The Philadelphia Phillies are preparing to head down to Clearwater, FL, next month for Spring Training. The team announced this week that pitchers and catchers will report on Wed., Feb. 14, and the first full-squad workout will be on Mon., Feb. 19.
On Thursday, the Phillies announced their non-roster invitees for spring training, which includes a couple of top pitching prospects in their minor league system.
Phillies fans will get another look at former first-round Mick Abel, who will be back in Clearwater for the second consecutive spring. Abel started last season in Double-A Reading, where he had a 5-5 record and 4.14 ERA in 22 starts. He also produced 126 strikeouts and allowed 15 home runs in 168.2 innings pitched.
The 22-year-old was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in September, where he made one start against Worcester. Abel only gave up two earned runs, three walks, five hits, and struck out six batters in 4.2 innings of work.
With Andrew Painter likely out for the entire 2024 season because of Tommy John surgery, it is a prime opportunity for Abel to make a push to be a part of the big league club this season.
The Phillies will also want to see what Griff McGarry can do. McGarry is the fifth-best prospect in the Phillies’ Top 30 rankings on MLB Pipeline. The 24-year-old pitcher had a 6.00 ERA across three levels last season in the minors and got rocked in Triple-A (41.54 ERA in three starts).
Even though he struggled, the good news for McGarry is he has a fresh slate to work with this season and worked on his mechanics. His fastball is graded at 70, and has the pitching arsenal to get hitters out consistently. If McGarry looks like the pitcher we saw in 2021 and 2022, the Phillies might have another high-powered arm to lean on this season.
Finally, Carlos De La Cruz, who is ranked sixth in the Phillies’ Top 30, caught the attention of fans in spring training last year, and carried that momentum into the Double-A regular season.
The 6-foot-8 outfielder slashed .259/.344/.454 with a career-high 24 home runs and 67 RBI. He also had 25 doubles and had 54 walks. MLB Pipeline projects De La Cruz to make the majors in 2024. Therefore, if he can continue to hit well in spring training and the minors, we might see him at some point with the big league club.
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