|Warren w/ Lakewood in '18, image- Jay Floyd|
Back to back outstanding full-season campaigns have propelled left-hander Zach Warren right into the discussion of young pitching prospects that could be able to help the big league club sooner than later.
A 14th round draft selection out of the University of Tennessee in 2017, Warren, a Vineland, NJ native, grew up as a Phillies fan.
He opened his professional career as a reliever with Class-A Williamsport, posting a 0-3 record with a 3.00 ERA, a .236 batting average against and a 10.9 K/9 mark in 13 appearances.
The following year, he spent his 2018 campaign with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, where he was a force out of their bullpen, posting a 3-2 record with 15 saves, a 1.91 ERA along with a 15.9 K/9 mark.
In 40 relief appearance in 2019 with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Warren tallied a 1-3 record with seven saves, a 3.30 ERA and a 12.0 K/9 mark.
This off-season Warren pitched in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. He appeared in five games, all in relief, recording a .063 batting average against and a 3.86 ERA while striking out seven and walking four in 4 2/3 innings.
The arsenal that Warren brings to the table includes a fastball that resides in the mid-90's, an often plus breaking pitch that he describes as a combo of a slider and a curve ball, and a change up that has some plus potential. A cutter was added to Warren's repertoire early last season, but some difficulty with command led to its regular season removal after April. He hinted to me in September that the cutter might make a return for his AFL menu. So, of course, if work over the fall and winter months helped Warren improve that offering, it could return to the mix.
His tall, six-foot-five, 200-pound frame allows Warren to pitch on a down hill plane, which is advantageous for the youngster.
Coaches point to Warren's preparation and his work ethic as qualities that help him stand out.
Warren grew up in the Phillies heyday of a decade ago, or so. His favorite player during those days was lefty pitcher Cole Hamels.
A non-roster invitee to Phils spring training this year, the 23-year-old should get tons of exposure with big league coaches and personnel. However, he projects to open the season at Double-A Reading as a key part of that team's pitching staff. An arrival in the big leagues could come next year, if not sooner.
You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.