Full Squad, Day Four

The number of people attending spring training is much lower this year than in any of the three previous years that I’ve been here.  In the past, the bleachers were full, people were two, three deep around the fences, and the pathways around the complex were crowded.  This year, I can walk unimpeded from one field to another, get a prime spot along the fences surrounding the fields, and rarely have to worry about blocking the view of fans seated on the bleachers.

The day started the same as earlier days – meeting on the mound, stretching in the outfield, base running drills, long toss, and finally live batting practice.  The pitchers threw in two groups of four.  Rather than try to watch parts of 4 pitchers’ outings, I opted to stick with who I thought was the most interesting pitcher in the first group – Miguel Gonzalez.

Gonzalez pitched to a group of 3 left-handed batters that included Domonic Brown.  He threw a mix of pitches in addition to his fastball.  Without a gun, it’s hard to judge the velocity, but I would guess low 90s with downward movement.  The batters struggled to make contact with his fastball, and most were in the strike zone.  MAG is rumored to have a lot of pitches in his arsenal.  He seemed to have reasonable control of those he attempted today.  When he missed, he missed high and wide.  He did manage to throw a couple of knee buckling pitches that had the batters swinging at air.

The second group was comprised of middle reliever types, I watched Ethan Martin.  I got to his field after he had started and was intrigued that he did not have the protective screen in front of him that pitchers throw from behind in camp.  His group of batters included Aaron Altherr.  Martin induced a lot of swings-and-misses.  So many, in fact, I wondered if his stuff was that good or if the batters were just swinging at anything.  He got a lot of bad, awkward swings on pitches other than his fastball.  Even when they became more selective, the batters didn’t make much contact.  The only batter who did make consistent contact was Altherr.  He managed to get his bat on most pitches and hit the ball hard somewhere.

I missed Mario Hollands pitching to Ryan Howard’s group.  I was told by a friend that Howard looked disgusted with himself.  He wasn’t able to make contact on any of his swings against Hollands.  Live BP turned into BP off the coaches.

When batting practice ended, the players broke into their positional groups for fielding practice.  I stayed at Ashburn Field and watched an infield comprised of Asche, Blanco, Hernandez, and Howard/Ruf.  Utley and Galvis were paired with Franco and Canzler over on Schmidt Field.

The pitching machines were wheeled out and another round of batting practice took place.  Ryne Sandberg stood behind the cage and gave the batters specific situations, like runner on second, no outs, etc.  Howard hit much better against the machine.  Spraying the ball around and hitting 2 balls over the right centerfield fence.

Odubel Herrera looked good again in all batting drills.  I think he has to go into a coma to not go north with the team.  They have had him in left field during outfield fielding practices with Juan Samuel as his shadow.

Spring training will start to wind down tomorrow.  It will be the last full day.  Sunday they play a game against the University of Tampa, the official start of the Grapefruit Season games according to MLB.  I haven’t decided yet if I want to spend $15 dollars to watch them play against college players.  I wish I knew who they were going to play and pitch.  Monday is a shortened practice before they break for their yearly golf tournament.  And Tuesday they begin games against real teams.

Minor League pitchers are scheduled to report Thursday, March 5th.


31 thoughts on “Full Squad, Day Four

    1. I read that. I hope it goes well, but I don’t know what has changed. When they brought him up in 2013, he averaged 19.6 pitches per inning. Which meant he was approaching 100 pitches after 5 innings. He also seemed to tire quickly. He lost 2-4 mph off his fastball by his last inning of pitching, usually the 4th inning. And opposing batters seemed to have much better success against him the second time thru the line up. He relied on 2 fastballs, a slider, and a curve. He had a change that he threw sparringly. Unless his side pitches got markedly better in the bullpen …

      1. I’m not sure I understand that either. The drop off after an inning or two was dramatic and he’s had arm problems. I know he appears to have the arsenal of a starter (and, in a way, he does), but when your FB velocity drops 6 or 7 MPH after about 40 pitches, it’s not worth it.

