2015 MiLB Spring Training: March 9th

Today was photo day. The photographer arrived at 6:00AM. He must have run ahead of schedule because when I arrived just before 10:00AM, the kids had been on the field for about an hour. They were just finishing up their long toss.

Not only were they active on all 4 fields at the Carpenter Complex, but they had a large contingent working out across the street on Joe DiMaggio Field.

They ran PFPs before breaking into groups for BP off the coaches. Two signs that this is no longer a major league camp – the coaches admonish the players as they move from drill to drill, “Run, don’t walk!”; and during the drills there is much less standing around. The coaches are hitting ground balls to infielders during BP, and batters have to run the bases after they finish a set and while the next batter is hitting. It’s a wonder no one gets hurt with all the different actions on the field.

BP starts with several attempted bunts. The situation is determined by the coach. Sacrifice third, sacrifice first, squeeze. The rest of the first is more situational hitting – hitting to the opposite field, show bunt and swing thru the vacated second base hole, runner on third less than 2 outs, …

I was able to eliminate some of the guesswork with the work groups. Dusty Wathan and his staff were with the group that looked like the Reading group. Gregg Legg and his staff was with the group that I can only hope becomes the Clearwater group. Shawn Williams was with the probable Lakewood group. And the staffs from Williamsport, GCL, and the Academies worked with the other kids.

Legg’s group included the second column from the list I posted yesterday – catchers Astudillo, Knapp, Mayorga, Numata made up the first batting group. Astudillo manages to get his bat onto every pitch effortlessly. He looks comfortable pushing the ball to the right side or pulling into the left-center field gap. Knapp has a sweet swing. Numata looks like he retained his sharpness from his winter in the ABL.

Legg’s second batting group was Green, Crawford, Harold Martinez, and Valentin. Green looked good. Valentin showed good bat control during the situational drills. Crawford looked great. He ended his last 3 sets with towering shots over the right field fence.

Legg’s third batting group included Walding, Mora, Stankiewicz, and Matt Shortall. The final group was made up of Cozens, Pullin, Sandberg, and Tocci. All looked good. But Dozens, Pullin, and Sandberg showed nice power while Tocci just doesn’t display the same power as the others. He did pull several balls down the left field but most were on the ground.

From Wathan’s group, I saw a little of Lino, Moore, Brown, Perkins, Pointer, Quinn, and Herlis Rodriguez. But not enough to comment, I was continually drawn to the Legg groups. I did congratulate Brian Pointer on his team’s winning the Claxton Shield in the ABL. He said visiting Australia was an amazing experience.

The horn sounded and the players began some fielding drills and small groups continued batting in the outside cages and on Ashburn Field for bunting instruction. I stood by the cages to watch some of the hitters. The location of the cages allows fans to get within 10 feet. Depending on their “handedness” you see their face or back during their set up and swing.

For instance, I noticed how Cord Sandberg consistently made contact in the same spot in relation to his body. I also could see how differently each player positions their hands. Cameron Perkins, for example, keeps his hands lower than most and inside his body. He has a quiet load. Aaron Brown, on the other hand, starts his hands higher and deeper and has a noisy load, a lot of extra movement. Most start below and inside their shoulder with some movement which stops just before they trigger their swing.

Before leaving, I watched the teens from LA bunting with Shawn Williams. As you would expect, big guys like Encarnacion were less efficient than the smaller guys Brito, Gamboa, and Arauz. I noticed that a switch hitter like William Cuicas was a much more effective bunter from the left side than the right side. Made me wonder if he is a natural left-handed hitter.

I left around 1:30PM. The groups were setting up for sliding practice. One of the guards told me the caterer wouldn’t be arriving with their lunch until 2:30PM. The kids started with light gray T-shirts. When I left they were all dark gray. They are certainly working them hard down here. Anyone who showed up out of shape is going to be in trouble.

I hope to be at the Complex tomorrow. I’ll be at Bright House on Wednesday for the



18 thoughts on “2015 MiLB Spring Training: March 9th

  1. Jim:
    “I hope to be at the Complex tomorrow. I’ll be at Bright House on Wednesday for the…….”? the Phillies 1PM game?

  2. Jim……ask Carlos Tocci. somehow tactfully of course, how much muscle did he gain over the off-season.

    1. Not really. Just PFPs. Morgan is with the Phillies in ML camp. I heard he pitched well against Baltimore Monday. I’m not likely to see him until he comes back to the Complex. Watson is only on the field for PFPs. All the pitchers do their throwing on the Seven Mounds. We won’t see them until they start throwing live BP or the intrasquad games.

    2. Good news on Morgan – the velocity appears to be back. He sat at 91 and 92 when we saw him pitch on Monday at Sarasota. Very encouraging – still needs to knock off some rust however.

    1. No, they pitch between the clubhouse and the new weight/batting facility on the Seven Mounds. What little I can make out is useless for judging how a guy is pitching.

  3. MAG has good stuff some one please tell him he doesn’t have put everything right down the pike.I hope his knee is ok I watched Sullivan for 3 ings.I was hoping to see Joseph today oh well . Tks Jim for the up date.someone told me Shortall has as much raw power as a anyone in the system . Jim have you seen him at all ? I did look him up and he is big guy and hit in college for both avg and power.

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