- Full name Antonio Francisco Bastardo
- Born 09/21/1985 in Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 202 / Bats: R / Throws: L
- School Liceo Sol Ana Nolan
- Debut 06/02/2009
Organization Prospect Rankings
Bastardo moved quickly through the system and made his big league debut in 2009, just four years after signing out of the Dominican Republic. He ascended through the system as a starter but now profiles as a reliever, mostly because he has struggled to stay healthy. He battled shoulder injuries in 2008 and '09 and missed time last year with an elbow strain. He still showed enough for the Phillies to include him on their postseason roster in each of the last two years. Bastardo's fastball ticks up a notch out of the bullpen, sitting at 92-95 mph. He has worked on improving his 82-84 mph slider, which lacks consistency but has decent tilt. He also throws a solidaverage changeup in the mid-80s, though he doesn't use it as much in relief. Bastardo struggles with command at times, which may limit him to a left-on-left specialist role. With the expected departure of free agent J.C. Romero and several other key relievers, Bastardo figures to have a bullpen job in Philadelphia in 2011.
Bastardo earned a victory in his big league debut in June, shoving 92-95 mph fastballs past the Padres. A left shoulder strain cut his first big league stint short, but Bastardo returned to the majors in October and earned a spot on the Division Series roster. Bastardo has grown into a power repertoire. His fastball regularly sits at 91-93 mph, and he throws it for consistent quality strikes when he's going well. His changeup remains an average-to-plus pitch. His slider has its moments, as when he struck out Jason Giambi in the Division Series. Though it has its moments, Bastardo's slider usually is a below-average pitch and needs to be more consistent for him to remain a starter or succeed as a left-on-left reliever. Shoulder woes have interrupted each of his last two seasons, casting doubt on his durability. While he could be a fourth starter, Bastardo has a better chance to fill the Phils' immediate need for a lefty reliever if he shows an improved slider in spring training.
Bastardo hadn't pitched full-season ball until 2007, then nearly reached the majors in 2008. When he got off to a fast start and big leaguers Adam Eaton and Kyle Kendrick struggled into early June, Bastardo had a start cut short and his next start moved up, putting him on the same throwing schedule as Eaton. Primed for a possible promotion, Bastardo instead came down with a tired shoulder and was never the same after coming back about two months later. In fact, he didn't get a win after May 18 until pitching over the winter in the Dominican League. Bastardo has made such rapid progress due to the deception and command he had of his average repertoire. His fastball sits at 87-91 mph and tops out at 93. It gets on top of hitters quickly and has some cut action. He pitches inside, but he's not overly physical or a power pitcher. His changeup is his best pitch but was less consistent than in 2007, while his short slider improved slightly. It still rates as below-average. Bastardo is a flyball pitcher, usually a poor mix for Citizens Bank Park. Yet changeup lefties Cole Hamels and Jamie Moyer thrive for the Phils, and J.A. Happ, far from overpowering, has had some success. Bastardo might have a bit more upside than Happ but isn't as durable, healthy or polished. After making up for some lost time in the Dominican, he's ticketed for his first trip to Triple-A in 2009.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2005, Bastardo was slowed by shoulder tendinitis in his 2005 pro debut and by a pulled groin in 2006. Though he had pitched just 23 innings in the United States, the Phillies jumped him to low Class A in June, in part because he was 21. Despite his lack of experience, Bastardo put up the most spectacular numbers in the system last season. He went 10-0, 2.14 with 110 strikeouts in 97 innings while flashing promising stuff. His best pitch is a changeup with good action and depth, and he sets it up with an 87-91 mph fastball. His breaking ball is a slurvy mid-80s pitch, and he struggles to command it effectively at times. He's small and wiry, which combined with his injury history leads to questions about his durability. He ultimately may become more of a middle reliever than a back-of-the-rotation starter. He should remain a starter in the high Class A this year.