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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/18/24 : Phillies 2024 Spring Training Non-Roster Invites

Pitchers :

Mick Abel

Ryan Burr

Griff McGarry

Tyler McKay

Tyler Phillips

Jose Ruiz

Nick Snyder

Catchers :

Aramis Garcia

Cody Roberts

William Simoneit

Infielders :

Scott Kingery

Nick Podkul

Outfielders :

Carlos De La Cruz

Matt Kroon

Cal Stevenson

RHP Mick Abel - 22 years old - drafted in first round of the 2020 draft from Jesuit High School, Portland, OR

2023 Stats :  23 starts and appearances - 4.13 ERA between Reading (22 games) and Lehigh Valley (1 game). 113 1/3 IP, 1.26 WHIP,  .192 BAA,  132 K’s, 65 BB, averaged 17.42 pitches per inning and posted a 61 % strike ratio. His second half ERA was 3.74 in 53 IP as compared to 4.25 in the first half in 55 IP.

2023 Notes : Mick caught fire in his last four starts of the season for Reading posting a 1.17 ERA in twenty-three IP allowing just three runs and eight hits while striking out twenty-three batters.  He finished the year making his AAA debut in a start for Lehigh Valley on 9/22.  Focused on a sinking fastball and curve as primary pitches down the stretch, both plus offerings, plans to work further on his change up in off-season.  Ran into some difficulties during the year with walks and tipping pitches (particularly out of the windup) but was able to address them.  He’s capable of dominating opponents, has a definite big league skill set.  He’s a student of the game.  A genuinely nice young man who possesses the gift of being able to throw his fastball consistently in the upper nineties - he’s easy to root for.

Mick’s reflections :   “My biggest personal takeaway is that I now understand how big a role confidence plays when I’m on the mound.  Can’t just go out there and expect things to go my way, I have to build confidence throughout the week in my routine and bullpen, and also trust my stuff.  Feel like those two go hand in hand.  I’m focusing on getting bigger and dominating the strike zone to prepare for 2024.“

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert : “Pitching the entire season from start to finish without injury and logging 110+ innings was huge.  He added and is still refining his two seamer to be able to run something in on righties and open up the curve ball/slider away.  I thought the curve ball really turned into a major weapon and the change-up took huge strides forward.  I think what we saw the last two months of the season was a young man that matured a lot in his mental preparation and makeup.  He’s still learning every time he goes out there.”

RHP Ryan Burr - 29 years old -  2015 5th round draft selection of the Arizona Diamondbacks from Arizona State

He has pitched in the Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and Tampa Bay Rays organizations and appeared in 66 major league games with the White Sox from 2018 to 2022 posting a 4.09 ERA in 75 IP with 66 K’s and 39 walks.  Last season at AAA level Durham in the Rays system he had a 2-1 record in 18 appearances (23.1 IP) with 23 K’s and 3 walks with a 0.99 WHIP.  He features a 95 mph fastball, cutter, slider/curve and sinker.  In June 2019, Burr underwent Tommy John surgery.  He spent the shortened 2020 season working back into form at the White Sox’s alternate site.  He was released by the White Sox in June of 2022 and signed by the Rays.  The cutter has hard dropping action and is his primary and best pitch.   Burr finished his collegiate career at Arizona State as their all-time saves leader.  Signed by Phillies as a minor league free agent.

RHP Griff McGarry - 24 years old - drafted in 5th round of the 2021 draft from University of Virginia, VA

2023 Stats :  after beginning the year working with the rehab group at the complex with an oblique injury in spring camp he made 17 appearances (all starts) between Clearwater (one game rehab), Reading (activated on 5/11/23 - 3.13 ERA in 13 games - 54.2 IP,  74 K’s, 36 BB, .163 BAA, 1.23 WHIP) and Lehigh Valley (promoted 8/4/23 - 3 games - 4.1 IP - 14 walks).  His combined season totals were 60 IP, 6.00 ERA, 81 strikeouts, 50 walks, .187 BAA, 1.50 WHIP, 57 % strike ratio and an average of 19.20 pitches per inning pitched.

