Instructional League games don’t begin until next week. However, I stopped by the Carpenter Complex to pick up some papers they were holding for me. And to my boundless joy, there were ball players on three of the fields taking batting practice. As I approached the offices, I could hear the distinctive pop of pitchers’ offerings landing in catchers’ gloves on the “Seven Mounds” behind the Complex . You would think that after five-plus months of games I would be “baseball-ed” out. But, to be honest, attending the Instructional games and work outs s are among my favorite times down here.
So, did I see anything worth while? Hell, yeah! I watched Jorge Alfaro punish baseballs for just being baseballs. I recently received a Handicapped Parking tag that would have allowed me to park beyond the left field fence of Carlton Field. Thank God, I didn’t take advantage of that today. If I had, Alfaro could have punished my car a couple of times, too. Hard swing, loud contact.
Who else? Oh, Jhailyn Ortiz. First time I got to see him in person. Yeah, he is a big kid. But that’s an important qualifier. He’s just a kid. He reminds me of the big kid in a group who gets the “big” nick name. In my day, that nick name was “Bear”. Ortiz is that big. But, he looks like the staff can burn some of the baby fat off and sculpt the rest into muscle. It was reassuring to see how far he could hit the ball with his easy swing. It’s a swing that is not as vicious as Alfaro’s, and his contact isn’t as loud. But, after the coaches tear it down and build it back up, he could start to exhibit the power Luis Encarnacion is beginning to show.
Greg Pickett took some swings and looks more comfortable than he did a month ago.
Cornelius Randolph looked as good as I remember from last month.
Other position players I noticed in the short time I spent behind the cages were: Edgar Cabral, Deivi Grullon, Nerluis Martinez, Jonathan Arauz, Daniel Brito, Arquimedes Gamboa, Brendon Hayden, Jan Hernandez, Scott Kingery, Kyle Martin, Josh Tobias, Mitch Walding, Lucas Williams, Zach Coppola, Mark Laird, Juan Luis, Bryan Martelo, Nick Williams, Reggie Wilson.
I only recognized four of the pitchers I saw – Shane Watson, Franklyn Kilome, Nick Fanti, and Bailey Falter. Falter and Kilome looked taller than I remember.
The Phillies should finalize their roster this week.