The Phillies drafted Nick Fanti out of tiny Hauppauge High School in New York and drafted him in the 32nd round of the 2015 Draft. The lefty signed pretty quickly and has spent his first two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, but with his progress, it will be interesting to see if they consider jumping him up to Lakewood to open the 2017 season.
Just going by the numbers, Fanti dropped his ERA by almost a full run from his first season to the second, falling from 2.55 to 1.57 with the GCL Phillies last summer. In addition, he dropped his walks-per-nine-innings from 3.1 to 1.6 and bumped his strikeouts-per-nine up to 11.3 from 10.2 in his first season as a pro. The result was a serious improvement in his strikeouts-to-walks ratio, more than doubling his numbers from 3.33 to 7.22.
One reason for the improvement has been improved velocity. In his first pro season, Fanti was throwing in the mid-80s, but last season was consistently in the low-90s, with improved movement and control. The Phillies worked on his mechanics and he also simply continued to grow and develop from the high school kid frame that he came into the organization with. While it was predictable that he would increase velocity, the fact that he did so by such an impressive amount, so quickly was a good sign.
Another reason for the improvement has been the development of his secondary pitches. His curveball was somewhat lackluster in his first season and still needs work, but showed more movement. The curveball still sort of rolls into the strike zone and has to gain more of a bite, but it's getting there. His changeup is in the low-80s, giving it the separation from his fastball that he really lacked previously. His arm speed stays the same when throwing his secondary pitches, giving him some deception. The added separation between the fastball and changeup have made the pitch much more effective, but he still needs to get more movement on the change, which sits a little flat from time to time.
It's impressive that Fanti has allowed just one home run in 69 1/3 innings of pro ball, but he does tend to give up a few too many fly balls. As he faces stronger, more developed hitters, some of those balls are going to have added distance and could be turned into home runs, so Fanti has to either gain more movement to keep hitters honest or learn to keep the ball lower in the zone to avoid getting hurt.
It's not likely that Fanti will ever have dominating stuff, but with the improved velocity and continuing his development with his secondary pitches, he might be able to find a way to stick as a starting pitcher. If the development stalls, then he could be a candidate for a bullpen spot. Keep in mind though that he was a late-round signee and came to the Phillies out of high school, so there is going to be a learning curve and we'll definitely have to be patient before we can fully judge Fanti.
If not for pitchers like Sixto Sanchez, Fanti would be getting a little more press, but he's certainly not in the class of other young pitchers in the organization. Again, keep in mind that he doesn't have the raw stuff that those pitchers have and still has room to develop.
|All Levels (2 Seasons)||8||1||1.82||20||10||69.1||17||14||0.938||6.5||0.1||1.9||11.0||5.67|