        1. and I’d question the amount of effort (too much) being placed into those earlier innings. Repeating level of effort and delivery shouldn’t result in such a dramatic drop in velocity

          1. Perhaps the Phillies should groom Martin to close with his two best pitches and also back-up Giles when and if Paps is traded.

        1. Looks like Robin Roberts Field. I think the second batter facing Rodriguez is Franco. The batters facing MAG look like Brown, Sizemore, and Danks.

  1. Ya, just reading the articles around Philly it really is going to be a transition year. Looks like Gillick is just stepping for a year, and Amaro has until the trade dealine to show progress. They are both Philly lifers now so my guess is the owners are looking for the next president and GM, and Gillick and Amaro will go into other roles.

      1. Well unless the Phils show great improvement at the MLB level that is going to be a hard sell. The owners have to know that the majority of fans blame Amaro for the collapse of both the MLB team and the farm. If they were wise they will have Gillick go back into an advisor role, Amaro into to a VP of operations role, and come up with a new Pres, and GM this year. As you lnow Amaro’s contract is up and Gillick is only a temp.

        1. Owners love Ruben. He isn’t going anywhere but up it appears.
          Besides being the GM, he also gets paid as Sr VP of Operations.
          It wouldn’t surprise me that he becomes President, once Gillick leaves later this year and Monty decides to remain in his current position.

          1. I hear ya Romus, however owners usually like to see there money increase and unless the Phils show that there on the way back up this year I can’t imagine them promoting Amaro. If they do and the Phils are not looking up come 2016, ticket sales and merch will go down again, less people will watch the telecasts, and Comcast will be demanding major change in management.

            I think the owners are willing to weather the storm this year but unless they want to throw there money awayI can’t imagine them going along with it getting worse in 2016.

      2. That would be a disaster. I would like to think they are a little smarter than that, but perhaps I’m wrong. I think he’s more likely to be kicked into something like a senior advisor role. I don’t care if he’s around, I just don’t want him running things.

  2. Hey Jim, I will be at the game next Tuesday on the 10th. I’ll be in section 116 row 8, seat 8. At least the $30 seats look sold out. I could get a seat in those sections easier last year. I’m a little surprised.

    1. Yes, seat sales seem out of context with practice attendance. I’ve tracked attendance tha last three years, and the average has dropped each season. I’ll be interested to see if that trend continues. I’m surprised that more people aren’t at the Complex. Especially with the harsh winter up north. But, the temps are about 15 degrees below average for this time of year and we’ve had more rain than usual.

      My first game is the Pittsburgh game on March 11th, Tiki Terrace. I am most often at the Complex – wide-brimmed straw hat, black computer bag w/Phillies logo, clipboard. Sometimes a beer. Sometimes. But never at the Complex.

      1. OK, I actually looked to go to that game first but there were no good seats behind the phils dugout. Maybe if my work schedule does not fill up that afternoon I’ll slide over to the Tiki Terrace and look you up. I also venture over the carpenter complex on the 10th. Anything going on over there after the games?

        1. The minor league pitchers will have reported by then and all the early reports among the position players. They won’t publish a workout schedule until the 5th, but they usually start their work outs before the Phillies’ game starts.

  3. The Phillies may have a tough year, but at least we can enjoy Jim’s continuing development as a writer.

  4. Starting line-up for Sunday…Herrera 8, Hernandez 4, Phelps 5, Ruf 7, McGuiness 3, Canzler DH, Altherr 9, Joseph 2, Arnauld 6

  5. Wrong arnaud. this one is 28 and a 260 minor league hitter. You must mean his brother

  6. Nah I mean him 260 yes But with gap power and speed he’s stolen 30 bases in the minors. The 260 is still way better then Galvis 218 with no power and avg speed. I can Arnaud getting 250 ab whoever does get to pay ss only is doing it 4 to yrs. Keeping the ss position warm for Crawford. Arnaud is a reach but what not this yr.

  7. Jim- I will be down there for a long weekend in 10 days. Do you know the location of the A ball game vs the Canadian National Team on Saturday, March 14?

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