Dave’s Clearwater Observations, Day 1

Just some random notes from what I saw at the complex yesterday.  There were three games going on simultaneously, so I saw bits and pieces of all of them:

-Biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at Carpenter as Halladay was pitching one of the games

-Aumont looked fantastic.  Every pitching instructor on site, including Dubee, came over to watch him pitch, and Kerfeld and Gillick stopped talking for the first time in an hour to watch him throw.  Having done this for almost ten years now, the only other time I remember seeing that many staff members congregated at the Complex was to watch Drabek and Knapp throw simultaneous bullpens.  The first hitter reached base on a nubbing infield single (off of what Aumont later called a “f—ing changeup” that got too much of the plate).  He struck out the next two hitters on curveballs the hitters had no chance on and got the last hitter on a grounder.  His fastball was heavy as expected, but what I didn’t realize is how much it bores in on lefties and away from righties.  He also looks slightly slimmer than last year.

-J.C. Ramirez got hit around in the one inning I saw him pitch, including someone launching a double off the high batting eye in dead center.

-Cody Overbeck homered to left center, although it seemed “breeze-aided”.

-Savery hit the ball hard in the two ABs I saw, although both resulted in groundouts.

-Brian Pointer is a much larger person that I expected.  The recent draftees were playing against a college team.  Didn’t see much of it, but Pointer’s size did jump out at me.

-Schwim was signing many an autograph.

40 thoughts on “Dave’s Clearwater Observations, Day 1

  1. I don’t imagine Aumont will be throwing many change-ups anyway. Fastball hammer curve should be enough from the pen.

  2. If he ever wants to be a closer, having a 3rd okay pitch is probably a good idea. Definitely not required as many closers have shown but its nice to be able to throw guys off unless you’re Mo Rivera and nobody can hit your 1 pitch regardless of the fact they know its coming. Mo’s cutter is probably the single most devastating pitch in the modern history of the game.

    1. You’re only saying that because you’ve never tried to hit my knuckler in a wiffle ball game

      – Jeff

      1. This is true.

        I think all MLB hitters should practice with a whiffle ball from time to time.

  3. Maybe Aumont could progress enough to replace Mathieson as a hopeful closer rather than AAA filler. I want to like the guy, but dont know where to like him. Joe Savory seems to be a possible threat to be solid in AAA this year, could he be in Philly for the end of the season?

    1. I think that project may take a few years to yield results for the big team, if at all. Who knows for sure though

    2. Savery plays 1B, so we’ll probably see him with the Phils in 2017 or thereabouts…

  4. Good to hear about Aumont. Any idea what his fastball was clocked at? Seemed it dropped off last year.

  5. (insert boilerplate warning about it only being Spring Training here)

    That’s quite encouraging about Aumont.

    Any my guess on Savery is that he needs to get himself a bunch of ABs in the minors. Even if he is scalding the heck out of the ball, I don’t see him making the majors until next year at the earliest – and even then, it would probably be on another team. I’ll certainly be rooting for him – it would be a great underdog story.

    – Jeff

  6. Realistically I think Savery needs to play the outfield corners to have any kind of MLB future with any organization.

    1. I agree. I think they want him to play 1B or DH and hit. If he hits well enough, then maybe they’ll fool around later in the year by seeing if he can play OF. He did play some of it at Rice but mostly played 1B to save his arm after he pitched and after surgery. He has to hit to make it worthwhile.

    2. Agreed. I’m kinda surprised they haven’t tried him out in the outfield first. He seems athletic enough, and I’m guessing he could certainly have a strong enough arm for RF

    3. That’s probably right, but maybe they are putting him at first base so that he doesn’t have to adjust to too many things at the same time. It can’t be easy going right to AA (let’s face it, as a hitter, he’s practically going from college to AA) after not doing a lot of hitting for 2 or 3 years and learning how to play a new position while getting over the disappointment of being a bust as a pitching prospect. I think it would be too much.

  7. First of all, THANKS for the write-ups. Since I cannot be there (how great would that be) I really appreciate them.

    This season needs to be a confidence builder for Aumont. During international games he has shown flashes. Even if he is not quite consistent I really want to see him come back from bad outings with good ones. Hopefully he can grow into the closer role in two to three years.

    Savery’s transition would be a great story. I think the key is to just get him at-bats this season. He is more comfortable at 1B so leave him there and focus on hitting. If his bat seems real and projectable, then maybe RF is an option because he will have a great arm.
    His future is really undertermined at this point. I wonder if he will continue pitching on the side. But in today’s specialization and optimization strategy, having a bench hitter who is a below average pitcher is not worth a roster spot.

  8. I’ve predicted that Aumont is going to come back with a vengence (although not necessarily this year), so it’s nice to hear. Let me tell you, Aumont could become one nasty dude on the mound. He’s big, he throws hard and his ball moves like crazy. But he’s unrefined and his mechanics are all over the place. Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson were the same way as young pitchers. No need to abandon ship on Phillippe yet.

  9. I heard that the new Minor League workout groups list is posted. Any chance you can copy/photograph and post? Thanks

  10. Wait, Freddy Galvis hit a 9th inning home run today! I want video before I believe in that flying saucer.

    1. I suspect it took some paint off the outfield fence as it left the park. I’m not as down on Galvis as many seem to be. Seems like he’s been in our system forever, but he’ll play all of 2011 at age 21 (Born: 11/14/1989). He could spend another two years at AA and still be considered young for the league, or at the least, age-appropriate. Hopefully he adds 10lbs in the form of muscle to his frame over the next year or two.

