Going into the Arizona Fall League season, the largest Phillies talking points were Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard. To their credit, they are both finding a lot of success with the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Alec Bohm is currently 2nd in batting average on the team behind Giants’ top prospect Joey Bart (who is hitting .400). He has 13 hits in 36 tries, good for a .361 batting average.
Spencer Howard, on the other hand, has blown away the prospect-filled league for the most part.
A 20 MPH separation between fastball and curveball makes life difficult for opposing batters. That is evidenced by his 13 strikeouts in 9.2 IP. Howard did allow 3 runs in his last start, raising his ERA from 0 to 2.79.
Another, not as shiny, Phillies prospect has been dominating the AFL. Connor Seabold has the best ERA in the AFL of any pitcher who’s pitched over 10 innings. He currently sits at an 0.75 ERA in 12 IP. Seabold has been wiping out hitters as well as he has recorded 18K.
In MLB.com’s top 30 prospect rankings, Seabold just barely makes the list at #30. He has been making some strides in 2019. At AA Reading, Seabold found success with a 2.25 ERA in 40 IP.
Seabold tops out at around 94 MPH on his fastball, but it has been his improved changeup that has been the difference-maker. A recent injury gave time for Seabold to work on the pitch revealed in an interview with Sam Dykstra.
Connor Seabold via Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com
“Finding my changeup, just by throwing it in bullpens and playing around with it, that ended up being the best part of the whole injury,” Seabold said. “The way I use it, the way I throw it, it was just some subtle tweaks really. I started turning it over more and basically overpronating to get it to do what I want. The velocity was always there, but the action has been even better, and that’s what it needed. All of that mostly happened just by playing with it when I was hurt.”
Seabold will most likely start the 2020 season at AAA Lehigh Valley. He’ll have a chance to break the MLB roster as starting pitching depth. Spencer Howard might get there first, but Seabold shouldn’t be far behind.
Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
Alec Kostival graduated from La Salle University with a degree in communication with a focus in mass media and journalism. He covered high school sports for the Chestnut Hill Local. He has interned with the Reading Fightin Phils and the Philadelphia Eagles.