The Phillies signed their first round draft pick this week. Eighteen year-old pitcher Mick Abel does look ready to anchor the Phillies rotation for a long time into the future, but not soon.
Using another future Phillies ace, Spencer Howard, as a measuring stick, it will take Abel at least four more years before he will be ready to pitch in the major leagues. The soon to be 24 year-old Howard has finished his third season in the Phillies system. He has pitched no higher than AA. He was given a chance to pitch one-inning in the last home major league spring training game this March before the pandemic shutdown all of baseball.
Watch below Howard get the last out of his only inning ever in a major league spring training game. Hopefully, by the 2024 season both Abel and Howard will be the No. 1 and No. 2 starting pitchers in the Phillies rotation.
The Phillies have drafted well in the recent draft with the signing of Abel and three picks in the recently concluded five-round draft. Read HERE.
The Phillies have used a unique draft strategy in recent signings of non drafted free agents. They have signed exclusively ten free agents pitchers and no others type of players. Read HERE. According to Baseball America, the Phillies have signed 6 0f the top 23 NDFA players on the BA List. Read HERE.
Of the 14 North American drafted and non-drafted players the Phillies have signed, 12 of them are pitchers. Third round pick, shortstop Casey Martin and fifth round pick outfielder, Baron Radcliffe are the only two non-pitchers.
The new international free agent signing period has been pushed back and will not start until January 15th. The biggest signing in the current period has been an 18 year-old outfielder from Venezuela, Yhoswar Garcia. Read HERE.
The Phillies Front Office and new scouting director Brian Barber have clearly identified pitching as the long term need for the team. They have gone almost all in on signing pitching during the North American signing period.