As a blogger who likes to talk about Phillies’ prospects, the name Franklyn Kilome has been on my radar for some time now. But since my family and I stay generally stay local to Lehigh Valley and Reading, we’ve never had the chance to see him pitch. The closest we came was running into to him coming in for lunch at spring training in 2015. At that point I don’t even know how I knew the name. He had been working with the other short season guys across the street so we didn’t get to see him throw. And with so many others to follow at the Carpenter Complex we never ventured over to see him. Our patience was finally rewarded as we crossed paths with Kilome on Wednesday night, by accident! Combing over the schedule to see if we could squeeze a Fightins game in between my son’s Connie Mack practices, I noticed that Wednesday would have to be the day. Since its an hour trip for us it worked out well since I had off from work on Thursday too. And after checking the rotation and seeing Kilome’s name I knew it was meant to be. It was phinally going to happen!
While I knew the name, I’ve always tried to avoid reading too deep into the scouting reports before seeing Kilome. I knew he had a big fastball and a curveball but not much else going into Wednesday. The fastball was as advertised. He sat mostly 93-96, with a smattering of 97s and even a 98 (to start the 8th) and it comes with seemingly little effort. Kilome’s long levers generate a ton of velocity without having to strain, probably leaving a few more MPH on the table. He also didn’t lose much from the stretch as we still saw 94-96 there with a 97 or two. Control was very good and command seemed to be good enough. He did give up two massive home runs to some experienced hitters, both after falling behind, but I only remember one other really hard hit ball. While his fastball seems to lack much run, he did generate a decent about of pop ups and weak contact with it. I didn’t chart him pitch by pitch, but I’d guess he was around 60-65% FB on the night, with a higher percentage earlier in the game.
The curveball was his next best pitch, and more frequently used as the game went along. He seems to be able to throw it anywhere from 78-83, but those higher readings may have been his change or slider. To me, the 78-80MPH curve was much more effective. Later in the game he used it to get ahead of hitters and also as his put away pitch, recording all 4 of his strikeouts with it. Even at 78, it doesn’t look like the old Biddle loopy curve. It seems tighter and sharper than that and proved to be a weapon. Early in the game Kilome seemed to be more 81-83 with it and wasn’t nearly as effective but he didn’t leave them up in the zone at all. My one complaint (albeit a minor one) is that he does slow down his arm motion slightly but only an elite hitter will be able to differentiate that.
I know he throws a changeup but it wasn’t used much at all, and with good reason. It needs work. Kilome’s change looked to be in the mid 80s range but didn’t seem to move much. I would expect some arm side run or drop but didn’t see either, just velocity difference. At this level he’ll get away with it but major league hitters will feast on it. I’m guessing you’ll start to see more of it as he needs to develop another secondary or 2. I also think I saw some slider during the game but I never saw him signal it once during his warm ups. If the slider is there, it was in the same velocity range and operates almost like a power curve for Kilome. Again, it needs work. With a straight-ish, mid 90s fastball and a 12-6 curve, I’d almost like to see the slider become a 90MPH cutter. Something breaking glove side with a separation in velocity from the changeup. But take that with a grain of salt as I’m just an electrician not a pitching coach.
One thing that’s hard to argue with is the results. Kilome threw just under 100 pitches (67 strikes) and started the 8th inning. He only allowed seven baserunners (5 hits and 2 walks) while striking out 4. Probably the most impressive number as I looked back through the book was his nine ground ball outs. Overall, I’d say we picked a great night to see him. My takeaway is that Kilome’s fastball-curveball combo will serve him well. If he can develop something else average to go with it he has middle of the rotation stuff. But he needs the changeup to progress and to develop the slider into something usable. If not, he could easily become a leverage bullpen piece as I believe there’s still velocity in his fastball and that hammer can be that good. PS he just turned 22.
That’s all I have for now. The pigs are back in town next week so maybe its time for my JP Crawford thoughts! Take care.