2018 Gulf Coast Phillies Recap, Part Two (West)

Gulf Coast Phillies West

In their initial season, the GCL Phillies West posted a 30-24 record and finished second in the Northwest division, seven-and-half games back under manager Nelson Prada.  They remained in contact with first place Tigers West as they steadily increased their lead and weren’t officially eliminated until the day after beating the Tigers and pulling within five games with five games left in the season.  Their highlight may have been their 5-2 record against Phillies East which included a 19-1 drubbing in the last game between the two teams.  West flirted with batting over .300 as a team for a good part of the season.  In addition to Prada, the staff included hitting coach Chris Heintz and pitching coach Matt Hockenberry.

There are 37 players on the team’s active roster but including promoted players and rehab assignments as many as 54 players saw action.  They were a formidable offensive team.  They had the best batting average (.289), third best on base percentage (.357), second most runs (301), second most hits (503), most stolen bases (94), second fewest strike outs (346), second most sacrifice hits (18), and most sacrifice flies (24).  They had the fourth youngest pitching staff, and one of four complete games in the league. Many stood out.

One stand out performer was shortstop Luis Garcia who was named to the GCL Post Season All-Star team.

Starting Pitchers

Victor Vargas is an 18-year-old, right-handed pitcher the Phillies signed as an international free agent out of Colombia on July 2, 2017.  He made his professional debut as a seventeen-year old this summer, and as one of the youngest starting pitchers in the league (fourth youngest among pitchers with at least seven starts).  In light of this, he had predictable results – a 1-4 record, 6.00 ERA, 8 HR, and 1.622 WHIP.  But, in 45.0 innings, he had a 2.2 BB/9 and a 6.8 K/9.  He has an upper 80s fastball and throws a curve ball.  His best game was a 5.0 inning start on July 27th.  He gave up one run on 3 hits and struck out six.

Ben Brown is a 19-year-old, right-handed pitcher the Phillies selected in the 33rd round of the 2018 Amateur Draft out of Ward Melville High School (NY).  Big Ben (he’s 6’6, 210) pitched the 2018 season as an eighteen-year old, turning nineteen in September.  After throwing just 14.0 innings in his draft year, Brown was inserted into the Phillies’ starting rotation in 2018.  He posted a 4-2 record and 3.12 ERA.  In 49.0 innings pitched, he walked 15 (2.8 BB/9) and struck out 62 (11.4 K/9).  His season highlight came on July 24th when he struck out 16 batters in a six inning, two-hit performance.  His fastball is improving and is in the upper 80s to low 90s.

Kyle Glogoski is a 19-year-old, right-handed pitcher the Phillies signed as an international free agent out of New Zealand on January 8, 2018.  He debuted out of the bullpen and struck out six in 3.1 innings in his first two appearances.  He was inserted into the starting rotation and made 8 starts.  In 39.0 innings, he posted a 4-0 record and 2.31 ERA with 11 walks (2.5 BB/9), 47 strike outs (10.8 K/9), and a 1.05 WHIP.  He throws his fastball in the  upper 80s to low 90s, and complements it with a change up and curve ball.  His best start came on July 27th when he tossed 6.0 shutout innings while allowing 3 hits and striking out seven.

Rafi Gonell is a 21-year-old, right-handed pitcher the Phillies signed as an international free agent on January 19, 2018 out of the Dominican Republic.  Even though he is older, this was his first recorded venture into professional baseball.  He posted a 5-1 record with a 4.65 ERA.  In 40.2 innings, he struck out 41 (9.1 K/9) but walked 20 (4.4 BB/9).  He has a low 90s fastball and a curve ball.  His best game was a 5.0 inning start on July second when he shut the opposition down on 2 hits and struck out seven.

Relief Pitchers

Leonel Aponte is a 19-year-old, right-handed pitcher signed by the Phillies as an international free agent out of Venezuela on November 19, 2015.  He played his first 2 seasons in the DSL and posted a 2.77 ERA in 2016 and a 1.52 ERA with a 7-1 record in 2017 on his way to selection on the Baseball America DSL All Star Team the same year. He came stateside in 2018 and posted a 3-2 record with a 4.40 ERA mostly as a reliever, striking out 30 in 30.2 innings.

