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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/23/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Infielders - Part Two

I’m thankful to be able to write about the game I love and the organization I grew up rooting for.  My very best wishes to anyone who reads this that you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving day and that each day brings thoughts of happy baseball!

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 twenty articles were on the pitchers - if you missed them here’s a link to article 20, it contains within it links to the other 19 pitcher’s articles -

The second set was four articles on the catchers - - if you missed them here’s a link to article 4, it contains within it links to the other 3 catcher’s articles -

We now present notes on infielders in eight groups of as listed below.

Today we focus on group two of the infielders.

Group Two :  Chad Castillo, Kody Clemens, Oliver Dunn, Drew Ellis, Trent Farquhar

Link to previous infielders articles :

Group One :  Keaton Anthony, Zach Arnold, Pierce Bennett, William Bergolla, Erick Brito -

The following players will be discussed in future articles :

Group Three :  Wilfredo Flores, Diego Gonzalez, Jim Haley,  Darick Hall, Lou Helmig

Group Four :  Otto Kemp, Scott Kingery, Dakota Kotowski, Matt Kroon, Casey Martin

Group Five :  Pedro Martinez, Aidan Miller, Freylin Minyety,  Cole Moore, Nick Podkul

Group Six :  Nikau Pouaka-Grego, Marco Soto, Ty Penner, Esteban Quiroz, Felix Reyes

Group Seven :  Bryan Rincon, Devin Saltiban, Jehisbert Sevilla, Kendall Simmons, Madison Stokes

Group Eight :  Will Toffey,  Nick Ward, Bryson Ware, Weston Wilson, Rixon Wingrove

So we continue - the second article in the 2023 series on infielders  ⚾️🤓.

1B- Chad Castillo  - 23 years old - drafted in 9th round of the 2022 draft from California Baptist University

2023 Stats :  recorded a .246/.330/.419 regular season slash line in 285 plate appearances with the Clearwater Threshers with 10 doubles, 11 home runs, 37 RBIs and 21 walks.  Also played in two rehab appearance games with the FCL Phillies.  Finished the season very well - in the final two months of the year (August & September) went 27 for 79 (.342) with 4 home runs and 12 RBIs.  Defensively had a .985 fielding percentage in 329 chances at first base for the Threshers.

2023 Notes :   we first noticed his offensive prowess in a minor league spring training game on 3/29/23 against the Yankees when he went 3 for 4 with 2 home runs and 8 RBIs.  Had an outstanding spring camp.  Went on the IL on 4/13/23 - returned on 4/22 but went on IL again on 6/10/25 - returned 6/25/23.  He’s a solid left handed hitter who has big pop, has a very balanced swing - a thru the ball approach.  Defensively transformed into a first baseman after playing corner outfield in college.  Is a good all around baseball player - knows how to play, makes very few mistakes and wins games.  If had been able to stay healthy the entire season would have likely bumped up to Jersey Shore.

Chad’s reflections :  “My biggest takeaway from the season is to take it day by day.  It’s a process and a journey and it’s about collecting the small victories along the way.  This off-season I’m focusing on continuing to add strength but also focusing on stretching and conditioning so I can stay healthy all season.”

2024 Projection :  should break spring camp with Jersey Shore.

UTL - Kody Clemens  - 27 years old - acquired in a trade with Detroit Tigers 1/7/23

2023 Stats :  hit .256/.373/.564 in 279 plate appearances with 10 doubles, 4 triples, 18 home runs and 52 RBIs for AAA Lehigh Valley.  In 148 major league plate appearances hit .230/.277/.367 with 7 doubles, 4 home runs and 13 RBIs.

2023 Notes :  was recalled by the Phillies to the major leagues on 4/7/23 after having a strong spring training camp.  Stayed with the big club till 7/2/23 when he was optioned to Lehigh Valley, finished the season with the IronPigs.  Played multiple defensive positions - both corner outfield spots as well as first, second and third base.  The left handed hitter had a very solid season - had a stand out game on 8/14/23 against Rochester when he doubled and hit three home runs - had five RBIs.  He had two games during the season with two home runs.  Isn’t as strong defensively as others in the utility role - performs his best at second base.  Capable of being a big league reserve.

2024 Projection :   will compete in big league spring camp for a major league roster spot.

2B - Oliver Dunn  - 26 years old - selected in minor league rule 5 draft from Yankees 12/7/22

2023 Stats :  The left handed hitter had a career year at Reading posting 27 doubles, 4  triples 21 home runs and 78 RBIs.  He also drew 82 walks and had a slash line of .271/.396/.506 with an .902 OPS. He played in the most games (119) this summer in his five year career and was amongst the Eastern League leaders in multiple categories - first in OPS (.902), OBP (.396), walks (82) and second in doubles (27), RBIs (78), slugging (.506), third in triples (4) and hits (113) and fourth in home runs (21) and batting average (.271).  Continued to deliver in the Arizona Fall League and was named the league’s breakout player of the year.  He posted a slash line or .343/.455/.616 in 88 plate appearances with a 1.071 OPS - hit 4 doubles, 2 home runs and had 11 RBIs - stole 12 bases in 12 attempts.

