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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/2/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers - Part Seven

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

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

Group 7 : Marty Gair, Alex Garbrick, Eric Garcia, Tristan Garnett, Drew Garrett

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 -

The following groups will be discussed in future articles :

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 seventh article in the 2023 series on pitchers  ⚾️🤓.

RHP Marty Gair - 20 years old - drafted in 13th round of the 2023 draft from Florida Southwestern State JC, FL

2023 Stats :   did not play in any games during the season.

2023 Notes :  We’ve seen young Mr Gair in bullpen sessions and have been continually impressed with the talent, ball comes out quick with rise and velo, also throws a change up with little differentiation in arm slot and release but has heavy sink as it arrives to the plate. The combination of the two opposite extremes when mixed with a breaking ball are intriguing.  He’s a big fella at 6’6” and comes over the top with his delivery, perhaps some mechanics to clean up or simplify (a-lot of arm and leg activity) but we can see how the stuff definitely can play.  In just three observations this old baseball man thinks there’s a great deal of upside with this right hander.  Found this note on him from his college days ““Marty Gair was FSW’s best pitcher this season and is seen as one of the best JUCO pitching prospects in the entire country.  At 6’6″, 230 lbs Gair is huge for a baseball player. He’s big, he’s physical, he’s imposing on the mound,” FSW head coach Zac Cole said.  Cole compared Gair to other large, powerful pitchers like Nolan Ryan. That comp is also fair when you consider Marty’s cannon of an arm. He has thrown as high as 100 MPH in a college baseball game before and got up to 98 MPH this season. Thanks to his size, arm strength and accuracy, Gair has been garnering a lot of attention from evaluators.” - NBC2 News - Fort Myers, FL

2024 Projection : is still working with the rehab group, will miss the 2024 season

RHP Alex Garbrick - 25 years old - drafted in 17th round of the 2021 draft from South Carolina-Upstate, SC

2023 Stats :   Went 3-0 with a 3.98 ERA in 14 appearances (four as the opener) totaling 20.1 IP for Jersey Shore with 23 strikeouts and 8 walks.  Posted a 1.38 WHIP and a .253 BAA.  Averaged 17.16 pitches per innings pitched and had a 63 % strike ratio.  Was placed on the IL on 6/15/23 and missed the balance of the season after TJ surgery.

2023 Notes :   Alex played in the 2011 Little League World Series for Keystone Little League representing the Mid-Atlantic District.  He’s from the Lock Haven, PA area.  Has shown a multi pitch mix - fastballs (four seamer and sinker) sit in a range of 90 to 96 mph, cutter, slider, change up and curve.  Had a really strong month of May - 8 appearances - 12 IP, 1.50 ERA, 12 K’s, 4 walks before getting injured.  A power pitcher’s arsenal.  Had TJ surgery in 2018 and missed that season, had it for second time this summer.  Was previously drafted by the Yankees in 2019 (40th round).  He’s a very pleasant young man, always says hello and is well regarded by all.

Alex’s reflections :  “I would say my biggest personal takeaways from 2023 were getting my walk numbers down and trending in the right direction and building new offerings that were really helping my repertoire as a whole.  One of my big goals was to get my walk numbers down and even though it was only 20 innings, they were in a good spot for where I wanted them to be and trending in an even better direction the past few weeks before the injury.  As for the stuff, I added a cutter over the off-season and actually just starting throwing a sinker only a couple of weeks before my injury, those pitches were actually grading out as my best pitches. They were getting better as I got more comfortable and was throwing them more, so that had me very excited moving into the summer months.

As for 2024, first is obviously getting healthy and working my way back to full strength.  But on my journey back we have already discussed some mechanical things in my delivery and just the way I move in general that we are looking to improve on even before I get back on the mound.  Another big thing is getting the feel back for my cutter and sinker, as they were both relatively new pitches to me so getting comfortable with those two again so that we can keep them trending in the right direction is an important focus for me as I begin throwing.”

2024 Projection :  maybe a late season return to action after continuing rehab.

RHP Eric Garcia - 23 years old - signed as un-drafted free agent 8/1/22 - Eastern Florida State JC, FL

2023 Stats :  appeared in 15 games with the FCL Phillies - 18.2 IP, 24 strikeouts, 17 walks, 62 % strike ratio, 11.25 average pitches per innings pitched.  Season ERA of 7.23 was inflated due to four outings - in the other 11 appearances posted a 4.90 ERA.   

