Shane Watson was originally drafted as a starting pitcher with the 40th overall pick in the 2012 Amateur Draft. Watson started out the season in the rotation for the Reading Fighting Phils and through 10 starts, he went 2-4 with a 5.52 ERA.
After struggling in the rotation, Watson was moved to the bullpen on June 11 where he has found success. Since the move, Watson has had a 2.70 ERA over 20 innings of work. He’s struck out 13 compared to only allowing 3 walks. At one point, Watson had a 13.2IP scoreless streak.
Watson stated that his success has hinged on his aggressive approach on the mound.
“Home run, double, triple, single, walk. No matter the outcome as long as in my mind I know I’m aggressive, then that’s all I care about.”, said Watson.
A tenacious new mindset may be what has flicked the switched in the mind of the former first rounder, after an up-and-down career has seen him battle on-the-field setbacks, as well as overcoming two surgeries and Type-1 Diabetes. Watson would miss the entire 2014 season due to rehabbing an injury, but the resurgence has officially started.
“I think that’s the main thing, aggressiveness.”, continued Watson.
Watson stated that there weren’t any pressures on being a 1st round pick. While it’s the goal of every prospect to reach the bigs as soon as possible, that vision has evolved slightly for the 23-year old pitcher.
“Big leagues is on my mind now, not getting there, but getting there and staying there”, said Watson. “Whatever that takes, however long it takes, just as long as I can stay there as long as I can”.
That goal may be more attainable than it ever has been for Watson. The Phillies have some well documented pitching questions and have struggled to find any kind of consistency this season. After most recently trading Pat Neshek, it might be that if Watson continues to shine, he can force his way into the equation.
As for the rest of the Fighting’s, the team has been struggling of last. They’ve dropped their last 4 games and have fallen to 3rd in their division. Watson remains optimistic that the team can turn things around.
“I say we move ourselves back into second place and get a playoff spot,” said the Lakewood native. If Watson can continue his resurgence, we may be seeing him in the bigs sooner rather than later.
Mike Janes/Four Seam Images via AP)