2021-22 International Reviews: Philadelphia Phillies

Image credit: William Bergolla Jr.

Philadelphia’s 2021-22 international signing class is centered around one of the top shortstops in Venezuela, with a promising mix of infielders from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Colombia behind him in the next tier of its signing group.

Top Of The Class

William Bergolla played 17 games in the majors for the Reds in 2005, ranking as a Top 30 prospect for the Reds for five years as a middle infielder. His son, William Bergolla Jr., was the centerpiece of the Phillies’ 2021-22 international signing class out of Venezuela. Bergolla has a slender frame that lacks strength, but he’s a smooth, instinctive player on both sides of the ball. It starts with a compact, fluid swing from the left side and a knack for slowing the game down at the plate. He stays balanced throughout his swing, helping him recognize pitches well with impressive bat control to produce a high contact rate and line drives to all fields with doubles power. Bergolla is also a plus runner whose high baseball IQ should help him become a stolen base threat. He has the defensive actions and internal clock for shortstop, where he has soft hands and a slightly above-average arm. Bergolla is young and needs to get stronger, but his athleticism and feel for the barrel make for a promising foundation for a prospect who should stick at shortstop.

Names To Know

Nolan Beltran, SS, Colombia: Beltran is from Colombia but trained in the Dominican Republic, where he stood out for his offensive upside from the left side of the plate. He has grown to around 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, evolving from more of a line-drive hitter into a player starting to drive the ball for damage to his pull side with impressive exit velocities for his age. He has a chance to stick at shortstop, too, with quick feet, good hands and an average arm.

Aroon Escobar, SS/3B, Venezuela: Escobar, a cousin of Ronald Acuña Jr., is 5-foot-10, 185 pounds and strong for his age. That strength helps produce impressive bat speed from the right side with an aggressive approach and gives him a chance to develop into a power-hitting infielder, likely at third base with a slightly above-average arm.

Leny Carela, SS, Dominican Republic: Carela’s instincts for the game stand out above his raw tools. He’s 5-foot-11, 160 pounds and needs to get stronger, but he’s a selective hitter who makes frequent contact in games, with the ability to recognize and square up offspeed stuff and occasional doubles pop. He’s an average runner who has a chance to stick at shortstop, where he has good actions, soft hands and an average arm.

Manolfi Jimenez, OF, Dominican Republic: Jimenez is a 6-foot, 170-pound lefthanded-hitting outfielder with a sweet, smooth stroke. With average speed and arm strength, he doesn’t have one loud tool and might end up in a corner, but his swing is loose, fluid with good whip through the zone, which along with his plate discipline makes for a promising foundation for a young hitter.

Romel Mendez, OF, Venezuela: Mendez has an athletic frame (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) as a lefthanded-hitting center fielder with solid-average speed underway. He has a chance to stay in center field, though he might end up in a corner. There are some unconventional parts to his swing, but at his best he has shown solid contact skills with the physical projection to grow into more power.

Neify Rosario, OF, Dominican Republic: With a strong 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame, Rosario is a corner outfielder who stands out for his bat speed and raw power. That power comes with a higher swing-and-miss rate he will have to tame, but it can lead to loud pull-side damage when he’s able to connect.

Sleeper Watch

Dominican righthander Enrique Segura was a lower-dollar sleeper whose stuff is already impressive and should continue to get better as he fills out his projectable 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame. He has loose, easy arm action, a repeatable delivery and a fastball that has been up to 94 mph with good tailing life and more velocity likely coming. Segura also has feel to spin a slider with good depth that could develop into a swing-and-miss pitch.

Outside of Latin America, the Phillies signed German outfielder Lou Helmig. He has a huge 6-foot-5 frame with a relatively compact swing for his size and a chance to develop into a power hitter with a strong arm to play right field. He’s a baseball rat who will join the rest of this class in the Dominican Summer League.

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