Big prospect name leaves camp as Phillies announce first spring training roster cuts

Griff McGarry, the Phillies No. 11 prospect, started spring training strong but has been reassigned to minor league camp.

Philadelphia Phillies No. 11 prospect, pitcher Griff McGarry, has been reassigned to minor league camp
Philadelphia Phillies No. 11 prospect, pitcher Griff McGarry, has been reassigned to minor league camp / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

With less than three weeks until Opening Day, the Philadelphia Phillies have finally made some spring training roster cuts. The team announced three moves on Monday morning, ahead of a Grapefruit League showdown with the New York Yankees.

Right-handed pitchers Tyler Phillips and Griff McGarry were reassigned to minor league training camp, while another righty, Michael Mercado, was optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Tyler Phillips, a 26-year-old non-roster invitee, appeared in two games for the Phillies this spring, giving up four hits and two runs in three innings.

Griff McGarry's spring started strong, but...

The biggest name Phillies fans will be wondering about is McGarry. Formerly ranked as high as the team's No. 5 prospect, McGarry has slipped over the last calendar year. He was recently ranked the No. 11 prospect by MLB Pipeline heading into 2024. His demotion to minor league camp isn't that surprising after his two most recent outings.

The 24-year-old got off to a strong start this spring with a sparkling Grapefruit League debut. On March 1, he struck out all three batters he faced against the Miami Marlins, needing just 15 pitches to breeze through the clean inning. Things went downhill from there.

He gave up three runs on three hits with a walk and a hit batter in 2/3 of an inning in his next game. He got through a full inning without surrendering a run in his third outing on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates but walked two while allowing one hit with one strikeout.

McGarry’s big problem since being drafted in the fifth round in 2021 has been his command. Last season, he posted 5.93 BB/9 in 54 1/3 Double-A innings, before allowing a staggering 14 walks in 4 1/3 innings in a brief Triple-A stint.

Michael Mercado's big-league stuff impresses

Reliever Michael Mercado, who the Phillies acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays early in the offseason, has impressed with his stuff this spring.

According to The Philadelphia Inquirer's Alex Coffey, the 24-year-old has shown "big-league stuff" in training camp. However, like McGarry, he has struggled with command in the past. Last season in the Rays' minor leagues, Mercado had a 5.24 BB/9 through 67 innings between Double- and Triple-A.

In his Grapefruit League action with the Phillies, the former second-round pick appeared in five games, posting a 6.35 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in 5 2/3 innings of relief. His 10 strikeouts to one walk is promising, but that is tempered by the eight hits he allowed.

Mercado has three options remaining, so he could be in play for bullpen depth this year if he can continue showing improved command in Triple-A once the season starts.