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Mack's Minors Report- 7/26/23



We took a small hiatus from articles reporting on the Phillies farm system with the addition of the Mack's Minors Report Podcast. The show happens every Sunday on the AATSports channel. You can find the show on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Make sure you check it out!


From now on we will continue the show and go more in depth on certain topics and different interviews, while the articles will give more broad updates on how the Phillies minor league affiliates are doing.


 
Clearwater Threshers- Low A

Clearwater continues to not just be the best Phillies affiliate, but one of the best minor league baseball teams. The Threshers have been full of young promising talent all season long. With Clearwater doing so well, promotions from Clearwater to High-A have been more frequent than ever before. Even with all the promotions, the Threshers are still one of the best teams in the Florida State League.


LHP Andrew Wallings has been the most recent promotion to High-A. The 23-year-old has appeared in 26 games this season. He has a 3.23 ERA, 46 strikeouts, 26 walks, an opponent's average of .206, and has only pitched in 39 innings. Wallings has been one of the stronger relievers in Low-A this season. He becomes the Threshers 2nd reliever to get promoted this season after Orion Kerkering was promoted earlier this year.


Justin Crawford continues to be the team's MVP. He currently leads the team in hits, batting average, triples, and stolen bases. Fresh off an appearance in the 2023 Futures Game, Crawford has returned and picked up right where he left off. He is still lacking power in his swing. What he is missing in his power he makes up with his speed. With him only being 19, his time in the minors may be longer than we hoped, but if he continues to play like this, he may start to fly through the minors.



 
Reading Fighting Phils- AA

The big news out of Reading is that top prospect Andrew Painter had a successful Tommy John procedure. This news is disappointing for all fans. Painter was in strong contention to make the Phillies Opening Day roster before a UCL injury sidelined him in Spring Training. With the recent news that this did involve surgery, Painter is not expected to be MLB ready until 2025.


The news regarding Painter is awful, but now we have to turn attention to other prospects in AA, while Painter continues to rehab his injury.


Phillies 9th rated prospect Carlos De La Cruz is hoping to one day join a Phillies lineup of big-time sluggers. De La Cruz leads the Fighting Phils with 18 homeruns, hits, and RBI's. De La Cruz is a corner outfielder who will succeed much more as a DH. He possesses a lot of strength for a player at this level. With him relying so much on his power, he also leads the team in strikeouts. With the Phillies having more power hitters and DH's than they know what to do with, De La Cruz could be a possible trade candidate at this year's deadline.


There are three pitchers in AA that you need to be paying attention to. 2nd and 4th rated prospects Mick Abel and Griff McGarry are hoping for strong seasons in 2023 that could earn them both opportunities to join the Phillies rotation by this season or Opening Day in 2024.


In his most recent start Abel pitched 5 innings, striking out 3, allowing 2 hits, and no runs. Abel has seen his pitch count and his innings increase steadily throughout the season. He has been such a consistent arm throughout the year for Reading. The hard throwing pitcher looks ready for the call-up, now it is a matter of time.


McGarry started the season injured but looks better than before he got hurt. McGarry this week went 7 innings, allowing 2 hits, 0 earned runs, while striking out 10. Prior to this week, MLB Pipeline predicted he would get the call up to the big leagues in 2024, and now they are predicting 2023. With him going 7 innings and having a very strong performance, he very well could be getting called up. The other idea is McGarry could be involved in a trade this week. His name has been mentioned in many different trades. For now, he looks electric and could be called up later this year.



Orion Kerkering started the season in Low-A with Clearwater, was quickly promoted to High-A Jersey Shore, and has now been promoted to AA. I don't believe he is done yet. When a player is promoted to the next level, we often see some struggles at first, but Kerkering has only looked better at each level. He has pitched 9 innings in AA allowing 3 earned runs and striking out 8. He will not get the call up this season, but very well could next season. He is going to be a great 8th/9th inning pitcher for the Phillies. There are not many guarantees in minor league baseball, but Kerkering is very close to being one.


 
Lehigh Valley IronPigs- AAA

The Pigs' have seen a lot of movement. A lot of players recalled, and a lot of players optioned down in recent weeks. With a lot of different MLB guys on the roster, the IronPigs have started to play much better baseball and find themselves a half game back in the International League standings.


A player to keep an eye on as a possible utility guy for the Phillies playoff push has to be Scott Kingery. In recent weeks reports said that Kingery was close to making the Opening Day roster, but ultimately guys like Josh Harrison and Kody Clemons beat him out for a roster spot. He has a slash line of .270/.344/.450 and still plays multiple infield and outfield positions extremely well. He has been fairly consistent all season, even without the big numbers. He is part of the 40-man roster, and this would be a fantastic call-up for the Phillies.


With all the movement between AAA and the MLB, one guy who is not talked about enough is Phillies 10th rated prospect Simon Muzziotti. He currently leads the team in hits, triples, and stolen bases. My favorite thing about him is he plays with an incredible level of confidence. He has many big hits and clutch plays both at bat and in the field. He looks like a big leaguer when he plays.






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