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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

12/1/2020 : 2016-2017 International Signings

The Phillies 2017 amateur draft class has performed very well thus far in their brief careers with seven of the thirty selections signed that season now on 40 man rosters - Connor Seabold is on the Red Sox roster - OF Adam Haseley ( 1st Rd ), RHP Spencer Howard ( 2nd Rd), RHP Connor Brogdon ( 10th Rd), IF Nick Maton ( 7th Rd ), LHP Kyle Dohy ( 16th Rd ) and LHP Damon Jones ( 18th Rd ) are on the Phillies roster.

Conversely the international class ( signing periods have run from July to June ) is always a much younger lot and the 2016-2017 group was no exception but things are starting to come more into focus for those young men also as they enter their fifth year of on field play in the organization ( counting 2020 even though season was lost & not counting “tricky league“ play their initial year 🤓). The group includes MLB Pipeline’s Phillies 4th ranked prospect 21 year old RHP Francisco Morales. We’ve talked about Francisco before ... certainly has big league potential with a upper nineties power FB and slider. He was added to the 40 man roster this November. Also in the group is 21 year old ( will be 22 on 12/27 ) outfielder Simon Muzziotti ( MLB 11th ranked Phillies prospect ) who was also added to the 40 man roster this November. We’ve chatted about Simon before as well ... an outstanding defender with top of the order speed and hitting potential.

Here’s a look at some of the players signed to contracts in the 2016-2017 International Signing period that ya may have not heard much about yet.

RHP Victor Santos - 20 years old - 6’1” 190 - from Villa Tapia, DR - signed 11/14/16 - he started in the DSL in 2017 and posted a 2.57 ERA in 12 games ( 9 starts ) in 49 IP. The following season Victor pitched for Phillies East in the GCL and recorded a 6-1 record with a 3.03 ERA in 11 games ( all starts - 59.1 IP). 2019 was his first full season assignment ... he pitched at Lakewood as part of a piggyback tandem with Francisco Morales recording a 4.02 ERA in 27 games ( 13 starts ) in 105.1 IP.

Santos is an extreme strike thrower ... he’s punched out 192 batters in 213 IP while only walking 27 batters. He’s presently got a three pitch mix ( FB, Slider, Change Up ) with the heater sitting in the 90-92 range. He’s a smart pitcher who knows how to set up hitters and at just 20 years of age ( won’t be 21 till July ) there’s plenty of time to add velocity. Likely slated for High A in 2021 ... with the adjusted tiering of affiliates that means a return to Lakewood.

IF/OF Nicolas Torres – 21 years old - 5’10” 155 - from Puerto Cabello, VZ - signed 7/2/16 - he began his career in the DSL and hit .333/.383/.421 in 69 games ( 240 AB’s ). The following summer he hit .302 for Phillies East in the GCL in 39 games ( 139 AB’s ). 2019 was spent in Williamsport where he appeared in 47 games and hit .260 in 150 AB’s .

Nicolas has played primarily second base thus far but has also seen time at shortstop, third base and the outfield. During 2020 Fall Instructs he took fly balls in right field along with grounders in the middle infield spots. I’ve always liked his game, he’s got skills and is a heady player. I’d expect to see him in Full Season play this coming season ... likely low A Clearwater to start.

C Juan Aparicio – 20 years old - 5’11” 175 - from Maracaibo, VZ - signed 7/2/16 - career .288/.346/.421 slash line in 136 minor league games ( 468 plate appearances ) ... named a Gulf Coast League All-Star in 2018 when he hit .339 in 112 AB’s ... was leading the 2019 New York Penn League in hitting ( .374 in 107 AB’s ) for Williamsport when he was promoted to Lakewood on July 30th where he finished the season ... solid gap to gap stroke as a hitter ... only appeared in 20 games at Lakewood so likely begins 2021 at now low A Clearwater. Juan hasn’t shown consistent power yet ( it’s there ) and is still working to improve his catching skills ... he was a third baseman as an amateur. He’s shown the arm and footwork to excel as a receiver ... I believe he’ll get better with repetitive playing time in all of the defensive skills needed to be a good catcher. It’s the bat that plays though as he climbs the ladder.

