1/27/22 : 2022 Young Guns - Part Two
Second in a four part series on some of the younger pitchers in the Phillies system that have high performance skill sets and thus a chance at climbing the ladder to the highest level of professional baseball. If ya missed part one here is a link - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/1-26-22-young-guns-2022-edition
RH Andrew Baker - 21 years old - 2021 11th round draft choice - Chipola Junior College, Florida. Pitched in nine 2021 games ( 7 with Threshers, 2 with FCL ) accumulating 10 innings. Showed strong strikeout capabilities but also had a bout with control issues ( 17 BB, 16 K’s ) - a fine tuning of release point brought him back to form later in the season and in Fall Instructs. He can consistently pop the mitt in the upper 90’s, also has a slider, curve and change-up but the FB is the dominant pitch. By many accounts from those who have seen him pitch up close his repertoire is electric. It’s to be determined whether the path forward is as a starter or reliever, we see him in the mix for a High A spot in spring training, at the least with the Low A Threshers to begin the year.
RH Christian McGowen - 21 years old - 2021 7th round draft selection - Eastern Oklahoma State JC. Pitched five scoreless innings in four 2021 games ( 1 - FCL, 3 - Clearwater ) with a WHIP of 0.60 and 8 K’s, 1 BB. Four seam fastball is in the 94-97 range, sinker 93-96 and slider 81-85 , change-up is an out pitch that offsets the power arsenal - power arm that can overpower hitters. Turns 22 in March, will be developed as a starting pitcher - likely headed to Jersey Shore to begin the year however beginning at Clearwater is also a possibility.
LH Rafael Marcano - 21 years old - signed as an international free agent - 4/25/18 - Punta Cardon, Venezuela. Rafael was a key part of the ‘21 piggyback rotation with the Threshers. He pitched in 20 games, two in the FCL ( 57 IP ) and posted a 3.63 ERA with 72 K’s. Using a three pitch mix ( FB, Curve & Changeup ) with the heater generally sitting 92-94 mph ( flashes on occasion at 95 ). Comparable in style, delivery, competitiveness and demeanor to Ranger Suarez when he was at this stage of his career. Will be 22 years old for the new season, we see him likely as a key part of the Jersey Shore rotation out of Spring Camp.
LH Jordi Martinez - 21 years old - signed as an international free agent - 1/22/18 - Santiago, Dominican Republic. We first saw Jordi pitch in 2019 Fall Instructs and came away thinking “Wow”. The ball seems to jump out of his hand with a short arm delivery. In early 2021 he was popping the mitt consistently in the 92-96 range even flashing 97 mph on occasion. He has a four pitch mix ( four seam, sinker, slider and change ) but definitely pitches off the fastball’s movement and velocity. He had an outstanding month of June with the Threshers ( 1.53 ERA in 17 2/3 IP, 21 K’s, 8 walks ) but went on the injured list on July 13th and didn’t pitch thereafter ( forearm strain ). Has been sidetracked by past injuries, just 44 IP from 2019 thru 2021 but is now back to full health. Another power arm that should debut with Jersey Shore this season.
RH Jason Ruffcorn - 23 years old - 2021 8th round draft selection - Oklahoma University. He appeared in 12 games with Clearwater ( 1.54 WHIP in 12 1/3 IP ) - sinker, slider, change up and curve ball mix. FB can light up the gun mid nineties and has late life that jumps on hitters. He pitched a lot in college as a late inning reliever, is capable of moving quickly in the system. We saw him in Fall Instructs where he threw well. Jersey Shore is a likely starting point to the season but early success could provision a quick move to Reading which would might place him on the big league radar.
RH Dominic Pipkin - 22 years old - 2018 9th round draft selection - Pinole Valley High School , Pinole, CA. The 2020 season cancellation was difficult for Dominic as he was limited in finding places to train, he did attend 2020 Fall Instructs. It didn’t hinder him from earning a Jersey Shore rotation spot during 2021 spring camp. He pitched in 16 games ( 58 IP ) before being shut down in late August. The ability to bring the heater consistently in the mid to upper nineties coupled with a progressing curve and changeup is certainly a power profile. In his two starts on 6/27 and 7/3 he tossed a combined eleven scoreless frames ( 6 H, 0 BB, 10 K’s ) we saw visions of what might come to be at the upper levels. Needs to harness command/control as most power pitchers do but has the goods. We expect him to break spring camp with the Reading Fightins.
In part three we will profile Samuel Aldegheri, Jake McKenna, Corey Phelan, Dylan Castenada, Eduar Segovia and Carlos Betancourt.
If interested on my thoughts on other players I have profiled every player who played stateside in the Phillies minor league system in 2021 ( that was still with the club as of November ) in my sixth annual minor league digest - The Comeback Season. It can be purchased on Amazon - here’s the link : https://www.amazon.com/Comeback-Season-Annual-Phillies-League/dp/B09MK7XFCG
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️