Yesterday was a special day in the Phillies minor league organization from a pitching perspective. Three former first round draft picks and two international signings pitched at various levels on the same day. Four of them were charged with the losses in the games they appeared in but each of them had otherwise various results-some good and some not so much.
Perhaps the least known pitcher of the “June 23rd Five” was the most impressive. A 2010 international free agent Venezuelan lefty Yoel Mecias had not pitched in official league action since a year ago with the Lakewood BlueClaws because of Tommy John surgery.
Mecias put his signature on his three inning start for the GCL Phillies at the Carpenter Complex’s Roberts Field by striking out three GCL Yankees in order. They were on called third strikes. He has a major league quality change-up. See Here, See Here, See Here. Earlier see a swinging strike three.
Later in the evening the Phillies 2014 first round draft choice, Aaron Nola, made his first professional start for the Clearwater Threshers against the Lakeland Flying Tigers. After he walked the first batter he faced as a professional See Here, he was in control in the first and second innings striking out three with a fastball sitting at 93-94 and off speed pitches at 76-80 on the pitch speed board at Joker-Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. See Here.
Nola opened the third inning by giving up a home run on a loopy curve ball, See Here, lost his normal pin point control and finally gave up a bases loaded clearing double to end his first outing of his professional career.
Two of the other former first round draft picks Ethan Martin, the Dodgers first pick, 15th overall in 2008 and the Phillies 2010 pick did not fare well at all. Now a reliever for the Lehigh Valley BlueClaws after being acquired in the Victorino deal, Martin came on in a save situation and gave up five runs, four hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. Jesse Biddle suffered even more for the Reading Fightins by going three innings in his start giving up ten runs on eight hits and three walks. Injury-riddled free agent signee Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez now reduced to a mop-up rehabbing middle inning reliever did pitch two shutout innings in the Threshers game.
So what did I learn from watching yesterday’s pitching action in Florida? Someday Yoel Mecias and Aaron Nola will pitch in the major league rotation. Mecias has a major league change up in the Cole Hamels tradition and Nola has a full repertoire of major league pitches. With the cost of quality major league starting pitching so high, it’s good to know that the Phillies have two guys in the system of nearly the same age who showed they have major league starting stuff.