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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/12/2021 : Pushing the Needle - The Big Arms - Part Three

Third in a series on “Big Arms” in the Phillies system.

If ya missed part one here are the links to the first two parts ...

Part Three is a look at eleven of the returning high velocity fellas within the system that are likely to perform this season at the “A” level of play. I can chat about just about everyone in the system 🥴.

Part Four will be on the high velocity hurlers who were signed via the draft or free agency during 2020.


Tyler McKay. - RHP selected in the 16th round of the 2018 draft out of Howard JC ... 23 years old

Tyler pitched at Lakewood in 2019 as part of the piggyback tandem appearing in 18 games ( 12 starts ) posting a 5.05 ERA in 66 IP ( 57 K’s - 24 BB ). Attended 2020 Fall Instructs.

He’s got a classic modern day pitcher’s frame at 6’5” 180 and has a three pitch mix ( FB, Slider and Changeup ) that should allow him to continue on the development path as a starter albeit the secondary offerings are the bigger development needs at this point. In game action the FB has clocked in the 90-93 range but we’ve seen him in bullpen sessions show mid 90’s. The young man has a live arm and good movement, if eventually converted to a reliever the capacity to be consistently mid 90’s I believe is there ... needs to harness control and command but has potential to excel. Likely starts at High A this season, a nice young man.

Dominic Pipkin - RHP selected in the 9th round of the 2018 draft out of Pinole Valley High School in California ... 21 years old

Dominic pitched at Lakewood in 2019 as a 19 year old in the piggyback tandem appearing in 24 games ( 12 starts ) accumulating 71 2/3 IP and posting a 5.15 ERA ... he struck out 44 batters while walking 45. Attended 2020 Fall Instructs.

The young fella has a very live arm with easy delivery that flashes 95-96 ... generally sits in the 93-94 range. He also has a sharp biting slider and a change up. Dominic had a good 2020 Fall Instructs Camp impressing with better control and command. He too has a classic pitcher’s frame at 6’5” 180 - all of the tools are there to climb the ladder ... continued efforts to focus control, command and mechanics are near term goals - should pitch at the High A level this season - big league skill set. Fun personality to boot.

Starlyn Castillo - RHP signed 7/2/18 - Dominican Republic. 18 years old.

He has yet to pitch much in actual league play, just 9.1 IP in five 2019 GCL games but there’s plenty to like with this young hurler. We saw him in 2019 Fall Instructs and he was dominant in his final outing there striking out the side in his last inning pitched. He also attended 2020 Fall Instructs.

Starlyn has great tools, already sits in the 93-96 range with the FB, he can get into the upper 90’s at will. The primary secondary pitch is a slider, in the four times we’ve seen him in action, it’s had sharp break and bite. The straight change is in the early stages, he hasn’t thrown it much in times we’ve seen him. He’s a very confident young man, seems fearless on the bump. Very cordial to talk with and well liked by his teammates. Still very early in his development but can’t help but see a Sixto Sanchez comparison, 6’0” 215 build and his mound presence is strikingly similar. Hopefully pushes his way to a full season assignment this coming season ... has the chance to be electric.

Hsin-Chieh Lin - RHP signed 6/5/18 ... Amateur Free Agent - Taiwan ... 21 years old, will be 22 in March

We first saw him in action this year in the 2019 GCL - was part of a no hit game on 6/26 going 3 2/3 shutout frames ... Shortly thereafter ( 7/6/19 ) was assigned to Williamsport ... Overall in 2019 he posted a 2.06 ERA in 12 games ( 40 IP ) with 44 K’s

He throws a heavy ball - plenty of sink and movement ... features a fork ball that has a biting action as an off speed delivery along with a straight change up ... FB approaches mid 90’s, generally sits in the 92-94 range .. . Big frame at 6’2” 198 - good mechanics, consistent arm slot ... should get a full season slot this summer ... maybe even Advanced A 🤔

Maikel Garrido. - LHP signed 2/19/18 - Venezuela ... 20 years old - will be 21 on 1/24/21

Pitched in the GCL in 2019 appearing in 15 games ( 16 IP ) with 19 K’s and 26 BB.

Maikel is blessed with a big arm, he can pop the mitt in the mid to upper 90’s with excellent movement. The issue has been throwing strikes however during Fall Instructs of 2019 we saw marked improvement ... he also attended 2020 Instructs ... we didn’t see him pitch. The talent is evident if he can harness it, hopefully he gains a consistency in his release point which allows him to excel ... from my perspective the need is to see game action ... best way to learn.

