Pair of Phillies top pitching prospects slowed by bad backs

It hasn’t been just the big league team that has been hit with injuries, with Mick Abel and Griff McGarry sidelined recently.
Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day
Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Philadelphia Phillies have been hit hard with the injury bug in recent days, with starter Ranger Suárez avoiding serious injury after being hit on his throwing hand by a comebacker and Brandon Marsh and Kody Clemens landing on the IL with a right hamstring strain and back spasms, respectively.

But it hasn’t been just the big league team, as some of the Phillies' top prospects have failed to dodge the same injury fate in recent weeks. Most notable are two of the team's top pitching prospects Mick Abel and Griff McGarry.

Pair of Phillies top pitching prospects slowed by bad backs

Abel was removed with back tightness in the fifth inning during the Lehigh Valley IronPigs' game last Friday against the Columbus Clippers. For now, he has been listed as day-to-day, with his next start up in the air. 

The Phillies No. 3 prospect in the system, according to MLB Pipeline, has had a rough season with the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate. Abel has an abysmal 1-5 record with a 6.26 ERA and 1.80 WHIP, giving up 29 earned runs with 30 walks and 37 strikeouts in just 41 2/3 innings of work. The latest setback just adds to what has been a troubling season for Abel, whose aspirations to make the major leagues this year may be put on hold for now.

McGarry was less fortunate than Abel, as he was placed on the IL on May 24 due to a lower back issue. McGarry, who was among the Phillies’ top five prospects in 2023, has seen his stock drop to the No. 10 spot in their system. 

While working primarily now as a reliever with the IronPigs in 2024, he has posted a solid 3.57 ERA. However, McGarry has had some of his own struggles with his control and command at times, registering a 1.64 WHIP while giving up 15 walks in just 17 2/3 innings over 14 appearances.

With the Phillies bullpen as solid as a rock recently, the chances are slim of McGarry getting the call any time soon. Perhaps he can aim for a late-season call-up if all goes well for him.

Hopefully, both players' injuries aren’t deemed serious and they'll be back in action soon to continue their strive to make the big leagues in 2024.