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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

10/30/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers - Part Four

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

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

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

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

The following groups will be discussed in future articles :

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 fourth article in the 2023 series on pitchers  ⚾️🤓.

RHP Cam Brown - 21 years old - drafted in tenth round of the 2023 draft from Texas Christian University

2023 Stats :  appeared in three games with the FCL Phillies (1) and Threshers (2) - one and two third innings pitched.

2023 Notes :  We saw him in a couple live BP sessions before he was assigned to the Threshers and were impressed with the stuff.  He’s got more than enough velo to succeed and a slider that looks like an out maker with its action and spiral.  The key is going to be command and control as it is with any pitcher.  Fastball sits in the 93 to 95 mph range with the slider as offsetting pitch and an occasional change-up.

Cam’s reflections :  “Biggest takeaway is it’s all about the relationships that you build that will carry you through the highs and lows of a season.  This offseason I am working on continuing to improve my command while also building my body for the workload of my first full professional season.”

2024 Projection :   In the mix for a Clearwater Threshers rotation spot in spring camp.

RHP Jean Cabrera - 21 years old - signed as an international free agent 7/2/19 from Maracay, Venezuela

2023 Stats :   Made great strides as a member of the starting rotation for the Threshers.  In the Florida State League playoffs Jean excelled allowing just one run in twelve and a third innings with two wins in two starts.  During the season he appeared in nineteen games making thirteen starts and accumulating a career high of 81.1 IP - a total of 93.2 counting the playoffs.  He struck out eighty-six batters in the regular season (ninety-seven total with the playoffs) while walking twenty-two and posted a 4.32 regular season ERA.  Finished with a 66 % strike ratio and averaged 16 pitches per inning pitched.

2023 Notes :  Jean won the 2021 Paul Owens Award as he struck out sixty-one batters and walked only ten in thirteen starts ( 52.2 IP ) in the Dominican Summer League posting a 1.54 ERA.   The team fellowship that the Threshers had this season helped him to grow as a player.  He told me “The impression that this team has shown me is how we work a lot, it's together and the camaraderie that we have is everything and for me that's great.”  The torque he gets on his pitch deliveries and his competitiveness along with a quick motion make him a tough opponent for hitters.  He generally uses a sinker/slider combination particularly later in the year as primaries with the fastball in the 94 to 96 mph range with above average spin.  The slider will sit 82 to 85 mph and he will spot a change-up along with a four seamer. He also has a curve ball but didn’t throw it as often this season.  Jean can reach back and fire into the 97-98 mph range on occasion as well, we’ve seen that in the past.

Jean’s reflections :  “I want to improve my strength for next season.”

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert : “Jean cut his walk rate in half and improved his average fastball velocity. He showed improvements in his slider movement and continues to gain physicality.  He was very durable this season and never missed a scheduled outing.  Late in the season he picked up a two seamer that he can use to right handed hitters.”

2024 Projection :  He’s spent two seasons now with the Threshers appearing in thirty-one games, is ready to bump up a notch next spring.

RHP Eiberson Castellano - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent 7/2/18 from Maracaibo, Venezuela

2023 Stats :  This season got off to a slow start, was activated on June 9th by the Threshers and appeared in twenty-two games (seven starts) accumulating fifty innings pitched with fifty-eight strikeouts and twenty-eight walks, posted a 5.04 ERA with a 1.66 WHIP and .276 BAA, 60 % strike ratio and averaged 18.04 pitches per innings pitched.  He made three appearances in the playoffs totaling three and a third innings. Eiberson is pitching winter baseball in the Venezuela league for Aguilas del Zulia.

2023 Notes :  The 2023 Threshers team bond also made a huge impression on him.  He told me “It amazes me to see the great team that we had, the encouragement of each of us for one another in the club house was impressive. We were always united in everything. I had never had this experience with a wonderful team like the one this year.”  Has a presence about him on the mound and big time movement and spin on his deliveries (in particular the curve ball) - curve ball RPM is at or above major league average.  Throws a sinker (92 to 95 mph), four seamer (sits 94 to 95 mph - touches 96), slider and curve ball.  This season was more of a struggle than the two years past but that’s also part of the learning and growing experience.  In my humble opinion he’s not scratched the surface of what he can become, I’m just as excited about his future as the first time we saw him pitch back in Instructs of 2021.

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert :   “He came into spring training a little behind schedule. We made the decision to keep him training at the complex and go through an intense velocity focus throwing program with coaches Riley McCauley and Gustavo Armas. That resulted in a good jump in his average velocity.  He is a physical arm with feel for his off-speed.”

