2 young pitchers Dombrowski sees Phillies building around, plus other surprising arms

Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski recently spoke about which young pitchers he sees the organization building around.

Feb 22, 2024; Clearwater, FL, USA;  Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Mick Abel (74) poses for a
Feb 22, 2024; Clearwater, FL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Mick Abel (74) poses for a / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Dave Dombrowski, the president of baseball operations of the Philadelphia Phillies, spoke with MLB.com's Todd Zolecki about who has surprised him thus far. The executive mentioned some pitchers that participated in games during spring training.

Mick Abel and Tyler Phillips are among the pitchers that Dombrowski sees the Phillies building around

Dombrowski expressed optimism regarding the futures of two young pitchers — Tyler Phillips and Mick Abel.

"We really like [right-hander Tyler] Phillips a lot. We think he’s very, very close to pitching in the big leagues," Dombrowski told Zolecki. "[Right-hander Mick] Abel threw the ball great. He continues to make strides. They’re young guys that could help us build a nice foundation to our pitching staff for years to come."

The 26-year-old Phillips pitched in two games this spring — one start and one out of the bullpen. In three innings, he had a 6.00 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. The right-hander gave up four hits, two earned runs, and zero walks. The Phillies reassigned him to minor league camp on March 11.

Abel, the Phillies' No. 2 prospect, did well in his two relief appearances with the team before the club reassigned him to minor league camp on March 13. He had four strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings and allowed no earned runs, no walks, and no hits.

On Saturday, he started the Spring Breakout game against the Detroit Tigers and pitched two innings. The Portland, Oregon native allowed three hits, one earned run, no walks, and three strikeouts.

If he does well, presumably with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in Triple-A during 2024, he may earn consideration for a promotion to the Phillies during the middle or toward the end of the regular season. There may be an opening if Philadelphia has injuries to their rotation or is unable to find a reliable option to be their number four or fifth starting pitcher. If he does not appear in the majors in 2024, he is a candidate to make the team out of spring training in 2025.

Which other pitchers did Dombrowski mention?

Dombrowski also mentioned the following pitchers in his comments, "I don’t want to call [right-hander Michael] Mercado a starter yet, but we’re going to stretch him out. We really like him a great deal. [Right-hander Ricardo] Pinto has thrown well. Other than his last outing, [right-hander Max] Castillo threw well. That doesn’t include [right-hander David] Buchanan, [left-hander Kolby] Allard."

While the club has hopes for Mercado, he struggled during five relief appearances in spring training, finishing with a 6.35 ERA. In 5 2/3 innings, he surrendered eight hits, four earned runs, and one walk and had a 1.59 WHIP. The Phillies optioned him to the IronPigs on March 13. The 24-year-old threw two innings in the Spring Breakout contest, allowing one hit, zero earned runs, and two walks, but had three strikeouts.

Pinto, who is in his second stint with the Phillies, has made two relief appearances. Entering Sunday's contest versus the Toronto Blue Jays, he has pitched two innings, allowed no hits, and no earned runs. The 30-year-old has two strikeouts and surrendered one walk.

Castillo has appeared in four games (two starts) and has a 6.55 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP. In 11 innings, the 24-year-old has allowed 15 hits, eight earned runs, three walks, and seven strikeouts.

The 34-year-old Buchanan has appeared in three games and made two starts for the Phillies. He has a 6.75 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP in 6 2/3 innings. The 2010 Philadelphia draft pick has nine strikeouts and surrendered five earned runs and three walks.

Allard has made two starts and one relief appearance for the Phillies. He has a 3.18 ERA and a 1.76 ERA in 5 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old has six strikeouts and allowed six hits, four walks, and two earned runs. He has a chance to make the team at the start of the regular season, either out of the bullpen or as the fifth starter.

Following his Phillies debut, Allard spoke with NBC Sports Philadelphia and discussed what brought him to Philadelphia and what he's doing to help.

"I just thought it'd be a great place to go, hopefully contribute as best I can to help the Phillies win as many games as I possibly can," Allard said. "I think it's just going out there and trusting the work we've been putting in ... the curveball is something for me that I think we need to use a little bit more, and I think it kind of helps everything else for me."