Phillies’ Bryan Rincon Turns Heads With Defensive Improvements


When the Phillies first saw shortstop Bryan Rincon work out at Citizens Bank Park, he was not well known.

He had spent most of his life in Venezuela, moved to Pittsburgh for high school and had flown under the radar. The Phillies ended up drafting him in the 14th round in 2022. 

But since then, the 19-year-old Rincon has turned heads. He jumped from Low-A Clearwater to High-A Jersey Shore in 2023, batting .234/.368/.361 with eight home runs and 27 stolen bases in 99 games. He drew 68 walks against 76 strikeouts.

Rincon’s numbers don’t pop off the page, but they are improving. Phillies farm director Preston Mattingly said those slash lines don’t tell the full story. 

“His pitch recognition is really advanced,” Mattingly said.  “He makes a ton of contact at the plate. Obviously, with him being a switch-hitter, you kind of have to work double, but he has a really good feel for what pitchers are trying to do to him. He understands the strike zone. 

“Early on, he struggled a little bit, but when you watched him, you could see that the at-bat quality was really good. He wasn’t chasing. We think there’s going to be power in there as he cleans up a few things in his swing.” 

Rincon has made defensive improvements, too. He worked with minor league infield coordinator Adam Everett back in January to make some of his movements more efficient. Mattingly noticed a different. 

“With a lot of kids, they have a lot of extra movement that’s not necessary,” Mattingly said. “Adam was working on cutting out some of that unnecessary movement.

“I remember walking out to the field and watching him take ground balls, and thinking, ‘Oh my god, that’s Bryan Rincon?’ 

“It looked nothing like before. The movement was minimal. I thought, ‘Wow, this is going to be a lot faster than I even expected.’ He’s got a chance to be special.”

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