Florida Instructional League – Game #2, 9/29/2015

Tuesday’s game against the Yankees provided a mixture of good, indifferent, and poor pitching with a very little bit of offense.  Starter Matt Imhof and reliever Felix Paulino both had poor outings.  Alexis Rivero and Will Stewart chipped in with satisfactory innings.  And Luke Leftwich and Kenny Koplove both pitched well.  

At least twenty scouts today.  The Yankees always have a couple dozen support staff in their entourage.  Add several dozen fans to the Phillies players and staff in the stands, and we had a bigger crowd than the Threshers draw to their Wednesday afternoon games.

Once again, let me provide the disclaimer that this is Instructs.  No telling what a player has been told to work on during the game.  That said, here’s what I saw.

Matt Imhof looked like the same Matt Imhoff I watched this season with the Threshers.   His fastball was 86-88, T89.  After recording a strike out on a fastball, he gave up a triple, single, and double. After a second strike out on a fastball (both were swinging), he walked a batter and then got a fielder’s choice.

Imhof had better results in the second inning – two fly outs to center and two ground balls to the pitcher.  One was a dribbler on which he earned a throwing error.  That was costly as the runner eventually scored on a wild pitch.

It seemed like fielders weren’t positioned correctly on some of the at bats during Imhof’s two innings.  But, when the Yankees made contact, they seemed to make hard contact most at bats.  Both XBH reached the wall in right center.  Both were in the air for a long time before landing on the track. There was a lot of space between Quinn and Pickett.

The Phillies closed to within 3-2, and Luke Leftwich shut the Yankees down.  He retired five batters before issuing a walk.  He got the next batter on a foul pop to end the fourth. Leftwich was 90-93 and got a backward K on a 91 mph fastball.  The Yankees’ charters credited leftwich with an 81 slider and 80 curve ball.  I noticed the different movement on these two pitches, but the lack of any real difference in the velocities confuses me.

Felix Paulino pitched the next two innings.  He had a 91-92 fastball, 85-86 change up, and 80-81 slider.  He breezed through the fifth and recorded a swinging strike out on an 85 mph change.  He opened the sixth with another K on an 81 mph slider.  That was the last out he recorded.

A walk and two singles brought two runs across when right fielder Gregg Pickett let the second single hit off his glove and roll toward the wall.  Had he fielded it cleanly, Paulino would have faced a bases loaded situation as the Yankees coach had stopped the runner at third.  With the error, the batter ended up on third.  The runs became earned runs when the next batter drove a pitch over Quinn’s head in center for a triple.  ( I spent the season watching Carlos Tocci, Aaron Brown, and Chase Harris man center field, so I’ve seen that ball caught more often than not.  I’ve seen Quinn make that catch.  I think Quinn may be rusty and in need of more reps in CF.)  A fielding error by Franco (the runner did NOT score) and a hit batter brought the coach out for a second time and Paulino’s day was over.  He would eventually be charged with 4 earned runs.

Kenny Koplove came in and retired the five batters he faced.  Unfortunately, the first batter flied out to left for a sac fly.  Koplove walked the first batter in the seventh.  The runner stole second but broke too early on an attempt for third and was thrown out – Koplove to Williams. He then struck out the next two batters.  Both swinging.  One on a 92 mph fastball.  The other on a 79 mph off speed pitch, don’t know what type.  Koplove’s fastball was consistently at 92.

Alexis Rivero gave up a single to start the eighth.  He got a strike out looking on an 81 mph slider.  Then got a fly out to Pickettt in right.  The runner had broken to second on a steal attempt and was doubled off first with an accurate throw.  Rivero’s fastball was 93-94.  His slider was 80-81.  I was surprised he only pitched one inning since he was told they intended to stretch him out as a starter during Instructs.

Will Stewart pitched the ninth.  He retired the first to batters on fly balls to the outfield. After a walk and a single he got the final out on a ground ball to second.  His fastball was upper 80s, T90.  He had on off speed pitch around 81 mph.  He has an unusual delivery.  It’s not quite 3/4 and not quite side arm.  He kind of slings it from somewhere in between.  Anybody see him in Williamsport and have a better explanation than this?  He reminds me of a right-handed Diekman early in his career, sort of.

Not much offense for the Phillies.  They scored in the first when Quinn reached on a throwing error.  It was high and Quinn crossed the bag before a tag.  He stole second and third and scored on Randolph’s ground out to third.

Franco launched a one-out, solo home run in the second.  It landed on the berm in left center field.  Above the X of the MaintenX sign for those familiar with the stadium.

In addition to Franco’s HR, the Phillies collected 4 meaningless singles and a walk in the first seven innings.  Another batter (not Quinn) reached on a fielding error.  But, four of those six base runners were erased on a double play, caught stealing, trying to stretch into a double, and a pick off (that was Quinn).

Wilson, Coppola, and Hayden walked to load the bases with two out in the eighth.  Wilson scored on the fourth wild pitch of the inning.  Brito drove in their last run with an infield single.  The cowardly Yankees rolled the inning after that play.