Jose Conopoima is an 18-year-old, right-handed pitcher signed by the Phillies as an international free agent out of Venezuela on March 7, 2017.  He posted a 2.04 ERA in the DSL during 2017.  He debuted in Florida during the 2018 GCL season with a 1-2 record and a 3.53 ERA.  He made 5 starts among his 14 appearances, and was more effective as a reliever with a 3.10 ERA and fewer walks per nine innings (0.9 v. 2.3).

Adam Cox is a 22-year-old, right-handed pitcher the Phillies selected in the 25th round of the 2018 Amateur Draft out of Montana State University and signed on June 12, 2018.  He saw action with both GCL teams, and posted a combined 0-2 record with a 2.70 ERA, striking out 21 in 20.0 innings.  He held opposing left-handed batters to a 1.58 batting average.

Ethan Evanko is a 23-year-old, left-handed pitcher the Phillies signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Grand Canyon University (AZ) on June 19, 2018.  He posted a 2-2 record with a 3.38 ERA and striking out 19 batters in 21.1 innings.  His bets outing was a victory in 4.0 innings of long relief where he held the opposition to one run on 3 hits while striking out 5 on July 21st

Blake Bennett is a 22-year-old, right-handed pitcher the Phillies signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Memphis University on June 19, 2018.  He posted a 3-1 record with a 1.83 ERA.  In 19.2 innings, he struck out 17 batters and walked just 4 (1.8 BB/9).  He held opposing left-handed batters to a .211 batting average.

Jaylen Smith is a 17-year-old, left-handed pitcher the Phillies selected in the 29th round of the 2018 Amateur Draft out of Copperas Cove High School (TX) and signed on June 12, 2018.  He’s a slightly built kid (at 5″11, 170) with a fastball in the upper 80s topping out at 90 mph.  In an extremely small sample size, he posted a 0-1 record and 7.11 ERA.  But, in 9 of his 11 appearances, he posted a 1.54 ERA in 11.2 innings.

Brandon Ramey is a 17-year old, right-handed pitcher the Phillies selected in the 30th round of the 2018 Amateur Draft out of Martin Luther King High School (CA) and signed on June 18, 2018.  He’s another slightly built kid (at 6’3, 170).  He was limited to 9.0 innings during the season and didn’t pitch after July 19th.  In that extremely small sample size, he posted a 1-0 record with a 6.00 ERA in 4 appearances.  He held opposing batters to a 2.06 batting average, 1.222 WHIP, and struck out 7.0 batter per nine innings pitched.

Middle Infielders

Luis Garcia is a 17-year-old, switch hitting shortstop the Phillies signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2017.  He began his professional career in the 2018 GCL and posted a league leading .369 batting average.  His full slash was .369/.433/.488/.921 and the other components were also among the league leaders.  He also led the league with 62 hits and was fourth in runs scored with 33.  In his 187 plate appearances, he walked 15 times (8.0%) and struck out just 21 times (11.2%).  He had 22 multi-hit games – one 4-hit and seven 3-hit games.  His best game was on August 3rd when he went 4-5 with a double, HR, and 3 RBI.  He had four 3-RBI and one 4 RBI games.  He was recognized for his accomplishments when he was named to the GCL Post Season All-Star team

Christian Valerio is an 18-year-old, right-handed hitting second baseman the Phillies signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic on July 2, 2016.  His first professional season was in the 2017 DSL.  During the 2018 season, he posted a .270/.340/.373/.713 slash with 13 walks (9.0 %) and 22 strike outs (15.3%) in 144 plate appearances. He was a clutch hitter who hit .385 with two outs and .361 with runners in scoring position.  He hit 8 of his 11 extra base hits with runners in scoring position including his only HR and 17 of his 18 RBI.  His best game came on July 3rd when he went 3-4 with 2 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and a stolen base.

Corner Infielders

Austin “Stoney” O’Brien is a 24-year-old, right-handed hitting first baseman the Phillies signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Oklahoma University on January 8, 2018.  He posted a .325/.407/.480/.887 slash with 3 HR and 26 RBI.  In 145 plate appearances, he drew 15 walks (10.3%)  and struck out 33 times (22.8%).  He played mostly at first base, but spent some time in left field.  He had 10-multi hit games, and came through in clutch situations hitting .472 with runners in scoring position.

