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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/11/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers - Part Fourteen

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 Noteswith 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 thirteen articles previously published - see the links if you missed them.  Today we focus on group fourteen.

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

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 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 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 fourteenth article in the 2023 series on pitchers  ⚾️🤓.

RHP McKinley Moore - 25 years old - acquired from White Sox in trade 3/29/22 for OF Adam Haseley

2023 Stats :  appeared in three major league games in April (3.1 IP) after making the club in spring training.  Was optioned to Lehigh Valley on 4/16/23.  Injury riddled summer - appeared in 20 total minor league games with Clearwater (one game rehab - one scoreless inning), Reading (seven games - 1.42 ERA in 6.1 IP) and Lehigh Valley (12 games - 1.38 ERA, 13 IP, 22 K’s, 17 BB -  .125 BAA). Overall pitched 20.1 minor league innings, 1.33 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 22 walks, 1.67 WHIP, .176 BAA.  He averaged 19.23 pitches per inning pitched and had a 60 % strike ratio.  Was very good in September for Reading/Lehigh Valley - 6 appearances, 6 IP, 1.50 ERA, 12 strikeouts and 2 walks.

2023 Notes :  began the year on the Phillies roster but had multiple IL stints and rehab periods during the year, was out of game action and rehabbing at the complex from May 20th to July 2nd, again from 7/3 to 7/29 and from 8 /3 to 9/4.  Returned in September to pitch at Reading and Lehigh Valley and was very good.  He’s a high velocity reliever capable of upper nineties to triple digits heat and has a hard and sharp breaking slider to go along with it.  Issues have been control and command for the 6’6” hurler.  The stuff can shine thru if he can throw strikes consistently and command the zone.  Fastball sits in a range of 95 to 99 mph - max 100, slider and change up.  Pitches on a downward plane given his size and high release point.

2024 Projection :  another shot in big league spring camp at a major league bullpen role.

LHP Wesley Moore  - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 11/9/22 - Kansas State University

2023 Stats :  an outstanding season that began with Clearwater where he posted a stellar 0.72 ERA in 17 games (25 IP) with 39 K’s and 12 walks.  Promoted to Jersey Shore on 6/13/23 and continued to excel with a 1.91 ERA in 25 appearances (28.1 IP) with 40 strikeouts and 15 walks.  Overall numbers were a 4-1 record, 1.35 ERA in 42 games (53.1 IP) with 79 strikeouts and 27 walks, a 1.14 WHIP,  .177 BAA, an average of 16.50 pitches per inning pitched and a 65 % strike ratio.  Was named the organization pitcher of the month in May - 1.32 ERA in 8 games (13.2 IP) with 22 K’s and 5 walks.  Had an outstanding month of August - 0.87 ERA in 9 games (10.1 IP) with 15 K’s  and a standout month of April - 0.00 ERA in 7 games (9 IP).

2023 Notes :   attended and played for Vauxhall High School in Vauxhall, Alberta, Canada as well as the Team Canada Junior National Team, pitched in the 18U World Cup as a teenager.  A scout from another organization who saw him a lot as an amateur said that Wesley impressed as a strong competitor who seemingly always shined in big moments, no fear.  We saw that this summer.  He features a sinking fastball (sits in the 92 to 94 mph range) curve and changeup with the change being an outstanding out-maker, has repeatable mechanics and a very good speed differential with the change-up off the fastball.  His release point and arm speed are aligned on all of his pitches, hides the ball, making it difficult to distinguish the various  pitches out of his hand.

Wesley’s reflections :  “I’d say personally learning how my body works and how to use my pitch arsenal and being able to make adjustments pitch to pitch .  From an organizational standpoint what has impacted me the most is just the communication between all the coaches for my development . After each outing we do an in depth review of what went well and what I need to work on.  I think that has helped me a lot!”

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert : “Wesley features a funky delivery and uniqueness to how he deploys his pitches. With an entire offseason to focus on strength, we expect the fastball velocity to tick up next season.  His go-to pitch is his change-up that he can throw in any count.  We will focus on his breaking ball development going into spring training.”

