All we hear is about is the lack of starting pitching in the Phillies organization. One report even said lack of starting pitching in the organization was one of the reasons veteran chief amateur scout Marti Wolever’s contract was not renewed.
But we have seen some outstanding young starting pitching about which we have blogged previously who started for the the Clearwater Threshers over the last six weeks of the Florida State League season. In a recent blog we commented about the comeback of starter Adam Morgan in an earlier instructs game.
Saturday morning we saw more impressive future starting pitching by the Phillies Instructs against the Baltimore Orioles Instructs at Bright House Field. The game ended in a 1-1, nine inning tie with but the young Phillies arms were outstanding. Matt Imhof and Brandon Liebrandt each pitched an inning and were impressive as were David Whitehead and Elniery Garcia who went two innings each. All of these guys look to have potential to become starting pitchers in the major leagues in the future.
The 20 year-old Imhoff was the Phillies second round draft pick back in June and made it as high as Lakewood to end the season. The 21 year-old Leibrandt was the Phillies sixth round pick and was assigned to Williamsport where he joined the only right-hander of the group, 22 year- old David Whitehead. David was a 34th round selection in the 2013 draft. This season Whitehead was selected as a New York-Penn League All Star. All of these starters have pitched at the college level.
The youngest of the bunch is the 19 year-old lefty Elniery Garcia, an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic, who was impressive in the Orioles game getting four of his six outs on strikeouts in his two innings he worked. Watch his “swing and miss” pitch which is his late breaking curve ball below.
It appears the young Phillies arms at Instructs are working on their breaking pitches. Leibrandt’s fastball was sitting at 87 and the Whitehead and Garcia fastballs were sitting at 89. Below I have posted several of the strikeouts from Saturday’s game:
The Phillies representatives to the Arizona Fall League were in the lineup as well. Roman Quinn was in center to start the game and Logan Moore was the starting catching. Relief pitchers Nefi Ogando and Colton Murray each worked an inning in the game.
The Phillies focused on pitching in the June draft. They now have a good surplus of young starting pitching prospects. The top prospect is first round pick Aaron Nola who is at Instructs but has been shut down for the year because of his innings pitched at the college and professional level this year.
Now it appears the Phillies need offense at every level of the organization and Saturday’s game was no exception. The Phillie Instructs had only four hits in the game. Catcher Chace Numata did manage to hit the ball hard to left for a single and designated hitter Willians Astudillo hit one hard down the first ball line for a base hit.
The other highlight from Saturday morning was watching the Phillies shortstop of the future J. P. Crawford take ground balls working on the half field in front of Bright House Field. During the time Baseball Betsy and I were there he was taking balls on his backhand on balls hit into the hole at short and making the throw to first base under the watchful eye of minor league infield coordinator Chris Truby.
But it was the four starting pitching prospects who caught my attention Saturday morning. They should provide the Lakewood BlueClaws and the Clearwater Threshers potentially with some strong starting pitching next season.