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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

10/26/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers - Part Two

Last off-season I started a different writing venture - rather than producing a hard copy version of what was an annual Phillies Minor League Digest I went with a new approach and posted a series of articles on the webpage instead.  A large portion of the digest was my player notes - views that are not entirely built upon seasonal or short term stats - while I referenced them I relied more upon my observations and feedback from players and coaches.

This off-season we continue the series  “Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes” with profiles presented in groupings by defensive positions.  I intend to offer notes on every stateside player I watched perform this past season (191 in total) that finished the 2023 season with the organization.  I can attest that I actually watched most every Phillies minor league game each evening, attended practices and interacted with a vast amount of players, coaches, scouts and front office folks.  Recently I sent a couple questions to the players - asked them what was their  biggest personal takeaway from the 2023 season and what they are focusing on this off-season to prepare for 2024.  Where I have responses I will include them in the notes.  Also where I’m able I will include feedback from coaches and player development leadership.

The initial set of articles will be on pitchers.  I’ll present notes on 103 pitchers done in alphabetical order. The first article was published on 10/23/23 - see the link if you missed it.  Today we focus on group two.

Group 2 : Konnor Ash, Andrew Baker, Brandon Beckel, Carlos Betancourt

Group 1 :  Mick Abel, Samuel Aldegheri, Luis Alcala, Shaun Anderson, Erubiel Armenta -

The following groups will be discussed in future articles :

Group 3 : Malik Binns, Josh Bortka, Ben Bowden, Connor Brogdon, Blake Brown

Group 4 : Cam Brown, Jean Cabrera, Eiberson Castellano, Starlyn Castillo, Ethan Chenault, Ty Collins

Group 5 : Gabriel Cotto, Hans Crouse, Jack Dallas, Trey Dillard, Jake Eddington

Group 6 : Jaydenn Estanista, Braeden Fausnaught, Jordan Fowler, Carlos Francisco, Javier Fuenmayor

Group 7 : Marty Gair, Alex Garbrick, Eric Garcia, Tristan Garnett, Drew Garrett

Group 8 : Luis Gomez, Mavis Graves, Zach Haake, Daniel Harper, Josh Hendrickson

Group 9 : Jonh Henriquez, Cristian Hernandez, Jakob Hernandez, Chase Hopewell, Drew Hutchinson

Group 10 : Estibenzon Jimenez, Damon Jones, Nate Karaffa, Orion Kerkering, Keylan Killgore

Group 11 : George Klassen, Taylor Lehman, Adam Leverett, Hunter Loyd, Rafael Marcano

Group 12 : Jordi Martinez, Gunner Mayer, Tommy McCollum, Alex McFarlane, Griff McGarry

Group 13 : Christian McGowan, Tyler McKay, Oswald Medina, Daniel Mejia, Jhordany Mezquita

Group 14 : McKinley Moore, Wesley Moore, Nick Nelson, Mitch Neunborn, Luis Ortiz

Group 15 : Matt Osterberg, Micah Ottenbreit, Andrew Painter, Wen Hui Pan, David Parkinson

Group 16 : Jose Pena Jr, Hector Perez, Jonathan Petit, Tyler Phillips, Dominic Pipkin

Group 17 : Michael Plassmeyer, Alex Rao, Jason Ruffcorn, Matt Russell, Luke Russo

Group 18 : Rodolfo Sanchez, Brett Schulze, Andrew Schultz, Eduar Segovia, Enrique Segura, Casey Steward

Group 19 : Noah Skirrow, Saul Teran, Paxton Thompson, Braydon Tucker, Erich Uelmen, Guissepe Velasquez

Group 20 : Ezequiel Ventura, Jace Vines, Andrew Walling, Jeremy Walker, Danny Wilkinson, Cam Wynne

So we continue - the second article in the 2023 series on pitchers  ⚾️🤓.

RHP Konnor Ash - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 7/20/21 - University of Missouri

2023 Stats :  started the season with the rehab group at the complex, pitched in one FCL game, was activated on 6/15/23 and assigned to the Clearwater Threshers where he made five appearances.  Promoted to Jersey Shore on 7/7/23 and appeared in sixteen games (23 IP) with a 2.35 ERA, 37 K’s, 10 walks, a .190 batting average against and a 1.13 WHIP.  Made a cameo appearance with AA level Reading appearing in one game.  Twenty-three overall appearances for the season over four levels - 4.03 ERA in 29 IP, 62 % strike ratio, averaged 18.03 pitches per inning pitched.

2023 Notes :   Konnor has a big breaking curve ball and a deceptive delivery - he hides the ball really well - seems to come from behind his front knee with arm slot and leg kick. The full arsenal is a fastball (sits in a range of 90 to 93 mph), change up, curve and occasional slider.  Primary off speed pitches are the curve and change up, gets a really high arm extension and release point bringing the baseball from a downward plane path, very effective for the curve and change up in particular.

