It is no secret that the Phillies system came into the 2014 season with a long list of injuries. Coming out of spring training the system was relatively thin, with normal depth players forced into starting roles for many affiliates. Since the start of the season, the injuries have gotten worse, not better. The Phillies have made the most of this situation and been aggressive in pressing young players into challenging roles while they work to get the regulars healthy.
The Phillies entered the year with two catching injuries in Andrew Knapp and Chace Numata. The extended spring roster was composed of 5 catchers who had never played above the GCL. When Cameron Rupp went down the Phillies bumped Sebastian Valle to AAA and Chad Carman to AA. Rather than get an org filler catcher to fill the gap, the Phillies reached down to Extended Spring Training and brought up a pair of teenagers in top catching prospect Deivi Grullon and 19 year old Jesus Posso. Both were above their head, but in the safety of the Clearwater complex.
With Tommy Joseph‘s injury the Phillies swapped Carman back down to Clearwater and gave light hitting, but strong defensive catcher Logan Moore the Reading job. They then aggressively promoted Gabriel Lino to Clearwater and Deivi Grullon to Lakewood to be the everyday catchers. Grullon’s assignment in particular is very aggressive and a great sign of support from the organization. He takes over as the youngest player on the Lakewood roster. It remains to be seen how long these promotions will last, but both players will likely be given the opportunity to prove they belong.
Despite it being a two level jump for most players in extended spring training, Clearwater affords the Phillies an opportunity to promote players for brief amounts of time, without uprooting their place of residence. The Phillies first used this with Grullon and Posso. however, with Anthony Phillipps going to the DL for all of last week, the Phillies took the opportunity to give teenage shortstop Malquin Canelo some playing time. Canelo’s bat was well overmatched for the level, but he managed to hit a pair of doubles in his time with the Threshers.
Twice this year the Phillies have “demoted” a player to avoid using the DL and free up roster spots. During Aaron Altherr‘s rehab he was demoted to Hi-A to allow them to have a valid roster while Altherr finished his rehab there. But more recently the Phillies have kept Zach Green ready to return at a moment’s notice by assigning him to extending spring training rather than the DL. They promoted Jan Hernandez to cover while Zach healed with the team (not in Florida). Once Zach is healed he should be promoted back to Lakewood and ready to go once again. Also buried on Lakewoods roster is former Mariners overslot draft pick Cavan Cohoes, who is currently serving out a performance enhancing drug suspension for Lakewood while he is actually in Florida training.