11/10/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers - Part Thirteen
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 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 pitchers in alphabetical order. The first twelve articles previously published - see the links if you missed them. Today we focus on group thirteen
Group 13 : Christian McGowan, Tyler McKay, Oswald Medina, Daniel Mejia, Jhordany Mezquita
Group 1 : Mick Abel, Samuel Aldegheri, Luis Alcala, Shaun Anderson, Erubiel Armenta - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/10-10-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-one
Group 2 : Konnor Ash, Andrew Baker, Brandon Beckel, Carlos Betancourt - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/10-26-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-two
Group 3 : Malik Binns, Josh Bortka, Ben Bowden, Connor Brogdon, Blake Brown - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/10-27-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-three
Group 4 : Cam Brown, Jean Cabrera, Eiberson Castellano, Starlyn Castillo, Ethan Chenault, Ty Collins - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/10-30-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-four
Group 5 : Gabriel Cotto, Hans Crouse, Jack Dallas, Trey Dillard, Jake Eddington - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/10-31-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-five
Group 6 : Jaydenn Estanista, Braeden Fausnaught, Jordan Fowler, Carlos Francisco, Javier Fuenmayor - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-1-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-six
Group 7 : Marty Gair, Alex Garbrick, Eric Garcia, Tristan Garnett, Drew Garrett - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-2-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-seven
Group 8 : Luis Gomez, Mavis Graves, Zach Haake, Daniel Harper, Josh Hendrickson - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-3-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-eight
Group 9 : Jonh Henriquez, Cristian Hernandez, Jakob Hernandez, Chase Hopewell, Drew Hutchinson - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-6-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-nine
Group 10 : Estibenzon Jimenez, Damon Jones, Nate Karaffa, Orion Kerkering, Keylan Killgore. - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-7-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-ten
Group 11 : George Klassen, Taylor Lehman, Adam Leverett, Hunter Loyd, Rafael Marcano - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-8-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-eleven
Group 12 : Jordi Martinez, Gunner Mayer, Tommy McCollum, Alex McFarlane, Griff McGarry - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-9-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-twelve
The following groups will be discussed in future articles :
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 thirteenth article in the 2023 series on pitchers ⚾️🤓.
RHP Christian McGowan - 23 years old - drafted in 7th round of the 2021 draft from Eastern Oklahoma State JC
2023 Stats : assigned from the IL to game action on 7/22/23 - made two appearances with the FCL Phillies and one with the Clearwater Threshers - was activated by Jersey Shore on 8/12/23 - made five starts - 16 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 17 strikeouts, 5 walks. Pitched in a playoff game also for the BlueClaws - 5 IP, 1 run on 3 hits. Overall regular season numbers - 9 games, 25.2 IP, 3.86 ERA, 28 strikeouts, 10 walks, 1.32 WHIP, averaged 13.32 pitches per innings pitched and had a strike ratio of 63 %. Made four starts in the Arizona Fall League - 17 IP, 3.71 ERA, 1.647 WHIP, 12 K’s, 7 walks.
2023 Notes : Spent the majority of the year at the complex with the rehab team returning from TJ surgery. Competes with passion, plays hard, gets after it - fun to watch. The arsenal - four seam and sinking fastball ( sits in a range of 92 to 96 mph - flashes higher), slider and change-up. Has the talent to perform at the upper levels and in the show. A potential big arm major leaguer who now that he’s healthy will focus on commanding the zone, continuing to refine pitches and building experience. His sinker is a pitch of intrigue, coupled with the four seamer and hard slider it provides three out pitches with the changeup being another potential put away, particularly to left handers. No one will outwork this young man, he’s got a down to earth, no frills, straight at ya, get it done persona who’s easy to root for.
Jersey Shore Pitching Coach Phil Cundari : “Extremely talented, anticipate that he’s a future big league starter. Did a really good job of managing his program and routines this year. As an organization it was a great decision to send him to the Arizona Fall League to compete against really good hitters. Has a power sinker, the pitch has potential to be even better at higher levels with more reps. He has a really fun personality but is extremely competitive on the field.”
2024 Projection : needs to build experience - will likely do so at Reading.
RHP Tyler McKay - 26 years old - drafted in 16th round of the 2018 draft from Howard JC, TX
2023 Stats : began at Reading where he posted a 2.54 ERA in 25 appearances in 28.1 IP converting six of eight saves with 32 strikeouts and 10 walks, a 1.02 WHIP and a .179 BAA. He was promoted to Lehigh Valley on July 14th where he appeared in 23 games (27 IP) posting a 2.67 ERA, a 1.48 WHIP with 24 strikeouts and 19 walks. Overall a 2.60 ERA in 48 appearances, 55.1 IP, 56 strikeouts and 29 walks, a .200 BAA and a 1.29 WHIP. Averaged 16.16 pitches per inning pitched and had a 59 % strike ratio. Had stellar months of April (1.50 ERA in 5 games - 6 IP, .091 BAA, .083 WHIP) and June (1.74 ERA in 9 games - 10.1 IP, 15 K’s, 1 BB, .211 BAA and a 0.87 WHIP).
