Phillies 6-foot-6 righty Franklyn Kilome works from a high 3/4 slot and has the size, arm speed, pitches, and mentality that you want in a starting pitcher. He has shown a huge jump not only in velocity, but also with the consistency of his secondary pitches. His long, lanky frame still oozes projection and the growth he’s shown with his stuff in less than a year has been exciting to watch.
Last summer I had Kilome sitting mostly 89-92 while touching 93 mph on occasion, so seeing him routinely in the 93-95 range and touching 96-97 at times during extended spring training shows how quickly he is developing. The command is still not where it needs to be, but the growth he’s shown in one year is very positive. The fastball is heavy and has excellent sinking action, which is amplified with the good amount of downhill plane he gets by creating angles and letting his tall frame work for him.
Kilome’s fastball is much more effective when he’s pounding the lower part of the strike zone where he generates a ton of weak ground balls. When he’s not missing bats with it, the fastball eats up opposing barrels when working at the knees or below. Batters have a very tough time squaring it up and getting any lift. He looks comfortable working arm side or to his glove side down in the zone, but has trouble locating the same when working upstairs. He has shown the ability to get it in on the hands where he could jam hitters and break a few bats as well. Although Kilome loses about 1-2 mph from the stretch, he still throws strikes, but his command does tend to slip a bit with runners on-base.
While Kilome has shown solid strike-throwing ability, there is still work to be done with his overall fastball command. He’s still working to rein in and control the life he gets up in the zone. The big question with Kilome is just how much velocity he will be able to add. In less than a year, he’s already up a solid 4-5 mph with minimal body growth. He wont turn 20 years old for another ten days, so there is a very real chance for him to add another 2-3 mph before maturity, which means he could end up hitting 100 mph one day.
Last summer, Kilome threw a slurvy breaking ball, but now he’s throwing more of a traditional curve. With his arm slot and extremely long fingers, this pitch can fool you into thinking it’s a slider. It’s fooled me more than once — and the addition of a slider to his repertoire in the future would not shock me in the least — but for now it’s a curveball-only diet of breaking balls.
What used to be a slow-spinning, loopy offering with inconsistent shape has become a tight-spinning breaker with teeth that bite. He gets up to the plate in the 76-79 mph range and it’s become more than just a show-me offering. He will front-door it to right-handed batters and is gaining feel for back-dooring it to lefties in the same spot.
In the few extended spring outings I’ve seen this year, this pitch gets better every time out and you can see Kilome’s confidence in it and feel for it grow as well. He’s throwing it with conviction now and it’s got enough shape and velocity to miss bats. The ability to regularly throw it for strikes is still a work in progress, and will likely determine just how high this pitch will grade out in the future, but he has shown me enough to make be a believer that it will be a plus secondary offering.
As of now, the changeup is the least consistent pitch in Kilome’s arsenal. His arm speed slows just enough to notice and take away some deception. It does have some traits of being a potential average weapon, but he was over-throwing it quite a bit and wasn’t throwing it enough to get a really good feel for what it might look like down the road. Steadily hitting 86-88 mph, there is a chance for him to develop it into a true power changeup. At its best, it gets decent but not great depth and some lateral movement, but too often it’s over-thrown and goes straight into the dirt. Keeping it buried in the zone is a good thing for now, but he needs to show a more consistent overall feel for it and begin to show he can throw it for strikes on a regular basis.
Kilome has already take big strides with his fastball command and now showing growth with his command for his secondaries as well. His delivery is pretty low-effort and repeatable, so I fully expect him to continue to make strides across the board. He is a good athlete and as he continues to grow into his frame, there should be continued progress with his mechanics and coordination, allowing him to get the most out of all of his offerings. The biggest worry I had about him in the past was his arm-slot variations. He wasn’t consistent and it caused him to miss his spots and get on the side of breaking ball. Now that he’s solidified the high 3/4 slot, the control and command have really improved with all of his offerings.