Phillies Call Up Top Prospect for Postseason

Philadelphia Phillies Roster Transactions | Inside The Diamonds

On September 22nd, amid their hunt for Red October, the Philadelphia Phillies promoted their No. 7 prospect, RHP Orion Kerkering, to the Major League roster. To make room, the Phillies designated Infielder Drew Ellis for assignment and optioned RHP Yunior Marte to AAA Lehigh Valley. Days prior, Kerkering received the Paul Owens Award, being named the Phillies’ best Minor League pitcher for 2023 over guys like Mick Abel and Griff McGarry. Outfielder Johan Rojas was the recipient for the position players, a player who will also be helping Philadelphia make another World Series push. With the Phillies’ bullpen struggling to hold leads as of late, Kerkering is the spark they need to get going before October.

In 2023, Kerkering made it through the Phillies’ farm system, starting in Single-A with the Clearwater Threshers and being called to AAA with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs only four days ago. In his journey through the minors this season, Kerkering posted a 1.51 ERA, striking out 79 batters, walking 12, and recording 14 saves over 53.2 innings. Kerkering also had an unbelievable 0.894 WHIP, alongside his otherworldly 40% K rate and 6%(!) BB rate (for reference, Brewers closer Devin Williams has a 0.918 WHIP, a 38% K rate, and a 17% BB rate in 2023) makes Kerkering nearly unhittable.

Phillies fans are going to love Orion Kerkering. His stuff was among the best in all of MiLB, throwing a fastball that can reach triple digits and a plus slider, which has been considered by many to be one of the best breaking balls in the Minor Leagues in 2023. Just take a look at Kerkering in action:

If that clip doesn’t convince you that Kerkering will immensely help the Phillies’ bullpen, then I don’t know what will. Kerkering will likely start his Major League career in an Andrew Bellatti/Yunior Marte role, being brought in to pitch when the team is down and can’t give up any more damage. However, if Kerkering can show that his production in the Minors translates well to the Big Leagues, he could be a massive asset in high-leverage situations. Jeff Hoffman has recently started taking on more high-leverage situations, and having a third right-handed pitcher alongside Hoffman and Craig Kimbrel available late in games could prove to be massive for the Fightins.

Nate Hartnett

Philadelphia Phillies Writer for Inside The Diamonds

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