There is a very clear strategy that the Phillies have employed under President of Baseball operations Dave Dombrowski and GM Sam Fuld. Spend money on free agents and make savvy trades to compete for a title now while completely revamping the thinking of the minor leagues and their development programs so they can win later, too.
The second part has flown a bit under the radar, but in the past few seasons, the Phillies have been slowly building their prospect base, steadily climbing out of the doldrums where their cupboards were among the barest in the sport.
That climb continued today with news that the Phillies have reportedly signed Wen-Hui Pan, a 20-year-old flamethrower from Taiwan:
Pan Wen Hui and Lee Hao Yu were two of the younger yet more high ceiling players from Taiwan team that I saw at the 2019 U-18 tourney. And now they’re both in Phillies org. https://t.co/BcLHC7A0dc
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) January 13, 2023
(Note: For those that aren’t aware, it is customary in Asia to write a person’s last name first. I am typing it as it would be presented here in the U.S., with first name followed by last name.)
The Phillies haven’t confirmed this report yet, but there has been speculation that they could have been a landing spot for Pan as far back as last June.
As referenced in the tweet above, the Phillies signed Pan’s U-18 teammate, Hao Yu Lee, in the summer of 2021, and despite an injury-shortened 2022 season that saw him play rookie ball and with both low and high-A teams in the organization, Lee has quickly risen to the number six prospect in the organization.
The Phillies will hope that Pan is an equally fast riser.
By all scouting reports, the 20 year old is a power arm with a four-pitch repertoire.
You can watch him throw a few in this news report:
Additionally, here’s some video of him at 16-years-old throwing some tough pitches to Team USA:
[Taiwan U-18] 16-year-old 潘文輝 (Pan Wen-Hui) pitched against Team USA in a warm up game. 152kph fastball, 134kph splitter, 117kph curveball. Pan's fastball tops out at 155kph (~96mph) #TWHSBaseball pic.twitter.com/OQvJ2Lp0Ds
— CPBL STATS – ♥️ #95, Mina (@GOCPBL) August 27, 2019
The International Signing Period for MLB begins Sunday, so expect news from the Phillies then, or thereabouts, on the signing of Pan, among any other international signees. It’s nice to see the Phillies getting involved with more vim and vigor in the international signing market after years of lagging behind the rest of the majors, especially when it came to landing Asian-born players.
And if Pan is a fast-riser like his Taiwanese teammate Lee, the Phillies could see both knocking on the door of the big club in just a couple years.