Konnor’s reflections : “Biggest takeaway was everything happens for a reason. When stuff hits the fan you find out who you really are as a person.  Find a way. This off-season I’m focusing on getting stronger and a couple mechanical tweaks to try and gain some velo.  Also working on a splitter that I picked up near the end of the year.”

2024 Projection :  will compete for a AA level roster spot in spring training.

RHP Andrew Baker - 23 years old - drafted in eleventh round of the 2021 draft from Chipola Junior College, Chipola, FL

2023 Stats :  made 41 appearances for AA level Reading - 8.12 ERA in 41 IP, 64 K’s, 48 walks, .226 BAA, 2.02 WHIP.  55 % strike ratio and averaged 21.68 pitches per inning pitched.  Has appeared in five games for Scottsdale to date in the Arizona Fall League - five IP, 0.00 ERA, 7 K’s, 4 walks, 1.00 WHIP.

2023 Notes :   Features a fastball (95 to 99 mph, has reached 101 mph), hard slider and big break curve.  Had his struggles during the 2023 season at Reading with control, command and mix.  We’ve never doubted that Andrew has big league talent, if you watch him throw that’s readily evident.  It’s a matter of commanding/controlling the zone, refining and sequencing pitches and repeating mechanics, from there the talent can shine.  He was selected to participate in the Arizona Fall League to continue to develop in all of those areas and come into 2024 spring training ready to compete for an upper level roster spot.  He has a lot of moving parts in his deliver, perhaps simplifying to find a consistent release point is the answer, the stuff definitely plays.  A good young man who’s both approachable and well liked.

Andrew’s reflections : “Takeaway was to not hang my hat on bad things and good things. This offseason I’m going to fine-tune my mechanics.”

2024 Projection :  should come to spring camp with an eye on a key bullpen role at either the double A or triple A level, if can harness the command he has the ability to pitch successfully in the big leagues.

RHP Brandon Beckel - 21 years old - drafted in twelfth round of the 2023 draft from Texas Tech University

2023 Stats :   Very small pro sample size - pitched in four games - one in the FCL and three with the Clearwater Threshers - 6.75 ERA in four innings pitched, two strikeouts, two walks, 1.67 WHIP, .273 BAA, 63 % strike ratio, averaged 12 pitches per innings pitched.

2023 Notes : made his pro debut on 8/22/23 pitching a scoreless inning (one hit and one strikeout) versus the FCL Blue Jays.  He’s got a sharp breaking ball that he keeps down in the zone, looks like a pitch that’s heavy and a ground ball maker.  Decent fastball as well, was a multi inning reliever in college.  We saw him in one of his first live BP sessions at the complex in August and wrote this “was consistently on the edge of the plate glove side with vertical bite on what looked like a slider, was sure peppering that area today, bat breakers.”  Baseball America said this about him in their pre-draft scouting report “attacks hitters with a 92-94 mph fastball that has been up to 95 and a low-to-mid-80s power breaking ball. The pitch has slider velocity, but top-down movement with more vertical bite than horizontal sweep.”

2024 Projection :  Likely breaks spring camp with Low A Clearwater.

RHP Carlos Betancourt - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent 7/2/17 - Cumana, Venezuela

2023 Stats :  very solid year - 3.69 regular season ERA for High A Jersey Shore in 39 appearances, 78 IP with 92 K’s, 33 walks, .229 BAA, 1.29 WHIP, 62 % strike ratio, averaged 16.92 pitches per innings pitched.  Better in the second half posting a 3.03 ERA in 38 2/3 IP as opposed to a 4.35 first half ERA in 39 1/3 IP.  Had an outstanding month of August - 1.26 ERA in 8 games (14 1/3 IP) with 18 K’s and 6 walks - a BAA of .173 and a WHIP of 1.05.  Pitched an additional 2 2/3 innings in the playoffs.

2023 Notes :  Carlos was the epitome of the bulk reliever this past summer, he made thirty multi-inning appearances. He is also pitching for Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League in his fourth consecutive season.  We initially saw him on the backfields where he spent his first four years in the GCL and FCL before being assigned to the Threshers last summer.  He will throw a four pitch mix (four seam FB, Slider, Curve & Changeup) with the fastball generally in the 91 to 93 mph range but flashing at times as high as 95 to 96.  He’s got strikeout capabilities. Loves to pitch and will take the ball every time he’s asked, added a sinker to his pitch arsenal during the year but used it sporadically.

2024 Projection :  definitely in the mix in spring camp for a AA level roster spot at Reading.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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