As most of you know, seven Phillies minor leaguers will participate in the Arizona Fall League this year as members of the Peoria Javelinas. The list includes four Reading relievers, and three interesting position players: C Tommy Joseph, 3B Cody Asche, OF Zach Collier, LHP Jay Johnson and RHPs Colby Shreve, Tyler Knigge and Kyle Simon.
I will plan to update you all with some stats a couple times a week, likely once on the weekend and once mid-week. I don’t plan to create box score recaps, but rather give you a “last 10 games” for each guy and we can all discuss from there. I may hit Twitter with a couple notes other days of the week, like if someone hits a HR or has a multi-hit day at the plate or a great pitching performance, so give me a follow @bxe1234
Here’s a link to a nice primer from Matt Gelb at Philly.com on the seven guys invited this year. I read the story he linked to on Jay Johnson. It’s kind of a long read, and focuses a lot on the coach who helped get him into a Phils’ tryout a couple years back, but it’s an interesting, (if not expertly edited), piece on the way relationships in the game can move a career from the edge of the cliff to ink on paper within days. We know this kind of thing happens, but it’s nice to read about it in detail.
Often these AFL guys turn out to be interesting names come Rule 5 time – Shreve and Collier would need to be protected or exposed this year. Just last year, Jake Diekman pitched very well in the AFL and cemented himself a 40-man spot. I’m sure Zach Collier is hoping to turn in the same kind of performance this year to push his position ahead of guys like Leandro Castro and Jiwan James, who are also in line to be exposed to the Rule 5 draft this year without a 40-man spot.
Colby Shreve is a long-shot for the 40-man roster, with his position in the organization lagging behind many other AA and AAA relievers. His hope for AFL might be to prove he belongs at the upper levels of the organization, instead of fighting the numbers game this coming spring like he was forced to in 2012, when he ended up starting the year back in Lakewood before earning bumps all the way to AA by year’s end.
Tommy Joseph and Kyle Simon were new additions to the org this year. A 2011 U of Arizona draftee, Simon came over as part of the Jim Thome trade with Baltimore. His reportedly “funky” delivery, (and equally funky stache), served him well out of the bullpen after his arrival. Joseph was the main prospect piece in the Hunter Pence deal. Just today, he was named BA’s #10 prospect in the Eastern League for 2012, (where Cody Asche and RHP Jon Pettibone were also named). I’m sure the Phils are wanting to see as much of him as possible to help determine not only his fate, but that of Sebastian Valle, and to a lesser extent, Cameron Rupp. Ideally, those three catchers all should see significant time in AA or higher in 2012.
The rest of the crop will be showcasing their talents in front of numerous scouts, and under the watchful eye (did I just write that?) of 2012 R-Phils manager Dusty Wathan, who himself is in line for a possible promotion after AAA manager Ryne Sandberg was added to the Philadelphia staff for 2013.