2023 Notes :  showed three pitches this summer, fastball (90 to 94 mph), big breaking curve ball and changeup.  Eric is a big fella at 6’5” - has an infectious smile and pleasant personality.  He played at Melbourne High School in Florida, we were fortunate to meet his parents at a game this summer on the backfields, very nice folks.

2024 Projection :  should compete for an opening day roster spot with Clearwater

LHP Tristan Garnett - 25 years old - signed as un-drafted free agent 7/20/21 - Cal State Dominguez Hills, CA

2023 Stats :  stellar season - 1.94 overall ERA in 46 appearances between Jersey Shore and Reading - 51 IP, 56 strikeouts, 19 walks, 1.04 WHIP, .189 BAA, 64 % strike ratio, averaged 15.73 pitches per innings pitched.  Posted a 2.39 ERA in 37.2 innings at Jersey Shore (34 games) with a 1.06 WHIP and a .191 BAA and a 0.68 ERA in 12 games (13.1 IP) at Reading with a 0.98 WHIP and .184 BAA

2023 Notes :  Tristan hails from the Portland, Oregon area and was a starter in both high school and college however has adapted nicely to reliever with multi inning capabilities, went more than an inning in fourteen of his forty-six appearances for Jersey Shore and Reading.  He was promoted to Reading on August 4th after two stellar months at High A in June/July where he recorded a sparking 0.47 ERA in 16 appearances (19 IP).  His release point comes on a downhill plane, he’s 6’6” - put away pitch is his changeup, excellent deception from the same arm slot as the heater and no slowing of his arm motion.  We’ve seen the fastball up to 94 mph this summer, generally in the 91 to 93 mph range, with a differential of over 10 mph on the change it’s more than enough to be successful at the upper levels.  Tristan will also throw a cutter and slider to keep batters honest, has the look, moxy and stuff of a big leaguer.  One of the nicest young men we’ve met and is highly respected by teammates in the organization.  We’ve had the privilege of meeting his father also, fun folks to chat with.

Tristan’s reflections :  “Once you’ve figured out what makes you your best self, keep doing it. Don’t feel the need to change until hitters show you that is the case.  Even if you do something over and over again, until it’s proven otherwise rinse and repeat.  And going into 2024, I’m gonna be training in Clearwater mostly all off season to try and get some more power output out of my body,  I’m gonna focus on honing in the cutter/slider at a higher velo.”

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert :  “TG is a byproduct of a guy making the commitment to work hard on his craft and commit to our off-season HP programs.  He showed a slight jump in average velocity this season and stayed healthy from start to finish.  He has a unique release angle, similar to another lefty Jakob Hernandez.  His change-up is his go to weapon and his slider made significant improvements.”

2024 Projection :   a likely return to Reading to begin the season with an ability to reach upper levels shortly thereafter.

RHP Drew Garrett - 23 years old - drafted in 19th round of the 2022 draft from University of Missouri

2023 Stats :  appeared in 12 FCL games - 13.1 IP, 15 strikeouts, 21 walks, .209 BAA, 2.25 WHIP, 48 % strike ratio, 13.35 pitches per innings pitched.  Spent the brunt of the year with rehab group returning from TJ surgery, was activated on 7/4/23.  Had a good month of August - six appearances (7 1/3 IP), 3.68 ERA and a .150 BAA

2023 Notes :  He’s 6’6” and has high velo stuff when healthy with above average spin rates on both the heater and the curve.  This summer marked his return from TJ surgery and as is generally the case with pitchers returning their first season he struggled finding rhythm and command.  Fastball sat in the 91 to 94 mph range this summer, he also showed a curve and slider.  In his amateur career velocity was higher (mid to upper nineties) so we believe there’s more there to be seen.  After his first pro action on the hill we believe that if he can find the strike zone more consistently and velo returns to form he’s capable of being a backend reliever.

2024 Projection :   continue to build up innings and arm strength, should be in the mix for a Clearwater opening day roster spot.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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