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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/7/24 : Two Jersey Shore Pitchers Promoted

As announced last night by Milb Central the Phillies will promote starters LHP Samuel Aldegheri and RHP Jean Cabrera from Low A level Jersey Shore to AA level Reading for next week’s series of games.  Both have excelled this season in their time with the BlueClaws.

RHP Jean Cabrera - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent 7/2/19 from Maracay, Venezuela

2024 Stats :   Has posted a 5-4 record in 14 starts (77 IP) with 91 K’s, 25 BB, 1.09 WHIP and .210 BAA.  Jean is just 128 pitches shy of the complete total number of pitches he threw last season.  He’s pitched five innings or more in eleven of his starts and is coming off a six inning effort on 7/4/24 in which he didn’t allow a hit or run while striking out ten batters!   In fact he’s struck out ten or more batters in three of his starts including 14 on June 12th.  Jean has thrown over 100 pitches in three of his starts (high mark of 110) and has thrown strikes at a 63 % rate and is averaging 84 pitches per game (averaged 78 pitches in April, 86 in May and 88 in June).

2023 Stats :   Made great strides as a member of the starting rotation for the Threshers.  In the Florida State League playoffs Jean excelled allowing just one run in twelve and a third innings with two wins in two starts.  During the season he appeared in nineteen games making thirteen starts and accumulating a career high of 81.1 IP - a total of 93.2 counting the playoffs.  He struck out eighty-six batters in the regular season (ninety-seven total with the playoffs) while walking twenty-two and posted a 4.32 regular season ERA.  Finished with a 66 % strike ratio.

Notes :  Jean won the 2021 Paul Owens Award as he struck out sixty-one batters and walked only ten in thirteen starts ( 52.2 IP ) in the Dominican Summer League posting a 1.54 ERA.   The team fellowship that the Threshers had last season helped him to grow as a player and it carried into this year as well.  He told me “The impression that this team has shown me is how we work a lot, it's together and the camaraderie that we have is everything and for me that's great.”  The torque he gets on his pitch deliveries and his competitiveness along with a quick motion make him a tough opponent for hitters.  He generally uses a sinker/slider combination as primaries with the fastball in the 94 to 96 mph range with above average spin.  The slider will sit 82 to 85 mph and he also use a change-up along with a four seamer. He also has a curve ball.  Jean can reach back and fire into the 97-98 mph range on occasion as well, we’ve seen that in the past.

LHP Samuel Aldegheri - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent 7/2/19  - Verona, Italy

2024 Stats :  Has a 6-5 record in 13 starts (68 IP) with a 3.18 ERA, 95 K’s and 28 walks. WHIP is 1.06 and BAA is .182.  He’s just 286 pitches shy of his total from last season.  Sam has pitched five or more innings in ten of his starts this season and is coming off a five inning winning effort on 7/6/24.  He’s struck out ten batters in three of his starts and allowed two or less runs in eight of the thirteen appearances.  He’s thrown strikes at a 62 % rate and is averaging 87 pitches per outing (averaged 74 pitches in three April starts, 91 pitches in five May starts, 94 pitches in four June starts and threw 82 in the 7/6 game).  He’s tossed 100 or more pitches in three of his outings and 98 in another with a high mark of 103.  He’s seen increased velocity with his fastball as it generally sits in the 92-95 mph range.

2023 Stats :   Made 20 appearances, 19 starts between Clearwater and Jersey Shore - 4.20 ERA in 83 2/3 IP - 15 games with Clearwater (67 2/3 IP), 4 games with Jersey Shore (16 IP) - 99 K’s, 23 BB, .245 BAA, 1.35 WHIP - 62 % strike ratio.

On 6/14/24 I wrote a spotlight article about Sam, following are excerpts from that - if you want to read that full article here’s the link :

Signed on 7/2/19 by scout Claudio Scerrato we first saw Sam pitch stateside in Fall Instructs of that year in Clearwater - I remember him pitching an inning at the stadium and how he attacked the hitters, as I recall he struck out the side.  It was a lasting first impression as he’s continued to grow in his development.  There wasn’t much league game action in Sam’s first three seasons - 2020 was lost to the pandemic and his 2021-2022 seasons were spent mostly in rehab working back from injuries - he pitched in just 16 games with the FCL Phillies and the Clearwater Threshers over those two seasons totalling 33.1 innings.  Yet every time we saw him on the mound in actual game action we came away impressed - initially during his 8 game stint in the 2022 FCL when he posted a 1.46 ERA in 12.1 innings from mid July to the end of the FCL season in August.  It set up expectations for the coming year.

