These Phillies prospects are rising up the ranks

June 15th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Todd Zolecki’s Phillies Beat newsletter. Paul Casella is filling in on this edition. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

BALTIMORE -- The Phillies promoted a handful of prospects across their Minor League system earlier this week, but one name in particular jumped out: .

Philadelphia's No. 2 prospect -- and the No. 47 overall prospect, per MLB Pipeline -- made the leap from Single-A Clearwater to High-A Jersey Shore following an impressive start to his first full professional season. Miller, who turned 20 years old last Sunday, slashed .275/.401/.483 with five home runs, 26 RBIs, 26 walks and 10 stolen bases in 39 games with the Threshers.

"He's really just played well overall," president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said. "He's played well offensively, defensively. His work ethic has been good. He's played shortstop very well. He's really done everything we've asked of him as a young player."

Two weeks ago, assistant general manager of player development Preston Mattingly heaped praise on Miller while saying a promotion to High-A would come whenever the club decided was best for his development. It's safe to say that time has come.

"Preston thought it was the right time to do it, so he thought he'd go ahead and challenge him at the next level," Dombrowski said. "He believes he's ready to be challenged at that level. We just felt it was the right time to do it."

Miller has gotten off to a bit of a slow start in his very brief time with Jersey Shore, going 0-for-9 with four strikeouts and three walks through his first three games.

Meanwhile, fellow prospect was expected to make his BlueClaws debut on Friday night after being promoted alongside Miller, but the game was rained out. Klassen, the Phillies' No. 28 prospect, posted a ridiculous 0.71 ERA and racked up 57 strikeouts over 38 innings in nine starts with Clearwater.

"He's just been outstanding," Dombrowski said. "A guy like him, you need to give him a test at the next level. There's not much more he could possibly do at Clearwater. His numbers there were just blowing people away. He earned that next step."

With the recent promotions, Jersey Shore is now home to a number of the Phillies' most exciting prospects. Along with Miller and Klassen, other Top 30 prospects with the BlueClaws include: outfielders Justin Crawford (No. 4), Emaarion Boyd (No. 16) and Hendry Mendez (No. 22); infielders Bryan Rincon (No. 7) and William Bergolla (No. 11); right-hander Wen Hui Pan (No. 13) and left-hander Samuel Aldegheri (No. 23). Aldegheri racked up nine strikeouts over six scoreless innings on Thursday to bring his strikeout total to 74 in 54 innings this season.

"In this case, with Jersey Shore, we've got some good young players there, some really top prospects at this point," Dombrowski said. "It's a good club; a really fun club to watch."

As for when the next promotion might come for Miller -- or any of the other Jersey Shore standouts -- that remains to be seen.

"I don't know if they'll all finish the season there or if some will end up at Double-A [Reading]," Dombrowski said. "We'll just wait and see."

Though there’s plenty to watch at Jersey Shore in the coming weeks, let’s take a look at some standouts across the Phillies’ other affiliates:

• Triple-A Lehigh Valley: Michael Mercado (No. 30 prospect)
Mercado continues to impress since joining the IronPigs' rotation in late April. The 25-year-old right-hander has a 1.31 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 41 1/3 innings in 13 games (nine starts) this season. Phillies manager Rob Thomson recently said that Mercado is certainly a candidate to pitch in the big leagues this season, whether that's as a long man or spot starter.

• Double-A Reading: Carlos De La Cruz (No. 12 prospect)
After a slow start, De La Cruz has been locked in over the past couple of weeks. He's hit safely in eight of his past nine games, during which he's raised his season OPS by 140 points from .609 to .749. De La Cruz is hitting .389 (14-for-36) with four home runs and 12 RBIs in those nine games.

• Single-A Clearwater: Enrique Segura
Segura was another player who moved up in the system this week, joining Clearwater from the Rookie-level Florida Complex League, where he led the league with 31 strikeouts prior to his promotion. The 19-year-old righty made his Threshers debut on Friday, striking out four over 2 2/3 scoreless innings before the game was suspended due to rain.