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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/4/24 : The potential 2024 Jersey Shore BlueClaws  - a way too early look


Baseball practice at the complex is only a week away with over sixty players scheduled to return for High Performance Camp next week.


I concluded my 38 part notes series detailing the Phillies minor leaguers we saw play during the 2023 season on 12/5/23 which encompassed a total of nearly 200 individual profiles on players.  Here’s a link to the 12/5 last article in the series which contains within it links to the prior thirty seven if ya missed them 🤓.  https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/12-5-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-outfielders-part-six


This is the second of a four part series outlining potential 2024 opening day landing points for Phillies minor league players.  It’s far too early to do so as spring camps will play a large part to determine a much clearer view of who’s going where to start the season but nevertheless we venture down the path anyways.  Here’s a link to part one on the FCL and Clearwater in case ya missed it - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/1-2-24-the-potential-2024-xst-fcl-phillies-clearwater-threshers


The domestic minor league reserve active roster limit for 2024 once the AAA level season starts is 165 players, fourteen of which will be players optioned from the major League reserve list.  The limit is 175 players prior to the season including spring training which excludes those on the 40 man roster.  Active rosters at the AAA and AA levels are limited to 28 players with 30 players being the active roster sizes for both High A and Low A.  There are no roster limits for extended spring training or the Florida Complex League other than the overall reserve cap.  So in effect 116 active player spots is the maximum for the four full season squads however “inactive” players can practice with each of the teams if they are designated as being on the “development list”.   Players on the various injured lists can also stay with the designated full season clubs as inactive spots however more often than not those players come to the Complexes for rehab training.


The Jersey Shore BlueClaws are the High A level of play affiliate for the Phillies.  High A is the second rung of the ladder for what is referred to as “full season” play meaning that a formalized league game schedule is played from April to September.  The BlueClaws are part of the twelve team South Atlantic League.


The Phillies organization has a very talented group of young players, here’s  my view of the players likely in the mix at the High A level.  Again more detailed information on each player can be found using the link above to get to my annualized player notes.


Pitchers :


Potential Starters/Bulk Relievers :


LH Samuel Aldegheri - 22 years old - signed 7/2/19 - Verona, Italy - made 20 appearances (19 starts) in 2023 with Clearwater (16) and Jersey Shore (4 starts) - had a strong season amassing 83.2 IP - likely begins 2024 with Jersey Shore as part of the rotation.


RH Jean Cabrera - 22 years old - signed 7/2/19 - Maracay, Venezuela - made 21 appearances (15 starts) including two outstanding playoff starts for Clearwater in 2023 - a power arm who grew exponentially as a pitcher last season - is ready to move up a notch and be part of the Jersey Shore rotation.


RH Starlyn Castillo - 21 years old - signed 7/2/18 - Pimentel, Dominican Republic - 2023 was a year of personal growth - made 16 appearances (9 starts) with Clearwater (4) and the FCL Phillies (12) - has the talent to climb the ladder - with a good spring showing could be part of the opening day BlueClaws staff either as a starter or bulk reliever.


RH Wen Hui Pan - 21 years old - signed 1/15/23 - Hualien, Taiwan - made 33 appearances in 2023 with Clearwater (27) and Jersey Shore (6) as both a bulk and single/two inning reliever - will get a look as a starting pitcher in spring camp - high velocity power arm - likely opens the season with BlueClaws.


LH Gabriel Cotto - 23 years old - 2018 7th round draft selection - Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, PR - made 22 appearances (18 starts) with Clearwater (8) and Jersey Shore in 2023 including 14 games (11 starts) with the BlueClaws - likely returns to Jersey Shore as either a starter or bulk reliever.


RH Estibenzon Jimenez - 21 years old - signed 11/27/19 - San Felipe, Venezuela - made 23 appearances (21 starts) with Clearwater in 2023 and pitched very well.  “Jimmy” is ready to progress a notch and claim an opening day rotation spot with the BlueClaws.


RH Jonathan Petit - 22 years old - signed 4/26/19 - Valencia, Venezuela - made 23 appearances (19 starts) with Clearwater in 2023 including two in the postseason.  Is ready to move up to Jersey Shore and claim an opening day rotation or bulk reliever roster spot.


LH Braeden Fausnaught - 24 years old - signed 8/1/22 as an un-drafted free agent - West Chester University, West Chester, PA - made 26 appearances (8 starts) for Clearwater in 2023 and is currently pitching for Adelaide in the Australian Baseball League.  I expect he fills a similar role for Jersey Shore in 2024.