2023 Notes :  was shut down for the season in late August after an inability to throw strikes at Lehigh Valley, in my opinion he was falling off the mound glove side and consistently getting under his pitches (sailing them) or pulling deliveries far off the plate.  Really struggled in his three appearances with Lehigh Valley.  The decision made was to work on a “re-set” on mechanics, perhaps slow down pace and to re-synch the body with the arm delivery.  That effort will continue during the off-season and in spring camp.  When he’s commanding the zone the fastball is electric and both his slider and curve are swing and miss pitches.  On top of that there’s a change up which he’s also working to improve.  The fastball sits in a range of 93 to 98 mph - max 100.  Big league arm if can solve the control and command issues.

RHP Tyler McKay  - 26 years old - drafted in 16th round of the 2018 draft from Howard JC, TX

2023 Stats :  began at Reading where he posted a 2.54 ERA in 25 appearances in 28.1 IP converting six of eight saves with 32 strikeouts and 10 walks, a 1.02 WHIP and a .179 BAA.  He was promoted to Lehigh Valley on July 14th where he appeared in 23 games (27 IP) posting a 2.67 ERA, a 1.48 WHIP with 24 strikeouts and 19 walks.  Overall a 2.60 ERA in 48 appearances, 55.1 IP, 56 strikeouts and 29 walks, a .200 BAA and a 1.29 WHIP.  Averaged 16.16 pitches per inning pitched and had a 59 % strike ratio.  Had stellar months of April (1.50 ERA in 5 games - 6 IP, .091 BAA, .083 WHIP) and June (1.74 ERA in 9 games - 10.1 IP, 15 K’s, 1 BB, .211 BAA and a 0.87 WHIP).

2023 Notes :  In 2022 spring training converted from a starting pitcher to a reliever and hasn’t looked back.  Tyler has a riding two seam sinker (92-94 mph), a sweeping slider and a heavy tumbling action change up to go along with a cutter that he will primarily use against left handed hitters.  He is a strike thrower who attacks the zone, reminds me a lot of Connor Brogdon both in build and approach, I’ve always thought of him as a major league candidate ever since I first saw a side bullpen session back in 2018, we’ve witnessed that there’s more velocity there if he needs it but the movement he gets on his pitches, especially the changeup, give him an arsenal that doesn’t necessarily require it to get hitters out at any level.  Fun fact - he spent time this year with the big club pitching to Bryce Harper when he was going thru his rehab BP’s.

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert : “McKay was outstanding at both Reading and LHV this season. He was used in high leverage spots in both places. He features a low, three quarter arm slot with a nasty two seamer/sinker and sweeping slider.  His go to pitch is his change-up. Tyler improved his overall physicality in the offseason, which helped keep him healthy all year and was a durable backend option.”

RHP Tyler Phillips - 25 years old - signed as minor league free agent 11/6/21

2023 Stats :  appeared in 26 games - 25 starts for AA Reading (17 appearances - 16 starts - 82.1 IP, 1.38 WHIP, 5.07 ERA) and AAA Lehigh Valley (9 starts - 40.1 IP - 4.69 ERA) totaling 122.2 IP with a 4.92 ERA, a 1.52 WHIP, 110 strikeouts and 52 walks.  Averaged 15.99 pitches per inning pitched and had a 62 % strike ratio.

2023 Notes :  missed the entire 2022 season rehabbing from Tommy John surgery spending the year at the complex with the rehab group.  We got to chat with him quite often that summer and watch multiple live bullpens - reminds me of Zach Eflin in pitching style and build (Tyler is 6’5”) - we were excited with what we saw and where he could get to.  This year was full go from the jump, not only returning to game action but also incorporating three new pitches (sinker - 91 to 96 mph), slider and changeup (splitter) to accompany a big hook curve that he already had.  It was a reinvention of sorts on the fly and on select nights it was dominant (6/14 - six scoreless, 6/20 - six IP, one run allowed, 6/25 - five IP - one run allowed, 8/19 - 7 IP - one run allowed and 9/6 - five scoreless) while on others he struggled.  The inconsistency was somewhat expected given the first year back to work and the learning on the job of new pitches.  Numbers don’t always tell the complete story - this young man has the ability to get big league hitters out, in my humble opinion that will be even more evident next year.

Tyler’s reflections :  “I will start by saying that I’m very proud of my ability to throw as many innings as I did this year after surgery. I faced adversity while trying to remember how to pitch again. I always heard guys say they forgot how to pitch after TJ and thought that was crazy, but I figured out it wasn’t the pitching itself, it was the mentality I carry on the mound game to game. It was remembering what gives me the competitive edge. My biggest take away from the season is that I’m more than capable of getting high caliber players out. I feel that when I got to Lehigh even with fatigue beginning to kick in I only got better, where as my last time in Triple A I was timid and didn’t attack hitters. I developed three new pitches this season. My sinker and ability to change speeds when I made the adjustments, proved to be extremely effective and I learned how to be more of a pitcher every single day.

