XST; May 26, 2014

This will be my first eXtended Spring Training report in a couple weeks. The Williamsport and Gulf Coast teams seem to be taking shape. With most of the rehabbing players having returned to their assigned teams, I have been watching prospects more than watching games. I have been concentrating on players like Cord Sandberg and Trey Williams. Williams has been playing first base every game but only recently started taking in-game at bats again. He went 1 for 4 today with a double. His defense has consistently improved since the beginning of camp.

Sandberg went 0 for 1, but what a day. He worked an 8-pitch walk in the 1st inning after falling behind 1-2. In the 3rd inning he grounded out to second in a 6-pitch at bat. He saw 7 pitches while working a walk in the 5th inning. He finished with a 5-pitch at bat in the 8th inning when he was he by a pitch and loaded the bases. After a line drive double play left second base open, he stole the base.

I really like the way Sandberg plays the game. Last season in the GCL, he compiled a slash of .207/.313/.272/.585. He walked 24 times and struck out 36 times in 169 at bats. He had 6 extra base hits, 4 steals in 7 attempts, and played errorless outfield in both center and left (and maybe right). He displayed quickness in the field, on the bases, and at the plate – he was never adverse to dropping a bunt when the opposition gave it to him.

Sandberg has continued the same level of play this spring. He has been the lead off hitter on most days. He has shown increased patience at the plate. Earlier in XST, I wasn’t sure he would make the Williamsport roster this season – not because of his play, but because it’s not always clear how quickly the organization will decide to develop a player. Today, I overheard that he is hitting around .360 this spring. Now, I don’t see how they can keep him off the roster.

Sandberg could be part of an interesting outfield that would include Herlis Rodriguez, Jose Pujols, and Jake Sweaney. One of Gustavo Martinez (who might start on the DL) or Justin Parr could fill out the outfield contingent.

The infield could include Williams, Jair Morelos, Grenny Cumana, Jan Hernandez, Hugo Arrocha, and Robinson Torres. William Cuicas and Olvy Marte could also be in the middle infield mix. Williams and Hernandez would seem to be locks.

It looks like Corey Bass will be one of the catchers and then one or more of Wilson Garcia, Wilber Torres, or Jesus Posso.

The starting rotation will probably include Mitch Gueller, Feliberto Sanchez, Denton Keys, and the #7 pick in the draft, maybe?

The bullpen looks like Will Morris, Mark Meadors, Matt Southard, and Rick Bielski as the probable closer.

The remaining pitching positions that aren’t filled from the draft could come from Rivar Angulo, Manny Martinez, Ricardo Pinto, Gregorio Santos, and Jorge Serrano. David Whitehead has started pitching in games and could also be headed to Williamsport.

I’m going to continue devoting most of my time to watching this group up until they break camp on June 4th.


13 thoughts on “XST; May 26, 2014

  1. Nice update. I’m excited to see how Sandberg handles Williamsport this year.

  2. With a good season in Williamsport, either Pujols or Sandberg could become a top 5 prospect in the Phillies’ system. Both have the tools to be very exciting players, and based on what this article is saying, Sandberg has much baseball savvy. I can’t wait until Williamsport starts playing!

  3. If Mitch Gueller puts together like 7 or 8 solid starts in Williamsport, do you think that he could go to Lakewood. I’m looking for a line similar to this. 45Innings 39hits 10walks 30strikeouts and a ERA anywhere from 2.75 to 3.25. He is already behind a little bit. What would you do? Also, where would Shane Martin show up on the list? Starter or Reliever?

    1. If Gueller puts together the line you suggest, they might jump him to Clearwater. Realistically, he’s a career 4.0 walks/9.0. Expecting a drop to 2.0/9.0 is a lot to ask. But if he does …

      I haven’t seen Martin pitch down here, yet. If he gets straightened out, I would think they would want him back in Lakewood. He doesn’t need to repeat Williamsport.

    1. No. I’ve seen him a couple times watching the XST games. Haven’t seen him doing baseball activities. Doesn’t mean he isn’t. He may be doing them earlier or inside. I’ll let you know as soon as I find out anything about him, Dugan, and Pettibone.

  4. This team does have some hitters. Sandberg is very intriguing. He seems to be very baseball savvy and good fundementally from what I’m reading. I’m looking fwd to him this year

    1. Encarnacion is progressing nicely. Last year in the FIL, he didn’t see a first pitch he didn’t like. He is more selective this year. I actually saw him walk twice one afternoon. They have him playing both third and first. He’s still learning. But he’s still only sixteen. I expect they’ll keep him in Clearwater with the GCL where they can keep an eye on him rather than send him to the DSL. Just like they did with Bryan Martelo who had been on the VSL roster but is still in camp.

      Keys was the pitcher Monday. He threw 3 strong innings and pitched into and out of trouble in a 4th. He has a deliberate delivery, the Yankees stole 4 bases on him. I overheard players discussing his velo in the 88-89 range. His line was 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K. He’s pitching well enough to go to Williamsport, but I guess it wouldn’t be a surprise if they decided to keep him in GCL since he’s only 19.

Comments are closed.