Phillies: Joe Girardi FaceTimed UDFA signee Billy Sullivan
Just days as a Phillies prospect, Billy Sullivan has already chatted with Joe Girardi
Now more than ever, staying connected is important, especially for professional athletes. But, for right-handed pitching prospect Billy Sullivan IV, one of the newest in the Philadelphia Phillies’ minor-league system, he says he was “speechless” when he got a certain call this past weekend.
The University of Delaware Blue Hens alumnus is among several undrafted free-agents the Phillies have recently signed. Because of the pandemic shortening last week’s usual 40-round draft to just five rounds, Major League Baseball is allowing teams to sign an unlimited amount of those left undrafted for no more than $20,000.
News recently broke that Sullivan has signed with his hometown team, and, on Sunday, he was excited to receive a FaceTime video call from its newest skipper, Joe Girardi.
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“I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’m on FaceTime with Joe Girardi right now. Great guy, [a] very cool guy to talk to,” Sullivan recently told NBC10. “I was speechless when he called. It was awesome talking to him.”
The Phillies had previously drafted Sullivan in the 28th round three years ago, Girardi’s last season as the manager of the New York Yankees, however he did not sign and went on to play at the University of Delaware.
Listed as 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds, Sullivan only had one full season with the Blue Hens, 2018, when he went 7-3 with a 2.97 ERA across 72 2/3 innings; his 95 strikeouts led the team, while his ERA ranked inside the top-10 in the conference, earning him 2018 CAA Rookie of the Year honors. Also, Sullivan’s 11.76 strikeouts per nine innings that year is the fifth-best in a single-season in Delaware Blue Hens program history.
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He made just two starts in 2019 before needing Tommy John surgery; the COVID-19 pandemic also sidelined his would-be third collegiate season. He is ready to move forward now in the Phillies’s system and live out what he calls a “dream come true.”
And, the Phillies were the first team to call him after he was not selected in the shortened 2020 draft.
“It’s unreal. I dreamed of [this] since I was a little kid,” Sullivan told NBC10. “Now that it’s here, it doesn’t seem real. It’s awesome. it’s a dream come true.”