MiLB Spring Training 2014; March 15, The Hoby Milner Edition

I went to the Carpenter Complex knowing I wouldn’t be able to stay for a whole game.  Groups 3 and 4 were at Englebert playing the Jays.  Groups 1 and 2 were at Carpenter.  Dave Buchanan got the start for Group 1, Hoby Milner for Group 2.  Milner threw a perfect two innings on Tuesday so I decided to see how he looked today.

Milner came out in the top of the first locating his pitches well and throwing first pitch strikes.  He got an easy fly ball to left, a soft ground ball to third, and a chopped ball up the middle that resulted in a spectacular play by Carlos Alonso.  Alonso slid in front of the bag to field the weakly hit ball and bounced up in the same motion to throw out the runner at first.

Milner continued pitching well in the second, and the defense continued making great plays.  The first batter hit a ball hard to the right of first baseman, Brock Stassi.  Stassi laid out on a dive to his right and stabbed at the ball.  From his knees he lobbed the ball to Milner who was covering first.  The next batter was retired on a routine fly ball to right.  And the inning ended with a more routine Stassi to Milner put out.

In the third, Milner got ahead of the first batter with a knee-buckling curve on a 1-1 pitch.  The next pitch was grounded to Asche who had replaced Carmona at third.  A high fly ball to left and a can of corn to center ended the inning.

In the fourth, Milner got the leadoff hitter to hit a hard ground ball to Asche’s right.  Asche dove and made the difficult stop and fired a laser to first.  The Jays finally got to Milner when he walked the next batter on 5 pitches.  During this at bat, Milner’s pitches started to get up a little bit.  He rebounded, getting the next batter looking on a fast ball.  The inning ended when Ludy threw out the base runner on an attempted steal.

Milner looked very good.  Group 2 uses Schmidt field.  It is impossible to view the pitches from behind the backstop.  And I can’t position myself behind one of the radar guns.  The best I can do is gauge the height of the pitches.  Occasionally, you can judge inside/outside.  And sometimes, the umpire announces location (more on that later).  Milner’s fastball sounded like it was hitting the glove pretty hard.  Most of the time the batters looked off balance, however there were a couple balls hit hard right at infielders.  If he keeps this up, Reading fans will enjoy watching him this season.

I don’t know if this is a valid comp, but Milner’s 2013 season at Clearwater (his age 22 season) compares favorably with Jesse Biddle’s 2012 season at Clearwater (his age 20 season).

Dan Child came on in the fifth, and got the first guy looking.  The next batter blasted one down the line that bounced right as it passed the bag.  Asche dove, rolled, and came up throwing hard to nab the runner at first.  Very nice play.  The next hitter crushed a ball well over the right field fence. If you are familiar with Schmidt Field, the ball bounced once before landing among the players’ cars parked outside Bright House’s left field wall.  I think the batter was Kevin Patterson.  The next batter got an infield single to short.  On a hit-and-run, the next batter lifted a shallow fly toward the right field line.  The fielder (Brian Pointer, I think) dove and appeared to make a great catch, but it was ruled a trap.  The runner scored.  A routine ground ball to third ended the inning.

I hadn’t intended to keep track of the offense since I was leaving early, but there was so much hitting going on, I had to share.

Duran singled to center to start the first.  Alonso, after fouling off several pitches, hit a ground rule double down the left field line.  Stassi drove in the first run on a chopper to third.  Serritella reached on a hard hit, bad bounce, infield single to first.  Carmona drove in a run with a single to left.  Howard and Pointer ended the inning with a strike out and ground out.

In the second, Howard started with a pop out.  Justin Parr reached first on a bad bounce single that almost took off the shortstop’s head.  Asche doubled into the left center field gap.  Parr was picked off third base.  Ferdinand drove in a run on a single to left.  Moore muscled a ball into left field for a broken bat single.  Ludy drove in a run with a single to center.  Duran grounded out.

In the third, Howard flew out to left, as did Alonso.  Asche walked.  Stassi grounded out.  By now, we realized that Howard was trying to take everything to left field.  Must have been what he was working on today.

Serritella started the fourth with a strike out.  Howard walked.  (Here’s where the umpire started giving location to the pitcher or Jays bench.  He announced successive pitches as being outside.)  Asche singled to right.  Howard stopped at … no, I’m sorry, Howard went to third.  Repeat, Howard went first to third.  Carmona struck out swinging on a ball the catcher blocked in front of the plate.  Carmona took a step toward first as he would have if there were two outs.  Since he only made the second out, he stopped.  Asche, however, broke for second and stopped in no man’s land and was tagged out 2-3.  I think Asche might have lost track of the outs.

Pointer led off the fifth with a strike out.  Howard walked.  Asche doubled to center.  Parr singled to center driving in 2 runs.  The inning was called after Parr’s AB.

As I was leaving, Child had runners on first and third in the top of the sixth.  He got the next batter on an infield pop up and then a 6-4-3 double play.  The score at this time was Phillies 6-2.

Tomorrow, the Pirates.

I would like to thank the people who have been supportive of my meager efforts.  I would also like to thank those who have provided constructive feedback.  I think it’s obvious, I haven’t decided on a comfortable format for presenting what I see each day.  I hope to have a standardized format before the XST and Threshers’ games begin next month.

12 thoughts on “MiLB Spring Training 2014; March 15, The Hoby Milner Edition

  1. I like how you give us updates. No matter what format you use. It’s just nice getting a full report of the minor league guys. And with a fresh prospective , and your attention to detail you provide. I will be following you all season. Thanks so much again!

  2. Nice to get a good recap of what actually is happening on the field, your insight into these minor league games have been great, Thanks

  3. At the group 3 and 4 games in Dunedin, Pullin by far had the best day. He hit a 2 run homer to right center , a double to left center and a single to left, definitely using the whole field. Canelo had a double and a single both going the opposite way to RF. Sweaney also had 2 hits both singles one to right and one to center. Also in that game Sandberg pulled a line drive into right for a single in his last AB. On the Other field Cozens tripled to left center, While Green, Richardson, Hiciano and Dove all picked up singles. There may have been some hits I missed trying to watch 2 games and take videos as well. The videos are available at

    1. Thank you for the report. I love watching these guys, but was hoping to catch Gonzalez today. I look forward to seeing these guys tomorrow at the Complex. Say hi if you see me. I wear a straw “havana”-type hat and carry a clipboard. I don’t look like the gravator. That’s LA.)

  4. Good to hear about Milner. We know the Phils desperately need starting pitching to step up in the system. Maybe they have something here.

  5. I was watching mostly the other game (AAA). Our Pitcher retired the first 3 so quickly on easy groundouts that he faced a 4th batter who also grounded out weakly. I thought it was Buchanan but then Enright pitched the 2nd inning so then I wasn’t so sure. Did anybody hear anything about Buchanan possibly getting hurt? I can’t imagine why he would only pitch one inning (if indeed it was him). Sorry for this awful investigative reporting. In other news RA Dickey pitched for the Jays in the AAA game. We didn’t get much of anything off him.

    1. I saw Buchanan on the mound to start, and was surprised when Enright was there the next time I looked over, in what I assumed was the second inning. I haven’t heard anything.

    2. nyphils…they say he is fine. He threw extra in the bullpen. Right now scheduled to start Thursday.

    1. Nice to hear great things about Hoby. Love this kid. Expect great things from him.

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