Philadelphia Phillies 2018 top prospects: Five pitchers to note

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 21: A view of the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies bullpens in centerfield as fans watch from above during a game at Citizens Bank Park on July 21, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Marlins won 9-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 21: A view of the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies bullpens in centerfield as fans watch from above during a game at Citizens Bank Park on July 21, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Marlins won 9-3. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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Right-handed pitcher J.D. Hammer

Another one of those trades mentioned earlier sent Pat Neshek to the Rockies in exchange for a trio of prospects as well as international slot money. One of the pitchers sent back in exchange for Neshek was 23-year-old relief prospect J.D. Hammer.

Hammer pitched as a starter at Marshall before being drafted in the 24th round last year by the Rockies. They converted him to a reliever and immediately saw an uptick in velocity.

Hammer started off this season in Low-A where he was nearly untouchable, striking out 14.10 batters per nine inning and posting a 1.20 ERA and 0.73 WHIP in 24 outings. He was promoted to High-A in June, where two bad innings ballooned his walk rate to 16.7 percent. Hammer’s strikeout rate was still quite high at 33.3 percent. After being traded to the Phillies, Hammer’s strikeout rate jumped to 36.4 percent while his walk rate dropped to 3.6 percent in Clearwater.

Hammer has the makings for a fast-moving relief prospect with a fastball that now can reach up to 97 miles per hour. He has a hard, slurvy breaking ball that could be an average pitch. If Hammer can improve that breaking ball, he could be an effective, late-game reliever, but as of now he is more of a middle reliever.

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