The Phillies AA affiliate the Reading Fightin Phils did not put a lot of wins in the win column this season, but some bright performances from some of the Phillies top prospects highlighted a 2023 season for Reading.
The Fightin Phils were the home of both the Phillies Paul Owens Award winners, which goes to the top minor league hitter and pitcher in the Phillies farm system. Johan Rojas and Orion Kerkering were both this year's recipients. Rojas played 76 games for Reading, and he hit .306, with nine home runs, and 45 RBI, and stole 30 bases as well. On July 14th he was promoted to the Phillies roster and has played a key part of their success to the 2023 Postseason! Kerkering was began the season in Low-A but quickly found his home in AA. In 21 games, Kerkering had a 2.05 ERA, with 33 strikeouts and just five walks in 22 innings. He was promoted to the Phillies just last week and has already had instant success.
Phillies 2nd rated prospect Mick Abel dominated throughout the entire season. Abel was 5-6 with a 4.15 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 22 starts in Reading. He was promoted to AAA for the final series of the IronPigs season. Throughout the season we saw the Phillies continue to push Abel's innings limit and allow him to throw more pitches. Early in 2023 he was only pitching 3-4 innings and by the end of the season he was pitching 7-8 on any given night. Abel had tremendous success in 2023, and has a strong case to be a member of the Phillies Opening Day rotation in 2024.
Oilver Dunn and Carlos De La Cruz both were named Eastern League All-stars this season. Dunn spent the entirety of the season with Reading and hit a team-best .271, with 21 home runs and 78 RBI, a mark that also led the team. De La Cruz hit .259 with a team-best 24 home runs and drove in 67 runs.
The FIghtin Phils, Phillies, and fans all were hoping for a monster year out of top prospect Andrew Painter. During Spring Training, Painter had a strong chance to make the Phillies 2023 Opening Day roster. After a UCL injury, the Phillies shut Painter down. After rehab did not go as planned, Painter had Tommy John surgery and it was announced he would not be ready until 2025.