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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

6/24/21 : Keeping an 👀 on 🤓

Every Monday I’ve been writing about the prior week’s standouts in the Phillies minor league system but every now and again a player does something that just can’t wait … it deserves a more immediate shout out.

Last night I was watching the three minor league games as is my norm … all were competitive contests and fun to watch. In Allentown the Iron Pigs went into extra innings with Scranton Wilkes Barre. As you are aware extra innings begin with a placed runner on second base which makes it much more difficult to produce a scoreless frame.

Reliever JD Hammer entered the game in the 10th inning. He came out firing … really firing. By my view and listening to the descriptive offerings of Pat McCarthy it seemed JD threw exclusively fastballs … he also threw an incredible amount of strikes in his two inning outing … 31 pitches - 26 strikes ( 84 % 😳) .

JD dominated the SWB batters, he struck out the side in the 10th inning by heating up the radar gun consistently in the 95 to 99 mph range and throwing 15 strikes in 18 pitches 💪. He put the Rail Riders down in order in the 11th frame as well, striking out the first batter and getting the next two to line out ( to SS ) and fly out ( to RF ).

After watching the Phillies big league pitchers struggle to find the strike zone earlier in the day it was refreshing to see what JD was able to accomplish in his two perfect frames … and again he pitched each with a runner beginning the inning on second base, in the 10th frame the runner even stole third but JD was impervious to the extra pressure.

He’s been in the big leagues before and I’ve both seen and heard what scouts describe as a “straight” fastball … one lacking movement but it sure seems different this year. We saw him in spring training up close and in games this year for the Iron Pigs there have been quite a few swings and misses … that at least indicates that the ball has more movement … the velocity has also increased. JD has also worked hard on his secondary pitch development.

On the season he’s posted a 1.62 ERA in 14 games ( 16 2/3 IP ) with 27 K’s and 10 walks. His WHIP rate is 1.26. In seven June games he’s punched out 10 batters while walking just 3 in 7 2/3 IP.

Just saying … last night’s effort deserved a special shout out ! Bryce Harper said in his zoom call there’s no talent to trade from in the minor leagues … as one who watches each and every day I sincerely dispel that view. These guys keep grinding, folks like me notice.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Photos by the great Cheryl Pursell

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