The New York Yankees selected left-handed pitcher Phillip Diehl in the 27th round of the 2016 Major League Amateur Draft out of Louisiana Tech University. He was given a signing bonus of $70,000.
Diehl was assigned to the Rookie Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League. Diehl appeared in 14 games, 13 of those appearances out of the bullpen, and pitched to a 4-0 record with one save and a 2.56 ERA. He pitched 31 and two-thirds innings allowing just 23 hits, six walks and striking out 38 batters.
That strong performance earned him a promotion to the Class A short-season Staten Island Yankees of the New York-Penn League for one game at the end of 2016. He earned the victory in that game coming out of the bullpen and pitching two scoreless innings allowing one hit and striking out three batters.
Diehl found himself assigned to the Class A Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League. Diehl appeared mainly out of the bullpen but also made a handful of starts. He appeared in 28 games, five of which were starts. He posted a 9-3 record with a 3.16 ERA with two saves in 85 and one-third innings pitched. He allowed just 76 hits and struck out 101 batters. He only walked 26 batters calculating out to a 1.195 WHIP.
Diehl spent his 2018 season with both the Tampa Tarpons and the Trenton Thunder, only having a brief cup of coffee in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders for the playoffs. The season marked the first time in his career that he was a full-time reliever and he has shown to excel in the role.
In his first 25 games, he was 2-2 with a 3.14 ERA for the Tampa Tarpons. He struck out 79 batters in 48 2/3 innings pitched, allowing hitters to hit just .209 against him. On July 13, he was promoted to Double-A Trenton where he was 0-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 14 games, 26 2/3 innings pitched and struck out 29 batters.
On September 12, Diehl was promoted to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders where he struck out two batters in 1 2/3 innings pitched during the International League playoffs. Diehl was the only full-time relief pitcher in the organization with more than 70 innings pitched. His 39 total games were good for seventh in the organization while he was ninth in the organization in total strikeouts, the only full-time reliever in the top 10.
Diehl is a lanky 6 foot 2 inches tall lefty who doesn’t throw hard. He suffered an elbow injury while at Louisiana Tech in 2015 but he’s bounced back from that injury without issue. His fastball is in the low-90s and he mixes it up with a slider and a changeup. He possesses great command of his pitches, throws strikes and works fast on the mound. He’s not afraid of contact and has been more effective out of the bullpen than as a starter.
Diehl will likely continue to pitch in Triple-A in 2019, becoming a valuable reliever for the RailRiders while knocking at the door of the major leagues.