No. 25: Left-Handed Pitcher Bailey Falter
The Phillies drafted Bailey Falter in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, signing the then-high schooler to a $420,000 bonus. He made a solid debut in the organization, walking just three batters in 28.2 innings with the GCL Phillies. The lefty had a 2.89 FIP, which was notably lower than his 3.45 ERA in his eight appearances.
While Falter’s control eased his way into professional action, he didn’t really have any electric stuff. Listed at 6’4 175, a lot of his stock came from the projection scouts saw in him. Falter’s fastball sat in the high-80s when he was drafted, so he definitely needed the projection.
Despite being just 19 years old, the team decided to test Falter out at short-season Williamsport this year. The move paid off for them, as he pitched even better than the year prior. Falter nearly doubled his innings count from the year, tossing 59.2 with the CrossCutters. While his 1-6 record doesn’t indicate much success, his 3.17 ERA and 2.96 FIP do.
Falter bumped up his strikeouts, punching out nearly a batter per inning at 8.9 strikeouts per nine. His command faltered in some starts, walking four batters in one and three in two others. Even then, his 6.5% walk rate was still above-average.
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Per Alec Dopp, who recorded the video above, Falter improved his fastball’s velocity this year, bringing it into the low-90s, hitting 93 at one point. His fastball also has some nice sink to hit, forcing hitters into lots of ground balls. According to MLBFarm, Falter induced ground balls 58% of the time.
Moving onto his secondary pitches, Falter’s best offspeed offering is his changeup, which is already average if not above-average.
Falter also offers a curveball, but it lags behind his other two pitches. It wouldn’t be a shock if the Lakewood coaching staff forces Falter to use it more and put his changeup on the backburner next season.
The optimistic view is that the development staff can add velocity to Falter as they did with other talented arms like Franklyn Kilome and Adonis Medina. If they can do that, Falter would rocket up rankings with a mid-rotation profile. Despite that, physical development is no surefire thing and Falter could wind up as another back-end, Quad-A arm like Adam Morgan.