The score was 7-4 going into the bottom of the ninth.  The Yankees’ new reliever struck out the first two batters.  Luke Williams worked a walk but as Reggie Wilson came to bat, I had to leave.

The Phillies’ six scattered hits were Franco’s HR, and singles by Cabral, Arauz, Randolph, Tobias, and Brito.

For those who are interested, here’s the batting order –

  1. Quinn/ Zack Coppola, CF
  2. Franco, 3B
  3. “C” Randolph, LF/DH
  4. Luis Encarnacion/ Brendon Hayden, 1B
  5. Josh Tobias/ Daniel Brito, 2B
  6. Edgar Cabral/ Nerluis Matinez, C
  7. Gregg Pickett, RF
  8. Luke Williams, DH/3B
  9. Reggie Wilson, DH/LF
  10. Jonathan Arauz, SS

Extra Innings –

  • After the first inning, when they batted Quinn first and Franco second, they batted Franco second and Quinn third in the second, fourth, and fifth.  Franco batted second in the second.  Quinn batted first in the sixth.  He went 0-5 and hit 3 balls back to the pitcher.  Franco went 1-5.
  • I am convinced that this affects the rest of the line up.  With most of the early at bats going to Quinn and Franco, the three hitter Randolph batted in the first and fifth innings.  Encarnacion the first and sixth.  Tobias in the second and sixth.  Pickett in the second and seventh.  Williams in the third and seventh.  Wilson in the third and eighth.  Can you imagine being a starter and getting your second at bat in the eighth inning?  Two DHs also spreads the at bats thinly, too.
  • The following players are here for the second year in a row – pitchers: Ismael Cabrera, Franklyn Kilome, Sam McWilliams, Adonis Medina, Felix Paulino, Ranger Suarez; catcher: Deivy Grullon; infielders: Jonathan Arauz, Daniel Brito, Luis Encarnacion, Arquimedes Gamboa, Jan Hernandez; and outfielder: Bryan Martelo.
  • Tomorrow is a camp day at the Complex, maybe an intrasquad game.  I will probably pass on this.  I have found that watching practices and intrasquads doesn’t yield much worth reporting.  In fact, they can lead to exaggerated  assumptions and unreasonable expectations.
  • As requested, here is the Instructs schedule –
  • 2015 Instructs Schedule – Page 1,
  • 2015 Instructs Schedule – Page 2,
  • 2015 Instructs Schedule – Page 3.

5 thoughts on “Florida Instructional League – Game #2, 9/29/2015

  1. As you appropriately mention, Instructs means exactly that. It’s an instructional time for young guys. They mix with older and younger guys. Franco is there and he played in the big leagues and is mostly expected to stay there. A very young catcher, who played in LA, like Nerlius sees how these various level guys perform. He also gets instruction on what he needs to improve. So pitchers who need to develop curve balls throw more of them and nor just more of them, with different grips and arm angles. They are trying to find a super power that will propel them to the top of the heap.

    Hitters work on stance and swing along with wrist action and pitch recognition. Some need to develop more contact. Some need to hit the ball in the air more… or less. There are so many things to work on and that’s why every available coach is there.

    As Jim says, it is so hard to evaluate these guys in this state. A HR hitter suddenly is hitting ground balls back up the middle or a slow pitch softball pitcher suddenly adds a few MPH. It’s hard to gauge because maybe that slow pitch guy is a starter and adding a few MPH will put more strain on the arm and force him to be a reliever. A slightly harder throwing soft tosser usually doesn’t make much of a reliever. A HR hitter who goes from 30 HR a year ability to 15 to gain 10 points of his BA, might not be a great trade-off especially if he goes from .220 to .230.

    But it’s good fun for all and this might be a time to visit camp and see some of these big kids trying to play a little boy’s game. This is not derogatory. I remember playing from dawn to sundown; from the time snow finally melted from the field until it was so cold I couldn’t grip the baseball anymore.

  2. ‘Felix Paulino pitched the next two innings. He had a 91-92 fastball, 85-86 change up, and 80-81 slider.’
    Paulino’s CU had more velo then his slider?

    1. Yeah. I noticed that, too. I was sitting next to the Yankees’ pitchers who were charting velocity, location, and type of pitch as well as other aspects. The pitcher recording velo and type checked every pitch with the others and they validated each pitch for him.

      The Phillies’ pitchers were sitting 6 rows from me and I wasn’t able to verify like I was on Monday, big crowd an all. I did check my cheat sheet which lists the velocity for a SL as 9-12 mph less than his fastball, and a CU as 8-15 mph less. I couldn’t judge movement as well as Monday, So I trusted the Yankees.

  3. thanks jim, excellence as always.

    love seeing a a top of the lineup that includes Quinn, Franco, Randolph; you get a perfect combination of speed, power, and plate discipline.

  4. Thanks for the report, Jim. One note: Will Stewart is a lefty who pitched in the GCL this year. Did you mean Robert Tasin, maybe? I think he’s sort of a side-armer.

Comments are closed.