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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/13/2020 : Searching for Big Arms - Minor League Free Agents - National League East 🧐😎

Seems like most every team has an arsenal of power arms in their bullpens ... often times they are fellas most fans haven’t heard much about. This year’s Rays used a dominating crew of relievers to drive their way to the World Series and the 2020 champion Dodgers also featured a bevy of powerful relievers ...

Since I’ve got a bit of time on my hands I thought I’d search the minor league systems of each of the other 29 clubs to identify minor league free agents that might fit with the Phillies as part of a power pen arsenal, with both immediate needs and short term minor league development in mind ... here’s a look at the National League Eastern Division.

Just some names that might be of interest is all ...

Atlanta Braves

Jason Creasy - 28 year old RHP ( 6’4” 197 ) - he’s been clocked at 99 mph after moving to the bullpen. Originally drafted in the 8th round in 2011 by the Pirates he was released in 2017 and signed by the Diamondbacks. The Braves claimed him in 2018 after Arizona put him on waivers. Creasy pitched very well at the AA level in 2019 which earned him a promotion to AAA Gwinnett where he held opponents scoreless in 21 of his 30 appearances ... in three games he got blown up for fifteen of the twenty three runs in total charged against him at AAA.

Mike Foltynewicz - 29 year old RHP ( 6’4” 195 ) - after a stellar year in 2018 at the major league level when he posted a 2.85 ERA in 183 IP the previously hard throwing right-hander struggled in both 2019 and 2020 and was designated for assignment this summer. He ended up at the Alternate Site to finish out this season. A distinctive dip in velocity from averaging 95 mph on the heater to sitting in the 91-92 range was partially attributed to weight loss. Reportedly he added weight at the Alternate Camp and his velocity trended back up. He was entering his fourth arbitration year as a Brave in 2021 coming off a one year contract valued at $6.4 million.

Brad Roney - 28 year old RHP ( 6’1” 200 ) - He had upper 90’s velocity in 2014 but injuries have hampered him since and he sits in the 91-94 range, touching 95 ... still reportedly has plus secondary pitches ( slider & change up ). He was drafted by the Braves in the 8th round of the 2014 draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi. He missed the entire 2018 season but had a good bounce back season in 2019 including playing in the Arizona Fall League. If the velocity ticks up on the FB again the word is the full mix plays.

Miami Marlins

Tyler Kolek - 24 year old RHP ( 6’4” 260 ) - drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft ( second overall ) by the Marlins - was considered a “can’t miss” selection. Has battled thru Tommy John and Thoracic Outlet surgeries. He was clocked at 100-102 mph while sitting at 96-98 with a power slider in the mid 80’s when drafted however the surgeries sapped him ... in 2018 Fall Instructs the FB was topping out at 92. He’d be a low risk, potentially high reward signing ... if he can reclaim his health and the stuff that turned heads as a high schooler.

Washington Nationals

James Bourque - 27 years old ( 6’4” 215 ) - was the Nationals 14th round selection in the 2014 draft. Began his career as a starter but since moving to the bullpen in 2018 his FB has tracked consistently in the 95-96 range along with a power curveball. His strikeout ratio jumped to 12.6 per nine innings pitched. He was called to the majors for the first time in 2019 and pitched in six games with the Nationals in 2020. Throwing strikes has been an issue.

New York Mets

Adonis Uceta - 26 years old ( 6’1” 225 ) - His fastball consistently works in the 94-to-97 range with a plus changeup. He was the closer for AA Binghamton in 2019 and posted a 1.44 ERA in 56 IP with 55 K’s and 17 BB. Signed by the Mets in 2013 as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic.

Jose Moreno - 24 years old ( 6’4” 165 ) - The lanky Moreno has a live arm, possessing a fastball that can reach 100 MPH, generally settling in around 96-98 MPH. In addition to velocity, it also has some run thanks to arm slot. He complements the pitch with a 78-83 MPH slider. He hasn’t pitched above the High A level.

I’ll search thru the National League Central next.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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