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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/9/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Pitchers -  Part Twelve

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

Group 12 : Jordi Martinez, Gunner Mayer, Tommy McCollum, Alex McFarlane, Griff McGarry

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 -

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 -

The following groups will be discussed in future articles :

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 twelfth article in the 2023 series on pitchers  ⚾️🤓.

LHP Jordi Martinez - 23 years old - signed as an international free agent 1/22/18 - Santiago, Dominican Republic

2023 Stats :  appeared in 47 regular season games (57.1 IP) with Jersey Shore (39 games - 47.2 IP - 3.97 ERA) and Reading (8 games - 9.2 IP - 3.72 ERA) with 69 strikeouts and 29 walks.  Posted an overall WHIP of 1.45, averaged 17.34 pitches per inning pitched and had a 65 % strike ratio.  Had an outstanding month of June - 10 games - 1.35 ERA, 13.1 IP, 15 strikeouts and five walks.  In April posted a 2.57 ERA in 6 appearance (7 IP) with 12 strikeouts and two walks.  Was selected for the Arizona Fall League where he’s pitched in 8 games to date (11.2 IP).

2023 Notes : we first saw Jordi pitch in 2019 Fall Instructs and came away thinking “Wow” - ball seemed to jump out of his hand.  This year he converted to a full time reliever after making 34 starts in his first four years of play.  The changeover worked well.  The stuff we saw in 2019 still plays, features a fastball in the 93 to 97 range and has reached higher, a change up and hard slider.  Jordi was promoted to Reading from Jersey Shore on 8/19/23.  In 13 of his 47 games he pitched multiple innings.  He has incorporated more of his lower half in his delivery as I remember when we initially saw him it was a straight up style that seemingly would place more stress on the elbow, in fact he has lost time with arm issues in the past.  Coming out of the bullpen has allowed him to open the throttle on his pitches, the fastball velocity has always been something we’ve seen but not as consistent as this year.  Good stuff.  Potential big league bullpen piece who can be a multi inning weapon.

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert :  “He shifted roles and became a reliever this season. We wanted him to empty the tank every outing with his fastball and continue to develop his hard slider.  Jordi thrived in leverage spots in Jersey and Reading this season and continues to show good stuff in the AZ fall league.  Stayed healthy from start to finish for the first time in his career.”

Jersey Shore Pitching Coach Phil Cundari :  “Absolutely love Jordi. Just always wants the ball, had to explain to him he also needs recovery time and rest but just loves to pitch and would take the ball every day if given to him.  Gave us a great deal of flexibility in the bullpen due to his availability and ability to throw multiple innings on short rest.  He made big strides with his slider, now uses it against both lefty and righties. His fastball velocity has reached 98 mph - averaged 95 to 96.  Is a true workhouse, just a matter of figuring out stuff at the higher levels, commanding the heater to set up his slider which will produce even more whiffs.  Happy for him that he was promoted to Reading and is getting a chance to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, earned both.  Is a quiet young man, doesn’t say a whole lot, but is a fiery competitor.  A really good person who comes to work every day, works with a purpose and focus.  Positive mentality and those attributes led to a big development year.”

2024 Projection :  a return to Reading to begin the year seems likely with a chance to climb higher.  Should get some looks in big league spring training camp.

RHP Gunner Mayer  - 23 years old - drafted in 5th round of the 2019 draft from San Joaquin Delta JC, CA

2023 Stats :   Appeared in 23 games (20 starts) for Jersey Shore amassing 77.1 IP with a 5.47 ERA, 79 strikeouts and 54 walks.  He posted a 1.69 WHIP, 1.46 K/BB comparative and averaged 18.54 pitches per inning pitched - had a 58 % strike ratio.

2023 Notes :   lively fastball that produces swings and misses.  This season he pitched more innings than he ever has in his four seasons of play to date.  Going forward needs to continue to build up innings and harness command, raw stuff has upper level potential.  Fastball sits in a range of 90 to 94 mph - also throws a change up, slider and curve.  Turns heads with his stuff, if can combine it with pitch-ability has potential to reach the big leagues.

2024 Projection :  a return to Jersey Shore to start the season makes sense with potential performance earning promotion.

