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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/18/2021 : Pushing the Needle - The Big Arms - Part Four

Fourth and final in a series on “Big Arms” in the Phillies system.

If you missed the first three articles here are the links ...

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


Mick Abel - RHP selected in first round of the 2020 draft from Portland, OR ... 19 years old

Mick reportedly had an outstanding 2020 Fall Instructs flashing 98 mph with his FB. He’s shown three plus pitches, starting with the fastball that generally sits in the 93-95 mph range.

We haven’t gotten a chance to see him pitch in person yet but all feedback and reports we’ve seen/read/heard are very positive 👍.

Should get a full season assignment with Clearwater for 2021.

Billy Sullivan - RHP - signed as free agent 6/16/20 - University of Delaware- 21 yrs old

Billy is a 2017 graduate of St. Marks High School and resident of Newark, DE. He had previously been drafted by the Phillies in the 28th round of the 2017 draft but did not sign.

His career record at Delaware was 7-5 in 16 appearances (77.1 IP ) with a 3.46 ERA. Billy missed the entire 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery and did not see game action in 2020 before the season was shut down.

We saw him pitch a couple times in 2020 Fall Instructs ... didn’t get any speed gun read outs but reports had his FB in the high nineties.

Expect to see him on 2021 Clearwater roster.

Chase Antle - RHP - signed as free agent 6/16/20 - Coastal Carolina - 23 yrs old

Chase played his first three seasons of college baseball at Bowling Green University where he appeared in 45 games ( 83.1 IP). He’s from Grove City, Ohio and was the closer for Coastal Carolina before this season was stopped. He’s reportedly posted 100 MPH on the Radar with his FB and consistently sits in the upper 90’s.

He had biceps tenodesis surgery and missed the 2018 season ... the Phillies will work to strengthen his arm and had him in early during the fall for rehab work. He could be one to quickly advance ... even start his career at High A Lakewood.

Braden Zarbnisky - RHP - signed as free agent 7/23/20 - West Virginia University - 24 yrs old

The Marietta, Georgia native also played outfield in college and was off to a great start for the 2020 Mountaineers before Covid halted the season. He was a redshirt senior after having missed the 2019 season with a herniated disc in his lower lumbar spine.

Braden was the closer for WVU and had recorded two saves and a 0.77 ERA in four appearances ( 4.2 IP ).

I haven’t seen him throw in person but have heard he’s a power pitcher with a mid 90’s FB and an even more powerful and hard breaking slider that’s an out pitch. We look forward to seeing him in action. As a reliever he’s got a chance to move quickly ... would expect to see him begin at the A level though.

Blake Brown - RHP - signed as free agent 6/18/20 - UNC Asheville - 22 yrs old

Blake had a strong 2020 Fall Instructs Camp popping the mitt in the high 90’s with a solid slider to boot. Accordingly the FB generally sits in the mid to upper 90’s and he’s shown two other secondaries in a curveball and changeup.

What we noted when we saw him in Instructs game action was a struggle with control which was also his battle in college with a career walk rate at UNC-Asheville of 7.1 per nine. He’s got swing and miss pitches per reports and if the club can get him to a consistent and repeatable delivery then the stuff can play.

Would expect him to be part of what is shaping up to be a very power driven bullpen in Clearwater to start the 2021 season.

Sam Jacobsak -RHP -signed as free agent 6/14/20 -Northeastern University - 22 yrs old

Sam went 2-1 in 2020 in four games ( 3.65 ERA - 24.2 IP ) for Northeastern, appeared in 30 games over his career, primarily as a reliever ( 7 starts ) and accumulated 73.2 IP with 81 K’s. He’s from Milton, MA and will be developed as a starter ... FB has flashed mid 90’s but generally sits a tick below that. Should be in line for an A level assignment.

J.P. Woodward - LHP -signed as free agent 6/16/20 -Lafayette University - 22 yrs old

JP is from Baltimore, MD ... 2-2 in 2020 in 4 games ( 20.1 IP ). He was 7-6 in 33 games during his NCAA career. He pitched in the 2019 Cape Cod League as well.

Scouting reports indicate that his FB gets into the mid 90’s.

RHP Jonathan Hughes - RHP -signed as free agent 6/16/20 -Georgia Tech University - 24 yrs old

He was a 2020 red shirt Senior before the season was cancelled, he was GT’s Friday night starter going 2-1 in four starts ( 21.2 IP ) ... is from Flowery Beach, GA and was drafted by the Orioles in the 2nd round of the 2015 draft but chose not to sign.

At Georgia Tech he recorded a 15-9 record in 57 appearances ( 18 starts ) with a 4.36 ERA in 142.1 IP. Jonathan suffered an elbow injury early in his college career which required surgery albeit not Tommy John.

He’s noted for a mid 90’s FB with solid secondary pitches.

Buddy Hayward - RHP -signed as free agent 6/19/20 -Harvard University - 22 yrs old

He’s from Plantation, FL and his record at Harvard was 5-4 in 23 games ( 88 IP ) with a 4.19 ERA. He also pitched one season in the summer New England Collegiate League where he tossed a no hitter for seven innings on 6/14/18 for New Bedford ... he went 3-2 that summer in 10 games ( 43 IP ) with a 2.47 ERA ... in 2019 he pitched for the Harwich Mariners in the summer Cape Code League.

Buddy had TJ surgery in December of 2019 ... before the surgery he flashed a FB in the mid 90’s ... hopefully he’s ready to go full tilt this season.

My next series of articles will be more focused ... individual profiles and chats ... beginning with LHP Jeff Singer ... stay tuned 🧐

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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