DJ Jefferson - RHP signed 7/2/2019 as an amateur free agent out of Desert Oasis High School, Las Vegas, NV ... 20 years old

Pitched in five games with the 2019 GCL Phillies East posting a 1.69 ERA in 10.2 IP .... we got to watch him three times - big arm capabilities with tailing run on the FB ... appears capable of dominating opposing hitters ... DJ attended 2020 Fall Instructs but we weren’t fortunate to see him pitch.

At 6’4” 190 there’s certainly room to add muscle and strength ... we didn’t get a read on his FB in 2019 but seemed to be in the 91-93 range ... there’s certainly capability to be mid 90’s here. Hopefully he earns a full season slot this year and gains game experience ... we like what we’ve seen thus far, pleasant young man to chat with as well.

Gunner Mayer - RHP drafted 5th Round - 2019 Draft - San Joaquin Delta Junior College - 20 years old

Gunner appeared in just four 2019 GCL games in his initial pro season as the focus was on bullpen sessions to work on mechanics ... being the curios fan that I am I watched a couple of those morning sessions - this young man has tools ... FB can reach mid 90’s, also features a power curve and slider ...

He was a closer for Delta College his only season there - 48 K’s in 37 IP ... a converted infielder who initially is likely to be a starting pitcher as a pro - high upside - big frame at 6’6” ... excited to see him more in game action ... he attended 2020 Fall Instructs however I didn’t see him pitch. Would think a 2021 full season assignment is apparent - perhaps Clearwater Thresher bound ...

Kevin Gowdy - RHP selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 draft from Santa Barbara, CA ... 23 years old

Pitched at Lakewood in 2019 posting a 4.68 ERA in 24 games ( 16 starts ) in 77 IP with 55 K’s and 53 BB. Battled command after coming back from missing most of his initial pro season and the entire 2017 and 2018 years due to TJ surgery but the stuff still played ...

Had a very strong 2019 Fall Instructs and a solid start to 2020 ST early camp before the pandemic shut things down. Kevin has a big time arsenal with FB capabilities in the mid to upper 90’s, an east-west type curve and a straight change. He also knows how to pitch. He’s made a great amount of friends in his time with the team, a truly good person - one you root for to do well.

From all indications and feedback I had received he seemed destined to be on track for a big 2020 season before the shutdown ... hopefully that occurs this coming season - with a solid ST camp should start at least at the Advanced A level - needs innings to build up both experience and arm strength.

Nicoly Pina - RHP signed 5/3/18 - Dominican Republic ... 21 years old ...

Posted a 3.57 ERA in fifteen 2019 GCL games ( 17.2 IP ) with 28 K’s and 14 walks - 3 saves.

Nicoly has a presence, he attacks and is one that everyone seemingly stops what they are doing to watch ... consistently was in the 95 to 97 range in 2019 GCL play as the closer for Phillies West ... Control and command along with emotions have to be harnessed but when they are he’s got big league stuff ...

Unfortunately Nicoly had TJ surgery in August of 2020 and is working his way back. He reminds me of another big arm hurler who is also working back from TJ surgery ... Seranthony. Keep the name Nicoly Pina in mind ... sharp young man who earned his HS diploma at the Dominican Academy ... he’s gonna do well.

Jhordany Mezquita : LHP drafted 8th Round - 2017 Draft - Hazleton, PA ... 22 years old, will be 23 on 1/30/21 ... from the Dominican Republic

Pitched at Lakewood in 2019 ... the FB generally sat in the 90-93 range but we’ve seen higher velocities from him in the mid 90’s ... appeared in 27 games ( 14 starts ) with a 3.97 ERA in 95.1 IP with 92 K’s and 59 walks .

Jhordany will need to refine both control and command along with further development of his secondary offerings ( curve & change ) ... had a good 2020 Fall Instructs Camp - likely part of the 2021 opening rotation at Advanced A if not higher.

Jordi Martinez : LHP Signed 1/22/18 - Dominican Republic ... 20 years old

Jordi spent a good part of the 2019 summer in the Complex rehab group but got into five games at the end of the season for the GCL Phillies East team ... immediately noticed his velocity which was in the 92-94 range with movement and pop .... saw him throw again in 2019 Fall Instructs and continued to be impressed.

Need to see more but initial thoughts were he projects as a reliever who could reach mid to upper 90’s ... made an good lasting first impression on this observer 🤔

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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