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    Phillies Minor Leaguers: Gabriel Rincones Jr., Alex McFarlane, and William Bergolla

    John Foley Avatar
    February 1, 2024

    Gabriel Rincones Jr.

    Gabriel Rincones Jr. is the son a former minor league pitcher in the Mariners organization. But while Gabriel Rincones Sr. was in the business of throwing baseballs, his son is in the business of mashing them.

    Rincones, 22 years old, stands 6’3″ and weighs 225 lbs. He bats left/throws right, and with plus power, a plus arm, and below-average speed, he projects as a corner outfielder. Rincones moved from Venezuela to Scotland before landing at Plant High School in Florida where, according to Fangraphs, he initially struggled to make the baseball team. (“He’s basically Michael Jordan,” notes Jamie on the pod.)

    After high school and two seasons at a junior college, Rincones transferred to Florida Atlantic University, where he slashed .346/.451/.658 in the 2022 season and hit 19 home runs in 58 games. He suffered a shoulder tear at FAU, but the Phillies thought highly enough of his performance to select him in the third round of the 2022 draft.

    In 2023, Rincones split time between low-A and high-A ball, spending the majority of the season playing the latter with Jersey Shore. His combined 2023 stats: 120 G, 533 PA, 459 AB, .248/.351/.427, 15 HR, 32 SB, 6 CS. The stolen base numbers are surprising for a prospect with a run tool graded at 30 by Baseball America and 40 by Fangraphs.

    The power numbers, however, are not surprising. “His combination of size and strength produced high-end exit velocities, including a 90th-percentile mark of 106.3 mph that was well above-average compared to his peers in Class A,” reports Baseball America, who ranked Rincones as the tenth-best prospect in the Phillies organization. Fangraphs, while acknowledging Rincones’ above-average power, was not as high on the young outfielder. Rating him 21st in the Phils’ system, the site expresses concern regarding whether “his swing or breaking ball recognition are viable,” and notes that he hit just .209 with a .665 OPS against lefties in ’23. Fangraphs also notes, however, that because Rincones’ childhood featured much less baseball than is typical for a prospect, there may be more skill development to come.

    There’s an abundance of risk here, but Baseball America indicates that, at peak, Rincones “could be a classic corner outfield masher whose booming bat makes up for defensive shortcomings.” He’s expected to play for AA Reading in 2024. You can see some Rincones highlights and hear him discuss his approach to the game here on mlb.com.

    Alex McFarlane

    22-year-old RHP Alex McFarlane (a/k/a “Mickey McFarlane,” according to Renee on the pod) is 6’4″ 215, with a fastball that sits 95-98 mph and touches 101 mph. The Phillies selected him in the fourth round of the 2022 draft out of the University of Miami. McFarlane fits a familiar profile for current Phils pitching prospects: great fastball (60-70 grade), nasty slider (60 grade), a mediocre change-up (40 grade), and a significant control issue (30 grade).

    It all added up to a fairly ugly season stat line with Clearwater in 2023: 16 G, 16 GS, 50.1 IP, 5.72 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 6.8 BB/9, 12.3 K/9. Making matters worse, McFarlane needed Tommy John surgery after the season and will not play in 2024. Though he was in the Threshers’ starting rotation last season, scouts believe McFarlane’s future is likely in the bullpen.

    Fangraphs is high on McFarlane, ranking him as the 9th-best prospect in the Phillies’ system and just one spot below Orion Kerkering. Fangraphs even indicates that a healthy McFarlane could “could enjoy a Kerkering-like rise through the minors” in 2025, “especially if the Phillies decide to ‘pen him.” Baseball America’s take is more measured, assessing McFarlane as the Phils’ #17 prospect.

    You can see a bit of McFarlane in action at Miami here.

    William Bergolla

    Lefty-hitting, righty-throwing middle infielder William Bergolla comes in at #13 on Fangraphs ranking of Phillies prospects and #12 on Baseball America’s list. He’s from Venezuela and he’s 19 years old.

    The Phils inked Bergolla for $2.05 million during the international signing period that opened in January 2022, and he slashed .380/.470/.423 over 24 games in the Dominican Summer League that year. Bumped up to Clearwater in 2023, his numbers dropped significantly: .255/.351/.287 over 55 games.

    Bergolla struck out just three times in 83 PAs during his time in the Dominican Summer League and, despite the dismal slash line in Clearwater, he had the highest contact rate in the minors in 2023. Baseball America indicates that “Bergolla’s game is centered on putting the bat on the ball and playing steady, reliable defense,” adding that he “made a remarkable amount of contact at Low-A, producing an overall miss rate of just 5.4%, a minuscule in-zone whiff rate of 3.3% and a chase rate of 18.1%.” Fangraphs notes that Bergolla’s “swing is ultra simple and geared for lots of opposite field contact.”

    The concern, however, as Tyler noted on the pod, is the quality of Bergolla’s contact. “His exit velocities were well below-average and he found the barrel less often than he whiffed,” says Baseball America. “The Phillies acknowledge the Bergolla needs to get much stronger to access any sort of power.” Fangraphs believes that his ceiling will be capped by a lack of explosion and athleticism.

    Defensively, Baseball America reports that “Bergolla has the skills to be an average defender who makes all the plays at shortstop and the above-average arm strength to stick at the position.” Fangraph’s take is a little different: “A fair shortstop defender, Bergolla will probably need to play a bunch of other positions in order to claim a big league role.” His run tool is graded at 50 or 60, depending on the publication.

    Bergolla’s father was a longtime minor leaguer who played briefly in the majors with the Reds (17 games in 2005). You can view footage of the younger Bergolla hitting an RBI single here.

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