Going into the offseason, a huge focus for me is to continue building a solid foundation in strength, and mobility to put me in a position to stay healthy and endure the long season.  From a skill standpoint my limiting factor this year was facing lefties. They gave me some issues occasionally. I struggled being in the zone with the new sinker. It was very evident on my heat maps that I was going to be pitching away from lefties making it an easy decision to lay off and make me come to them. I’m going to have to work on keeping all of my stuff in the zone to lefties and I may also be developing another new pitch to help that process along.

Lastly, the mental side. I stated earlier that I am more than capable of getting very good hitters out. I have to continue to believe in myself as a very good pitcher and trust that I’m a very effective contact/ ground ball pitcher. With trust in those things I can carry my true competitive nature into every game and give my team a chance to win each start.”

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert :  “Phillips is an org success story coming out of our Rehab group. Tyler added three new pitches during his time in rehab all the way to the end of this season.  He picked up a two seamer/sinker that became his primary fastball, getting a lot of weak contact on the ground.  He added more of a sweeping slider to mirror the sinker and once in AAA, he added a split-change.  He was a work horse all season long and rebounded well from TJ surgery in '21.”

RHP Jose Ruiz - 29 years old and pitched in 38 major league games last season with the White Sox and Diamondbacks -  He was traded from Chicago to Arizona in April for cash considerations.  With the D-backs he appeared in 34 games (40.2 IP) and posted a 4.43 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 17 walks.  He was sent to the Triple A level on 7/30/23 and appeared in 17 games with Reno (26.1 IP) posting a 4.10 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 13 walks.  Ruiz declared minor league free agency on 11/2/23.

He features a four seam fastball (96 to 97 mph), a curve ball which he throws as often as the heater, sinker and changeup.   He’s pitched for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic and was originally signed by the San Diego Padres from Guacara, Venezuela as an international free agent in 2011.  Ruiz has appeared in 212 major league games with the Padres, White Sox and Diamondbacks and has a career 4.51 ERA in 219.1 IP with a 1.49 WHIP.  Signed by the Phillies as a free agent to a minor league contract.

RHP Nick Snyder - pitched for the Texas Rangers AAA affiliate Round Rock in 2022 - he was their 19th round draft selection in 2017 from Indian River State JC, Indian River State JC in Florida.  He did not pitch last season.

In 2022 at AAA level Round Rock he posted a 4.97 ERA in 41 appearances (38 IP) with 51 strikeouts and 18 walks, a 1.42 WHIP.  In 119 career games he’s got a 3.59 ERA in 143 IP with 176 K’s and 47 BB - a 1.22 WHIP and has thrown strikes at a 66 % clip.   He’s a big arm - has popped 101 mph on his fastball. Snyder tore his UCL and had to undergo “Tommy John” surgery in February of 2020 but came back from that, last season was a lost year of action for him as well. Signed by the Phillies as a free agent to a minor league contract.

Aramis Garcia - 30 years old - signed as a free agent 2/16/23 from Orioles organization

2023 Stats :  played in 53 games for AAA Lehigh Valley with a .251/.295/.523 slash line in 210 plate appearances with 11 doubles, 14 home runs and 44 RBIs.  Also played three rehab games with Jersey Shore.  Defensively had a .985 fielding percentage in 49 games - threw out 12 of 56 (21 %) base stealers.  He hit nine of his home runs and drove in 26 of his RBIs in 24 August/September games.

2023 Notes :  a veteran presence who has played in 301 major league games with the Giants, A’s and Reds, he was a steadying team leader at Lehigh Valley.  Is a decent receiver with a strong throwing arm, has worked hard in his career to get better defensively.  A right handed hitter who has shown plus power especially to the pull side, can turn on fastballs.  Spent a couple stints on the injured list, the longest from May 27th to a rehab activation with Jersey Shore on July 1st.  When he returned to the LHV active roster was very good both offensively and defensively as a lineup regular as he hit .290 (36 for 124) in the last three months of the season.

