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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

10/31/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers - Part Five

10/31/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers - Part Five

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

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

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

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 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 fifth article in the 2023 series on pitchers  ⚾️🤓.

LHP Gabriel Cotto - 23 years old - drafted in 7th round of the 2018 draft from Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, Gurabo, PR

2023 Stats :  posted a collective 4.79 ERA in 22 appearances (18 starts) between Clearwater and Jersey Shore accumulating

88.1 innings pitched with 71 K’s and 45 BB, a .242 BAA and 1.40 WHIP.  Averaged 15.52 pitches per innings pitched and had a 61 % strike ratio.  Was 4-0 with Clearwater in 8 games, 2.78 ERA in 35.2 IP, at Jersey Shore had a 6.15 ERA in 14 appearances (52.2 IP) but most of his struggles there were early in the year.  He posted a 3.75 ERA in five August appearances with JS over 24 IP.  Gabriel is on the Puerto Rico winter league roster of Leones de Ponce.

2023 Notes :   Began the season with Jersey Shore but struggled a bit  and was transferred to Clearwater on 5/12/23 where he pitched till being transferred back to Jersey Shore on 7/17/23.  Gabriel is a pitch to contact pitcher with a 3/4 arm slot - hides ball well and has a slinging action to his delivery.  Change-up is an out pitch - same release point as fastball, has sinking movement.  His fastball sits in a range of 86 to 90 mph and he also will throw a cutter, slider, change up and curve.  He is generally a starter and innings eater but came out of the bullpen on September 10th to close out a huge win for the BlueClaws against Hudson Valley by pitching a perfect 11th inning - it earned him his first professional save.  Has a great attitude and team spirit, strong work ethic.

2024 Projection :  will compete for an AA roster spot in the spring but could return for more work with Jersey Shore to start.

RHP Hans Crouse - 25 years old - acquired in trade from Rangers on 7/30/21 - was Rangers 2nd round pick in 2017 draft

2023 Stats :  missed the brunt of the season with injury issues - was on injured list from May 26th to September 19th.  Made 16 appearances with Lehigh Valley (eight inMarch/April - 2.31 ERA in 11.2 IP, seven in May - 13.50 ERA in 8 IP and two in September - 1 IP - no runs) posting a cumulative ERA of 6.75 in 20 IP, a 2.20 WHIP and .288 BAA, 57 % strike ratio and an average of 21.75 pitches per innings pitched.  He also pitched in two September games for Clearwater (one in the playoffs - two scoreless innings in total) and one in Reading (a scoreless frame) in rehab stints.

2023 Notes :  The majority of the 2023 season was spent working with the rehab group at the Complex.  He became a popular teammate amongst the group with his banter, jokes and personality.  Returned to game action in September - was able to watch one of his last bullpen and live BP sessions before that and thought that he threw the ball really well, maybe the best I’ve seen him in person dating back to when he first arrived.  When he’s going good he’s a strikeout pitcher with a mid nineties fastball, a hard breaking slider and change-up.  He’s had a series of injuries dating back to his days with the Rangers organization which has hampered development.  When he came over to the Phillies in a trade efforts were made to simplify his delivery, attempting to make it more compact as before there was more moving parts and volatility.  Still a very young player, with good health, a sharp focus and perhaps adapting to a reliever’s role he has the ability to pitch again in the major leagues.

2024 Projection :  eligible for minor league free agency

RHP Jack Dallas - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 8/1/22 - Lamar University

2023 Stats :   Jack had an outstanding season out of the bullpen - in 42 appearances (65.1 IP) between Clearwater and Jersey Shore he recorded a stellar 1.79 ERA with 69 strikeouts and 23 walks, a .206 batting average against and a 1.10 WHIP.  Jack had a strike ratio of 61 % and averaged 16.07 pitches per innings pitched.  At Clearwater he posted a minuscule 0.60 ERA in 19 games (30 IP) with a 1.23 WHIP, he was promoted to Jersey Shore on 6/13/23 and recorded a. 2.80 ERA in 23 appearances (35.1 IP) with a WHIP of 0.99 and a BAA of .188.  Over the course of the season he had seven holds and seven saves.  Also pitched in two playoff games for Jersey Shore (4.1 IP) and didn’t allow a run and only one hit.

