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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

6/26/24 : Minor League Player Promotions

Six minor league players were recently promoted as the second half of the minor league season is now in motion for all levels.  Here’s a look at each of the players that were bumped up a level.

1B - Keaton Anthony  - 23 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 7/18/23 - University of Iowa - promoted from Clearwater to Jersey Shore

Posted great numbers in his time at Clearwater this season - played in 44 games - 186 plate appearances - 48 hits, 26 runs, 10 doubles, 4 home runs, 21 RBIs, 28 BB, .322 batting average, .446 on-base percentage, .470 slugging percentage and .916 OPS.  He led the Florida State League in OBP and OPS and was 3rd in slugging and 4th in batting average.

Keaton began his career on the backfields last summer with the FCL Phillies and immediately showed he was a force to be reckoned with offensively as he clubbed two home runs.  He finished the season with the Threshers and participated in the playoffs.  This season he was a key cog in Clearwater’s first half Florida State League West Division championship run. I asked Keaton this off-season his impressions of his first year - “Just a great learning experience, learned more about the game and understanding everything. Being around everyone and getting an everyday routine to prepare for going forward.”

He certainly learned a great routine and earned a well deserved promotion, Keaton will wear number 27 with the BlueClaws.

RHP Casey Steward - 22 years old - drafted in 19th round of the 2023 draft from Washburn University, KS - promoted from Clearwater to Jersey Shore

Promotion was announced by the Milb Central site, the official transaction hasn’t posted yet.  Casey appeared in 12 games (10 starts) this season for the Threshers posting a 4-2 record and 3.38 ERA in 50.2 innings pitched.  Struck out 52 batters and walked 19 - 1.20 WHIP and .226 BAA.  He was a stalwart in the rotation and consistently gave a solid outing.  Casey features a four seam fastball (92-96 mph), a slider, change up and cutter.  He’s noted as a diligent worker but also a very level headed young man.  This past off-season I asked him his initial impressions after appearing in five 2023 games with the FCL Phillies and the Threshers on how to approach the pro baseball life - “Enjoy every moment as the opportunity can be taken away as fast as you got it.”

The young man is a battler who’s willing to protect his teammates as witnessed by a second inning ejection this season  in St Lucie for hitting a batter after his catcher had been plunked the inning before.  His team first approach has and will continue to serve him well.

RHP Daniel Harper - 25 years old - drafted in 17th round of the 2022 draft from University of Kentucky, KY - promoted from Jersey Shore to Reading.

Posted stellar numbers at Jersey Shore this season - in 23 appearances (26 IP) he had a 2.08 ERA allowing 15 hits with 38 strikeouts and 10 walks (0.96 WHIP) with opponents hitting just .163 against him.  He saved seven games in nine chances.

His fastball ranges from 92 to 95 mph - it has touched 98.  He was a FB/Cutter closer at Kentucky, as a pro he’s incorporated a couple more pitches.  Phillies Minor League Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert told me earlier this season that “Harper is a big arm that possesses a live fastball and hard slider. We’ve leaned into a sinker that can show something going in to right handed hitters to open up options with the four seamer up and slider away.  Along with cleaning up some ways he rotates to the plate, Harp is finally healthy and that is helping his ability to bounce back from outing to outing and have his best stuff.”

I wrote a spotlight article on him on May 10th  (link - ).  For the full interview please click the link.  One of the questions I asked was about his journey back from injuries in 2023 -

“At the start of last season you were dealing with coming back from injury (bone spur - elbow arthroscopy) - can you describe what that time period was like?”

Coming back from injury last year was tough. Having it be my first full in pro ball, I wanted to show up to spring training and make an impression.  Obviously that was not the case once I got surgery and I felt like I was way behind the other arms in my draft class. Throughout the rehab process everyone was super supportive. We had a great group of guys in rehab and having that camaraderie really helped the mental aspect each day.  Specifically, Aaron Barrett was a great help when it came to dealing with the struggles in my throwing program and understanding the long term goals verses the short term goals.”

We are very happy for Daniel’s success this season - his hard work and perseverance has paid off and we envision continued success at Reading.

RHP Jaydenn Estanista - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent 11/8/19 - Willemstad, Curacao - promoted from Clearwater to Jersey Shore

Jaydenn had a reflective year of development in 2023 - a year of personal growth with a gap in game appearances from the end of May to August.  He came back much more prepared in the January High Performance Camp - he told me  “I will have a bigger focus because I need to, I will go all in.”

He has done just that posting a 3.66 ERA in 16 appearances (31 IP) this season as a multi-inning reliever for the Threshers with 44 strikeouts.  Opponents hit just .147 against him and although control is still an occasional issue (21 walks) he’s harnessed it well in his last six outings - when he’s in the zone Jaydenn has the stuff to get any batter out with a four seamer that sits 92-96 mph, a cutter and slider and an occasional sinker.  We’ve seen the heater pop in the upper nineties.

Jaydenn is one of the most pleasant young men in the organization that I know, always says hello.  The skill set is there to climb the ladder, if he commands the zone that indeed will happen.

RHP Tyler McKay  - 26 years old - drafted in 16th round of the 2018 draft from Howard JC, TX - returns to Lehigh Valley from Reading

Tyler received his first major league non-roster spring training invitation this year, he was an early arrival and was throwing strong side sessions in January.  He broke camp with Lehigh Valley and appeared in 12 games with the IronPigs and uncharacteristically battled both command and control.  He was sent to Reading on May 8th and re-found his mojo - while at Reading Tyler appeared in 13 games (12.2 IP) posting a 0.00 ERA and 0.55 WHIP striking out 15 batters and walking just one, opponents hit a minuscule .136 against him.  He now returns to LHV where he’s already appeared in 35 games (23 last season - 2.67 ERA in 27 IP).   

Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert told me this during the off-season “McKay was outstanding at both Reading and LHV in 2023. He was used in high leverage spots in both places. He features a low, three quarter arm slot with a nasty two seamer/sinker and sweeping slider.  His go to pitch is his change-up. Tyler improved his overall physicality in the offseason, which helped keep him healthy all year and was a durable backend option.”  I’ve always been a believer in Tyler’s skillset - am anxious to see if he returns to the AAA level form he displayed last season.

C Alirio Ferrebus - 18 years old - signed as an international free agent 1/15/23 from Maracaibo, Venezuela - promoted from DSL Phillies Red to the FCL Phillies

Alirio had a solid ‘24 spring camp at the Dominican Academy going 8 for 20 with a couple home runs in this year’s games that I tracked.  That carried over to the DSL regular season where he posted a .375/.471/.725 slash line with a 1.196 OPS in 14 games (51 plate appearances) with 5 doubles, 3 home runs and 13 RBIs.  In 2023 he posted a .339/.453/.435 slash line for Phillies Red in 21 games (75 PA’s) with 3 doubles, a HR and 9 RBIs.  I’ve seen him play on streamed games - in addition to his hitting prowess he has shown a strong arm and is a big fella at 6’2” - athletic well built frame - seems very much akin to catcher Guillermo Rosario in that regard.

He joins a very talented catching group with the FCL Phillies (Eduardo Tait, Guillermo Rosario, Jorge Mendez & Rickardo Perez), in addition to catching all five young men can also play first base.  It’s likely they are shuffled for playing time at catcher, first base and DH as all also possess offensive skill sets that makes ya want them in the lineup.  Am anxious to see Alirio join in the backfields action - perhaps as soon as tomorrow when the club hosts the Yankees at Carpenter Complex.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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