Dave’s Clearwater Recap 22 March 2011

First off, apologies for not posting regularly.  While I had my iPad with the blogging app on it with me at the Complex several times, the combination of St. Patty’s Day, running into some old friends, cheap beer, and the lure of going swimming in the Gulf at 1:30 in the morning prevented me from spending nearly as much time as I typically do watching the goings-on at the Complex.  Here are a few things that I noted after my Day 1 post:

  • It looks like the Altherr at 3B experiment might be over as I saw him working only in the OF during morning drills.
  • Savery does not look overmatched at the plate, although nearly everything goes to left side.  He makes solid contact, but his bat might be a bit slow right now.
  • Cesar Hernandez was drawing raves from the crowds watching him at 2B during fielding drills.  It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there, but in a situation where multiple instructors are conducting multiple drills with different sets of players simultaneously, for a single player to stand out is pretty special.
  • Watched Kevin Walter pitch–while I couldn’t see the gun, his fastball seems to be just a bit short as the scouting reports have noted.  But he is a young, young looking kid, so I think it’s very likely that he gains velocity as he matures.
  • Josh Zeid impressed me in the minor league game he started–allowed some runners, but never lost focus and didn’t allow a run.  Poise and presence are words that get thrown around a lot, but he seems to have it.
  • Both Cameron Rupp and Angel Chavarin looked very solid defensively.  Chavarin was catching against the Academie Baseball Canada team and moved very well behind the plate, blocking pitches in the dirt in both directions.  He did throw a ball into right field trying to pick a runner off, but that was more due to the first baseman getting tangled up with the runner.-
  • Speaking of the Academie Baseball Canada team, following the game against the Phils’ recent draftees, the Phils’ scouts pulled one of their players aside for a private workout.  I believe the player was Jonathan Jones, a 6’5″, 205-lb 3B who just turned 19.  Not sure what to make of the workout as it consisted of about 20 BP swings and 20 groundballs at third, but I thought I’d pass it on as it’s one of the neat things you see every so often down there.
  • I got to see the championship ring presentations to both the GCL Phillies and to Lakewood.  Nice to see and every player who got so much as a single AB or IP was presented with a ring on the field at BrightHouse, in full Phillies uniforms, prior to a game.

60 thoughts on “Dave’s Clearwater Recap 22 March 2011

  1. What the cat ate your Ipod? Eye and neck stain from watching the current beach fashions? Poor guy! Actually a long time ago I was deeply distracted on Clearwater beach.
    It seems awfully early to give up on the AA experiment. I am rooting for Savery.
    Hopefully he will be able to turn on a ball by year’s end.

  2. Great info. Like everything you posted. I know it is putting the cart ahead of the horse, but Jonathan Jones’ nickname should be the Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz). Just one question, was he right or left handed and how did he do defensively.

    1. Okay, that sounds like a science fiction reference that just shot over my head, and I like me some Sci-Fi. Please explain

  3. Thanks Dave. I remember those days.

    Rickey Branch reported that Savery pulled a home run (not to split hairs).

    1. I saw him ground out sharply to first, so he can pull, but over the course of 8 ABs or so, that was the only ball I saw him pull.

  4. I’m wondering if you expensed all those beers to Phuture Phillies.

    Nice writeup. As always, the firsthand scouting reports are great to read. It does seem kinda early to be giving up on Altherr at 3b, but maybe the brass just figured that he’s not really a 3B.

    – Jeff

  5. Can’t see any negative on Savery going to LF. Could it be that he is actually working on that part of his hitting game? Dozens of guys have gotten to AS games, even the HoF, turning on the inside pitch when it is hittable and taking outside pitches the other way. Steve Garvey comes to mind. Mark Grace is another.

    There are too many guys who know nothing but pull, pull, pull. Ridiculously easy outs in key late inning situations.

    Using the whole field and mashing the pitches you can pull is the best hitting strategy in baseball.

  6. Altherr looks very good in the outfield and I’m assuming that’s where he’ll stay. I forgot to mention when I posted yesterday, and Dave forgot also because he must have been there the same days I was, Singleton looked only fair playing LF in BP (and hasn’t played the OF in a game yet I don’t think). He’s an athlete and can run and i think he’ll end up being fine but for now, he’s really at the basics of how to play OF, how to go back on balls, how to judge balls, etc. A coach worked with him one day during BP but I was surprised they didn’t work with him more. Also, I forgot to mention that Alvarez looks like a lost man due to the 7 men fighting for playing time in the CWater OF. I didn’t expect Hudson to play there this year but he looked very good to me and I now expect they’ll leave him there. Dugan can get his ABs at 1B but Alvarez will have to stay down (or go up) to get his ABs.