3B Jose Tortolero – 20 years old ( will be 21 on 12/31 ) - 5’11” 154 - from Caracas, VZ - signed 7/2/16 - Jose missed the entire 2018 season with an injury - played 2019 in the GCL with Phillies East - 30 games - 103 AB’s ... played 2B,SS and 3B ... we saw glimpses of his potential ... has pop - hitting tools were evident first time we saw his swing ... the injury set back cost development time but he had a very good 2020 Fall Instructs Camp showing increased bat speed and hitting prowess - he played primarily 3B during the Camp ... he’s only accumulated 321 AB’s so could start 2021 in extended spring but it’s not a stretch by any means that he could break spring camp with a full season assignment ... this young man loves to play baseball ... that shines thru in his game efforts and reactions ... I think he’s gonna do well.

1B/3B Juan Herrera – 20 years old ( will be 21 on 12/14 ) - 6’3” 165 - from Merida, VZ - signed 7/27/16 - he’s played three seasons in the DSL and had a very good season in 2019 - posted a .275/.349/.434 slash line in 258 AB’s with 7 home runs and 48 RBIs, he also stole 13 bases. We’ve had the opportunity to watch him in person in 2018 and 2019 Fall Instructs. He played quite a bit at first base in the 2019 camp but has primarily been a third baseman in the DSL. He’s tall and very athletic, the swing is quick but a bit long, Mr. Ochart and the hitting crew will surely help to develop a plan that takes advantage of the skillset. I’d expect we see him full time this coming year in the Gulf Coast League, in just in the few glimpses we’ve seen thus far there’s intrigue, talent here, anxious to see where it goes.

IF/OF Edgar Made – 20 years old ( will be 21 on 12/15 ) - 5’10” 145 - from Bani, DR - signed 7/8/16 - Edgar is a switch hitter who had his best season in 2019 playing for Phillies West in the GCL ... has played primarily second and third base but saw time in left field as well in 2020 Fall Instructs ... finished in the Gulf Coast League’s top 10 in AB’s, Runs, Hits ( 1st w 55 ), Doubles, Triples, RBIs ( 2nd w 34 ), Total Bases ( 3rd w 84 ), OBP, Slugging ( 4th - .509 ), Average ( 4th -.333) and OPS ( 5th - .900 ) ... was the primary lead off hitter for Team West and excelled in the role with a .371/.423/.551 slash line ... He’s got pop, I remember a grand slam in particular against the Blue Jays on August 15th ... had far more plate appearances as a lefty hitter but his average from both sides of the plate was the same (.333 )... can barrel the fastball - the ongoing test ( as it is for any hitter ) will be how he does against breaking pitches ... seems destined for a full season roster assignment in 2021 ... likely low A Clearwater.

RHP Luis Pacheco - 21 years old - 6’2” 185 - from Palo Negro, VZ - signed 10/3/16 - sometimes ya just get a feeling about a player ... the stats didn’t pop out for Luis during the 2019 GCL season when he posted a 4.45 ERA in 11 games ( 6 starts ) for Phillies West and was erratic with control ( 16 BB in 32.1 IP ) but the ball movement and pop sure did. I was impressed each time I saw him. Pacheco threw a FB in the 91-94 range with a change up and big breaking curve as secondaries.

He’s got a big frame with room to grow, the ball comes out heavy from his hand ... I think he’s got a shot to become a very good power arm ... the 2019 numbers didn’t say so ( albeit he did post a 2.00 ERA in 2018 DSL play in 63 IP with 61 K’s ) but my eyes tell me there’s talent in this young man that can break out ... just sayin 😎

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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