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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/6/23 : Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers - Part Nine of Twenty

Updated: Nov 26, 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 eight articles previously published - see the links if you missed them.  Today we focus on group nine.

Group 9 : Jonh Henriquez, Cristian Hernandez, Jakob Hernandez, Chase Hopewell, Drew Hutchinson

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 -

The following groups will be discussed in future articles :

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 ninth article in the 2023 series on pitchers  ⚾️🤓.

RHP Jonh Henriquez - 23 years old - signed as an international free agent 6/7/22 - Dominican Republic

2023 Stats :  posted a 14-2 record with a 3.57 overall ERA between Clearwater and Jersey Shore in 35 appearances (68 IP) with 64 strikeouts and 44 walks, a 1.31 WHIP.  Recorded a .188 BAA and averaged 16.93 pitches per inning pitched.  Threw strikes at a 60 % ratio.  Excelled while at Clearwater in particular (30 games - 3.21 ERA, 1.21 WHIP) - was promoted to Jersey Shore on 8/21/23 and appeared in five games (6.1 IP)

2023 Notes :   we first saw Jonh on video last season (2022) as he made his pro debut in the DSL with Phillies Red, what stood out was the ball movement and velocity, he was a signee at the Academy and the talent got folks really excited. Jonh has shown the ability to pitch multiple innings, doing so in 26 of his 35 appearances.  He features a four pitch mix (four seamer - 91 to 95 mph, slider, change-up and cutter) but predominantly uses the four seamer and slider, the spin generated on the slider in particular often gets in the major league elite levels.  He sequences his pitches really well and generally goes right at hitters, the first time we saw the slider up close on the back fields we were very impressed. Great attitude, work ethic and a baseball sponge for pitching knowledge.  Will need to harness control better for continued success.

Jonh’s reflections :  “The Phillies first checked me in another province and then they saw me again two days later at the academy and I ended up signing.  This off-season I am working on my physique to get stronger and improving on throwing strikes.”

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert :   “Henriquez is a unique arm with flashes of big velo with some quality secondary pitches. He was a big reason the Threshers were in position to make so many comeback wins early in the season with his ability to be a bulk, back-end stopper.  He kept games close and showed durability throughout the season.”

2024 Projection :  likely begins the year at High A Jersey Shore with an eye to move up to Reading.

RHP Cristian Hernandez  - 23 years old - signed as an international free agent - 7/9/17 - Cumana, Venezuela

2023 Stats :   3.66 ERA in 35 appearances at Reading, 51.2 IP with 66 strikeouts and 24 walks, 1.43 WHIP, 63 % strike ratio, averaged 17.71 pitches per innings pitched.  In May recorded a 0.77 ERA in 11.2 innings and in June he had a 2.87 ERA in 15.2 innings.  Was placed on the IL on 8/11/23 and re-activated 8/31/23 - finished the year strong with a 1.59 ERA in 5 September appearances (5.2 IP) with 14 strikeouts and two walks.

2023 Notes :  had a very solid season as an AA level bulk reliever, pitched multiple innings or more in 20 of his 35 games. He features a four pitch mix (fastball, slider, change up and curve) with the heater sitting in the 92 to 95 mph range.  Last fall (2022) he was a member of the Phillies Arizona Fall League contingent and was selected as a league all-star.  Have always liked his demeanor and approach, we think he can be a major league contributor at some point.  Cristian is pitching winter ball in the Venezuelan League for Caribes de Anzoategui.

Cristian’s reflections :  “Baseball is really competitive but it becomes even more so as you go up levels and that is why it is always good to be prepared mentally and physically.  The goal of 2024 is first to be healthy and then reach the Major Leagues.”

2024 Projection :   will be in the hunt for a AAA Lehigh Valley bullpen role.

LHP Jakob Hernandez  - 27 years old - drafted in 21st round of the 2017 draft from Texas-Arlington, TX

2023 Stats :  appeared in 19 games (23 IP) for AAA Lehigh Valley recording a 3.52 ERA with 25 strikeouts and 13 walks.  Recorded a 1.17 WHIP and a .177 BAA.  Averaged 17.35 pitches per innings pitched and had a 62 % strike ratio.  Was placed on the IL on 6/3/23 and missed balance of the season.

2023 Notes :  Jakob has been a bullpen work-horse throughout his pro career appearing in 206 games and posting a very respectable 3.16 ERA in 276.2 IP.  Unfortunately he underwent TJ surgery in June this year.  He features a fastball ( sits in a range of 88 to 92 mph - max 93 ), slider, change up and curve.  Has a classic over the top delivery and can throw an old fashioned 12 to 6 curve ball that’s very effective.

2024 Projection :  minor league free agent - signed with Baltimore Orioles 11/14/23

RHP Chase Hopewell  - 22 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent - 4/29/22 - University of Cincinnati, OH

2023 Stats :  appeared in two games with the FCL Phillies - two innings pitched.  Yielded three runs in one and none in the other.

2023 Notes :   is tall and lanky with an over the top delivery, hides ball in his glove behind a big leg tuck - for those that can remember way back in the day how Ron Reed used to delivery pitches it’s akin to it.  We saw him throw a side bullpen session and in an FCL game on 8/22/23.  Fastball range was 93-95 mph and also threw a changeup and slider.   Other than that I found the following remarks in his regard from his collegiate season  - “Made 15 starts on the mound with a 2-6 record and 5.79 ERA.  Led the staff in starts (15), innings pitched (65.1), strikeouts (52) and runners picked off (4)… Started eight games in conference play” - College profile

2024 Projection :  will compete for a roster spot with the Clearwater Threshers

RHP Drew Hutchison  - 33 years old - signed as a free agent 6/7/23 after released by Blue Jays

2023 Stats :  recorded a 5.62 ERA in 15 starts (75.1 IP) with AAA Lehigh Valley - 62 strikeouts and 46 walks, a 1.54 WHIP and .246 BAA - averaged 17.58 pitches per inning pitched and had a 60 % strike ratio.  Best outing was on 8/3/23 against former team (Buffalo) when he went 8 innings allowing just one run.

2023 Notes : signed as a veteran presence who could eat innings after being released by Buffalo (Blue Jays AAA affiliate).  Features a four seamer (89-93 mph), change-up, slider and sinker - all of which he will throw just about equally with four seamer and change-up with a slight edge.

2024 Projection :   eligible for minor league free agency

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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