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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

12/5/23 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Outfielders - Part Six

This is the last article in a 38 part series covering every Phillies player I saw play in some capacity in the 2023 minor leagues that finished the season with the organization.  We presented detailed notes on a total of 195 players, some of whom that were in rehab work all year recovering from injuries.  I believe it’s the only series of this type of depth in that regard.  I’d like to thank pitching coordinator Travis Hergert, coaches Phil Cundari and Tyler Henson and FCL Phillies manager Shawn Williams for their input on players I asked them specifically about for this series and to all the players who gave their feedback reflecting on their season.

I’d like to also acknowledge and thank the great network of photographers who’ve allowed me to use their photos, the efforts of Cheryl Pursell, George Youngs Jr, Michael Dolcemascolo, Casey Burns, Rebecca Alexander, Mark Wylie and Michael Dill are tremendous and encapsulate the baseball action with distinction, as it’s said - a picture is worth a thousand words.

Hopefully you’ve found the series informative and enjoyable to read, I’m a baseball junkie with a want and willingness to absorb as much knowledge about the game, it’s profession, the process and the upcoming players who work so diligently to reach their goals.  Although I’m not an official member of the Phillies organization my hope is that what I present allows those who are interested to learn as well and to appreciate the efforts that go into player development.  As former Phillies minor league player Cord Sandberg used to say “It’s all part of it”.   My part is a small one but my intent to highlight those involved is sincere.

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 catchers articles -

The third set was eight articles on the infielders - if you missed them here’s a link to article 8, it contains within it links to the other 7 infielders articles -

Today we conclude our 2023 off season series with group six of the outfielders :

Group Six : Gavin Tonkel, Santiago Torres, Jordan Viars, TJayy Walton, Ethan Wilson

Link to previous outfielder articles :

Group One :  Emaarion Boyd, Jared Carr, Justin Crawford, Carlos De La Cruz, Ezra Farmer -

Group Two : Cade Fergus, Yemal Flores, Jorge Garcia, Yhoswar Garcia, Raylin Heredia -

Group Three :  Brewer Hicklen, Marcus Lee Sang, Junior Marin, Simon Muzziotti, Jhailyn Ortiz -

Group Four :  Avery Owusu-Asiedu, Dustin Peterson, Leandro Pineda, Baron Radcliff, Gabriel Rincones Jr  -

Group Five : Albert Rodriquez, Johan Rojas, Ricardo Rosario, Troy Schreffler, AJ Shaver, Cal Stevenson -

So we finish - the sixth and final article in the 2023 series on outfielders and 38th and final in the overall series ⚾️🤓.

Gavin Tonkel - 21 years old - drafted in 9th round of the 2021 draft from Heritage HS, Brentwood, CA

2023 Stats :  played in 15 games for the FCL Phillies - .326/.408/.535 slash line with an OPS of .943 in 49 plate appearances.  Hit 3 doubles, 2 home runs and had 8 RBIs.  Defensively played left field - .833 fielding percentage in 18 chances.

2023 Notes :   added a lot of strength to his 6’1” frame during the summer.  Hit the baseball with authority.  Gavin missed the entirety of the 2022 season after colliding with a post in extended spring training during a game against the Yankees at their complex.  Coming out of high school was noted for potential above-average right handed raw power, saw a bit more of that this season. He’s well built and also possesses decent wheels.  Right handed hitter.

Gavin’s reflections :   “I’d say the 2023 season taught me a lot about what I need to work on coming into the the 2024 season. Some mechanical things I need to work on in the swing so I’ll mainly be focusing on the swing this off season.  I didn’t have anything to take away from the 2022 season because I got hurt so I felt a little behind in my development as well.”

2024 Projection :  could compete for an opening day roster spot with Threshers in spring camp.

Santiago Torres - 21 years old - signed as an international free agent - 7/2/19 - Barquisimeto, Venezuela

2023 Stats :  hit .247/.348/.312 in 112 plate appearances for the FCL Phillies with 3 doubles, a home run, 12 RBIs, 15 walks and 6 stolen bases in 8 attempts.  Defensively played all three outfield spots - a 1.000 fielding percentage in center (26 chances), a 1.000 fielding percentage in left (4 chances) and a .952 fielding percentage in right ( 21 chances) - had 5 outfield assists.

2023 Notes :  is a glider in the outfield, makes it look effortless but covers a lot of ground, is a very good thrower.  Right handed hitter who’s patient at the plate, will take his walks but has also shown he can drive the baseball.  Numbers haven’t popped yet but we see talent that can.  Enjoys playing the game, that shines thru.

