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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

9/23/21 : Let’s Review 🤔 - Part One A - Arms

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

Here’s the second in a series of articles from this observers view of the “state of the system.” I’ll attempt to “keep it real” … not a doom and gloom, there’s no talent in the system editorial but also not a “pie in the sky” everything is great PR piece … just a somewhat educated “fan’s view”.

If ya missed the first article here’s a link …

We pick up the series at the low A full season level and pitchers who spent the season on the long term IL.

The Injured List :

Multiple pitchers spent time this summer on rehab assignments, most of which took place at Carpenter Complex where a dedicated focus occurs to work players back towards game action. There are numerous hurlers working their way back from TJ surgery, most notably RH Seranthony Dominguez who returned to game play on August 3rd. It’s been a struggle for the 26 year old fireballer to regain both pre injury velocity and command, it’s a process though and there have been encouraging moments as well.

Other “big arm” types on the mend include 21 year old RH Nicoly Pina, we’ve always liked his demeanor and very lively arm ( we’ve seen mid to upper 90’s on the backfields ). He’s been throwing off the mound for awhile now after TJ surgery in August of 2020. In our view the young man, if healthy, has a strong chance to climb the ladder to the top. Don’t sleep on RH Albertus Barber either, he’s in terrific physical shape and has a passion to succeed that’s unparalleled. Once he gets the all clear ( he also had TJ surgery ) it’s going to be fun watching him push the envelope, it’s the only way the young man operates -all out effort, Philly fans will love this kid.

Two more RH hurlers working their way back from surgery are Brett Schulze and Andrew Shultz … both high octane pitchers from the 2019 draft. RH Starlyn Castillo is yet another big arm on the mend from elbow reconstruction, we have just seen glimpses of what the 19 year old can do, when fully healed we anticipate more good things from him. Lefties Taylor Lehman, Nick Fanti, Ethan Evanko and Keylan Kilgore are more experienced pitchers who’ve suffered the temporary set back of an extended injury rehab yet all seem upbeat and ready to contribute at some point next season. RHP Chase Antle ( 2020 UDFA from Coastal Carolina ) has yet to see game action, he’s been on extended rehab since signing but we are eager to see how the 99-100 reported velo he showed in college looks as a pro. Hilton Dyar is a 20 year old RH from the 2019 draft who also didn’t see game action this year but every day is a bit more of a progression for the young fella. RH Trevor Bettencourt continues to work his way back from his second pro TJ stint, one of the better big break and spin hooks you’ll see when he’s healthy.

LH Erik Miller battled shoulder discomfort most of the season and finished the year at the Complex trying to sort his way back. Erik made five starts this summer ( FCL/CW/JS ). He’s got a starter’s repertoire that can advance quickly once he’s in good health.

Others were added near season’s end but I’ll touch upon them as I continue the review.

Low A - The Threshers

The season started with a 10 man piggy back tandem sharing five rotation spots. The staff was the youngest group in full season minor league play for most of the summer. RH Gunner Mayer, RH Mick Abel, RH Cristian Hernandez, LH Jordi Martinez, RH Dylan Castaneda, RH Starlyn Castillo, LH Rafael Marcano, RH Rodolfo Sanchez, RH Eduar Segovia & RH Victor Vargas were the initial group of teenagers and twenty year olds that started the year in the rotation.

Each one has upside, eight of the ten have power arsenals at, approaching or beyond the mid nineties …. Only one of the ten ( Vargas ) made it thru the entire season without either feeling the impacts of Covid setbacks ( CW had an outbreak during the season ) or some sort of injury … all were back in action by season’s end with the exception of Segovia, Castillo, Martinez and Castaneda.

Victor Vargas excelled at Clearwater and ended the season with Jersey Shore after being promoted … he also threw a game for Lehigh Valley. Except for a run of four games late in the year where his delivery got out of sync he had an excellent summer, the twenty one year old threw 87 innings and absent the four “mixup” games posted a very respectable 2.97 ERA.

Mick Abel showed dominant stuff when we saw him, an ability to throw an upper nineties fastball by batters at will but also an open eagerness to be coached and learn how to use his secondary offerings most effectively as well. He was shut down in early August after incurring some back stiffness and shoulder discomfort but he was soon chomping at the bit to get back on the hill. The young man is a true competitor and loves to pitch, he’s healthy and will be back in action for Fall Instructs. He’s a very good one 👍.

The draft and un drafted free agency signings introduced more arms to the stockpile. Lefty Matt Osterberg was excellent in his eight outings utilizing a mix of pitches and strong command. RH Alex McKenny and LH Jared Wetherbee also pitched very well. In RH Jason Ruffcorn & RH Christian McGowan we saw glimpses of high velocity power pitching that should bode very well for each.

Three of my favorites … guys who just know how to pitch … RH Fernando Lozano, LH Samuel Aldegheri and LH Gabriel Cotto each had multiple strong outings during the summer … Aldegheri is twenty while the other two are just twenty one years old.

We first saw lefty reliever Erubiel Armenta ( 21 yrs old ) in action at Clearwater, he’s exciting, has electric stuff and pushed his way up to Reading at the end of the season. Erubiel brings consistent mid nineties heat and a delivery akin to Aroldis Chapman with the unfolding curl that hides the ball as it explodes on the hitter, at three levels he posted 49 K’s in just 23 IP ! Anxious to see him next spring, could be a camp surprise … well to some 😎.

Next article … Pitching at the High A and Double A levels.

Erubiel Armenta - photo by Michael Dill

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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