      1. When I was down in Clearwater a couple weeks ago Freddy G was looking great with the glove, as advertised, and he was making good contact too. Roped a ball to the track that an outfielder made such a good play on that he doubled Wilson Valdez up, ending the game. Small sample size, believe the numbers not your eyes, all that–BUT I have to say the contrast with last spring, when he was dribbling out to the mound every at bat it seemed, was notable. Baby steps, sure, but I cam away more optimistic than I’ve been for a while.

        1. On Galvis: the plan, as mentioned somewhere recently, was to have him do the equivalent of weight training for strength and an increase of weight from his rail-thin body of 2010.

          By your observations it appears that the worked plan has resulted in a stronger body which gives us hope that his bat power and durability would thrive to make him a real MLB SS.

          We can hope…and, perhaps, pray.

    2. Karma, I’ve never been a big believer in Galvis – that homer missed hitting me in the head by two feet (I was was watching the pen). The homer cleared the fense by a good 12 ft.

  11. The problem with curveballs is throwing it tight for a strike. Gavin Floyd had a really good curve, but everybody realized that he didn’t throw it for strikes. So the hitters laid off that pitch and raked his fastball.

    Aumont needs to develop his changeup to make it to the next level.

  12. as long as he has two different fastballs and a big curve, i’m not sure he needs that change.

  13. Nothing is more exciting than B ball. Before a big crowd of 200 or so fans at Ashburn Field this morning Vance Worley was not sharp in his start against the B Blue Jays. The big hit went to Erik Kratz who hit a three run homer in the last inning of the game. He would hit a solo homer in the afternoon in the A game at Bright House. Kratz is fun to watch in BP where the ball just jumps off his bat. It’s good to see he is taking his strong bat into the games. Travis Mattair wearing No. 96 played third base and hit 9th. He did picked up his first B ball base hit as he beat out a single hit hard into the hole at short in his first at bat.

    In the afternoon three games took place at the Complex. SS Alan Schoenberger lined a double down the first base line with the bases loaded to help win the AA game on Schmidt Field against the Tiger farmhands. Watched a couple innings of the future GCL team take on Faulkner State on Carlton Field. Was very impressed in Chace Numata. He has a great arm which he showed off throwing out a runner who strayed too far from second and then almost pick off a runner at first on the next play. Was not impressed with Franklin Vargas a big tall lefty who left everything up in the zone, was hit hard to right and did not show an effective breaking ball in his one inning of work.

    1. Vance Worley’s spring performance has been a bit worrisome so far. When we had a discussion topic a couple of months ago about “make or break seasons,” I put Worley in that category, simply because I felt like this was his chance to show whether he’s a JA Happ (somewhat late-blooming surprise) or and Andrew Carpenter. With a lot of eyes on him, he’s done nothing to make you feel too confident about trading Joe Blanton. There’s a long way to go, of course, and I hope it’s just a slow spring start, but I can’t help wondering if he’s more the pitcher we saw in 2009 than the one who opened eyes in 2010.

      1. This is neither here nor there, but Happ wasn’t really a late blooming surprise. His k/9 and WHIP were always very good throughout the minors. I remember in 2006 Salisbury did an update on the Phils’ minor league system and in it called Happ a future 5th starter or reliever. I wrote him an email saying I thought he could be a #3. He never wrote back. HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW SALISBURY??? (kidding)

        1. You were way ahead of me, then, and a lot of other people on this board, and of course Keith Law, who predicted armageddon for Happ last year.

      2. I’m not worried at all. It’s just spring training. Worley’s strength is the number of different pitches he throws and on locating them. It will take him time get back to where he ended last year. Many pitchers are not in mid-season form mid April or May. Worley is young and I suspect he still needs to develop better “muscle memory” for some of his secondary pitches. I am on record before as saying that I hope he spends most of this season in AAA to perfecting his arsenal.

    2. Vargas is 16 remember. I would suspect his command to be very rough at this stage. More important is his raw stuff, which hopefully is enough to justify signing him. He most likely will have 2-3 seasons of short season ball before he hits Lakewood.

  14. I was curious about Aumont’s spring performance so I appreciate the report.
    Philly media has almost completely ignored him.
    He should be in the mix for the future closer’s job.
    How far in the future is the question.

  15. I’m glad the Philly media is ignoring Aumont. The last thing that guy needs, after what he went through last year, is the glare of more high expectations. Let him figure himself out in obscurity for a little while.

  16. Is it not amazing Galvis is still in the major league camp yet some Bozos still think Jiwan James is a better prospect?

    1. Not really. Galvis was two levels ahead of James and is on the 40-man roster. Galvis is also a plausible injury call-up if Rollins got hurt. Bocock probably gets the first shot, but if Galvis improves a little on offense he could easily get a call-up.

      1. Perhaps, but I think not. I think implicit in the logic is that James is older than Galvis. Any comparison of an older guy at a higher level to a younger guy at a lower level is not at all the same.

  17. LOL. That means Tuffy Gosewisch is a better prospect than Sebastian Valle. Why can the bozo’s not see that?

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