I was taken by surprise on Sunday afternoon when I checked the Clearwater Threshers box score from home just after the start of the game against Dunedin. I realized I was missing the Phillies No. 1 draft pick from last year striking out the side in the first inning. Needless to say I got my act together and high-tailed it down the street to watch Mick Abel on the mound.
I arrived in time to see Abel pitch what turned out to be the last two innings of his four innings of work. I originally thought Abel would not pitch in the final game of the six game series since he had pitched in the first game but I was wrong. He did not pitch particularly well in front of Phillies team President of Baseball Operation, Dave Dombrowski during that first game.
It turned out that Mick was the Threshers starter for the second time in the Blue Jays series. This time on only four days rest. There was Dombrowski again, watching intently, sitting in the second level behind home plate with several of his advisors.
This time, Dombrowski had to be impressed. Abel was dealing except for two of his pitches. He wound up allowing only one run, striking out eight with no walks but hitting a batter. He threw 58 pitches, 41 for strikes.
They only mistake he would throw was a hanging breaking ball which was hit out of the park with two outs in the fourth. The next batter, he hit with a pitch and the Blue Jays dugout started barking. Mick regained his composure and struck out the final batter for the third out and he was done after four innings.
Dombrowki then left the park, apparently to get ready to watch the Phillies finish their three game series with the Giants. He could not have been pleased with what he saw in that game!
He had to be frustrated watching the ineffective pitching as the Phillies gave up 11 runs in the loss to the Giants. Particularly, he had to be concerned with weak outings by starters Zach Eflin and Spencer Howard who came on in relief.
According to reports, the Phillies need another starting pitcher for one of the upcoming of Friday games of a doubleheader. Could that starter be Mick Abel with piggyback partner Bailey Falter? Probably not but Mick appears to be soon ready to move up in the Phillies minor league system.
Mick showed this Sunday he is good for four innings and about 60 pitches. He can pitch on four days rest effectively with his fastball topping at 97 mph on his final pitch in the fourth inning. However, he must watch the hanging off-speed pitch.
Below you can watch the last four of the eight strikeouts that Abel threw on Sunday.