RH Jonh Henriquez - 24 years old - signed 6/7/22 - Dominican Republic - appeared in 35 games as a bulk reliever with Clearwater (30 games) and Jersey Shore (5 games) accumulating a 14-2 record - likely returns to Jersey Shore in the same role.


RH Eduar Segovia - 22 years old - signed 5/9/18 - Valencia, Venezuela - very talented young man who pitched in 14 games last season with Clearwater but was limited to 20 innings - was returning from a significant shoulder injury and surgery -  went on the IL on 6/9/23 - if healthy likely will be a key bulk reliever for the BlueClaws with capabilities of a starting pitcher.


Relievers :


RH Malik Binns - 24 years old - 2021 18th round draft selection - Benedictine College, Benedictine, AZ - made 22 appearances for Jersey Shore in 2023 - has big time spin capability but battles control - likely returns to Jersey Shore to open the season.


RH Josh Bortka - 24 years old - 2022 16th round draft selection - Central Missouri University - made 30 appearances for Clearwater in 2023 finishing the year as the closer - is now pitching in the Australian Baseball League for Adelaide.


RH Alex Rao - 24 years old - 2022 8th round draft selection - Notre Dame University - made 17 appearances with the Clearwater Threshers last season - missed some time due to injury - appears ready to move up a notch to Jersey Shore in 2024.


LH Andrew Walling - 24 years old - signed as 8/1/22 as an un-drafted free agent - Mississippi State University - made 41 appearances in 2023 with Clearwater (26) and Jersey Shore (15) - can dominate late innings - was promoted to Jersey Shore on 7/26 - might return to open season with BlueClaws for more experience else will open with AA level Reading.


LH Danny Wilkinson - 23 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent - 7/25/22 - Villanova University - made 34 appearances for Clearwater in 2023 posting a 6-0 record and a whopping 106 strikeouts in 56.2 IP - often used as a multi inning reliever - likely opens the 2024 season with the BlueClaws in same role.


RH Eiberson Castellano - 22 years old - signed 7/2/18 - Maracaibo, Venezuela - made 22 appearances (7 starts) for Clearwater in 2023 primarily as a one/two inning reliever - has big talent - is currently pitching in the Venezuela Winter League as a reliever.


RH Cam Wynne - 24 years old - 2021 20th round draft selection - University of Nebraska - made 35 appearances for Jersey Shore in 2023 and is now pitching for Adelaide in the Australian Baseball League.


RH Daniel Harper - 24 years old - 2022 17th round draft selection - University of Kentucky - appeared in 23 games last season with the Threshers.  Big arm capability.


Catchers :


Jordan Dissin - 21 years old - 2022 12th round draft selection - Saddleback Junior College, CA - RH hitter - played in 71 games for the Clearwater Threshers in 2023 including six in the playoffs where he posted a .381 OBP in - very strong throwing arm, take charge receiver.


Ryan Leitch - 22 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 8/1/22 from Marshall University - RH hitter - played in 46 games with the Clearwater Threshers in 2023 after beginning the year in extended spring training - solid defensive skills with pop in his bat as well.


Jared Thomas - 23 years old - 2023 15th round draft selection - Loyola Marymount University - LH hitter - played in 14 games with FCL Phillies (11) and Clearwater Threshers (3) in 2023 after being drafted.  Has shown solid defensive and leadership skills - could open with Clearwater switching spots with my projected spot there for Gus Sosa with Sosa breaking camp with JS - will see what transpires in spring camp.


Arturo DeFreitas - 22 years old - signed 3/13/18 - Maracay, Venezuela - RH hitter - finished the season with Reading on the development list - suffered an injury early in the 2023 year playing in Australia then appeared in only 36 games with the BlueClaws - excellent defensive skills, has struggled offensively.


Infielders :


Zach Arnold - 22 years old - 2023 14th round draft selection - University of Houston - RH hitter - played in 26 games with FCL Phillies (4) and Clearwater Threshers (22) putting up very solid numbers - played 2B,SS and 3B - primarily 3B - has great hands defensively and patient approach as a hitter.  Could open with Clearwater as plan is to keep majority of 2023 draft class together for opening day.


