Orion Kerkering, RP, No. 7 prospect
Let's start with the phenom who made his MLB debut right at the end of the season with the big league club Orion Kerkering.
Despite being just a fifth-round draft pick of the Phillies from the recent 2022 MLB Draft, Kerkering has already taken great strides in his growth and development over the past two years. In fact, he has had perhaps one of the greatest ascensions in team history. In his 2023 season, he made it through four minor league levels and ultimately went right into the majors and subsequently into the playoffs for good measure.
How was he able to accomplish such a feat?
Relying primarily on a devastating sweeping slider and his deceptive delivery has brought him great success. In his 2023 minor league season, he compiled an impressive 1.51 ERA with a 0.89 WHIP, giving up only nine earned runs all year with 79 punchouts in just 53 2/3 innings pitched. He even fared well and didn't look out of place with the Phillies in the playoffs until things unraveled a bit for him during the NLCS against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Nevertheless, Kerkering showed great promise and aims to be part of the big league bullpen for the 2024 season. With his skills and talent level, he could potentially even be the heir to the Phillies’ closer role in the near future with the way he exudes confidence and composure.
With the Phillies losing their 2023 closer to free agency, they may already have their future solution in place. The key now is to make sure they don’t deal him away and see him become an All-Star reliever elsewhere.