Arizona Fall League Recap – Pitchers

I already touched on the two hitters that the Phillies sent to the Arizona Fall League.  The Phillies sent 5 pitchers to the AFL, and while they lack the potential impact of Roman Quinn, they are very interesting group to think about.  They included 3 AA relievers in Nefi Ogando, Colton Murray, and Ryan O’Sullivan, as well as Hi-A left handed starting pitcher, turned reliever, Ethan Stewart, and then former top prospect and shoulder surgery victim Adam Morgan.

Adam Morgan:

6 G 16.1 IP 6.61 ERA 26 H 17 R 12 ER 3 BB 11 K

I ranked Morgan as the #2 prospect in the Phillies system after the 2012 season.  At the time Morgan sported a 90-92 mph fastball that he could run up to 94, pairing that with a plus slider, a changeup with plus potential, and an average curveball.  However after two years of shoulder injuries and surgery, Morgan returned to the mound in the AFL with only 2 starts in instructs under his belt.  Morgan was very hittable in the AFL, the fastball was normally 86-88 touching 89 and in one start he was 87-89 and reportedly getting as high as 92.  He was almost exclusively fastball-changeup with limited sliders.  It was good to see Morgan on a mound again, but we will have to see what the stuff looks like in the spring before knowing what he will be going forward.

Nefi Ogando:

12 G 14.2 IP 3.07 ERA 13 H 5 ER 4 BB 15 K

If there was a breakout pitcher for the Phillies it was Ogando.  The fastball was 96-98 and spent varying time in strikezone.  The biggest advance was the slider which was starting to flash plus potential after working with Ray Burris (Phillies AAA pitching coach) in the AFL.  The control still needs work (he somehow had a 1-2-3 inning on 10/9 while only throwing 1 pitching in the zone).  However, if he puts it all together he is an impact back of the bullpen arm.  If it only kind of works he could be a very frustrating middle reliever.  Certainly an interesting arm to watch.

Colton Murray

11 G 14.2 IP 4.91 ERA 15 H 8 ER 2 BB 13 K

Murray was a bit of a pop up prospect in 2014 as he went from three years at Clearwater to dominating in Reading.  In fall league Murray brought a fastball at 92-95 that lived around the zone, his curveball is average and can be above average, he will also mix in a changeup at points.  It is a middle relief profile that could arrive soon.  Murray should get protected on 40 man roster this offseason before going to AAA to polish things up.  There isn’t a ton of growth and upside here, but the stuff is good for now.

Ethan Stewart

7 G 8.1 IP 7.56 ERA 5 H 8 R 7 ER 10 BB 12 K

It was a really interesting AFL for Ethan Stewart.  I have written about the improvements that Stewart made after moving to the bullpen, and in the AFL he showed the good and bad.  His fastball was 91-93 and his slider was 84-86 and he was missing bats and the zone equally.  Eric Longenhagen spoke glowingly of the slider and its potential, and it was a real weapon for Stewart.  There is big upside here if Stewart can harness the control.  If he can get the walk rate only partially under control he could be death on LHBs, but the stuff can get all batters out.  Stewart is Rule 5 eligible, but it would be difficult for a team to carry him all year.  The thing to watch out for with Stewart is that he could arrive very quickly if it clicks, so don’t sleep on him if he gets a quick start.

Ryan O’Sullivan

10 G 15.1 IP 9.39 ERA 24 H 16 ER 5 BB 7 K

O’Sullivan can pitch innings and throw strikes, but against good batters it turns into batting practice.  He should soak up AAA innings.

Update:

Per MLB.com scouts and players rated Roman Quinn as the fastest player in Fall League and Nefi Ogando as having the best fastball.  Players voted Quinn the best outfield defender.

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman
Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.