Jersey Shore Pitching Coach Phil Cundari :   “Really hard worker and a pleasure to work with, has outstanding stuff.  The changeup is a plus plus pitch.  If he can continue to improve on fastball command and pick up a bit more velocity has a very short path to advance.  Changeup is equivalent to Kerkering’s slider in its effectiveness and ability to produce swings and misses, it’s that good a pitch.  Off-season is big to add core strength - as he continues to strengthen overall it will create an even bigger differential between the fastball and change up which will make him very valuable as a lefty reliever. Working on adding a cutter as well.”

2024 Projection :  a position in the Reading bullpen out of spring camp seems likely.

RHP Nick Nelson  - 27 years old - acquired in four player trade with Yankees 11/19/21

2023 Stats :  logged his second highest career total in innings (115 overall) as he re-engineered himself as a starting pitcher making 25 starts (20 with LHV after an early season rehab for a hamstring issue), finished with a 4.35 ERA in 97.1 innings at triple A Lehigh Valley.  Was 7-3 overall with a 3.35 ERA - 92 strikeouts and 43 walks, averaged 16.34 pitches per inning pitched and had a 62 % strike ratio.  Made a start for the Phillies in September and threw 5.1 innings - one run on two hits.

2023 Notes :  pitched well for the IronPigs and provided starting pitching depth for the organization.  Features a four seam fastball (93 to 96 mph), sinker, slider and change up.  Went six or more innings in nine of his starts.

2024 Projection :  a major league skillset and could start for multiple teams. Has one remaining option.

RHP Mitch Neunborn - 26 years old - signed as an international free agent 6/5/23 - Australia

2023 Stats :  made 16 appearances (10 starts) for High A Jersey Shore amassing 42.2 IP and posting a 3.38 ERA with 54 strikeouts and 14 walks.  Had a 0.94 WHIP and a .172 BAA - averaged 14.95 pitches per inning pitched with a 62 % strike ratio.  Also pitched 3.1 innings in 9/14/23 playoff game.  Was selected to pitch in the Arizona Fall League - pitched 6 innings in 3 appearances.

2023 Notes :  features three pitches, a fastball (92 to 95 mph), slider and split finger change up.  Throws his splitter with a Vulcan grip between his ring and index finger, creates good deception, reduction in velocity and downward movement, will throw it often and for strikes.  Has been a standout for the Adelaide Giants in the Australian Baseball League the past couple of winter league seasons putting up stellar numbers out of the bullpen last year for the champions.  He’s a strike thrower as evidenced by an immaculate inning he threw on August 17th for the BlueClaws, pitched well for Jersey Shore.  He was deployed in the organization as a starter this year, repertoire of pitches and command position him for success over multiple innings.  Performed as a bulk reliever in the Arizona Fall League.  Mitch pitched collegiate baseball for Phillies Minor League Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert at North Iowa Community College.

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert : “Mitch has a good feel for his arsenal. He has a tremendous change-up. With dedicated time to train during the offseason, we feel he can gain a few ticks on the fastball and be a valuable bulk reliever in the upper levels.”

2024 Projection : likely on the Reading opening day roster out of spring camp.

RHP Luis Ortiz  - 28 years old - claimed off waivers from Giants 11/9/22

2023 Stats :   appeared in 33 games (45 IP) for AAA Lehigh Valley posting a 4.60 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 13 walks.  Had a 1.13 WHIP, averaged 15.11 pitches per inning pitched with a 66 % strike ratio.  Also pitched in 14 major league games (19 IP) with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP, had a 67 % strike ratio in his big league appearances with 16 strikeouts and 5 walks.

2023 Notes :  played summer ball in his amateur days with Connor Brogdon, they are good friends.  Was used as both a multi inning and back end reliever at Lehigh Valley.  Has a big arm - four seam fastball (93 to 96 mph - flashes higher), sinker, curve and slider.  Was on the shuttle between LHV and the big leagues this season - multiple recalls/optioned transactions.  He was the 1st round draft choice of the Rangers in the 2014 draft out of high school. A steady and dependable reliever for the IronPigs this season and pitched relatively well in the show when given the opportunities.

2024 Projection :  competes for a big league job in spring training, provides bullpen depth at LHV if doesn’t make squad.  Has one remaining option.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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