Cody Roberts  - 27 years old - acquired in minor league rule 5 draft 12/7/22 from Orioles organization

2023 Stats :   made 239 plate appearances in 72 games for Reading with a .214/.277/.349 slash line - 11 doubles, 6 home runs and 15 RBIs, 16 walks.  Recorded a .984 fielding percentage in 507 chances and threw out 21 of 74 base stealers (28 %).

2023 Notes :   is an excellent defender, this was his first season in the Phillies organization and he received a big league spring training invitation.  Cody made strong impressions with his catching abilities in big league spring camp.  First chatted with him in early February at the complex, very cordial and well spoken young man.  Has a strong arm and very good mechanics that he continually strives to improve upon.  Is also a versatile defender - played a few games in both right and left field this season and has played both first and third base previously in the Orioles organization.  A right handed hitter who is better than the numbers indicated this year.  Played collegiately at the University of North Carolina.

Cody’s reflections :  “Big things I’m focusing on this off-season are to continue building on the receiving work I put in this year with coach Ray Ricker on the defensive side, and then getting back to the same swing/approach I had in 2022 at the plate.  I’m going to be putting on about 15lbs this off-season to help hit the ball harder.”

C William Simoneit - 27 years old Oakland A’s - AA - signed as an undrafted free agent 6/22/20 - Wake Forest

He was selected in the minor league portion of the rule 5 draft from the Athletics organization on 12/6/23 - RH hitter.  Hit .237/.326/.387 in 289 plate appearances with 15 doubles, a triple, 7 home runs and 39 RBIs for AA level Midland.  He played mostly first base last season (342 innings) but also caught in 30 games (262 innings).  Has bright red hair.   Collegiately he spent three seasons with Cornell in the Ivy League, then played 2020 for Wake Forest.  Signed by the Phillies as a free agent to a minor league contract.

2B,SS - Scott Kingery  - 29 years old - drafted in 2nd round of the 2015 draft from the University of Arizona, AZ

2023 Stats :   hit .244/.325/.400 in 117 games (466 plate appearances) with Lehigh Valley with 68 runs scored, 18 doubles, 3 triples, 13 home runs, 47 RBIs, 48 walks and 24 stolen bases (caught just once).  He had a .725 OPS.  Had an outstanding month of June - .343/.418/.571 slash line with a .989 OPS including 7 doubles, 3 home runs, 9 RBIs and 9 walks in 21 games (79 PA’s).  Defensively played mostly shortstop (64 games - 547 innings) and had a .982 fielding percentage in 275 chances.  Had a 1.000 fielding percentage in 145 chances at second base, also played 18 games in center field with a 1.000 fielding percentage in 43 chances.

2023 Notes :   second year of play after shoulder surgery, continued to make progress and played in the most games since the 2019 season.  Had a solid season and showed the ability to drive the baseball once again.  Still turns the double play at second base as a second baseman better than anyone I’ve seen, very quick exchange.   Scott played predominantly at shortstop this year, made all the plays there and showed no ill effects of previous shoulder issues.  Possesses outstanding speed and posted his most stolen bases in a season since 2017.

1B,3B - Nick Podkul  - 26 years old - signed as a minor league free agent 12/17/22 from Jays organization

2023 Stats :  hit .285/.396/.588 with a .984 OBP at Reading with 8 doubles, 3 triples, 12 home runs and 35 RBIs.  Was promoted to Lehigh Valley in July - in 34 plate appearances for the IronPigs hit .280/.471/.560 with a 1.031 OBP - 2 home runs, 5 RBIs and 5 walks.  Had a 1.000 fielding percentage for the season at first base in 183 chances and a .923 fielding percentage at third base in 39 chances.

2023 Notes :  suffered a season ending injury on 7/28/23 when he was hit in the face by a pitch and incurred multiple facial fractures.  He has since recovered and is signed to play the 2024 season with the Phillies organization.  We first got to chat with Nick in spring training, very upbeat and welcoming personality.  Can swing the bat with power and for average, opened the season with Reading on the development list but once activated had strong months of April, May and June which earned a promotion to Lehigh Valley on 7/14/23.   Nick is solid defensively, played mostly second base in college but has been a corner infielder as a professional.  Good all around baseball player.

Nick’s reflections :  I asked Nick how he was doing after the incident and subsequent recovery - “Hey Steve, yes I am doing great. Biggest takeaway from 2023 is probably to play every game like it’s your last.  Being in a scary situation like I was reminded me how quick the game could be taken away from you.  During the off season, I am going to focus on increasing my bat speed to raise my exit velo and homerun totals.”

