SARASOTA, Fla. — The three Phillies pitchers born in 1994 who were cut from big-league camp Monday morning had no chance of making the team. Drew Anderson, Elniery Garcia and Alberto Tirado were some of the youngest players in the clubhouse, but they represented the second wave of depth in an important area.
The projected rotation for triple-A Lehigh Valley will be filled with young arms considered more polished. Below that, the Phillies have pitchers with higher ceilings. Anderson and Garcia will head to double-A Reading; Tirado should start at high-A Clearwater. All three showed potential and inexperience during their spring.
"They have to go down to wherever they're playing and put up numbers," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "Show they're capable of moving up in the organization."
Anderson struck out seven in seven innings, and the righthander has gained steam as an intriguing prospect. He will turn 23 later this month and made just eight starts last season at Clearwater, but should bump up a level in 2017.
"Anderson was impressive," Mackanin said. "To me, he was very poised. He seemed to have a real good idea, a real level-headed guy. He has good stuff."
He'll be joined in Reading by Garcia, who ended last season with a dazzling performance in an Eastern League playoff game. Garcia's fastball improved in 2016, but he lacked control in his three spring appearances. The 22-year-old lefty walked seven in 4 2/3 innings.
The Reading rotation could feature, along with Anderson and Garcia, Tom Eshelman, Tyler Viza and Brandon Leibrandt.
Tirado, 22, wants to start, and his path to the majors could be as a hard-throwing, late-inning reliever. But the Phillies will probably keep him in the rotation at Clearwater, with a chance to rise fast.
For now, the young pitchers are mere projections.