The 2011 Phillies Nation Player Reviews continue today, with Michael Schwimer…
Full disclosure: I am a huge pro wrestling fan. As a kid, I loved watching guys like The Texas Tornado and the British Bulldog, I couldn’t choose between the Hart Foundation and Demolition, and Miss Elizabeth was the most beautiful woman on the planet. I rarely watch it now, but sometimes when I’m clicking through the channels, I stop and watch for a few minutes.
Growing up, the abuses of steroids in both baseball and the predetermined world of wrestling created some larger than life heroes. Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were just as big and strong as the Warlord and the Barbarian and Nails could have given pro-wrestling convict Nailz a brawl the likes of which nobody has seen. There are few larger-than-life ball players, as most these days would be mistaken for fitness enthusiasts instead of pro athletes. But there are a few guys that stand out; one of those guys is Phillies’ reliever of the future, Michael Schwimer.
Schwimer is an impressive 6’8 with sideburns, long curly hair, and stubble. He takes the mound like Bret Hart takes to the ring, with a long confident walk and a look like he’s going to get the job done. Before being called up to the Phillies roster, Schwimer, memorably, cut a Bret Hart-style promo on the front office, questioning why he was being overlooked for a call-up while those who were were less than impressive.
He cleared the air shortly thereafter, and about a month later, Scwhimer was called up to the big club. I was able to travel to the game in DC and was hoping to see Doc work his magic. Instead, fog and a flash-flood forced Doc out after the 5th and when the game resumed in the 6th, Michael Schwimer made his big-league debut.
Through my scratched iPhone lens, I snapped what amounted to be a surveillance-level shot of his first pitch. I had put the phone down for his second. My heart sank; Danny Espinosa took him deep. Really deep, to straight away center. Just like a pro-wrestling storyline, Schwimer smiled, shook it off, and mounted his comeback. Schwim retired 9 out of the next 10, only surrendering another hit to Espinosa.
Schwimer finished the year with a 5.02 ERA, had a 16/7 K/BB ratio, and gave up about a hit per inning in 14.1 spread-out innings of Major League work and did not make the postseason roster. Mike had a downright outstanding age 25 season at Triple-A, posting 86 Ks in 68 innings with only 22 walks for a 1.85 ERA as one of the primary end-game options for the Pigs. Over his four year minor league career, Schwimer average 12 Ks/9 IP, averages just over a baserunner per inning, and keeps the ball in the yard with a low 90’s fastball and a mid 80’s slider in mostly closing situations.
Scwhimer will undoubtedly find himself competing for one of the open spots in the Phils’ ‘pen this spring as he literally has nothing else left to prove in the minors. Schwimer will need to improve pitching to lefties (.400 BAA in MLB) if he wants to stick on the 25-man roster.
Grade: 5.5/10. Scwhimer was not able to make an immediate impact but was able to shutdown righties in his late-season call up (.172 BAA ). Walks were an issue to lefties as Schwimer sometimes looked timid to put the ball in the strike zone. While Scwhimer may not be one of the most-prized Phillies prospects, this grade definitely has the potential of improving the most out of any of the 2011 Phils with some experience. If it doesn’t work out, which I hope it does, he may have a real shot in pro-wrestling. Much like throwing to lefties, he’ll have to work on erasing his timidness in interviews to really become a star.