2023 Notes : Was often deployed in inherited runner situations as a strike thrower who gets after the hitters, also pitched more than an inning in 28 of his appearances.  He came to pro ball as no stranger to high pressure game spots as he graduated from Lamar as their all-time leader in saves and appearances.  His fastball, a sinker, generally is in the 91 to 94 range and he also features a cutter, slider, curve and change up.  Gets tremendous spin/movement on his cutter and curve in particular, above the big league average.  The movement on those pitches makes it very difficult for hitters to square them up which was reflected in the cumulative batting average against him this season.  Is a great competitor and shows excellent composure in high impact game situations.  He reminds me a great deal of Mark Leiter Jr in build, moxie and approach.  His brother Chad is a top prospect in the Blue Jays organization.

Jack’s reflections :  “The Phillies make winning a priority and that can elevate both the team and your game.  My biggest off-season focus is being more in the zone with off speed and getting my K/9 up.”

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert :  “Real durable bulk reliever that has the ability to really spin the ball and command the strike zone.  His curve is more of the sweeper profile and he also features a cutter.”

Jersey Shore Pitching Coach Phil Cundari : “Jack is a tough competitor!  Showed ability to use both fastballs, four seam and two seam.  Induced weak contact and high percentage of ground balls with the two seamer.  Slider/curve is his best pitch and can use it in any count - produces whiffs with left handed batters and it’s improving vs right handed batters.  Cutter showed real promise coming down the stretch with ability to get more right handed batter whiffs.  Change-up is another formidable pitch creating weak contact vs left handed batters.  A slight velo bump can potentially grade most of his pitches to above average offerings.  Role versatility is another strength as he showed the ability to turn lineup over with success out of the bullpen.  Multiple innings pitcher with excellent recovery to repeat performances.  Great teammate and fearless.”

2024 Projection :  should be in the mix for an opening day roster spot with Reading this spring.

RHP Trey Dillard - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 7/25/23 - Texas A&M

2023 Stats :  appeared in just one regular season game for the Clearwater Threshers - two thirds IP.  Also pitched in two playoff games - 1.2 innings - no hits or runs with two strikeouts.

2023 Notes :   We saw Trey throw a live BP session on 8/25/23 - his motion reminds me of former Phillies minor leaguer Grant Dyer (he’s now a firefighter in California btw) who had a big arm to couple with a 12 to 6 hook.  We saw similar action with Dillard’s pitches and mechanics - jumps at the hitter.  Very small sample size but that’s all I’ve got thus far.  In game action to date has shown a four seam fastball (92 to 93 mph) and curve/slider.  Trey has had two Tommy John surgeries as an amateur pitcher (2020 and 2021) but has battled back to earn a chance with the Phillies as a professional.  He was selected in the 16th round of the 2018 draft by the Dodgers but did not sign.  Pitched for the University of Missouri before transferring to Texas A&M.

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

RHP Jake Eddington - 22 years old - drafted in seventh round of the 2023 draft from Missouri State University

2023 Stats :  did not appear in any games after signing.

2023 Notes : We have yet to see Jake pitch in person - Baseball America reported this in his draft profile - “Returning from an injury that derailed his 2022 campaign, Eddington burst onto the scene this spring for Missouri State as a weekend starter, while also attracting attention from pro scouts and evaluators. The lanky 6-foot-2, 185-pound righthanded pitcher has loose, athletic actions in his delivery with plenty of room to add further size and strength to his projectable frame. His crossfire landing, releasing from a three-quarter slot, adds deception to his 92-94 mph fastball, which possesses above-average spin rates of 2,400 rpm and creates an uncomfortable at-bat, especially for righthanded hitters. Complementing Eddington’s deceptive speedball is his 82-84 mph slider with above-average spin. The pitch serves as Eddington’s primary weapon to both lefthanded and right handed hitters, with tight, late break. Evaluators believe Eddington’s overall command will continue to improve in time with reps.“

2024 Projection :  likely on the opening day roster of the Clearwater Threshers out of spring camp

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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