News From Clearwater

A few notes and observations from my day at the Carpenter Complex today.  Tyson Gillies was not in the lineup again today and was in the dugout massaging and pointing to an area below the back of his knee that appears to still be troubling him.  After a disappointing year last year and his lack of playing time this Spring, Gillies is clearly behind the regulars competing for jobs in Reading and Lehigh Valley.  A stint in extended Spring Training may be needed to get himself right before heading North. 

Drew Naylor threw the ball well in 4.2 innings against the Blue Jays AAA team, giving up just a run.  Justin DeFratus impressed bouncing back after giving up two hits to the first two batters he faced,  to induce a strikeout and a double play ball to get out of a jam.  In his second inning on the mound, DeFratus walked a batter and the inning ended on a fly ball caught up against the wall, however, with that being said, I came away very impressed by both his “stuff” and his poise.

I couldn’t have been more impressed than I was with Phillipe Aumont,  He dominated in an inning of relief work in the AA game, striking out two and throwing 11 of his 17 pitches for strikes.  He gave up a walk after starting a hitter off 0-2, but came back and got the next batter to fly out to end the inning.  Without overstating this, there was several audible gasps at how silly he made a couple of the BlueJays look combining a very hard fastball with a knee buckling 12-6 curve for a strikeout.  The last time I saw Aumont was in a start he made for Reading last season in which he was just awful.  No command, no control and no poise.  In this limited sample I watched, he was simply a different pitcher. More confidant in both himself as well as his game.

You can’t walk by the AAA game without paying attention to Ryne Sandberg.  He gets your attention and respect because of the way he played the game.  It seems certain that things are going to change, at least by way of attitude in Lehigh Valley.  On multiple occasions as his guys were walking out to the field, Sandberg would yell, “need some hop guys…look alive out there.” It is something small but notable after watching many a lackadaisical effort in Lehigh Valley last year.

Chris Frey, a pickup from the Rockies organization in the AAA portion of the Rule 5 draft impressed with how fluid he is in CF.  Frey was voted the best defensive outfielder in the Rockies system last season and got caught in the proverbial numbers crunch with Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez ahead of him in Colorado.  While probably never going to be an everyday player in the Major Leagues, Frey (a University of Arizona product) appears to do everything well (absent a lack of a power game) and would be an asset to keep around for an organization that is troubled by their lack of defensive depth in the OF.  Ironically, the one thing Frey does not do is hit for power, and he led off the AAA game with a homer.

More tomorrow….

40 thoughts on “News From Clearwater

  1. Boy are you right about last year’s Lehigh team. I was driving near Allentown and was glad to listen to the game. After three innings I had enough. I have been a Sandberg fan for a long long time. I was stunned when they traded him . The Lehigh valley deserves a team.
    Winners list starts with Glavis and maybe we can throw Aumont in?? I just hope it isn’t the Palm Tree Effect.

  2. Tough news for Gillies. I wonder if its related to his hamstring problems from last year. If so, that’s a bad sign.

    I had such high hopes for him after that trade.

    1. Word around the complex yesterday was Gillies would be sitting out rest of ST. and possibly part of EST.

  3. I’m sure Sandberg will benefit from players capable of a better than .300 slugging percentage as well. Looking forward to the season, only concern with Lehigh is a serious lack of good starting pitchers. A lot of journeymen and not particularly good ones.

  4. Must say Phillippe Aumont continues to be one of the stand outs after the first week of minor league camp. Just the opposite from last year when he started off struggling in the major league camp and his season went down hill from there. Would not be surprised if this is a break season for him.

    After his game was over Aumont walked over and was conversing with the players on a traveling team from Academie Baseball Canada, a development team for young baseball players in Quebec. They just finished playing the Phils rookie team on Ashburn Field. In that game catcher Chace Numata continues to be the one on the Phils rookie squad who stands out the most when I have been watching them. Today hitting left handed he lined a triple off the right field wall for a triple. He showed both power and speed in going from home to third on the triple. In an earlier game this week he showed off his arm by throwing out a runner at second and nearly picking off a runner at first with another strong accurate throw on the next play.

    After the rookie game was over several Phils scouts, one with a camera in hand, gathered around the batting cage on Carlton Field to watch an exclusive workout for highly touted right handed hitting third base prospect from the Academie Jonathan Jones. He took about 20 or so swings and fielded ground balls at third from the Phils coaching staff. This guy just turned 19, has big forearms and is listed at 6’5″ 205 lbs. from Laval Quebec . He showed soft hands and warning track power in his workout.

      1. I 2nd that comment….great comments as always. Really makes me want to go down there for ST at some point.

  5. Chace Numata does he shave yet? A fast catcher is a find. Besides he can eventually learn a second position to help the wear and tear issue.

    1. The Phillies converted him to catcher when he was drafted right? I’d imagine he would need all the reps he can get behind the plate.

        1. Ernie was working on his positioning behind the plate in yesterday’s game telling him to move back a little from the batter.

  6. From…

    The likelihood that No. 3 hitter Chase Utley is going to miss the season with that knee injury that threatens his career has the Phillies in full panic mode and ready to make a pitch for the Rangers’ disgruntled Michael Young. If the Neftali Feliz-to-starter dalliance is abandoned, as expected, and he returns to the closer role, the Rangers might prefer the cheaper Kyle Kendrick over Joe Blanton, who is more suited to the NL.

  7. A voice crying out in the wilderness “move polly to second and get me a young stud third baseman”

        1. Mets have about 5 or 6 good players. Why would they give up one of their best? It would cost most of Cosart, Colvin, Kendrick, Brown, Mathieson, and Singleton, something like that. Ready to rape our system?

          1. Because the Mets are not going anywhere soon and Wright isn’t going to be able to help them when they hope to get good in a couple of years. They need payroll relief badly.

            I’d be fine with giving up Brown , Cosart or Colvin, May, and some outfielders.

            Yeah I’m ready to rape the system since this team needs help now with somebody that can play second or third and hit third in the lineup

  8. I have no idea what that means – I think Kyle Kendrick is more suited for the International League.

  9. Just from this site and some other blogs (Blueclaws) and Reading PR guy sounds like Jesse Biddle is doing well in two starts. No runs in 5 2/3 innings in his starts. It also sounds like Josh Zeid is pitching well. He struck out 5 in 3 innings yesterday and has pitched 5 scoreless innings this spring. Cisco, Hollands and May also pitched well I read. Heitor Correa got lit up. It is good to see Zach Collier’s name in the blogs. He had two hits yesterday. Kelly Dugan seems to be having a good week as does Joe Savery who is batting .500.

  10. Franco had another hard hit single today. He looks like he belongs. Today’s three stars at the Complex were Edgar Duran with a great play deep in the hole at short throwing to get the runner at first, a single and a stolen base. Julio Rodriguez who dominated in three innings with a nasty curve ball. And Domingo Santana who drilled two doubles, the first to right center and the second one down the third base line.

      1. I have been very impressed with Mattair. You can tell he is working his way back, but that there is something there that others may not possess at 3B. He is extremely atehletic, and has good hands and foot work at 3B. Its a matter of confidence with the stick.

    1. I wonder if Franco might be in the mix for Lakewood. Altherr not playing 3B was a bit of a surprise. But not if Franco might be in the mix at some point this season there. I still would love to see if Altherr can play the position, but I am also equally intrigued by Franco.

  11. Just imagine if Santana progresses one level at a time he still will be 22/23 going into the majors. Hopefully his bat stays in Lakewood all year/

  12. I’m off to Clearwater area for a long weekend with the wife. Plan to go to the complex twice. Will tour the minor league games and report my observations.

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