JoJo Romero was selected the Best Left-Handed Starting Pitcher by Phuture Phillies readers. Ranger Suarez finished second. Kyle Young and Nick Fanti finished in a close race for third. Cole Irvin rounded out the top five, all of whom finished with over 10% of the votes.
Romero pitched at 2 levels in 2017 finishing the season at Clearwater. He posted a combined 10-3, 2.16. In 23 games and 129.0 innings, Romero walked 36 (2.5 BB/9) and struck out 128 (8.9 K/9). According to Joe Jordan, Romero has a FB that sinks at 93 MPH, a 4-seamer at 94-96 MPH, a plus change, and a back-door cutter.
Ranger Suarez pitched at 2 levels finishing at Clearwater. He posted a combined 8-6, 2.27. In 22 games and 122.2 innings, he walked 35 (2.6 BB/9) and struck out 128 (9.4 K/9). According to Joe Jordan, Suarez ranks right up there with Romero. He’s a pitcher, not a thrower with a 95 MPH fastball, change, slider, and curve.
Kyle Young made 13 starts for Williamsport. He went 7-2, 2.77. In 65 innings, he walked 15 (2.1 BB/9) and struck out 72 (10.0 K/9). Young throws his FB 87-90 MPH and has a virtually unhittable “slurve” as his out pitch (CB speed, SL movement).
Nick Fanti made 21 starts in Lakewood, his first year in full season ball. He was involved in two no-hitters, one a complete game and the other combined with a final out from Trevor Bettencourt. He went 9-2, 2.54. In 120.1 innings, he walked 28 (2.1 BB/9)and struck out 121 (9.0 K/9).
Cole Irvin pitched at 2 levels finishing at Reading. He posted a combined 9-9, 3.39. In 25 games (24 starts) and 151.1 innings, he walked 38 (2.3 BB/9) and struck out 118 (7.0 K/9). Irvin had slightly better peripherals at Clearwater. He was subjetc to to far more long balls while with Reading.
Notes: Elniery Garcia posted a 2-1, 1.47 in seven games at Clearwtaer and Reading after coming off his 80-game suspension. He only pitched 5.0 innings in Clearwater, and didn’t look like anything special. He walked a lot of guys at Reading (6.0 BB/9). Probably just hadn’t regained his former control. Jhordany Mezquita went 3-0, 0.72 in 9 GCL starts. The 2017 eighth round pick looked good walking 18 (2.9 BB/9) and striking out 35 (8.4 K/9) in 37.2 innings. He throws his FB in the 88-92 range. McKenzie Mills was acquired via trade and made just 3 starts for Clearwater. At full A and Advanced A, he displayed remarkably good walk (1.6 BB/9) and strike out rates (10.0 K/9). Ethan Lindow was a 5th round pick out of high school in 2017. In 8 starts he posted a 2-2, 4.55 in 8 starts and 27.2 innings. He walked 12 (3.9 BB/9) and struck out 34 (1.1 K/9). He looked superb in the two Instructs outings I saw – two 1-2-3 innings in one appearance and striking out 5 in his second two inning appearance. Eighteen-year old Manuel Silva went 6-0 with a 3.40 ERA. In 9 games, he threw 45 innings. He spent Instructs on crutches. Jose Jimenez struggled to find a groove and had a 4.2 BB/9 and 5.6 K/9 in 38.2 innings.