2023 Notes :  a key contributor both on and off the field, a team leader. I asked Oliver if he was surprised about being chosen in the rule five draft and what stood out for him this season. “Yes, I was totally surprised. I wasn’t even following the draft when it happened actually. I think the main thing is just getting consistent at bats. That opportunity has really helped me figure out what I do well as a hitter and where I need to improve, and then allowed me to work on it.”  He played primarily second base however saw some time in left field and third base as well which bodes well for his future advancement, the more defensive versatility a player can display obviously the better.  Just a heady, smart baseball player, is fun to watch play as he usually does something good.  Earned his way as a chosen participant in the Arizona Fall League.  One to watch as a viable big league contributor next season.  Was traded to the Brewers on 11/14/23 and placed on their 40 man roster.  He expressed gratitude on his instagram account to the Phillies for the opportunities they gave him.  Sent me this note as well “Thank you! You’ve been awesome to me the whole time, really appreciate it.”  Class act - we will continue to root for him.

Oliver’s reflections :  “My biggest personal take away is probably just for the first time seeing what playing a whole season was like. The ups and downs of playing every day, understanding that the ups and downs are both part of it and how to keep my mind and body ready to compete and play to win the game everyday.  Improvement wise I am trying to get better in all aspects, but with an emphasis on continuing to get better at second base but also getting better at third and some outfield positions, to offer as much defensive versatility as I can.  And offensively I would like to put more balls in play, and cut down my swing and miss in the strike zone a little.”

Reading Hitting Coach Tyler Henson :   “Great young man, one of the hardest workers I’ve ever had, very intelligent.  He could play in the big leagues right now and hold his own as a hitter.  Controls the zone, walks, ability to drive in runs, hit for average - showed some pop this season which was really nice.  One of the most consistent hitters throughout our lineup all year.  Am excited to see what he does next year.”

2024 Projection :   Traded to Brewers 11/14/23  - will have a chance to make the big club in Spring Training.

3B - Drew Ellis - 27 years old - signed as minor league free agent 4/16/23

2023 Stats :  right handed hitter - hit .224/.336/.433 in 298 plate appearances for AAA Lehigh Valley with 14 doubles, 13 home runs 47 RBIs and 40 walks.  Had 29 plate appearances in the major league with a .217/.379/.478 slash line with 2 home runs, 4 RBIs and 6 walks.  Also played 10 games with AA level Reading and had 3 doubles, 3 home runs and 8 RBIs in 44 plate appearances with a .409 OBP.

2023 Notes :  shortly after he signed with the Phillies after being released by the Mariners Drew arrived at the complex and participated in a few weeks of extended spring training to prepare to provide a veteran middle infield presence at Reading.  He was assigned to Reading on May 2nd but not before paying for a food truck meal for his complex teammates and coaches, classy move.  His summer turned out to be much more than just finishing the year helping at the AA level.  He was called to the major leagues on June 1st shortly after being promoted to Lehigh Valley and served two stints in the show during the summer.  Solid defensive skills and a capable bat, certainly could hold down a big league reserve role.

2024 Projection :   is a free agent

2B - Trent Farquhar - 22 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 7/19/23 - Michigan State

2023 Stats :  played in 16 games (10 with FCL Phillies and 6 with Clearwater Threshers) accumulating 65 plate appearances and posted an overall slash line of .269/.406/.346 with four doubles, five RBIs and ten walks.  Defensively had a 1.000 fielding percentage in 63 chances at second base.

2023 Notes :  saw him at second base in FCL play and practices, turned double plays very well, quick ball exchange and accurate throws.  In the games we saw he was an on-field presence, take charge type of player.  Plays with enthusiasm and a winning spirit. He spent three seasons at Michigan State after transferring from Bowling Green State and was a two time winner of the Michigan State’s defensive player of the year award as well as earning the Big Ten distinguished scholar recognition.  Trent is a left handed hitter, showed patience at the plate in games we saw with an ability to drive the ball to the gaps.

Trent’s reflections :   “Biggest personal takeaway from 2023 is keeping a level head. There’s going to be lots of ups and downs the rest of my career so just staying in the middle through it all is going to be huge. Focusing mainly this off-season on increasing bat speed to be able hit the ball harder more consistently and working on my diet and my body while training.”

2024 Projection :   should be part of the opening day Clearwater Threshers roster.

Happy Thanksgiving Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Note : I've partnered  with Fanatics on Phillies Merchandise - if you would like to help support my website and articles here's a link to order merchandise - I get a small commission on any sales - thanks for the support.

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