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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

10/27/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers - Part Three

Updated: Nov 26, 2023

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 two article previously published - see the links if you missed them.  Today we focus on group three.

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

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

The following groups will be discussed in future articles :

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 third article in the 2023 series on pitchers  ⚾️🤓.

RHP Malik Binns - 24 years old - drafted in eighteenth round of the 2021 draft from Benedictine University, Mesa, AZ

2023 Stats :   Appeared in 22 games with High A Jersey Shore (25 1/3 IP) with 28 strikeouts and 23 walks.  A .271 BAA and 2.05 WHIP.  58 % strike ratio - averaged 21.83 pitches per inning pitched. Good ERA in August and September - 2.16 in seven appearances - 8 1/3 IP.

2023 Notes :   features a fastball (92 to 95 mph), cutter and curve.  The curve has a sharp break and can be an out maker if command of all pitches becomes consistent.  Malik (6’7”) is imposing on the mound, a physical presence.  Has had difficulties in his brief career throwing strikes (8.17 BB/9 and a 1.22 K/BB ratio).  There’s capabilities of even higher velocities on his fastball however command issues have prohibited the pursuit.  If the young man can find a consistent release point on his pitches he has the talent to progress up the ladder.  Showed flashes of what he might become late in the season.

2024 Projection : a return to Jersey Shore with an opportunity to advance.

RHP Josh Bortka - 24 years old - drafted in sixteenth round of the 2022 draft from Central Missouri University

2023 Stats :  1-0 record in 20 appearances (29 1/3 IP) with the Low A Clearwater Threshers - 43 strikeouts, 19 walks, .125 BAA, 1.06 WHIP, 60 % strike percentage, 18.10 average pitches per inning pitched.  Also appeared in 8 FCL games - eight innings pitched - was on opening day roster for Threshers - sent to FCL on 4/30/23 with an injury, returned to action on 6/6/23 in FCL and back with Threshers on 7/5/23.  Became the closer - pitched in two playoff games - 3 1/3 IP, no runs, one hit, three strikeouts.  Will pitch for Adelaide this winter in the Australian Baseball League.

2023 Notes :  Throws a Fastball (sits in a range of 92 to 94 mph - max 96) curve and slider.   Uses his slider as a primary pitch, will throw it over eighty percent of the time - it’s a plus pitch with well above average spin rates (2,700 to 3,000 rpm’s) that is a swing and miss delivery.  Issues have been command and control.  Josh had UCL repair and bridge surgery in 2019 - returned to action in 2022.   Will chow down on a fast food chicken samitch, my kind of guy 🤓.

2024 Projection : should be in the mix for a bullpen spot with Jersey Shore out of spring camp.

LHP  Ben Bowden - 28 years old - signed as a free agent 1/23/23 - was 2016 2nd round pick of Rockies - Vanderbilt

2023 Stats :  6-2 win/loss record in 49 appearances with AAA Lehigh Valley, 6.56 ERA, 52 1/3 IP, 76 strikeouts, 32 walks, .230 BAA, 1.51 WHIP, 61 % strike ratio, averaged 19.89 pitches per inning pitched. Was outstanding in May (9 games - 1.74 ERA in 11 2/3 IP - 13 K’s) and September (5 games, no runs, 2 hits in 6 1/3 IP with 11 K’s and 1 walk).

2023 Notes :  pitched in 39 major league games for the Rockies in 2021, was a steady reliever for the Iron Pigs this summer - had two appearances that blew up his ERA - in his other 47 games the ERA was 4.23.  He throws a four seamer (90 to 93 mph), slider and change-up.

2024 Projection : minor league free agent - signed with Atlanta Braves 11/26/23

RHP Connor Brogdon - 28 years old - drafted in tenth round of the 2017 draft from Lewis-Clark State, Lewiston, ID

2023 Stats :   Was optioned to Lehigh Valley on 6/9/23 after beginning the year with the Phillies - appeared in 27 games in the big leagues this season posting a 4.03 ERA (29 IP) with 26 walks and 13 strikeouts, a 1.45 WHIP and .264 BAA - 63 % strike ratio and averaged 18.76 pitches per inning pitched.  In the Minor Leagues at AAA Lehigh Valley he appeared in 26 games (28 IP) posting a 5.46 ERA with 34 strikeouts and 16 walks, a 1.36 WHIP, .216 BAA, 63 % strike ratio and a 17.36 pitches per innings pitched average.  Over his career he’s appeared in 139 major league games with a cumulative 3.55 ERA in 142 IP with a 65 % strike ratio, 16.63 pitches per innings pitched average and a 1.21 WHIP

2023 Notes :  Connor possesses a major league skill set, this summer was a difficult one for him in regards to results however once he was optioned it was time spent working on refining his mechanics to find a consistent arm slot, regain pitch movement and maintain a motion path to enable consistency.  He has a four seam fastball (in the 94 to 96 mph range), an outstanding change-up and a cutter.  He pitched better in the months of August and September appearing in 13 games (13 IP) with a 3.46 ERA however walks were still an issue. Velocity is down a few ticks from early in his career however he can still be a very effective reliever because of the mix he has as he showed in April when he posted a 1.35 ERA in 12 big league appearances (13 1/3 IP) with 12 K’s and 4 walks.  It’s a matter of re-gaining the form on a consistent basis.

2024 Projection : Major league talent and a good fella to boot, I see him back in the show.

RHP Blake Brown - 25 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 6/18/20 - UNC Asheville

2023 Stats :  did not play in 2023 - spent the entire season at the Complex with the rehab group working back from ankle surgery.   Hasn’t pitched for two years - last appearance was 9/18/21 for Reading vs Binghamton.

2023 Notes :  we saw him in side sessions early in the year (April) and then was shut down for a bit.  When he’s healthy has shown the capability to register his fastball in the triple digits and sit consistently in the upper 90’s.  Suffered an Achilles injury and missed the entire 2022 and 2023 seasons - continues to work with the rehab group in Clearwater.

Blake’s reflections : “I’d say my biggest takeaway would be to take advantage of every opportunity given, even though it may not seem like an opportunity at the time.  And my off season focus is going to be just making sure I’m healthy and 100% ready for the season and to make an impact next year.”

2024 Projection :  hopefully back in game action, if so, likely would be with either Jersey Shore or Reading.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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