Rixon Taylor-Wingrove is an 18-year-old, left-handed hitting first baseman the Phillies signed as an international free agent out of Australia on April 20, 2018.  Originally listed as a catcher, he was switched to first base during extended spring training.  He posted a .241/.310/.342/.652 slash with one HR and 8 RBI in 87 plate appearances.  He’s a big fellow (6’5, 230) who the Phillies spotted with the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League.  He hit .429 in the 21 times he lead off an inning.  His big game came on August 17th when he went 3-5 with a walk, HR, and 4 RBI.  He will return to the Sydney Blue Sox for the 2018 ABL season.

D.J. Stewart is a nineteen-year-old, right-handed hitting third baseman the Phillies selected in the 39th round of the 2017 Amateur Draft out of Westminster Christian Academy (MO) and signed on July 6, 2017.  Due to his late signing, he saw limited action in the 2017 season.  He was a pitcher and shortstop in high school, but was immediately switched to third base by the Phillies.  In 2018, he posted a .281/.352/.351/.702 slash.  He had an AVG over .300 most of the season until a 1-12 in his final 3 games.  His best games was a 2 hit, 2 double, 3 RBI game on July 10th.

Alec Bohm is a 22-year-old, right-handed hitting third baseman the Phillies selected in the 1st round of the 2018 Amateur Draft out of Wichita Sate University and signed on June 18, 2018.  In an extremely small sample size, he posted a .391/.481/.522/1.003 slash with 2 extra base hits and 3 RBI in 27 plate appearances.  He was quickly promoted to Williamsport where his season was derailed when he was hit on the knee with a pitched ball and missed 5 weeks of development.  His best game in the GCL came in his 4th appearance on June 22nd when he went 3-3 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI.  He was promoted the next day.  His remaining GCL stats came during his 7-game rehab before returning to the Crosscutters on August 20th.

Outfielders

Yerwin Trejo is a 21-year-old, right-handed hitting outfielder the Phillies signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela on April 21, 2016.  He played two seasons in the DSL and earned a trip stateside for the 2018 GCL season.  He posted a .301/.389/.342/.731 slash with 20 RBI and 23 stolen bases in 32 attempts (71.9%).  He has been remarkably consistent from year-to-year with improvement at each level.  He played 35 of his 50 starts in center field, and covered right field in his other 15 starts.  He committed one error in 409.2 innings (.992) and had 4 outfield assists.  He had 18 multi-hit games.  His best game was one of his three, 3-hit games where he scored a run, collected 2 RBI, and stole 2 bases on July 27th.

Trent Bowles is a 23-year-old, right-handed hitting outfielder the Phillies selected in the 36th round of the 2018 Amateur Draft out of the University of Texas at San Antonio and signed on June 12, 2018.  He posted a .256/.309/.353/.662 in 151 plate appearances with 11 walks (7.3%), 33 strike outs (21.9%), and was successful on 9 of 12 steal attempts (75%).  He played both corner outfield positions with one error (.986)  in 310.2 innings.  He came out of the gate quickly and batted .338 through June and July.  His best game was a 3-hit, 3 RGI performance on July 28th.

Luis Matos is an 18-year-old, switch hitting outfielder the Phillies signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela on October 13, 2016.  He posted a .270/.303/288/.591 in 122 plate appearances.  He played predominantly in right field but saw time at all three outfield positions.  He batted .290 with runners in scoring position.  His best game came on July 19th when he went 3-3 with a run scored and an RBI.

Corbin Williams is a 20-year-old, right-handed hitting outfielder the Phillies selected in the 24th round of the 2018 Amateur Draft out of the College of Canyons Junior College (CA) and signed June 12, 2018.  He posted a .289/.348/.325/.673 slash in 95 plate appearances.  He walked 7 times (7.4%) and struck out 27 times (28.4%).  He split time between center and right fields, committing one error in 223.0 innings (.984).  He has top of the order potential with 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts (75%).  He had a couple of 3-hit games.  His season was cut short when he left a game on August 3rd and didn’t play the rest of the season.

Catchers

Abrahan Gutierrez is an 18-year-old, right-handed hitting catcher the Phillies signed as a free agent after MLB voided his Atlanta Braves contract for signing violations.  He was signed by the Phillies on March 6, 2018 and is out of Venezuela.  The big backstop (he’s 6’2, 214) thrived in Clearwater.  He posted a .315/.362/.407/.769 slash with one HR and 30 RBI.  In 178 plate appearances, he walked 10 times (5.6%) and struck out an incredibly low 16 times (8.98%).  In 227.2 innings behind the dish, he committed 3 errors (.988), 2 passed balls, and threw out 10 of 48 base stealers (21%).  His best game came on August 17th when he went 2-3 with a double, 2 walks, 4 runs score, and 3 RBI.

