It's July 2, and that means the international signing period has begun. The Phillies have used this time to add some potential pitchers to their bright future.
Starlyn Castillo, a young pitching prospect from the Dominican Republic listed 8th on MLB Pipeline's list of international prospects, is already hitting 97 on the radar gun prior to his 16th birthday. In his start during the first game of February's international showcase, he retired seven of the eight batters he faced, three by strikeout. The lone baserunner reached on a hit by pitch. Many scouts consider his arm to be the best in his class. Castillo will sign a $1.6 million deal with Philadelphia.
The Phillies have also agreed to a deal with Fernando Ortega, another pitcher from the Dominican Republic, has a fastball that sits in the low-90's, but should gain velocity as he adds weight to his lanky 6'4" frame. With a plus curveball in the mid-70's and a fading change in the low-80's, Ortega's stuff screams starter, but improvement in his command and consistency in his delivery seems necessary.
Similarly, Joalbert Angulo is a lanky 6'5" pitcher who could stand to add velocity to his fastball, but is highly-touted by prospects. He's listed 42nd on Baseball America's list of top international prospects, 10 spots behind Ortega.
Alexeis Azuaje, a 15-year-old shortstop, ran the fastest 60-yard dash at the showcase at 6.41 seconds. His speed and athleticism stands out, but empirical hitting performances seem lackluster.
Angulo and Azuaje, in addition to catchers Andrick Nava and Javier Vina, are expected to join the Phillies organization.