several big-time arms. One thing that I do have going for me is that I am left-handed and that will always play to my benefit, I think. But that stuff is out of my control and somewhere along the way you're going to have to catch a break. That's the bottom line."
After posting a 9-10 record with the Clearwater Threshers last season, Savery has already recorded more wins heading into the All-Star break than he did all last year.
"Wins are great, but developmentally they don't mean a whole lot," he said. "So in terms of me being in the big leagues, it may have some impact, but the bigger thing is throwing strikes and commanding new pitches. But it has become something I am aware of, and I'm definitely trying to go out there and give my team a chance to win."
This time last year, Savery was sporting a 4.28 ERA.
"Starting pitching is almost always about command and increasing command," he said. "I think I've got the pitches to get guys out, it's just a matter of continuing to refine those and being able to pitch in any count. I think that fight will never end. I'm still working on that and hope to get a pretty good hold on it by the end of the year."
A former Rice University standout, Savery was the Phillies' first-round pick in the 2007 Draft. He wasn't the only Owl selected that year, as shortstop Brian Friday was the Pirates' third-rounder.
"Tonight [I'm most looking forward to] turning around and being able to see Brian Friday -- who I played with for three years at school and who I live with in the offseason -- at shortstop," he said. "It's going to be pretty cool to see him there again."