Logan O’Hoppe is an 18-year-old, right-handed hitting catcher the Phillies selected in the 23rd round of the 2018 Amateur Draft out of St. John the Baptist High School (NY). He arrived in Clearwater with a very good defensive reputation and proceeded to scald the baseball at the plate.  He posted a .367/.411/.532/.943 slash with 2 HR and 21 RBI.  In 124 plate appearances, he walked 10 times (8.1%) and struck out 28 times (22.6%).  In 148 innings behind the plate, he committed 2 errors (.987), 2 passed balls, and threw out 9 of 27 base stealers (33.3%).  He has very good lefty/righty splits.  He had a 4-4 game on July 14th, but his best game was on July 23rd when he went 3-4 with 2 runs scored, a triple, HR, and 2 RBI.

Nick Matera is a 22-year-old, right-handed hitting catcher the Phillies selected in the 34th round in the 2018 Amateur Draft out of Rutgers University.  In 92 plate appearances, he posted a .224/.348/.303/.650 slash.  He drew 13 walks (14.1%) and struck out 17 times (18.5%).  In 74.0 innings, he committed 2 errors (.970), 2 passed balls, and threw out 2 of 5 base stealers (40%).

League Leaders

  • AVG – First: Luis Garcia (.369)
  • OBP – Third: Luis Garcia (.472)
  • Runs – First: Yerwin Trejo (40), Fourth: Luis Garcia (33)
  • Hits – First: Luis Garcia (62), Third: Yerwin Trejo (59)
  • SB – First: Yerwin Trejo (23)
  • Wins – Third: Rafi Gonell (5)
  • Complete Game – First: Ben Brown (1)
  • Strike Outs – Third: Ben Brown (62)

Team Leaders

  • AVG – Luis Garcia (.369), Abrahan Gutierrez (.315), Yerwin Trejo (.301)
  • Runs -Yerwin Trejo (40), Luis Garcia (33), Stoney O’Brien (27)
  • HR – Stoney O’Brien (3), Logan O’Hoppe (2), six with (1)
  • RBI –  Luis Garcia (32), Abrahan Gutierrez (30), Stoney O’Brien (26)
  • SB – Yerwin Trejo (23), Luis Garcia (12), Corbin Williams (12)
  • Wins – Rafi Gonell (5), Ben Brown (4), Kyle Glogoski (4)
  • Saves – Blake Bennett (6), seven with (1)
  • K – Ben Brown (62), Kyle Glogoski (47), Rafi Gonell (41)
  • ERA – Ben Brown (3.12), Jose Conopoima (3.53)
  • WHIP – Jose Conopoina (1.15), Ben Brown (1.18), Victor Vargas (1.62)

 

 

16 thoughts on “2018 Gulf Coast Phillies Recap, Part Two (West)

  1. Another nice job Jim. As a Long Island Phillie Phan, it is nice to see 3 LI products having productive years in the system – Ben Brown and Logan O’Hoppe. Kyle Young also a LI product. Nick Fanti is also a Long Islander, but I’m not sure is still with the Phillies organization.

    1. The two catchers offer significant upside. Trejo and Williams do also. And we’re all dreaming on Garcia…. Fingers crossed.

    2. JoeFen…Fanti is still in the Philies org….had to deal with back issues early last year and really did not come around the way he expected. Hopefully he will be completely healthy for 2019. He did pitch last month in FIL….velo was only 85-88, but he may have been taking it slow and not trying to rush things.

        1. Nick is pitching in the Australian Baseball League this winter (their summer) with the Sydney Blue Sox. In his only start, he went 3.1 innings, 3 hits, 1 unearned run, 4 walks and 3 K. No decision.

      1. Yes, agreed. Luis Garcia could easily be the hot hitting young stud we’ve been waiting for these many years – a true difference maker and it’s long overdue. And Logan O’Hoppe is a very interesting prospect – a hard hitting young catcher. He would be in my top 30 for sure. Very intriguing.

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