The Phillies will be joining the Mets, Angels, Yankees, and Giants on the Scottsdale Scorpions roster for the Arizona Fall League. The Phillies are sending six players in RHP Victor Arano, RHP Miguel Nunez, LHP Brandon Leibrandt, 2B Scott Kingery, 3B Mitch Walding, and OF Andrew Pullin. The group lacks the star power of last year’s initial group which was headlined by J.P. Crawford, Nick Pivetta, Dylan Cozens, and Andrew Knapp, but just like how only Knapp played any significant time in the AFL, this is all subject to change. The six players are interesting and lack of the complete filler of previous rosters.
Miguel Nunez, RHP
The 6’6″ Nunez has started to come into his own this year as a full time relief pitcher. He is only 23 years old, but will be a minor league free agent after the season. This year his fastball has been 95-97 and he mixes in a curveball and splitter. After not walking a batter in Clearwater he was promoted to Reading where walks have been a problem for him with 28 in 44.1 innings. If he can find his control again he could be a good middle to later relief arm in the majors.
Victor Arano, RHP
The 21 year old Arano is another converted starter, having moved to the bullpen in winter ball in Mexico this past year. He has taken well to the bullpen his fastball ticking up into the mid 90s and his slurvy breaking ball becoming more of a two plane slider. He has kept both his changeup and strike throwing ways from his days as a starting pitcher. In many ways Arano is reminiscent of 2015 fall league participant Edubray Ramos and could be a similar path.
Brandon Leibrandt, LHP
Leibrandt is probably the most underwhelming name on the roster. He is a soft tossing (88-90 at his best) lefty who probably should have started the year in Reading. However, he missed almost all the year due to injury and only has thrown 37.2 innings so far. He is not a big time prospect, but maybe he could be an up and down starter or LOOGY if things break right, which does have some value.
Mitch Walding, 3B
Mitch Walding has tools, but at almost 24 years old he is going to need more than raw tools. This year he is finally adding some offense to a profile that had been solely dictated by his glove work at third base. It is still a real long shot that Walding can be anything, as his power is still fringe average and his strikeout rate is large. But he does walk some and has the frame for more power. A good Fall League will keep Walding in a starting role going forward, a bad fall could see him struggling for playing time.
Scott Kingery, 2B
Kingery is the best prospect the Phillies are sending to fall league. He is a prototype second baseman with plus to plus plus speed, a solid glove, solid contact skills and occasional power. His approach has really cratered in his AA audition and he will need to get that under control to get back on the fast track to Philly. But he is only 22 and in his first full year of pro ball, so there is plenty of time.
Andrew Pullin, OF
Despite being the reigning FSL home run champ, this has been Andrew Pullin’s breakout year. Last year his number of XBHs went down while the home runs went up, this year there has been more overall hard contact. He is a corner outfielder going forward, and he lacks the prototype body for it and almost all of his power is to the pull side. That coupled with a below average walk rate has many questioning whether there is enough offensive potential for him to have a major league role. He will be Rule 5 eligible after this season and with the Phillies crowded outfield depth, he will need a good showing to not get buried again.