Minor Leagues

Minor-league week in review: No. 1 pick Mick Abel fires best outing to date

Mick Abel was the Phillies first-round pick in 2020. (Baseball Betsy)

The second week of the minor-league season is in the books, and Philadelphia Phillies affiliates are already sitting in very different positions at each level.

The Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs are 7-5, the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils are 2-10, the High-A Jersey Shore BlueClaws are 4-8 and the Low-A Clearwater Threshers have a 6-6 record heading into the second Monday off day of the year. Each team saw notable performances, some good and some bad, from their prospects in the most recent set of six-game series.

Abel Posts Best Start of Young Career in Clearwater

Despite taking the loss in a 5-2 loss to the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels, 2020 first-round pick Mick Abel flashed what made him such a high pick in his best start to date on Sunday afternoon.

The 19-year-old right-hander tossed 2 1/3 innings, allowing an earned run on no hits. He struck out five and walked two, with his control still lacking a bit in the outing.

This was Abel’s third start of his professional career. He has yet to make it through a three full innings, as the Phillies are trying to ease him into a bigger workload. Abel allowed three earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in his debut on May 5, and surrendered two earned run in 2 2/3 in his second start on Tuesday.

Markwardt Jumps on New Opportunity in Jersey Shore

23-year-old outfielder Hunter Markwardt saw a big promotion this past week, getting sent from Low-A Clearwarter to High-A Jersey Shore after starting the season with an .825 OPS for the Threshers. And with a big weekend, the 2019 13th rounder may be proving that it was the right call.

Markwardt had eight hits in his first four games for the BlueClaws against the Wilmington Blue Rocks, including three on Friday and three on Saturday, one of which was a triple. He’s batting .471 with a 1.088 OPS in High-A.

The left-handed hitter has found his way into the leadoff spot for Jersey Shore, utilizing his ability to rack up base hits that he’s using so well at the moment.

Fightins Allowing Too Much Offense

When Reading entered the season with an eight-man piggyback starter situation that consisted of Ethan Lindow, Julian Garcia, Francisco Morales, James McArthur, Colton Eastman, Kyle Glogoski, Mark Appel and Taylor Lehman as pitching options with a variety of shorter-stint relievers, it figured to be an intriguing staff. The results haven’t been there early for Fightins pitchers, however, as the team has been allowing a large number of runs in their poor 2-10 start.

Fightin Phils pitchers are last in the Double-A Northeast with a 7.93 ERA. They’ve surrendered the most walks (79) and home runs (21) in the league. Their 101 runs allowed on the season is 41 more than the next highest pitching staff. Opponents have scored an average of 8.42 runs per game against the team in its series losses to the Erie SeaWolves and Bowie BaySox.

Archie Bradley appeared for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this past week. (Cheryl Pursell)

Bradley Comes on in Relief for IronPigs

Phillies reliever Archie Bradley pitched in two rehab outings for Lehigh Valley this past week. The right-hander has been on the injured list since April 11 with a left oblique injury.

Bradley pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning in his first rehab appearance on Wednesday against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on two grounders and a fly out. On Saturday, Bradley gave up one run, two hits and one walk against the RailRiders.

The 28-year-old should be ready to return the Phillies soon, perhaps even by Tuesday, after his work with the IronPigs. He’ll rejoin the back of the team’s big-league bullpen, where had a 6.00 ERA in four outings before the injury.

Farm Notes

  • Reading’s Arquímedes Gamboa hit a single, an extra-inning, three-run home run and walked twice on Sunday to extend his on-base streak to 11 games, which is every game he’s played on the season. Gamboa has a .415 on-base percentage so far this season
  • Right-hander Spencer Howard pitched four innings of one-run baseball for Lehigh Valley on Sunday. He allowed just two hits and two walks while striking out eight batters.
  • With catchers J.T. Realmuto and Andrew Knapp banged up for the major-league team, the Phillies may need to add another backstop to the 40-man and active rosters to play behind Rafael Marchán if the other two can’t play on Tuesday. Reading’s Rodolfo Durán won’t be an option, as he was placed on the injured list Friday with a left hamstring strain. Lehigh Valley’s Jack Conley and Edgar Cabral could be internal candidates.


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