FCL Manager Shawn Williams : “He’s just solid, very good across the boards.  Plays great defense, can really throw, is very accurate.  Is a guy that, this is as great a compliment that I can give to someone, no matter what, he's going to help you do something to win.  Maybe it’s get a bunt down, if you need to move a runner over from second base with nobody out, he's going to move him over.  Anything that you need he's going to do that to help your team win.  He does that.  Can also play, can hit. I think he's got a chance to hit even better than he has.  Is a good base runner, doesn't make mistakes on the bases. Just does so many things to help the team. Plus he's a great kid, a leader. He's got so many qualities that are going to continue to help him be a good player and teammate.”

2024 Projection :  could compete for an opening day roster spot with Threshers in spring camp.

Jordan Viars - 20 years old - drafted in 3rd round of the 2021 draft from Reedy HS, Frisco, TX

2023 Stats :  played in 83 games for the Clearwater Threshers - .214/.315/.343 slash line in 327 plate appearances with 16 doubles, a triple, 6 home runs and 29 RBIs, walked 27 times, stole 6 bases in 9 attempts.  Had a very good playoff/championship round - 4 for 10 (.400) with a double, triple and 3 RBIs.  Defensively played right field (.963 fielding percentage in 54 chances with 3 assists) and left field (.846 fielding percentage in 13 chances - 1 assist).

2023 Notes :  has a powerful swing as a left handed hitter.  This was his first year of full season play.  Is the epitome of a power hitter, very aggressive, a Bryce Harper like approach. The hit tool is his ticket - finding consistency as well as being able to adapt and incorporate adjustments are keys to un-locking full potential.  Is athletic. We’ve chatted quite a few times the past couple of years, is self driven, expects a lot of himself, big energy.  We’ve also met his mom and dad, very supportive family - good people. Jordan is a very likable young man, one we root for, has the power to be a double digit home run producer.

Jordan’s reflections :  “My biggest take away would be the importance of a good team clubhouse and how much it helps when the whole team pulls on the same side of the rope.  My focus for this offseason is to work on my swing and to get faster.”

2024 Projection :  a return to the Threshers to begin the year seems likely.

TJayy Walton  - 18 years old - drafted in 4th round of the 2023 draft from IMG Academy, Bradenton, FL

2023 Stats :  played in 5 games for the FCL Phillies - .385/.529/.692 slash line in 17 plate appearances with a 1.221 OPS - 2 doubles, a triple, 4 RBIs and 3 walks.  Defensively played both left and right field.

2023 Notes :  is a well built young man, 6’3” 225 linebacker type frame.  We saw him in just a few games, first impressions - quick and powerful bat, quick runner and a presence on the field. Right handed hitter and thrower.  Looks like a player who’s going to be competitive in every plate appearance.  Excited to see him play more. Introduced ourselves to him, very cordial.

FCL Manager Shawn Williams :   “We didn’t get to see him a whole lot but what we did see he smoked a couple balls, can really run, played good defense as well.”

2024 Projection :  could start in extended spring to gain experience since will just be 19 in spring camp but I can see a path to Threshers as well.

Ethan Wilson  - 24 years old - drafted in 2nd round of the 2021 draft from the University of South Alabama, AL

2023 Stats :  played in 114 games for AA level Reading - .250/.307/.443 slash line in 463 plate appearances with 24 doubles, 3 triples, 17 home runs and 61 RBIs - .750 OPS.  Walked 31 times and stole 12 bases in 19 attempts.  Defensively played left field (.991 fielding percentage in 106 chances) and right field (.977 fielding percentage in 86 chances).  Had nine outfield assists.

2023 Notes :   He’s a good all around baseball player who posts everyday - when he barrels the ball it flys - has power, also has shown an ability to drive the ball to all fields - I see a glimpse of Matt Carpenter in his swing as a left handed hitter.  Hard worker and coachable. Very approachable, good sense of humor.  Is self motivated and driven to do well.  Left handed hitter and thrower.

Reading Hitting Coach Tyler Henson :   “It was a great season for Ethan, power numbers went up, average fell off late.  First year for playing 114 games, grind got to him at the end.  Was at or above league average in many areas.  I was pleased with how he performed at double A coming off what he did the year before, made great strides.  He’s a gamer and plays hard, one adjustment he got better at was not letting the game beat him up as much mentally.”

2024 Projection :  a return to Reading to open the season seems likely else AAA Lehigh Valley.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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