Philadelphia Phillies minor league pitching prospect Corey Phelan has died at the age of 20 following a battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Preston Mattingly, the Phillies’ director of player development, announced in an official statement shared on Twitter.
“The Phillies family is extremely saddened by the tragic passing of Corey Phelan,” Mattingly said via the Phillies Player Development account. “Corey’s positive presence and selflessness influenced everyone around him. While he was incredibly passionate about the game of baseball, his love for his family and his strong faith superseded everything else. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, as well as his teammates and staff who were by his side, providing emotional support throughout the course of his courageous battle with cancer.
“Corey is and will always be a special person. His smile lit up a room and everyone who came in contact with him cherished the interaction. His memory will live on, especially with the Phillies organization.”
Phelan signed with the Phillies as an undrafted free agent out of high school in 2020 and allowed just one run in 9 2/3 innings pitched as a reliever during the 2021 season, which was spent with the Rookie-level Phillies of the Florida Complex League.
The New York native was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in April 2021 and had spent time with the Phillies during their series against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
“It was awesome. I can’t put into words how awesome it was,” Phelan said at the time via MLB.com. “Every time I can watch them on TV, depending on what channel they are playing on, I watch them and I root for them every game. I love watching them play. They bring my spirits up.”
Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola said Phelan’s presence uplifted the team and his courageous battle put provided a different perspective.
“He is going through some hard times right now,” Nola said at the time via MLB.com. “The hard times that we go through in baseball doesn’t compare to what he is going through. The positivity that he showed — his faith and belief that God has it under control. Obviously, it shows what kind of person that he is, what kind of man he is. The guys in the clubhouse saw that.”