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Invite To Big League Camp Excites Zach Warren



As he studied the organization's talent pool this winter, Phillies first-year pitching coach Bryan Price couldn't help but notice the eye-popping strikeout numbers that some of the relievers in the minor league system had posted over the last couple of seasons.

"Off the charts,” Price said. "Those are things you see in high school ball.”

Mauricio Llovera and Garrett Cleavinger are two of those relievers. Both were added to the 40-man roster in November and will be in big league camp.

The Phillies also invited a handful of non-roster relievers who have recorded high strikeout rates, including Addison Russ, Connor Brogdon, Tyler Gilbert, Kyle Dohy and Zach Warren.

Warren, at 23 years old, is the only one of the group who has yet to reach Double-A, but he projects to make the jump after opening eyes at low Class A and high Class A the last two seasons. He earned 22 saves, pitched to a 2.63 ERA in 116.2 innings, allowed 76 hits and struck out 180 batters over that span.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound lefthander features a mid-90s fastball, a slider and a changeup.

Warren grew up rooting for the Phillies in Vineland, N.J., less than an hour away from Philadelphia. His two favorite players were lefthanders Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.

The former Tennessee Volunteer was thrilled to be drafted as a 14th-rounder in 2014 by his favorite club. He felt that thrill again when farm director Josh Bonifay called this winter to tell him he was invited to big league camp.

Warren is eager to learn as much as he can in his first trip there before continuing his progress this season.

"I’m not thinking too far in advance, where I’m going to be and things like that,” he said. "All I can control is working on what I need to work on to get better and becoming the best player I can be. My ideal blueprint for this season is to make strides and get better and help my team win games and get to the playoffs.”

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