2024 Projection : Can break spring camp with high A Jersey Shore.

RHP Starlyn Castillo  - 21 years old - signed as an international free agent 7/2/18 from Pimentel, Dominican Republic

2023 Stats :   appeared in 16 games (47.2 IP) with the FCL Phillies (12 games - 35.1 IP) and Clearwater Threshers (4 games - 12.1 IP) posting an overall ERA of 6.42 with 56 strikeouts and 32 walks and a WHIP of 1.83.  Averaged 12.04 pitches per innings pitched with a 65 % strike ratio.

2023 Notes :  The “stuff”  can play - focus and pitch ability needs to be sharper with emphasis on control and location, needs to build innings.  He has been relatively inexperienced (117 IP) over the past four seasons due to injuries and set backs. Has always been approachable and is a young man who has great faith and beliefs.  Had a good 2022 winter league season in Australia where he started ten games and earned the nickname “El Koala” - even had a tattoo stating as such with a koala put on 🤓.  Started the 2023 season with the Threshers but struggled and was transferred to the complex for a re-set on 5/6/23.  Finished the year with the FCL Phillies, just never found his footing - had a strong outing on 7/17/23 when he threw five shutout innings where we saw the ability shine thru - it’s there - bringing it to consistent fruition is the pursuit.  Features a fastball (sits in a range of 91 to 95 mph - max 96), curve, slider and change up.  He’s been with the organization since he was 16 years old and stateside that entire time, youthful energy sometimes wanders however can be turned into positive purpose by learning from experiences.

2024 Projection : a time to blossom, spring camp will set a tone for the seasons, could break camp with Jersey Shore.

RHP Ethan Chenault - 22 years old - drafted in eighteenth round of the 2023 draft from UNC Wilmington

2023 Stats :  did not appear in a professional game during the 2023 season

2023 Notes :  Only saw him pitch once in a live BP session on 8/22/23 - showed good vertical action on his breaking pitches, looked like both a slider and curve were deliveries, the action shown on each of those indicated they are swing and miss pitches when coming off a fastball which had decent pop.  I can see him being difficult to square up.  From scouting reports I’ve read he possesses a fastball that sits in the low-90s but can reach into the mid-90s and can really spin it - throws both a slider and curveball.  He’s a very pleasant young man, we’ve been fortunate to chat with both him and his parents already.

Ethan’s reflections :  “Biggest takeaway was embracing a new lifestyle and leaning on the staff I met to help create a routine to help me get my body right and develop. I have already gained twenty pounds of muscular weight since the draft so my focus this offseason is to build upon that gain to be ready for my first full season.”

2024 Projection : likely to be part of the Clearwater opening day roster.

RHP Ty Collins - 22 years old - drafted in sixteenth round of the 2021 draft from Glendale CC, Glendale, CA

2023 Stats :   Appeared in ten games for the FCL Phillies - 6.62 ERA in 16.1 IP, 1.78 WHIP, .211 BAA, 54 % strike ratio, 12.14 pitches per innings pitched average.  Closed the season with a strong August - 5 games, 11 IP, 2.45 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, .114 BAA including a streak of three games (6 IP) where he yielded no runs or hits.

2023 Notes : battles control issues with a career 9.93 BB/9 ratio in his three pro seasons to date.  Has appeared in 23 games, all in the FCL.  We’ve seen flashes of promise, needs to conquer control and command.  Fastball generally in the 90 to 93 mph range, slider and curve as secondaries.  Came into pro baseball with little experience as a pitcher as he primarily played center field in school, reportedly has plus wheels as well.  A very likable young man that plays with a lot of heart - can see that he cares a great deal.  In process of adding muscular weight, has a very slender build - if can become even a bit more physical and develop command of his pitches we believe he’s capable of manning a full season roster spot.

Ty’s reflections : “My biggest personal takeaway from this season was working to find my command consistently but also building my confidence.  I had a couple rough outings where I was in my head too much and just trying to be too perfect.  In this game you are going to sometimes fail, when things aren’t going well giving it everything you have is something I stuck with.  Being an over-thinker I sometimes had to trick myself to just have fun.  This offseason I’m mainly focusing on gaining more weight and getting stronger so my velo will jump back up but also trying to master my change-up in order to have a effective four pitch mix.”

2024 Projection :   In the hunt for an opening day roster spot with the Clearwater Threshers.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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