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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/20/2020 : Up in Arms

When the Phillies began their rebuild in earnest about five years ago the emphasis was on developing depth in pitching. I’ve had the privilege of being able to watch in person a good bit of that minor league organizational effort on a daily basis.

Rating talent across systems is subjective ... many folks get caught up in the various organization to organization comparative analyses that are offered. From my perspective I can only attest to what I’ve actually seen in the Phillies system with my “scouting” guide being a lifelong passion for the game watching a countless number of ballgames at multiple levels of play. As I’ve watched the Phillies minor league development intently since 2015 I’ve also tried to absorb teaching techniques and components ... the pro game and life is far different than any amateur endeavor ... I’ve learned quite a bit and continue to do so.

That being said I’ve been consistent in my reporting ... I’ve seen multiple arms in the organization develop that can have impact in the big leagues. It’s starting to come more to fruition now and for those of us who’ve actually observed it’s not surprising ... frustrating yes when I read or hear that the system is void of widespread talent but at the same time the “ I told ya so “ moments are coming 🤓.

2020 Spring Training and the Summer Camp player pool has brought to light some of that talent. Spencer Howard, Connor Brogdon, Ramon Rosso and Damon Jones have all showed big arm capabilities and above average off speed deliveries that make all four viable candidates to contribute to this year’s big league squad. In addition Addison Russ, Connor Seabold, Mauricio Llovera and Jo Jo Romero have shown flashes of what they can become ... in my humble “scouting” opinion they are very close to making a push to become valuable big league arms.

Ranger Suarez had a very strong big league second half last season and an equally strong spring effort ... he was primed to perhaps join the starting staff before the pandemic. When he’s back in the mix it’s expected that the young lefty picks up where he left off ... I’ve always admired his attacking style and no fear approach ... has been there since we first saw him on the backfields. Cole Irvin is another lefty who will contribute, some Philly fans have shortchanged his abilities ... Cole has a big league repertoire and I believe that he has a decent big league career ahead of him.

There are many others in the development pipeline ... the “quantity” approach. I’m very excited from what I saw of Francisco Morales this past fall and his physical growth this spring ... he has been blessed with a power arm, all he needed to reel in is control and command ... it was my view the young righty was gonna break out this summer. He’s just 20 years old.

At the AAA/AA level there’s a group of lefties on the verge with different skills to hone in yet but if/when they do are big league capable ... Garrett Cleavinger, David Parkinson, Jonathan Hennigan, Bailey Falter, Jeff Singer, Jacob Hernandez, Zach Warren and Josh Tols each have skill sets that can get them to the show. Righties Julian Garcia and Colton Eastman are “pitch-ability” types that are also on track.

A little further down the ladder but quickly climbing are Morales, Ethan Lindow, Erik Miller, Manuel Silva, Kyle Glogoski, Tyler Carr, Mark Potter, Albertus Barber, Dominic Pipkin, Victor Santos, Andrew Schultz, Keylan Killgore and Kevin Gowdy whom I also believe was primed to have a breakout season this summer ... Kevin seems fully back now from TJ and is popping the baseball like we thought he would.

That’s not to discount the young fellas coming back from rehab like Ben Brown, Kyle Young, Trevor Bettencourt and Nick Fanti or the younger up and comers from last summer that I saw like Gunner Mayer, Tyler Burch, Victor Vargas, Starlyn Castillo, Brett Schulze, Nicoly Pina and Eduar Segovia.

Then there are the fellas I’ve seen in glimpses that folks haven’t focused on yet but I believe that can climb the ladder successfully... the Maikel Garrido, Branden Ramey, DJ Jefferson, Hunter Milam, Hilton Dyar, Sammy Aldegheri, Jordi Martinez, Juan Geraldo and Jonas De La Cruz pitchers of the system.

That’s not to mention the seemingly very encouraging group of new draft selections and amateur free agent signings I haven’t seen yet or the fellas coming from the DSL that I’ve heard encouraging things about.

I’m a big fan of the development team ... I think Rafael Chaves and his crew have been excellent teachers of mechanics since his arrival and that by adding newer staff members this year like Travis Hergert who introduce modern teaching techniques and analytical tools and feedback they are well positioned to continue to develop the “quantity” as envisioned. Again I’ve watched it first hand ...

Now all that being said Philly fandome is a “show me” lot and a cynical one in nature so the fellas will have to step up. I believe many will.

That’s my take ... since 2015 I think the organization is definitely “Up in Arms” and that it’s gonna pay off in the coming years ... I’m an optimist at heart but I really believe the club is on the right track ... just saying ...

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


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