RHP Tommy McCollum - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 7/20/21 - Wingate University , NC

2023 Stats :  a career high 44 appearances (44.1 IP) between Jersey Shore (34 games - 35 IP - 2.31 ERA - .143 BAA, 1.14 WHIP, 56 K’s, 23 walks) and Reading (10 games - 9.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, .100 BAA, 1.29 WHIP) posting a cumulative 2.64 ERA with a whopping 67 strikeouts against 32 walks.  Opposing hitters struggled mightily posting a .134 BAA, had a 1.17 WHIP and averaged 18.36 pitches per inning pitched, 59 % strike ratio.  Posted a 0.00 ERA in 6 July appearances (6.2 IP) with 7 K’s, a 0.091 BAA.  Had a 2.70 ERA in 17 games during April and May in 16.2 IP.  K/9 ratio was 13.60.

2023 Notes :   Is the definition of a strikeout pitcher with two put-away deliveries, a heavy fastball that generally sits in the 94-96 mph range but often reaches upper nineties and a devastating splitter that drops off the table. Tommy is an imposing figure on the hill at 6’5” and has an easy downward plane delivery, the baseball gets on the batter quickly and comes out of the hand with lots of movement.  He’s also got a slider he will use for good measure.  He was promoted to Reading on 7/26/23.  A big arm talent that when he controls the zone has the goods to be a big leaguer.

Tommy’s reflections :  “I think for me it is realizing how long of a season it is because ya know I got hurt last year and just recognizing everything to be prepared for a full year.  This offseason just focusing on getting stronger and everything!”

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert : “McCollum made big steps in his command development. He has a big fastball that is unique with how it carries toward the zone but also the extension and height from where he releases it.  He is a big, strong athletic guy that thrived in leverage spots this season.  His splitter is a plus putaway pitch and his slider/cutter made progress.”

2024 Projection :  a return to Reading to begin the season, should get some looks in big league spring training camp.

RHP Alex McFarlane  - 22 years old - drafted in 4th round of the 2022 draft from University of Miami, FL

2023 Stats :   appeared in 16 games (all starts) for the Clearwater Threshers - 50.1 IP with a 5.72 ERA, 69 strikeouts and 38 walks.  Posted a 1.67 WHIP, averaged 18.85 pitches per inning pitched and had a 58 % strike ratio.  Best month was June - a 3.00 ERA in four starts (15 IP) with 19 strikeouts and 8 walks, 1.27 WHIP.  Placed on the development list 6/25/23, activated on 8/26/23 and then put on IL in September.

2023 Notes :  had an electric spring training - learned to throw a sinker and it had big time movement.  I wrote this back on 2/20/23 - “Alex McFarlane had coaches and Player Development folks and his catcher Anthony Quirion oohing and awing in his session - he was getting really good movement and location on what I believe is a relatively new offering for him - a two seam fastball that had both cut and sink to it.  In addition he threw a four seamer, slider and changeup - easy delivery and ball pops - impressive outing.”   The arsenal carried into the season as he was a key contributor for the first half champion Threshers.  Alex is a pleasant young man who always takes time to say hello, we saw him in early October - has a great attitude and is always ready to put in the work.  Fastball ranges from 94 to 100 mph with a changeup, slider and curve as secondaries.

2024 Projection : extended work at the complex, will miss the 2024 season

RHP Griff McGarry - 24 years old - drafted in 5th round of the 2021 draft from University of Virginia, VA

2023 Stats :  after beginning the year working with the rehab group at the complex with an oblique injury in spring camp he made 17 appearances (all starts) between Clearwater (one game rehab), Reading (activated on 5/11/23 - 3.13 ERA in 13 games - 54.2 IP,  74 K’s, 36 BB, .163 BAA, 1.23 WHIP) and Lehigh Valley (promoted 8/4/23 - 3 games - 4.1 IP - 14 walks).  His combined season totals were 60 IP, 6.00 ERA, 81 strikeouts, 50 walks, .187 BAA, 1.50 WHIP, 57 % strike ratio and an average of 19.20 pitches per inning pitched.

2023 Notes :  was shut down for the season in late August after an inability to throw strikes at Lehigh Valley, in my opinion he was falling off the mound glove side and consistently getting under his pitches (sailing them) or pulling deliveries far off the plate.  Really struggled in his three appearances with Lehigh Valley.  The decision made was to work on a “re-set” on mechanics, perhaps slow down pace and to re-synch the body with the arm delivery.  That effort will continue during the off-season and in spring camp.  When he’s commanding the zone the fastball is electric and both his slider and curve are swing and miss pitches.  On top of that there’s a change up which he’s also working to improve.  The fastball sits in a range of 93 to 98 mph - max 100.  Big league arm if can solve the control and command issues.

2024 Projection :  with a good spring camp will return to Lehigh Valley.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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