|Mauricio Llovera, image- Jay Floyd|
The Venezuela native began his professional career in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2015, recording a 2-3 record with a 3.23 ERA and a .209 batting average against in 11 games (10 starts).
The following year, the five-foot-11 216-pounder was outstanding in the Gulf Coast League, sporting a 7-1 record with a 1.87 ERA, a .205 batting average against and a 9.5 K/9 mark in 11 games (10 starts). The win total was tops in the league. Additionally that season, Llovera allowed one or no runs in eight of his 10 starts.
Moving to Class A Lakewood in 2017, the man that coaches call “MoYo” would tally a 2-4 record with a save, a 3.35 ERA, a .250 BAA and a 9.8 K/9 mark, splitting time as a starter and as a reliever in 30 appearances (10 starts). The move into relief seemed quite successful, as his ERA splits favored his shorter outings (4.31 ERA as a starter/2.13 ERA in relief).
In 2018 with Class A Advanced Clearwater, Llovera moved back to a full time starting role, posting an 8-7 record with a 3.72 ERA, a .221 BAA and a 10.2 K/9 mark through 23 games (22 starts).
He wrapped up his 2018 campaign with a string of six outstanding starts in which he notched a 5-0 record with a 0.96 ERA while striking out 48 batters in 37 2/3 innings.
Last season, Llovera opened the season with Double-A Reading. The 23-year-old would notch a 3-4 record with a 4.55 ERA, a .243 BAA, a 1.35 WHIP along with a 9.9 K/9 mark in 14 games (12 starts). His season was cut short in mid-July, as Llovera suffered an injury.
Llovera possesses a repertoire that features a fastball which typically resides in the mid 90's and can get up to 97 MPH. His fastball features some movement that can tail up and in to right-handed hitters. He also touts a very good slider, a nice change up and a curve ball to keep the opposition guessing.
Control is not a concern for Llovera, who keeps his offerings around the strike zone. The talented hurler averages 2.9 BB/9 in his minor league career to date.
Added to the Phils' 40-man roster over this off-season in order to protect him from December's Rule 5 draft, Llovera will be among the team's collection of hurlers in big league spring training this year. He is, in fact, already in Clearwater getting in work and has been throwing bullpen sessions in recent weeks.
It's possible that Llovera could open the season in Triple-A with Lehigh Valley. Some say his path to the majors is likely to be quicker as a reliever, but the Phillies may still want to give him a shot at proving himself in a starting role.
You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.