  7. I feel like the biggest story of spring training so far has been the revitalization of JP Aumont out of the bullpen. Add him to Stutes, Schwimer, Worley and DeFratus as guys who could be useful out of the pen as soon as midseason and definitely by 2012. In fact, it sounds as if he’s been the most dominant minor league reliever so far.

  8. My Three Stars of the Complex in today’s games were No. 1, Moose Mattair, No. 2, Sebastian Valle and tied for No. 3, Michael Dabbs and Freddy Galvis.

    Moose went deep to left center in the AA game against the Yankees. His bat is coming to life as he hit a long home run out towards the Rt. 19 off ramp.

    Valle hit a no doubt about it long ball over the left field fence in the AAA game. Hard to believe he will start the season in A+ ball. Looks too good for that level.

    Some of the best power hitting I saw this spring on consecutive at bats was late in the AA game when Michael Dabbs and Freddy Galvis hit back to back triples and then on their next at bats back to back doubles all to right into the wind. Galvis hit his triple so high and deep I thought it was out when the ball left his bat but the wind brought it back in and the Yanks right fielder circled it at the base of the fence and the ball almost hit him on his head as it came down.

    The other guy who caught my eye today was Michael Stutes in the AAA game. He looked sharper than I have ever seen him with his fastball down at the knees with lots of velocity.

    1. Was in Valle’s work with the bat or behind the dish that made you think we was too good for that level? Or maybe both?

      1. Mattair doesn’t need to add any more muscle, the guy is built like a truck. He seems like one of the good guys and someone most of us root hard for to hit. His glove and arm are major league ready now but his bat has been very slow in the past. Seeing him pull a shot ot left cneter is awesome. Way to go Moose, keep it up.

    2. I realize this is all anecdotal, and I’m repeating myself, but it is certainly heartening to hear these reports of Freddy Galvis driving the ball. Even if it’s a rare occurrence for now, at least it shows he is physically capable of squaring up on a ball. So now it’s just a matter of doing it consistently. (Way easier said than done, I realize.)

      After reading these latest reports on Gillies’ mysterious hamstring injury, I’m starting to wonder if he’s ever going to make it on a field with any consistency again. It’s been almost a year now that the injury has been recurring. Hope for the best for the guy, but his game is speed, and I don’t think he’s going to progress unless he’s completely healed, and that doesn’t seem to be happening for some reason.

      1. Though Gillies injury is bad news and leans toward pessimism, he is still a young guy if the talent is there and the injury can get actually healed he could move quickly. I did not pay attention to Cole Hamels history but I imagine, despite his obvious talent, that many people figured he would never be healthy enough to become an ace.

      2. Galvis looks much better to me over last year and the year before. I’ve never had much hope in his bat before but he somehow looks better this year. We’ll see…

      3. Gillies was staying at the same hotel as I was–even after getting back from working at the complex all day, I saw him leaving twice at night to go to the gym. Hopefully that’s indicative that whatever has him laid up isn’t serious and also a great sign that he’s working his ass off.

    3. Where do you think Dabbs starts the season and is he considered a prospect or is he just another organizational player there to take up room?

      1. I think he’s an organizational guy. He played in 61 games split between Wmsprt and Lakewood as a 23 year old. His combined triple slash was .297/.352/.396 with a .749 OPS. He doesn’t have much HR power with only 2 last year. He stole 13 bases but was caught 9 times. He had 5 OF assists and can play all 3 OF positions but he looks to be a corner OF’er. I don’t think his bat plays well enough for a corner OF position. I would like the Phils to get aggressive with him. They have to find out if he can improve as he moves up. He certainly improved between 2009 and 2010 although the small sample negates any strong correlation.

        1. Yea, Dabbs looks like a good ballplayer but at a position that the Phils are loaded at. I had heard he was going to get a shot at catcher but only saw him in the OF group. I assume he’ll be a back up OF on either C Water or Reading but he doesn’t have much of a major league shot.

  9. Altherr experiement is definitely disappointing. I was hoping Dugan would get some reps at 3B since he was also an INF in high school but it appears that 3B is another wasteland in the Phils’ minors. But hey, we got 10 high tools CF types? Anybody want one?
    (I think we may actually have 10 with some rounding up: Gillies, James, Altherr, Dugan, Hudson, Castro, Alvarez, Collier, Pointer, Hewitt)

    1. They also have about 10 future/potential middle relievers. Mathieson, DeFratus, Schwimer, Schliter, Stutes, Rosenberg, Zeid, Shreve, Naylor and Hyatt. Maybe they can package about a half dozen of them and get a power hitting 3d baseman in trade.