2023 Notes : In 2022 spring training converted from a starting pitcher to a reliever and hasn’t looked back. Tyler has a riding two seam sinker (92-94 mph), a sweeping slider and a heavy tumbling action change up to go along with a cutter that he will primarily use against left handed hitters. He is a strike thrower who attacks the zone, reminds me a lot of Connor Brogdon both in build and approach, I’ve always thought of him as a major league candidate ever since I first saw a side bullpen session back in 2018, we’ve witnessed that there’s more velocity there if he needs it but the movement he gets on his pitches, especially the changeup, give him an arsenal that doesn’t necessarily require it to get hitters out at any level. Fun fact - he spent time this year with the big club pitching to Bryce Harper when he was going thru his rehab BP’s.
Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert : “McKay was outstanding at both Reading and LHV this season. He was used in high leverage spots in both places. He features a low, three quarter arm slot with a nasty two seamer/sinker and sweeping slider. His go to pitch is his change-up. Tyler improved his overall physicality in the offseason, which helped keep him healthy all year and was a durable backend option.”
2024 Projection : has earned a big league spring training invitation in my opinion, the big club staff needs to see him pitch.
RHP Oswald Medina - 21 years old - signed as an international free agent 5/9/19 - Puerto Cabello, Venezuela
2023 Stats : appeared in seven games (four starts with FCL Phillies and three starts with Clearwater Threshers) - a total of 27.2 IP with a 5.20 ERA - 24 strikeouts and 6 walks, 1.41 WHIP, averaged 9.65 pitches per inning pitched, is a strike thrower with a 76 % strike ratio.
2023 Notes : was placed on the injured list on July 20th with shoulder discomfort and finished the season working with the rehab team at the complex. Fastball is primary pitch with a slider and change up as support. Ball comes out of his hand differently - hard to describe - unique movement on many pitches. Lean frame - room to add muscle and weight and incorporate legs more into delivery. Fastball sits in a range of 85 to 90 mph - max 91, slider, change up and curve.
2024 Projection : assuming good health should be in mix to return to Threshers opening day roster.
RHP Daniel Mejia - 21 years old - signed as an international free agent 2/2/21 - San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic
2023 Stats : appeared in nine games (seven starts) with the FCL Phillies - 30.2 IP, 3.23 ERA, 29 strikeouts, 22 walks, .209 BAA, 1.47 WHIP, averaged 9.20 pitches per inning pitched, 63 % strike ratio. Had an outstanding month of July - 4 appearances - 2 starts - 1.69 ERA in 16 IP, .118 BAA, 1.13 WHIP, 15 K’s.
2023 Notes : tall ( 6’5” ) and lanky - fast ball is generally in the 90-94 mph range - has a changeup that gets swings and misses along with a slow curve/sweeper. Also throws a traditional slider. Had some issues with control during the summer and emotions in regards to letting situations affect him, got better as the year progressed. An easy delivery which indicates to this observer that with added strength velocity can tick higher - key is to continue to harness control and build command. We saw flashes of what he might become, the stuff is good enough to play at the next levels, with an improving approach and finding consistency he can certainly advance and get hitters out.
Daniel’s reflections : “My learning this year was that I was able to control what I couldn't control by working on my consistency. By 2024 my goal is to arrive with a better and positive physique🙏🏼”
2024 Projection : in the mix for a Clearwater Threshers roster spot.
LHP Jhordany Mezquita - 25 years old - drafted in 8th round of the 2017 draft from Hazelton, PA
2023 Stats : did not play in any games - spent the year at the complex with the rehab team.
2023 Notes : went on the IL in early June of 2022 and had Tommy John surgery shortly thereafter. Missed the entire 2023 season. Previously in his pro career has been a productive starter with mid to upper nineties velo - has the natural tail of a lefty to boot. We saw him in a side bullpen session on Ashburn Field in July this summer and were encouraged, unfortunately as is often the case with TJ recovery he had a slight set back and was put on an altered schedule - was back throwing bullpens in September and seemed ready to go on a rehab assignment but the season ended before that happened. Is now on the roster of Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League and is pitching in games. His fastball sits in a range of 90 to 94 mph - max 96 and also uses a slider, change up and curve.
Jhordanay’s reflections : “Something I will take away is the way of seeing things. Always see the positive side in bad times. At the beginning of my rehabilitation I thought it was going to be a long and boring process. I feel lucky to have had good teammates and good trainers/coaches. The trainers/coaches always supported me in moments of frustration. My teammates encouraged me when I wasn’t doing well. They were always making my time a good time. I am more than grateful to all of them for helping me give my best both on and off the field. Now I’m with my winterball team. I want to throw some innings since I didn’t get much action this year. I think it is an important step for my career and the 2024 season.”
2024 Projection : minor league free agent
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️
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