PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies not only have a farm system loaded with promising pitchers, they have one loaded with promising pitchers with names that have caught the imagination of the fan base.Sixto, Seranthony, Ranger, Adonis, JoJo ...A handful of the organization's top Minor Leaguers are in town this week for
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies not only have a farm system loaded with promising pitchers, they have one loaded with promising pitchers with names that have caught the imagination of the fan base.
Sixto, Seranthony, Ranger, Adonis, JoJo ...
A handful of the organization's top Minor Leaguers are in town this week for its annual prospects seminar. The group includes pitchers Enyel De Los Santos, Seranthony Dominguez, Tom Eshelman, JD Hammer, Cole Irvin, Franklyn Kilome, JoJo Romero, Ranger Suarez and Jose Taveras and outfielder Cornelius Randolph. Kilome (seventh), De Los Santos (ninth), Randolph (13th), Suarez (15th), Romero (16th), Eshelman (22nd) and Dominguez (30th) are ranked among the organization's Top 30 Prospects by MLB Pipeline. Irvin, Hammer and Taveras would rank among the Top 30 in other organizations, but the Phillies have one of the deepest farm systems in baseball.
"I'm not on any lists or anything like that. I know that because my friends tell me about that stuff," Irvin chuckled on Tuesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. "But I don't pay attention to that. The organization has done a really good job of that. If you're not on a list, they still care about you. It's awesome to have that feeling that the organization cares about everyone and everyone is an equal."
Plenty has been written about the pitchers' fastball velocities, strikeout rates and future roles in the big leagues, which is why MLB.com made valuable use of its time on Tuesday afternoon and asked Dominguez, Suarez and Romero if there is a story behind their names.
Romero: There have been four players named Jo-Jo in the big leagues, but none have gone without a dash. "My full name is Joseph Abel Romero. My grandpa is from Mexico. He bought me a birthday cake when I was five or six. He put 'YoYo' on it because he could never really say my first name because he has trouble speaking English. He'd always call me YoYo. That's how JoJo started with my family. Ever since then everybody in my family started to call me JoJo. It never really stuck as a baseball thing until my second year of junior college. All the scouts started calling me JoJo on their reports. I think a couple scouts would go to games and talk to my Dad. I think he referred to me JoJo, so they would just write down JoJo. When I'd meet with scouts, I'd introduce myself as Joseph and they would kind of be confused. 'JoJo?' Oh, yeah, that's me."
Suarez: There has never been a Ranger in the big leagues (other than the Texas Rangers). "Ranger is a combination of names, but it's more that everybody in my family has their first name start with 'R' -- Ricardo, Roberto, Ranger. Everybody's name must start with an 'R.' I just happened to be Ranger. I actually asked my mom about it. I asked if it had something to do with the [Mighty Morphin] Power Rangers. She said a little bit. In Williamsport they would call me the red Power Ranger."
Dominguez: There has never been a Seranthony in the big leagues. "I think it's from television. I'm not sure what show. My parents think they heard it on television."
Sixto Sanchez (No. 2 in the organization) and Adonis Medina (eighth) are too young for the prospects program. But both have striking first names. Sanchez would be just the second Sixto to play in the big leagues. Sixto Lezcano (1974-85) played for the Phillies in 1983-84. Medina would be the third Adonis to reach the Majors. Adonis Terry (1884-97) and Adonis Garcia (2015-17) are the others.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.