3 Phillies prospects heading into a make-or-break year

Some youngsters who have seen their stock fall in recent years are heading into a big season in 2024 that might decide their futures with the Phillies organization.
Philadelphia Phillies prospect Griff McGarry is heading into a make-or-break year
Philadelphia Phillies prospect Griff McGarry is heading into a make-or-break year / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages
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Griff McGarry is heading into a make-or-break year

Unlike Muzziotti and Marchán, who are approaching post-prospect status, Griff McGarry is still a young pitcher the Phillies have confidence will be a major league contributor at some point in the not-so-distant future. Will that future be as a starter or a reliever? 2024 will likely be the year the Phillies find out what kind of pitcher McGarry can be.

Ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the Phillies system by MLB Pipeline only a season ago, McGarry's stock has fallen rapidly as he has struggled to figure out Triple-A hitters. He's now ranked No. 11 in Pipeline's most recent update.

With top pitching prospect Andrew Painter still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, McGarry and Mick Abel are viewed as the two best starting pitchers currently in the Phillies minor league system. If McGarry wants to make a bid to get a call-up to the big leagues in 2024, he has a lot of work to do.

McGarry has pitched as high as Triple-A Lehigh Valley in each of the past two seasons. In a seven-game stint with the IronPigs in 2022, McGarry was shelled in nine innings of work while compiling an 0-2 record and a 9.00 ERA with nine walks and only nine strikeouts in eight innings out of the bullpen. After repeating Doube-A for most of 2023, McGarry was again torched on the mound during three Triple-A starts during a late-season call-up. With a record of 0-2 and bloated 41.54 ERA, McGarry walked 14 batters while only striking out five and allowing 20 runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.

After an impressive spring training debut on March 1 against the Miami Marlins, in which he struck out the side, McGarry had a rough second outing. He only went 2/3 of an inning against the Toronto Blue Jays, giving up three runs on three hits with a walk and a hit batter.

It's clear that McGarry has a lot of work to do to regain his status as a top prospect in the Phillies system. The 24-year-old will likely get a long look at Triple-A this season, and the Phillies hope that a change in his mechanics will make a big difference against more advanced hitters. Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports that McGarry has zeroed in on a more compact delivery (subscription required), and perhaps that will make a difference on the mound for the talented righty this season.