Baseball, Prospects, and an Icon; 9/20/2014

The Florida Instructional League scheduled an intrasquad game for Friday at 1:45pm. In an effort to get the game in ahead of the rainy weather, they moved the game up to 10:00am, but still had to call it by 10:30am.

The rain was so heavy that Bright House Field was unplayable for Saturday’s 10:00am game against the Yankees, and was moved to Robin Roberts Field at the Carpenter Complex.

I arrived in the bottom of the first inning after getting a flat tire on Route 19. Those of you who have been down here know that is not the best place to get a flat. So, by the time I got to the correct field, I just tracked highlights and didn’t chart pitches or keep a proper score card.


  • Ricardo Pinto started and threw two innings. He had given up a run in the top of the first, but was more effective in the second inning. His fastball was clocked at 90-91 mph.
  • PTBNL Victor Arano followed with 1 inning. His fastball velocity was also 90-91 mph.
  • Edubray Ramos pitched two innings. He was popping his fastball at 92-94 mph, but he got one of them into a left-handed batters wheelhouse and allowed a solo home run to right.
  • 6’7 Sam McWilliams followed with one inning. Surprisingly, he was not lit up when his fastball only registered 84-86 mph. He was the first of three pitchers who seemed to throw a higher number of off-speed pitches.
  • Elniery Garcia gave up the hardest hit balls off his 91 mph fastball, and was the victim of an infielder’s error and surrendered an unearned run in his first inning. His fastball is kind of straight. He only gave up one hit, but batters even hit their outs hard.
  • Austin Davis was 89-90 mph in his one inning.
  • Side-arming Calvin Rayburn finished up with his 88-90 mph fastball.

Keep in mind that this is an Instructional League. Pitches that I have identified from the gun as 4-seam fastballs may in fact be secondary pitches that the guys are working like 2-seamers.

It didn’t seem like the Yankees got a lot of hits, and I only remember one walk. They did manage to score three runs.

Starters (in position order)

  • Catcher – Chace Numata – single
  • First – Rhys Hoskins
  • Second – Jesmuel Valentin – 2 singles
  • Third – Jan Hernandez
  • Short – Emmanuel Marrero
  • Left – Venn Biter
  • Center – Jake Sweeney – 2 singles
  • Right – Aaron Brown – single
  • DH – Willians Astudillo
  • DH – Damek Tomscha – single, RBI

I was a little surprised that Numata got the start since he wasn’t listed on the roster.  I think these guys each got two at bats before being replaced.

Wholesale Changes

  • Catcher – Andrew Knapp
  • First – Luis Encarnacion
  • Second – Andrew Pullin – single
  • Third – Derek Campbell
  • Short – Grenny Cumana – single
  • Left – Bryan Martelo
  • Center – Carlor Duran
  • Right – Cord Sandberg
  • DH – Gregori Rivero
  • DH Drew Stankewicz
  • DH – Joel Fisher

Fisher had been warming up pitchers when the catchers were delayed due to batting or running the bases. He was added as an extra DH for his efforts, I guess.

The Phillies collected 9 hits, all singles.  They scored 2 runs.


  • Numata threw out the only Yankee base runner who tried to steal.
  • Encarnacion committed at least one error at first. His first chance was probably scored a hit. He moved to his right and dove to deflect a ball. But it looked like it hit squarely in his glove. He was fully horizontal in the air when he made contact with the ball. It deflected past Pullin who was cutting in behind him. The next inning a hard hit ball got through him and led to an unearned run. He got leather on it and should have had it.
  • Grenny Cumana made the best play of the day ranging to his right in the hole, snagging the ball on his backhand, and throwing out the runner at first. Encarnacion did madk a nice stretch to pull in the throw.

The hustle play of the day was turned in by Sandberg. In what I believe was his only at bat of the game, he lifted a fly ball to right center field. The outfielders converged and then backed away, allowing the ball to drop between them. Sandberg, who busted out of the box, was approaching second base and didn’t break stride as he continued on to third. He was rewarded with a run scored later on a wild pitch during Cumana’s at bat. Cumana followed with a hard line drive to center and was robbed of an RBI, the Phillies’ hardest hit ball of the day.  Cumana successfully stole second base and represented the tying run, but was stranded.

The Phillies’ first run scored on a soft line drive by Damek Tomscha.

The biggest highlight of the day in the Yankees 3-2 victory was probably the presence of Yankees’ Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson. The Cheltenham native was in uniform and talking to the Yankees’ young prospects as well as organization types from both teams. Although he looks well, he seems so much smaller than the player I remember from the ‘70s and ‘80s.  I spoke briefly with Mr. Jackson, probably the only Yankees’ player I have ever liked.


17 thoughts on “Baseball, Prospects, and an Icon; 9/20/2014

  1. Sam McWilliams is big and young…hoping his velo can pick up a few ticks over the next few years.
    And Reggie Jackson…Mr October..what can you say. In his late 60s now.
    Amazing Cheltenham HS produced an Israeli PM and a HoF MLB player..

    1. Other than your flat tire it sounds like you had a great day and met Reggie Jackson who seems like a decent guy. Thanks for your reports from Clearwater!

      1. Decent guy who wouldn’t let Cheltenham High School name their baseball field after him because he wanted more money than they were able to spend.

        1. Did not know that but could not find any article to support your comment. You must be from Cheltenham or the area so can you produce some backup please. That was not a classy move if true but by decent guy I meant that he treated other people with respect in Jim Peyton’s case.

      1. Wow – you’re right, viewed in isolation, that’s horrible. In fact, I’m not sure I’d sign a RH free agent with velocity that bad. Perhaps they see projection there. Perhaps he throws harder and was working on other stuff. Who knows, but, yeah, hardly a good sign.

        1. His fastball velo varied in high school and that’s what it’s done in pro ball so far. Some days it’s mid 80s, some days it’s in the 90s. In high school he reportedly touched 96. He’s a 6’7″, 190 lb 18 year old. So, yeah, he’s all about projection.

        2. Impossible to know whether it is a good sign or not at this point. High school pitchers often take a step backwards before they take a step forward. I am sure they saw more velocity than that in the past

          1. performance plateaus happen, and there appears to be no learning being but in actuality they have changed their delivery or there form and now must try to get the new (preferred form) to work for them so in many instances, people actually appear to regress when in fact they are changing to a better form and havent adjusted to it yet

        3. McWilliams is the reason why I added the blurb about pitchers working on secondary pitches. I spent the game behind a scout with a gun. I knew his velo would be a concern for the readers on our site. I hope he’s working on another pitch.

    2. If you ever hve the chance, go to the high school and look at the Hall of Fame. It stretches over three walls and consists of many dignitaries. This high school has been a shining star in our regions education. Reggie was also a very good football player and student.

  2. I really think the Phillies should be working on finding Astudillo a position to play, I think we have a good idea he can hit but where the heck is he gonna play, unless the league just goes to DH then we have a player without much value

    1. Marrero was hitting around .300 for much of the summer; then fell off the cliff during August. He barely made it over the Mendoza Line. If he could do it for six weeks, he can probably do it for a season.

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