Erick Brito - 21 years old - signed 11/29/18 - Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela - RH hitter - played in 112 games with Clearwater (44) and Jersey Shore (68) in 2023 primarily at second base although also played shortstop - is a strong defender who has very good bat to ball skills, puts the ball in play - has some pop.  Better offensively than numbers suggest.


Chad Castillo - 23 years old - 2022 9th round draft selection - California Baptist University - played in 79 games in 2023 with Clearwater Threshers and FCL Phillies (2 on rehab assignment).  LH power bat with a pretty swing, good approach.  Likely would have moved to JS last season if not set back temporarily by injury.  Is a first baseman who played outfield as well in college.


Wilfredo Flores - 23 years old - signed 5/8/18 - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - switch hitter - played in 61 games for the BlueClaws - is a consistent contact hitter who has a career .293 batting average in five seasons - can play multiple positions - the outfield, 2B and 3B.


Dakota Kotowski - 23 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 7/25/22 - Missouri State University - played in 49 games with FCL Phillies (42) and Clearwater Threshers (7) in 2023 - was FCL league MVP - worked diligently to convert to a first baseman - powerful RH hitter.


Felix Reyes - 22 years old - signed 2/22/20 - Bani, Dominican Republic - powerful RH hitter - plays 1B,3B and OF - played in 80 games with Clearwater Threshers (67) and Jersey Shore (13) in 2023 - was excellent in the playoffs.  Big pop.


Bryan Rincon - 19 years old - 2022 14th round draft selection - Shaler Area HS , Pittsburgh, PA - played in 102 games in 2023 with Clearwater (81) and Jersey Shore (21) - was named best defensive shortstop in the Florida State League - outstanding fielder who also has pop in his bat, particularly from left side, as a switch hitter - turns 20 years old in early February.


Otto Kemp - 24 years old - signed 8/1/22 as an un-drafted free agent - Point Loma Nazarene University, Point Loma Nazarene, CA. - played in 112 games in 2023 with the Clearwater Threshers (78) and Jersey Shore BlueClaws (34) - is a RH hitter who had an outstanding playoff series both offensively and defensively - made multiple spectacular plays at 3B throughout the season - also plays 2B - could open with AA Reading instead.


Kendall Simmons - 23 years old -  2018 6th round draft selection - Tattnall Square HS , Macon, GA - played in 59 games in 2023 with FCL Phillies (8 rehab), Clearwater (1 rehab) and Jersey Shore (50).  Is a powerful RH hitter who is currently playing for Adelaide in the Australian Baseball League.  Battled the injury bug last summer, when healthy can play either 2B or 3B but it’s the power bat that’s the ticket - can turn on any fastball and send it a long way.


Cole Moore - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent - 7/31/22 - Dallas Baptist University - played in 60 games in 2023 with Clearwater (47) and Jersey Shore (13) - LH hitter who’s an outstanding fielder at first base.   Also has pop in his bat.


Outfielders :


Justin Crawford - 19 years old (turns 20 on 1/13) - 2022 1st round draft selection - Bishop Gorman HS , Las Vegas, NV - played in 90 games in 2023 with Clearwater (69) and Jersey Shore (21) - was named MVP of the Florida State League - LH hitter with mercurial speed - excellent fielder - has all the tools to get to the show.


Hendry Mendez - 20 years old - acquired via trade with Brewers 11/14/23 for Oliver Dunn- was signed by Brewers 1/15/21 from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - LH hitter who played in 62 games at the High A level in 2023 with the Brewers - was also selected by the Brewers to play in the 2023 Arizona Fall League - is known for outstanding bat to ball skills.


Emaarion Boyd - 20 years old - 2022 11th round draft selection - South Panola HS, Batesville, MS - played in 96 games for the Clearwater Threshers and had a very strong first full season as a pro - RH hitter who is very fast, one of only seven minor leaguers in 2023 to steal 60 bases or more.


Cade Fergus - 23 years old - 2022 13th round draft selection - George Washington University - played in 88 games in 2023 with Clearwater (74) and Jersey Shore (14).  Is a RH hitter with outstanding speed and good pop, very strong defender in center field who can also play both corners.  Is currently playing for Adelaide in the Australian Baseball League.


Troy Schreffler - 23 years old - 2022 15th round selection - University of Maryland - played in 66 games last season with Clearwater (47) and Jersey Shore (19) - RH hitter with good speed and baseball instincts - can play all three outfield positions.


Next we will look at potential Reading opening day assignments.


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️



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