Phillies might have the next big pitching prospect stashed in the low minors

Is George Klassen, the Phillies No. 29 prospect, the next big arm?
Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies / G Fiume/GettyImages

Did the Philadelphia Phillies make off with the steal of the 2023 MLB Draft when they selected right-handed pitcher George Klassen with the 193rd pick in the sixth round out of the University of Minnesota?

It's sure starting to look that way after Klassen was recently named Florida State League Pitcher of the Month at Low-A Clearwater during a dominant run of performances on the mound in April.

Klassen, 22, was primarily a relief pitcher in college but was converted to a starter by the Phillies this year. He has been turning heads in Clearwater with a three-pitch mix that has Single-A hitters looking over-matched during his first five starts. With an early season record of 2-0 with a 0.36 ERA, Klassen's 29 strikeouts in 25 innings and 0.72 WHIP are starting to gain notice among talent evaluators and other MLB ballclubs.

Do the Phillies have something special here?

In a recent report by's Todd Zolecki, Klassen's 97.1 mph fastball has been too much for Single-A hitters to deal with down in the Florida Complex League. Although he was removed from his last start as a precaution with shoulder soreness, the youngster is starting to generate enough buzz that Phillies minor league pitching coordinator Travis Hergert has been fielding a ton of questions about the talented right-hander recently.

“A lot of people are asking me about him," Hergert said, per Zolecki.

Hergert thinks Klassen's work ethic has helped him adjust to his first extended taste of pitching in professional baseball. Currently ranked as the No. 29 prospect by MLB Pipeline in the Phillies system, Klassen has been willing to do whatever it takes to improve since being drafted in 2023.

“George is incredibly talented,” continued Hergert. “He’s incredibly raw. He’s an incredibly hard worker. He’s really at the ground floor of learning pitching with us, but he’s a great student. He continues to get better every day and every time out.”

While Saturday's news of Klassen's shoulder discomfort shouldn't be overlooked, it's promising that the Phillies have another young arm to join top prospects Andrew Painter and Mick Abel as young pitchers who seem to have an inside track toward becoming major parts of the Phillies' big league rotation at some point in the future.

The Phillies identified Klassen's three-pitch-mix as rotation worthy

According to Thomas Nestico, who takes a deep look at pitching numbers, the Phillies felt comfortable enough with Klassen's three established pitches to begin his career in the starting rotation with Single-A Clearwater. So far, the results show that the Phillies made the right decision.

But what is it about Klassen's three-pitch mix that has made him so dominant at this early stage of his career?

Taking a glimpse of what Nestico has reported about Klassen's three-pitch arsenal, his four-seam fastball that averages between 96-98 mph has the velocity to get hitters out at almost any level of professional baseball. His curveball takes 10-12 mph off and plays as an effective weapon to mess with opposing hitters timing. The 89-92 mph cutter also gives him another look and still comes in hard but sits four to six mph behind his four-seam fastball.

It's still too early to tell what kind of pitching prospect the Phillies have in George Klassen. Now that the secret is out that the Phillies have another arm to follow Andrew Painter and Mick Abel, Klassen's development will be another thing to keep tabs on as the Phillies' minor league system is starting to produce some very interesting young talent at all levels.