Carlos De La Cruz  - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent - 8/23/17 - George Washington HS, Yonkers, NY

2023 Stats :  right handed hitter who posted a .259/.344/.454 slash line in 582 plate appearances for Reading.  Had 25 doubles, a triple, 24 home runs, 67 RBIs and 54 walks - a .798 OPS.  Led the Eastern League in hits (132), second in runs (80), third in doubles, third in home runs, fifth in RBIs, sixth in slugging and sixth in OPS.  Defensively played first base (.991 fielding percentage in 352 chances) and all three outfield positions.

2023 Notes :  Carlos is 6’8” and very athletic. He can track fly balls well and is a good thrower.  Picked up the first base position well also. When we first saw him hit on the backfields in 2017 the ball jumped off his bat - made that special baseball loud sound that results from the barreling of the ball on the sweet spot.  He can drive baseballs high and deep into the sky.  Has the abilities to be a major league contributor.  An outstanding year at AA ticking off all the boxes for advancement.  Should get a lot of looks in big league spring camp.  Pleasant personality who is driven to succeed. Always says hello when we see him, a sincere person.

Former Reading Hitting Coach Tyler Henson :  “His game is becoming more and more complete, power numbers were up, walked more.  Strikeout numbers probably still a bit high but to me not worrisome.  Key is getting quality at bats, honing in on his approach and swing and what he’s trying to do in each at bat.  Can drive the ball out of the park in any direction - just a matter of getting more quality pitches to do it against.”

3B, OF - Matt Kroon - 26 years old - drafted in 18th round of the 2018 draft from Oklahoma State University, OK

2023 Stats :  had an outstanding season - .326/.399/.526 slash line in 432 overall plate appearances with Jersey Shore (rehab), Reading and Lehigh Valley.  Hit 31 doubles, 5 triples, 11 home runs with 58 RBIs and 46 walks.  Stole 26 bases in 35 attempts.  Had strong numbers at both Reading and Lehigh Valley - .319/.387/.493 with an .880 OPS at Reading in 344 plate appearances and a .381/.467/.698 slash line with a 1.165 OPS in 15 games (76 plate appearances) at Lehigh Valley.   Had a tremendous month of June - .376/.433/.518 slash line in 21 games - 92 plate appearances.  Defensively played mostly third base (.908 fielding percentage in 98 chances) but also saw action in 48 games in the outfield - all three positions.  Was selected for the Arizona Fall League and played in 18 games - 73 plate appearances - .262/.356/.344 slash line with .700 OPS - 2 doubles, 1 triple, 15 RBIs, 7 walks, 13 runs scored, 5 stolen bases.

2023 Notes :  This spring he broke camp as Reading’s primary third baseman while also seeing time in all the outfield positions. Matt has above average speed, a short swing and has shown the ability to play multiple positions, we’ve seen him play at every position except catcher.  He’s a diligent worker who is a baseball rat, gets after it and loves to play.  Was promoted to Lehigh Valley on 8/7/23 and went 3 for 5 in his first game at the AAA level.  Suffered a hamstring injury in his second game with the IronPigs and went on the IL on 8/11/23.  Returned to action on rehab assignment with Jersey Shore on 8/29, was reactivated at Lehigh Valley on 9/3/23.  Many project Matt in a multi position role (due to his defensive versatility) in the big leagues, we believe that he can hit in the show and contribute to a winning club.  Came back this year from a significant knee injury in 2022 which required surgery and ended his season on April 10th.

Cal Stevenson  - 27 years old - waiver claim from SF Giants - 5/26/23

2023 Stats :  played in 56 games with Lehigh Valley - .271/.437/.472 slash line in 202 plate appearances with a .909 OPS - 5 doubles, 8 home runs, 30 RBIs and 46 walks.  Stole 14 bases in 17 attempts.  Defensively played all three outfield spots, had a 1.000 fielding percentage in all three - 91 chances - 60 in center field.

2023 Notes :  a left handed hitter who did a very good job for the Iron Pigs after coming over from the Giants.  Throughout his career has always shown strong plate discipline and has plus speed.  Was the Blue Jays 10th round draft selection in the 2018 draft from the University of Arizona.  Has played in 29 major league games with the A’s and Giants.  The Phillies are his 4th organization.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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