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Zach Warren, image- Jay Floyd
Back to back outstanding full-season campaigns propelled lefty pitcher Zach Warren right into the discussion of young Phillies 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 games.
The following year, he spent his 2018 campaign with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, where he was dominant 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 notched a 1-3 record with seven saves, a 3.30 ERA and a 12.0 K/9 mark.
In the subsequent 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.
A non-roster invitee to Phils spring training last year, Warren appeared in a pair of Grapefruit League contests prior to the exhibition season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He struck out four and walked two while allowing three earned runs and uncorking a wild pitch in 1 2/3 innings.
The arsenal that Warren brings to the table includes a fastball which resides in the mid-90's, a 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 in 2019, but some difficulty with command led to its regular season removal after April. He mentioned to me that the cutter might make a return for some more work in exhibition games, so that remains a possible option, depending on progress.
His tall, six-foot-five, 205-pound frame allows Warren to pitch on a down hill plane, which is advantageous for the talented hurler.
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.
The 24-year-old should get time with the big league club in spring training if pandemic guidelines and roster limits allow for it. Look for Warren to get some time at the Triple-A level this year. He'll be an arm that the Phils can look to for contributions out of the bullpen as needs arise this year.
You can keep tabs on this year's Phillies prospects countdown by clicking on this link.