Baseball America is reporting that former Thunder starter Jay Stephens has signed a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Stephens was drafted in the sixth round by the Yankees in 2003, and was brought along pretty slowly considering the numbers he put up. Over the past two years, Stephens was treated as an organizational guy, shipped back and forth wherever he was needed.
The soft-spoken Ohio native made 13 appearances for the Thunder last season, including eight starts. He posted an ERA under three and struck out 21 batters while walking 14 in 45.1 innings of work. He also made his Triple-A debut last year, appearing in three games with Triple-A Scranton in early May.
I’d written many times last year that I think Stephens is a better pitcher than how he was ultimately handled by the organization. Do I think he’s a future big leaguer? Maybe yes, maybe no…but he deserved more than being on the organizational shuttle.
I’d imagine he’ll start next season at Double-A Reading, and hopefully he’ll get a real opportunity to progress through the Phillies system.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com