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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

5/17/23 : Next Man Up

With the club optioning Bailey Falter to Lehigh Valley there’s a decision to be made as to whom will at the least temporarily replace him in the starting rotation.  Not that anyone asks or cares about my opinion 🤓 here are my thoughts on internal options at the minor league levels.  Nick Nelson was just placed on the seven day IL, Griff McGarry is early in his process of ramping up innings and Mick Abel is still working on his consistency, all three of those fellas are big league arms, just not ready either physically or developmentally, both in fact and in my opinion, to take the ball at the top level at this point in time.  I will say though that Mick Abel has responded well to challenges in his brief career to date, the twenty one year old has the best stuff at this point amongst those active and stretched out, I do believe he will be a future option this season.

RHP Tyler Phillips (Reading) - 25 years old - originally claimed off waivers from Rangers 7/24/21 - re-signed as a minor league free agent to a two year contract 11/6/21 - Tyler spent the 2022 summer with the rehab team at the complex working his way back from Tommy John surgery.  This season he’s made six appearances for AA level Reading and has pitched 28 1/3 innings posting an overall 3.38 ERA.   In his last start he began the game with five perfect innings and finished the outing before that retiring nine of the last ten batters he faced.  He went six innings in each of those starts and has pitched seventeen innings in his last three outings. Velocity has been consistent in the 93 to 96 mph range and his off speed deliveries have produced both weak contact and swings and misses, particularly the curve ball and change up. Also has a slider.  From one who watches the Phillies minor leagues daily I have him at the top of my current list as the choice to produce winning results in the big league fifth starter’s slot.  Tyler is currently on the Developmental list and seemingly slated to start tomorrow’s game for Reading.

RHP Noah Skirrow (Lehigh Valley) - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent - 6/16/20 - Liberty University - last season he led the minor league portion of the organization with 119 2/3 IP.  Noah is a great competitor - will generally throw strikes and challenge hitters.  Fastball range is typically in the 91 to 94 MPH range, he also features a slider, cutter, curve and change up.  Had a rough go of it in his outing yesterday being tagged for five runs on six hits and two walks in three and two third innings but did strike out six batters.  In his previous three starts he pitched seventeen and two third innings and allowed eight runs, five of the eighteen hits against him in his most recent three starts have been home runs.  Noah pitches to contact but can get a punch out when needed.  He’s a smart pitcher and won’t scare or yield in pressure spots, will force opponents to beat him if they can.  I think he can produce if chosen to fill the slot, just feel that Phillips is a bit better at this point is all.

LHP Christopher Sanchez (Lehigh Valley) - 26 years old - acquired in trade with Rays on 11/20/19 for infielder Curtis Mead - pitched today and went four and two third innings allowing three runs on four hits and two walks.  In his prior outing was tagged for seven runs on six hits and five walks in four innings.  Has struggled this season with control and command after beginning the season on the injured list out of spring camp.  Has had big league caliber pitches with fastball reaching the mid nineties but generally sitting 91 to 93 MPH this season, also throws a change-up, slider and curve ball.  From my perspective he needs to continue building his way back to where he was last season posting a 3.14 ERA in fifteen games with Lehigh as well as pitching another forty frames in the show.  He’s on the 40 man roster though and wouldn’t require a move in that regard so that could be a consideration.

LHP Michael Plassmeyer (Lehigh Valley) - 26 years old - acquired in trade with Giants on 6/8/22 for catcher Austin Wynns - He can be a tough at-bat for hitters - releases the ball from a low arm slot. Is not a high velocity pitcher but uses a full pitch mix, when he’s going well he throws quality strikes and has a change up that can be a strikeout pitch.  Walks have been up this season as they were in spring camp.  Has not pitched beyond the fourth inning in his last four starts and only once in his eight appearances to date.  Last season showed that he can be an effective pitcher as he posted a 2.41 ERA in sixteen starts for Lehigh Valley and also made his major league debut.  He has four pitches with his fastball ranging from 89 to 92 MPH, also throws a change-up, cutter and slider.  Has to hit spots to be effective, from my view at this point of the season he is more in a bulk reliever capacity than a starter at the next level.  Is on the 40 man roster.

Just the options as I see them  - Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Photos by Cheryl Pursell and George Youngs Jr

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