CLEARWATER, FL — Kenny Giles’ career is building more momentum than the 101-mph fastball that punctuated a memorable 2012 season.
His sights are set on a September call-up to Double-A, and after an impressive mid-season promotion to High-A Clearwater, the hard-working reliever likely won’t have to wait for the next blue moon to rise to put up triple-digits – if the radar-gun is ready for him this time.
More on that below.
At just 22 years old, he seems to have the mentality and work ethic of a major leaguer and shows great class in respecting his former Yavapai College coach, whose time and patience continues to influence his rapid ascent through the Phillies’ minor league system.
“I had to find a school where somebody would want me to work hard,” Giles said, from the Clearwater dugout. “Try to push me a little bit and teach me – that’s where Jerry Dawson came in.
“It’s just one of those relationships that I don’t want to lose, I can always come to him if I’m having trouble, I came to him a few times last season and during off-season I talk to him almost every day.”
After notching 67 strikeouts in 38 innings at Yavapai, Giles made the decision to turn pro where he put up 111 in 82 in 2012 between Lakewood and Clearwater.
Giles’ work ethic shows in his dramatic improvement in command it is hard to believe, after combining to finish 2012 with a 12.18 strikeouts per nine innings, that it was ever an issue.
“He threw probably 93-94mph,” said Dawson, over the phone, on Giles’ early time at Yavapai. “But he struggled to throw strikes, so we just simplified it as best we could and threw away the stuff he didn’t have to do for a while.
“We set some goals and it didn’t happen fast, but credit to him because he never stopped working at it because, talent aside, that’s the difference between the ones who are successful and the ones that aren’t.”
Now that there is marked improvement in his command, he can let his muscle memory take over and let his stuff speak for itself, because he certainly won’t boast about it himself.
“I didn’t really tell anyone, my family listens to all my games. My phone blew up, I had like 25 missed calls 50 text messages, just people going nuts about it,” said Giles on his memorable performance August 31st 2012 under the light of a blue moon in Dunedin.
“I don’t do twitter, as much as I see it, it I don’t want to deal with it, I’m not onto the social networks so I stay away from that. I want to keep a low profile, I don’t like attention or to brag.”