The Philadelphia Phillies are sending two players from their minor league ranks to represent the organization in the MLB Futures game.
Scheduled for July 8 in Seattle, the Futures Game is sort of the unofficial start to the MLB All-Star festivities. Representing Philly and the National League in this weekend’s showcase are centerfielder Justin Crawford from Clearwater (A) and starting pitcher Mick Abel from Reading (AA).
Phillies future is bright
Abel, the Phillies first round pick in 2020, is currently the team’s No. 2 rated prospect and is also No. 44 on MLB’s top 100 list. He has posted a 4.75 ERA in 13 starts and 60.2 innings pitched so far this season. The Oregon native has 70 strikeouts which is great, but has also walked 35. At just 21 years of age, however, he is one of the younger players in the Eastern League. A key he and the organization are working on is his confidence and ensuring that losing feel for a pitch doesn’t compound as the game continues.
“If you don’t have the perfect command that day, you don’t have the perfect command that day. You just got to make it work and try to get outs. The past couple of years I would have tried to grow from it, but I really didn’t understand as heavily as I do now.”
“I used to care so much about walking guys. Now, if I walk a guy it has to be a good walk. If I’m in a 3-1 count to a good hitter, walk him. That’s fine. It’s just one walk.”Quotes from Mick Abel, article written by Matt Gelb of The Athletic
Abel throws hard, averaging in the mid-90’s with his fastball and he’s armed with a devastating slider that should be a great finishing pitch for him as he continues to progress.
Crawford is a 19-year old speedster who was selected in the first round in the 2022 MLB Draft. He sits at No. 3 in the organization’s prospect rankings and also cracked the top 100, settling in at No. 87. The Arizona native was actually one of the first six players announced for the game.
The outfielder has already impressed in his first full season of professional baseball and may not be long for Class-A. He is slashing .345/.390/.464 with 1 HR, 37 RBIs, and most impressively 35 steals in 52 games. Crawford’s discipline at the plate has stood out as well, as he has just a 17.4 percent strikeout rate. Maria Torres of The Athletic even named him as of the Five players to watch in the 2023 MLB Futures Game.
The Phillies have not always been known for having a great farm system, but these two will have the opportunity to show the strides the organization has taken in the development department this Saturday. The big debate after this weekend will be – do the Phillies make a move that involves either of these players to help bolster the major league roster for another postseason run?
The debate can run wild, but in the interim, you can watch them represent the Phillies on Saturday in Seattle.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire