The 2013-14 international signing period has already jumped on the map with big leaguers like Gleyber Torres, Rafael Devers and Eloy Jimenez, all of whom signed early during the period for seven figures. The Phillies didn’t sign Medina until May of 2014 and got him for just $70,000. He’s moved a level a year since making his pro debut that summer in the Dominican Summer League, pitched in the Futures Game in 2018 and was a Double-A Eastern League All-Star in 2019 before struggling in the second half.
In some people’s eyes, Medina has plateaued a bit, though he’s still developing as a pitcher and has three at least average offerings at his disposal. His fastball still hits 96 mph consistently and it has a ton of sink, leading to a lot of ground-ball outs. His changeup is his best pitch currently and it’s often a plus pitch sold with excellent arm speed. While his slider is his third pitch, it can be a very effective breaking ball that elicits weak contact on the ground.
Medina tends to be around the strike zone, but there have been questions about why he doesn’t miss more bats given his stuff. Much of that is because of his mindset on the mound, where he leans heavily on his sinker and looks for contact early rather than strikeouts. At age 23 for all of 2020, there’s still time for him to develop into a mid-rotation starter.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
When Medina, who signed back in May 2014, finished among the South Atlantic League top 10 in strikeouts and ERA during his full-season debut in 2017, there was a lot of anticipation over what the right-hander might do for an encore. While he was a little more uneven in some aspects of his performance, his pure stuff excited the Phillies enough for him to be added to the 40-man roster this past offseason.
Pure stuff-wise, Medina's is as electric as perhaps any prospect's in baseball and when he's locked in, he can be virtually unhittable. He uses his three-pitch mix to miss a lot of bats, striking out 10 per nine innings in his first two years of full-season ball. His fastball now comfortably sits in the 92-94 mph range and he can easily touch 95-96 mph, commanding the pitch well. Medina also throws it with a ton of movement, getting ground-ball outs at a consistent clip. Both his sharp slider and his changeup flash plus at times.
Medina throws a lot of strikes, but he's still learning to harness his premium stuff within the zone, and it was inconsistencies with that which sometimes led to him getting hit in the Florida State League. He just needs more development time to iron that out and the Phillies feel he has the athleticism, aptitude and competitiveness to reach his ceiling as a frontline starter.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
Since signing in 2014, Medina has moved methodically through the lower levels of the Phillies system, one rung at a time. His first taste of full-season ball in 2017 saw him take a huge leap forward, and he finished fourth in the South Atlantic League in strikeouts and ninth in ERA.
Medina has always had a good feel for pitching, and in 2017 everything took a step forward, stuff-wise. While he featured a 90-95 mph fastball previously, he sat more 92-94 mph and touched 95-96 more consistently in 2017. He commands his heater well and throws it with a lot of life, leading to a steady ground-ball rate. His secondary stuff improved as well, with a sharper breaking ball, now a slider. His changeup flashes above-average, with more consistent feel for it. He throws all three for strikes, and the increased sharpness led to a much better strikeout rate.
The full season of innings in 2017 allowed Medina to work on his full repertoire and when to use it. With his feel for pitching and improving stuff, Medina certainly has an up arrow next to his name.