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SAD NEWS: the phillies has been ruled out to be the first from reaching the major leagues?

The Philadelphia Phillies farm system is starting to build a reputation as one for talent evaluators to keep an eye on over the next couple of years. The Phillies have two notable pitching prospects at the highest level of the minor league system, with Mick Abel and Griff McGarry currently toeing the rubber for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Down at the Single-A level, 2023 first-round pick Aidan Miller (Clearwater) and 2022 first-round pick Justin Crawford (Jersey Shore) are entering important seasons in their early development path. While both are likely a few years away from contributing at the major league level, Miller and Crawford are already generating buzz early in the season.

We’ll have to wait a little while longer to get a glimpse of what Crawford and Miller can do in the majors, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see some talented top prospects make their MLB debut in 2024. The Phillies have a recent track record of promoting one or two prospects each season over the last couple of years.

Last season saw Johan Rojas and Orion Kerkering join the fold. In 2022, we saw Bryson Stott’s first full season, with Alec Bohm getting his feet wet during 2020-2021.

Let’s take a look at which top prospects could make it to The Show in 2024.

The Phillies will have roster needs this season, with injuries and under-performance a natural part of the equation. Dave Dombrowski and the Phillies front office should be given high marks for adding some solid organizational depth this past offseason.

The Phillies don’t seem to need any help on the field. The team has a pretty stable roster, with most position players having established track records. The team will likely tap into depth options at nearly every position if injuries strike, with names like David Dahl, Jordan Luplow and Rafael Marchán the candidates most likely to get the call to fill roster space.

The Phillies don’t have any hitting top prospects close to MLB-ready. It’s a different story when the topic switches to pitching.

All the attention this season will be on top pitching prospects Mick Abel (No. 2) and Griff McGarry (No. 11), as they are both beginning the year with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. With consensus top prospect Andrew Painter expected to need the majority of 2024 to recover from Tommy John surgery, Abel and McGarry represent the first wave of elite arms the team has seen in two decades. The timing couldn’t be better, with the bullpen and starting rotation both having their own set of question marks in the early going.

It would be shocking if Abel doesn’t make his major league debut at some point during the 2024 season. Phillies fans got a nice glimpse of what the right-hander can do during spring training when he didn’t allow a run in 2 2/3 innings of work with four strikeouts and zero walks.

One of the highlights of spring training was watching the 22-year-old strike out New York Yankees superstar Juan Soto with a healthy dose of filthy stuff.

— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 11, 2024

Getting the best of an MLB superstar is impressive, but can Abel do that consistently? That’s a question that will be answered with a few more appearances in Lehigh Valley. His first start was admittedly rough, a 1 2/3 inning effort that saw Abel allow three runs (only one earned) with two strikeouts and four walks.

Held behind to throw more in extended spring training, it’s possible Abel had to shake off some rust when he made his 2024 debut for the IronPigs. He looked better in his second start, per The Morning Call’s Tom Housenick. Abel pitched five innings but gave up four runs on six hits. He struck out five in the outing and issued a pair of walks.

With some early season turbulence in the Phillies starting rotation, it’s possible Abel could contribute if needs arise due to injuries, ineffectiveness, or a spot start is required. Another option would be adding Abel to the bullpen at some point this season to see if his power arm can provide multi-inning relief and add another weapon to an already strong but unsettled Philadephia relief corps.

At the same time, fellow top pitching prospect Griff McGarry has begun his conversion to a bullpen arm. A few rough showings in the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils rotation and for the IronPigs the last two seasons have taken the shine off McGarry’s status as a top prospect. If McGarry can show some consistency out of Lehigh Valley’s bullpen, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could get a look in 2024 as well.

In four relief appearances, McGarry has a 5.68 ERA with 10 strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. The most encouraging thing from his early season is that the 24-year-old has issued only one walk so far.

While we wait and see how Andrew Painter reaches milestones in his recovery, the Phillies have a couple of arms who could be knocking on the door of a call-up if they have strong performances and needs at the big league level arise.

The Phillies have created a reliable pipeline for prospects to reach the majors over the past few years. Will this be the year that we see Abel and McGarry make their debuts? Stay tuned.

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