PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies' Minor League reliever Ken Giles is off to an impressive start with Double-A Reading, but the organization would like to see the hard-throwing right-hander improve his control of his secondary pitches before seriously considering him as a candidate to join the Major League bullpen, which entered Wednesday with a 5.53 ERA.
Giles is 5-for-5 in save chances with Reading, and he has struck out the side in four of those outings. In six appearances this season, he's allowed just one hit and fanned 16 against three walks over seven innings.
"He's off to a good start and he's recording the strikeouts," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said on Wednesday. "His control is good early on in the at-bats and he's able to expand with a couple of pitches that he has, which is primarily his fastball. Well aware of what he's doing and keeping tabs on that."
Giles has a plus fastball, but Sandberg said he "looked like he needed work with the control" of his offspeed pitches during Spring Training. Though Giles' numbers in Double-A are stellar, Sandberg cautioned that the quality of hitters at that level does not stack up to Triple-A and Major League hitters.
"If a guy doesn't throw strikes, the Major League hitters aren't going to swing until they throw strikes, and they will lay off certain pitches that the Minor Leaguers will swing at," Sandberg said. "There is something to that. So when you look at a guy doing well like Kenny Giles, the question is, 'What is the quality of the pitch? What is the location? Are they swinging at balls that are out of the zone for strikeouts, or are they quality pitches that are in the zone?'
"I haven't gotten word on the secondary pitches and what he's doing, but I'm seeing the numbers, and the quality of the fastball is better in the zone."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jalaymance. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.