  10. ok here’s an idea that might sound crazy….stark’s column says Pedro Feliz might not make the Royals. So if you ignore the fact that signing anyone who can’t make the Royals is a bad idea, why not sign Feliz to play 3rd and move Polanco to 2nd? If nothing else, you have a really great defensive infield and I don’t think Feliz can do any worse offensively than Wilson Valdez or Castillo at this point.

    1. Feliz was horrible…atrocious really…people lauded his defense which statistically wasn’t even all that above-average. For a position where you expect to have a plus bat, he is an ultra-negative bat.

      And I also read a report last year that he was one of the worst players in the game, from a sabermetric, WAR standpoint or something like that.

      1. Doesn’t take sabermetrics. He played in 137 games and hit .218 with 5 home runs. 13 walks. There’s no way you can spin that.

        1. The spin is: it was the purdiest .218 you ever saw and no pitcher’s ERAs were harmed in the making.

  11. Also in Stark’s column it sounds like it might not be crazy to think Mayberry is our starting RF coming out of spring training. A scout said about him…

    On John Mayberry Jr. (Phillies): “He’s made progress. He’s better than I’ve seen him. His pitch recognition seems to be much better. Much better ‘takes’ at the plate. And that’s always been a big thing with him.”

    1. I don’t know, based on the statistics, I think that Ben Fran is the starting right fielder and unfortunately, the last couple of games, Mayberry is starting to remind me of his old self. At this stage, I see his ceiling as a platoon player, batting against lefthanders, but who is the left-handed hitting side of the platoon? Gload???

    2. To me, its starting to look like a Ben Fran/Gload platoon which means that Gload is the starting RF most of the time. This would allow for Mayberry to come in late defensively in RF.

  12. Altherr is a 3B? Bump him up in rankings!
    Aumont is a SP? Bump him up in rankings!

    At least with Aumont I know I said to take the moves with a grain of salt until you see them stick.

  13. For Altherr, CF is a better position if he can handle it. It’s just to the “right” side of 3B on the defensive spectrum.

    Now Dugan or any of those corner OFs at 3B would be a great coup fo rthe system.

    1. Only if they are at least average defensively. We’ve already had our fill of Greg Dobbs and Wes Helms trying to play third.

    2. Altherr appears to be a good CF but Hudson looks better,and James looks better than both of them. Myers and Castro also like to play CF but will never get a chance at this rate. Btw, Castro had a monster BP round one day we were there hitting bomb after bomb. If he could ever become more selective, he’d be a big time player.

      1. Myers is a CF who plays all the outfield positions very well. Myers looks better than James and the others. He is a talented CF. underrated.

  14. Holy Josh Zeid. I have been Mr. “Zeid’s ticketed for the bullpen” but perhaps I was wrong. Anyone hear what his deal is? Starting rotation at AA??

    Also, it was nice to see May having a good start.

    1. Yes, Zeid looks like he’ll be starting in Reading, he’s throwing the ball great so far this spring. I still assume his future will be in the bullpen but for now, he’s looking great. Btw – I had a nice chat with him on Monday, what a great guy. He’s excited by the chance to earn a spot in Reading but he really wants to get to Philly. Definitely a guy to root for.

      1. Thanks for the info, Murray. Good to hear that he’s pitching well *and* that he’s a good guy.

  15. Oh, mike77 – check out the post on blog.blueclaws.com regarding Tuesday’s games. Your man Hollands was off the hook.

    1. Yeah, I check blueclaws blog everyday in spring training and during the regular season.
      As far as Hollands good performance so far, we shouldn’t be surprised. He is big, left handed, and he has good secondary pitches. The change-up, being his best pitch. A ballers can’t hit change-up pitchers. We’ve seen it before, with Way and Hyatt. In his pre-draft on BA, they said his problem is he loses his mechanics. If the Phillies have better pitching instruction than his college coaches, that may be corrected. With better mechanics, he may pick up a couple miles on his fastball and help him when he gets to AA and above. That is why I picked him as my sleeper.

  16. Singleton finally played LF yesterday. An article on him says he’s been DHing only because he’s been dealing with a tender throwing arm until now. Good to see him out there finally. Also good to see Rupp down catching with his Lakewood staff finally. And he homered in his first game there too. Also, is it me or does it seem like Altherr gets hits every day?

  17. It seems to me that Mathieson has quietly done everything he possibly can to make his case that he’s ready. ERA of 2.00, getting a strikeout an inning, all of those strikeouts, incidentally coming on breaking balls according to the reports in the papers. I’m not sure why you’d want to knock someone off the 40-man (especially given all the injuries) in order to bring Stutes back up. Herndon’s apparently been throwing very well too. I guess that if there’s any bright side to Lidge’s injury, it’s that it will open up an opportunity for some of these younger guys. Relying on cheap youngsters in the bullpen hasn’t hurt the Braves or the Dodgers or a lot of other teams.

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