11/30/2020 : Climbing the Ladder
As the offseason continues on I thought I’d take the time to write about some Phillies Minor League players that perhaps aren’t on the radar for most fans ...at least yet.
With the lost 2020 season behind us here’s to looking forward to what the next season brings and which players may make their marks as they “climb the ladder” of the organization.
It’s always the opportunity to succeed that sets the stage for actually doing so. For pro baseball players each time they take the field it’s an opportunity to showcase their talents ... not only for the organization they play for but also the scouts in the stands representing rival organizations that at some point may be able to afford them a better path to success than the current one they’re on. It’s all part of it ...
So here goes ... hope you enjoy reading what I’ve observed, read or have discussed with coaches and scouts about the young men I’ll highlight in this series 😬⚾️. This is part one of a multi part series.
Three young Dominican hurlers 🔥:
Jonas De La Cruz - RHP - signed 9/19/16 - 22 year old RHP ( will be 23 on 1/1/21 ) from Santo Domingo, DR - 6’3” 175. Jonas pitched in the GCL during the 2019 season and we were able to see him in person quite a bit that summer. He dominated as a 21 year old in his last six appearances for the Phillies East team ... didn’t yield a run in 9 2/3 IP allowing only two hits while posting 14 K’s against 4 walks. He flashed a fastball that touched the mid 90’s and consistently sat in the 92-94 range. I also remember a solid secondary pitch but for the life of me can’t recall whether it was a curve or slider. 🤦♂️.
Jonas had some injury issues during the early part of the 2019 season else he would have been on the Lakewood Blue Claws roster. Given that ... 2020 would have likely been a Lakewood roster assignment at least to begin with. With the past season lost it’s difficult to project where he might start the 2021 year but my guess is it will be with now Low A Clearwater and a chance to quickly advance if he performs well. I’m eager to see if his velocity has climbed.
Jordi Martinez - LHP - signed 1/22/18 - 20 years old from Santiago, DR- 6’2” 185. Jordi spent a good part of the 2019 summer at the Complex working with the rehab group but he got into five games at the end of that season for the GCL Phillies East team and dominated ( 13 K’s - 12 IP ) ... we saw him three times and walked away thinking “Big arm lefty”. Ya couldn’t help but immediately notice his velocity which was in the 92-94 range with movement and pop. I saw him throw again in 2019 Fall Instructs, continued to be impressed.
It seemed likely that we would have seen him more in the GCL in 2020. Given the lost season he may now jump into 2021 full season ball ... Jordi doesn’t turn 21 till July 18th though - there’s big upside here and a longer window to develop given his age. He’s another power arm that is on our radar.
Christopher Soriano - LHP - signed 2/11/19 - 19 years old from San Gregorio de Nigua, DR - 6’1” 160. Christopher appeared in 13 games ( 12 starts ) for Phillies Red in the 2019 Dominican Summer League and posted a 3.50 ERA in 46 1/3 IP. He struck out 34 batters but also walked a whopping 27 and hit another seven. He was invited to 2020 Fall Instructs in Clearwater and by all accounts handled himself well, wasn’t intimidated and threw with more command. I have not had the opportunity to see him pitch in person.
I texted with Manny Amador - Coordinator - Dominican Academy about Soriano. He said the young man is gifted with a big arm and has a bright future ahead of him. At this point in his career he’s working on developing a change up and refining his breaking ball deliveries. Obviously he will need to harness control as well ... time will tell but the tools are there to continue to climb the ladder.
Since he was brought over for Fall Instructs I’d say there’s a good chance we will see him on a 2021 GCL roster. Soriano won’t turn 20 till September 17th.