Multiple pitching prospects garnered prospect attention this year after strong performances
The Phillies have made it a point to acquire as much pitching talent as possible in the past few years. This permeates throughout the organization, with the rookie level being no exception. You might recognize some of these names from my short-season pitching prospect article.
The one that I’ve seen the most chatter about this season is 17-year old Sixto Sanchez. In the Dominican League in 2015, Sanchez had solid walk but poor strikeout numbers as he carried a meager 4.56 ERA.
When he came to the US this year, Sanchez looked like a new pitcher. His velocity as well as his secondary arsenal both improved. The righty led the team with a 0.50 ERA and 0.76 WHIP.
Sanchez offers a balance of strikeouts and pitching to contact. He struck out 22.7% of opposing batters, along with inducing ground balls 59% of the time.
Along with Sanchez, Nick Fanti impressed in his second season in the GCL. He posted a perfect 7-0 record as he struck out 11.3 batters per nine innings. Fanti led the GCL with 65 strikeouts. In addition, his walk rate lowered to just 4.5%. Fanti provided a strong outing in the championship series to force the decisive final game.
When the Phillies selected Fanti in the 31st round in 2015, he was just a projectable high school kid with a long frame and solid fastball command. This year, his command continued to shine and his secondary pitches are starting to come together.
Right-hander Mauricio Llovera was right behind Fanti in terms of strikeouts at 56, second in the GCL. In 11 appearances, Llovera posted a 1.87 ERA, and his FIP wasn’t too far off at 2.35. Prior to signing with the Phillies, the 20-year old Venezuelan “was up to 94 after flashing a 96 mph fastball in front of scouts earlier” according to Matt Winkleman of Phillies Minor Thoughts.
Luis Carrasco upped his performance in his first year stateside, nearly doubling his strikeout percentage from 2015. His 2.07 FIP was second on the team. Carrasco lowered his walks to an average rate as well.
Carrasco is turning 22 once the season is over. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team starts him in Low-A Lakewood’s bullpen next year to hasten his development.