Phillies Latin pitching prospect depth continuing to grow

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SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 09: A general view of Spectrum Field during the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays on March 9, 2017 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
SARASOTA, FL- MARCH 09: A general view of Spectrum Field during the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays on March 9, 2017 at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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The Phillies have a number of young Latin pitching prospects in their farm system and that number is continuing to grow this year.

The top three Phillies pitching prospects are all young, Latin arms the team picked up from the international market. Sixto Sanchez has emerged as an ace-caliber arm while Franklyn Kilome and Adonis Medina both flash top-end potential. All three highlight what is a system deep in Latin pitching prospects.

Ranger Suarez may be the next-best pitching prospect after the top three depending on who you talk to. In 21 starts this year between Low-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater, he has a 2.09 ERA, 1.014 WHIP, and 3.60 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 22-year-old has logged a career-high 120.1 innings in his first full season of professional baseball.

Suarez’s calling card is a plus changeup that he combines with a low-90s fastball. He also has a solid slider and he controls all three pitches well. His three-pitch mix with good command makes him a solid starting pitching prospect, likely as a No. 4 starter. Suarez is eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year, but the fact that he has never pitched above High-A may keep him safe.

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Seranthony Dominguez is another pitching prospect starting to make his case as a legitimate prospect. This year in Clearwater he has struck out 29.1 percent of opposing hitters and opposing hitters are batting just .233 against him. He has walked 11.7 percent of hitters, leading to a 1.35 WHIP. Dominguez missed two months with a biceps injury as he has just 54.2 innings in High-A this year.

Despite his control issues, Dominguez flashes big potential with a big fastball, throwing it anywhere from 94 to 99 miles per hour. He shows two above-average pitches in his slider and changeup, with his slider potentially being plus in the future. He is high-risk, high-reward as if he can find some control, he has the same mid-rotation potential as some of the top arms. However, if he cannot, the bullpen is a more likely landing spot.

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A new face on the scene is the the 17-year-old righty Francisco Morales. The Phillies signed him for $900,000 last year and was regarded as the best pitcher coming out of Venezuela. While he is still years away and has issues with command, the potential is there with a mid-90s fastball and a potentially above-average slider. Morales is starting to develop a changeup that he shows some potential with as well, but it is certainly below-average at this point.

There are a few guys who have been on prospect radars for a bit but aren’t having the best seasons.

Elniery Garcia was suspended for 80 games for PEDs in what was supposed to be his first test of Double-A. Edgar Garcia and Victor Arano are both intriguing relief prospects but have had middling seasons. Alberto Tirado has some of the best raw stuff in the system but continues to lack any and all control of his pitches which will likely prevent him from ever reaching the majors.

Next: Phillies infield could look very different in 2018

Alotgether, the Phillies have a plethora of Latin pitching prospects and more are seemingly coming out of nowhere every year.

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