Outfielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. off to powerful start with Reading Fightin Phils

Apr. 10—Playing his first games in Double-A, Reading outfielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. made quite the first impression.

Rincones Jr. hit home runs in his first two games with the Fightin Phils last Friday and Saturday.

"Gabe's got really good power," Reading hitting coach Brock Stassi said. "He's starting to understand how to take an at-bat in a professional way."

Rincones Jr., 23, in his first season Double-A, is the Phillies' No. 10 overall prospect, No. 2 outfield prospect and the top prospect on the Fightin Phils' active roster, according to MLB Pipeline.

"(My) main goal is (to) obviously play well and be considered as one of the best in the league," Rincones Jr. said. "I just got to do my part before that."

Rincones Jr. was selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2022 MLB draft from Florida Atlantic. Before being selected by Philadelphia, Rincones Jr. was drafted by San Diego in the 19th round of the 2021 draft, but opted to play college baseball for another year instead of signing with the Padres.

The decision proved to be the right move, as Rincones Jr. left St. Petersburg College and transferred to Florida Atlantic ahead of the 2022 season. He put together a stellar season with the Owls, posting a .346 batting average, .451 on-base percentage, 19 home runs and 69 RBIs in 58 games.

"I've always had power," Rincones Jr. said. "The shift from junior college to FAU, after the scouts said I couldn't pull the ball and hit home runs, that got in my head a little bit and I started pulling the ball more."

Rincones Jr. struck out 51 times, something he is still working on.

"Swing and miss went up, but home runs also did," Rincones Jr. said about the 2022 season. "Now it's trying to find a good balance between both."

The Boynton Beach, Florida native made his professional debut in 2023, playing in 48 games with Single-A Clearwater and 72 with High-A Jersey Shore. Between the two levels, Rincones Jr. hit .248 with 15 home runs and 134 strikeouts.

"He's got all the bat speed that you need," Stassi said. "Now it's just about him looking for the pitch that he wants to hit and not falling into the trap that the pitcher is trying to set up."

Through the first four games this season, Rincones Jr. has a .444 on-base percentage with six walks and five strikeouts. He has split time between left and right fields.

"He has a good feel for what he's doing out in the outfield defensively," Reading manager Al Pedrique said. "Offensively, he's going to have to be consistent hitting with guys in scoring position."

While he is looking to become a more consistent hitter without losing his power, Rincones Jr. is focused on putting in his best effort each day.

"You want to go hard every single time you're on the field," Rincones Jr. said. "It's a longer season, so conserve your energy in some aspects, but never stop."