Sam opened 2023 with the Clearwater Threshers in a healthy baseball mode and he immediately shined.  In his first start of the season at Bradenton he pitched four innings in a five pitcher no hitter against the Marauders striking out seven batters in a 3-0 win.  He became a key component of the Threshers first half championship and earned a promotion to Jersey Shore on 8/3/23 where he finished the season making four more starts.  The total of 83.2 innings for 2023 was a career high and provided expanded evidence of what we saw back in 2019.

When I spotlight Phillies minor league pitchers I always try to obtain Minor League Pitching Coordinator Travis Hergert’s input because he’s very knowledgeable, really explains the development approach and helps put perspective into focus.  Travis had this to say about Sam - “Sam had 80+ innings last year and pitched from April to September which was a huge priority and win for him in his development. This off-season we wanted to focus on range of motion and overall stabilty in his delivery, with the goal of adding to his pitch velocity.  We also had him work hard on the development of his change-up to combat right-handed hitters. That pitch has made great strides. We are slowly adding the increased usage to the curve ball to steal strikes early in counts.”

I was able to ask Sam a few questions - here’s part of our Q & A session.

I remember the first time I saw you was in Fall Instructs in 2019, I believe your parents were here in Clearwater then also - have they been able to watch you pitch this season as well?

They along with my girlfriend were in Florida for spring training, they attended the prospect game in Lakeland, it was the first time for them to see me pitching in pro ball. Really emotional for both sides. Unfortunately I don’t think they will come over again this season, but I know they wake up every night to watch my games. (They’re 6 hours ahead).”

The first four years of your career were limited in appearances due to a few injuries and the lost 2020 season - how did you manage that time and persevere to continue to work - how did you keep your focus ?

“I just wanted to play. I was spending every day in rehab working hard with the image in my head of me playing. The rehab staff that we have is amazing, they push you every day. I think spending time there changed my life a lot, I don’t know how to explain it but now I see baseball and even life different. I’m not gonna lie, after my second injury I almost thought that maybe was time to give up.  It’s really hard when you trying to chase your dreams far from home,family and friends but injuries are stopping you. Thank God I didn’t and now here we are.”

Last season you made 20 appearances and pitched 83.2 innings starting in Clearwater and finishing in Jersey Shore - how satisfying was it to play an entire season and perform very well ?

Coming off injuries and having the possibility to play a full season was amazing.  As I said I just want to play and have fun (and win). Also we were winning a lot,so it made everything even better.

When you start games is it your mentality to go deep into the game?  How much pride do you take in doing so?

Yes as a starter I always try to go at least five-plus, it’s my job. I give everything on the mound till the last pitch, I want to do my part and help the team win. Also we play six days a week and we need the bullpen, I just try to save some arms if I can.”

What is your approach to pitching - do you pitch to contact or are you trying to strike hitters out?  What is your pitch mix and which pitch do you think is your best?  Are you comfortable throwing all of your pitches at any point in the count?

“My job is to get outs, I don’t care how, but if you are in two strike count I want to get the strike out. My fastball and slider are my bread and butter as my pitching coaches say, but I think the curve ball and the change are getting better and are really good weapons. I feel comfortable to throw every pitch at every count, just fill up the strike zone,that’s my approach.”

Lastly - when you return home to Italy where do you train in the off-season?  Do you take some time off from throwing or do you continue to do so?

“Usually I take a little break in general to spend time with my family and friends. I take a week off from the gym and a month from throwing. I’m lucky because I have a baseball field five minutes from where I live so it’s really easy to follow the throwing program, and then I just workout in a public gym that I have gone to since I was 15 years old.”

I still remember the then teenage lefty who impressed in the fall of 2019 - it’s been great fun to see him continue to develop to the point where he’s now earned another promotion.  The young man is determined to make it to the major leagues and become the first Italian born and raised pitcher to do so (Marino Pieretti appeared in 194 games as a pitcher from 1945-50 but moved to America before he turned one. Alex Liddi, an infielder, played 61 games for the Mariners from 2011-13. He was the first one raised in Italy to reach the majors).

Congrats to both Jean and Sam on their promotions and best wishes for continued success!

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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