2016 Spring Training, March 18th

The Phillies lost their St. Patrick’s Day game against the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-1.  But the offense returned Friday with a 15-12 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The Phillies fell behind 5-0, scored 9 runs in the 4th inning, 6 more in the 5th , and allowed 7 runs over the final 3 innings.  Maikel Franco hit his 7th HR, Peter Bourjos hit his 1st, Ryan Howard blasted his second, a grand slam, over the batter’s eye in center, and Cameron Rupp hit his third.  The Phillies opted to play without a DH and starter Charlie Morton went 0-2 with an RBI and a run scored.  Luis Garcia struck out 3 in 1.1 IP.  The Pirates only brought 2 starters – RF Polanco and C Cervelli.  Freese made the trip as a DH.

Lots of stuff going on today at Bright House, the Carpenter Complex, and on the transaction wire.  

First, I got a pass into Bright House to attend LarLarry Shenk and Kirsten Karbach 3-18-16ry Shenk’s book signing.  I met the Baron and spoke with him for a good while.  He reads Phuture Phillies, and knew who I was.  How cool is that. He was kind enough to pose for a picture with Threshers’ play-by-play announcer Kirsten Karbach. You may have heard Kirsten recently on a Phillies’ radio broadcast.  She sat in for Scott Franzkee with Larry Andersen for the middle three innings of a broadcast last week.  Kirsten is the only female PxP announcer in baseball.  She’s pretty good.  I listen to her and her partner Josh Appel during Threshers’ games while I’m at the games.


Larry’s book has is not yet available in stores.  He mentioned in his Phillies Insider blog that the book would be available in April or May of this season.

I suggested through his comments section that he should get the publisher to move the release date up during spring training.  Then he could take advantage of all the die hard Phillies fans in one place with a book signing.  Just like a lot of other book signings the Phillies have promoted during the spring before games.  I hope he sold a lot of copies.

The book has a forward by Larry Andersen.  I’ve moved it to the top of my reading list.  I can’t wait to read it.

When I arrived at the Complex, there were Phillies players on three fields.  A quick check revealed that the Phillies’ two Class A teams (Groups 3 and 4) were facing the Blue Jays.  a fifth team comprised of the players I expect will remain behind for XST were designated Team 5 and were to play a Community College team.

Further investigation revealed that Adam Morgan would be throwing 5 innings with Group 3, David Hernandez would be pitching for Group 4, and Brett Oberholtzer would follow Hernandez.  Adonis Medina was starting for Team 5.  So, I ran around from field to field, got some velocities, and some video.

I’ve seen Morgan on a couple occasions this spring so I started with Hernandez.  Here he gets his first batter on a deep fly to Reggie Wilson in center.

He followed that with a strike out.

Hernandez was 92-94 mph today.  He recorded 2 K in the inning I watched.  He pitched a second inning, too.  I missed Medina but caught a glimpse of Felix Paulino.  He over powered the college batter I watched with 2 FB at 93 and an off speed pitch at 82 for a K.

I watched one of Oberholtzer’s innings.  He threw a lot of pitches so the 3 videos are long. His first inning was rolled after the second walk.  He did strike out his first batter.

Then came a walk.

And another walk.  He was 89-91 mph during this inning.  He threw a couple more.

I watched a little of Luke Leftwich.  Here a runner reaches on an error at first.

Followed by a K.  He was at 93 mph.

I walked back to the college game and got Nick Fanti.  He induced a ground out to third baseman Luke Williams.

And a ground out to short.  Good play turned in by William Cuicas, I think.

Back in Group 4, Jose Taveras got a ground ball to second.

And a K.

Other notes and recent transactions.

  • Andres Blanco caught Hernandez.  Yes, Andres Blanco.  I guess he is the Phillies emergency catcher.
  • J.P. Arencibia caught Morgan.
  • Cody Asche played left field for the second day in a row.  He did not bat.
  • Samuel Hiciano batted today.  First time I’ve seen him bat since his injury last spring.  He lined a double off the left field fence.
  • Geury Ortiz got the final out in the game against the CC team on a K.  He’s Jhailyn’s brother.
  • On at least 3 different occasions, I saw big guys stroke balls the other way rather than try to pull pitcher’s pitches – Luis Encarnacion lined a ball to right for a single, Jan Hernandez lined a double into the right field corner, and Jhailyn Ortiz lined a ball over the right fielder’s head for a triple.
  • Reggie Wilson drove another ball hard off the right center field fence.  Lot of power for a 5’8 guy.

In other news, Justin De Fratus was released and then resigned to a minor league contract by the Seattle Mariners.

Jimmy Cordero and Jorge Alfaro were optioned to the Reading Phillies.

Andrew Knapp was reassigned to minor league camp.

And, seven minor leaguer players were released:

  • Reading Fightin Phils released 1B Art Charles.
  • Reading Fightin Phils released RF Brian Pointer.
  • Clearwater Threshers released LHP Harold Guerrero.
  • Lakewood BlueClaws released RHP Victor Delgado.
  • Lakewood BlueClaws released 2B Tim Zier.
  • GCL Phillies released LHP Ryne Frankoff.
  • GCL Phillies released RHP Kevin Walsh.

My condolences to Brad re:BP.

One of our reader’s, John was over in Dunedin watching Groups 1 and 2.  He called me with this report.

  • Herlis Rodriguez opened the inning for group 2 with a single.
  • During Carlos Tocci’s AB, he wandered over to watch Group 1 go down 1-2-3.  He returned to find Tocci still at bat.
  • Tocci tripled to right field.
  • Cord Sandberg followed with a double.
  • John turned to his son, Jonathan, and said, “We could see the Phillies start the game with their first four batters hitting for the cycle”.
  • So, of course, Rhys Hoskins crushes a HR into the netting above the right field fence.
  • The Blue Jays rolled the inning after Hoskins’ home run.

Saturday’s games were moved up to 10:00AM.  Thank you Murray.

20 thoughts on “2016 Spring Training, March 18th

  1. So far from what I have read this spring it seems that Tocci is doing amazing! It’s great to hear. I also hope Hoskins is the 1st baseman of the future

    1. gkit…thanks for the video. Great work.
      Does look like Pujols has corrected the ‘hitch’ by starting his hands higher before the load. Will have to see if this season he can capitalize on this change.

    1. I kinda liked Pointer too. Imagine us having a farm that’s strong enough to just cut a 24 year old coming off a 125 wRC+ season in AA. I’m sure some team will pick him up.

    2. I love Pointer too but he got pushed out by the numbers. Too many guys are clamoring for too few spots. He reminded me of a throw-back player. He did most things well but nothing great. He could hit the HR, he could throw a guy out at the plate, he could take a walk but other guys could do at least one of those better. I guess the days of a well rounded baseball players are gone. You have to do something very, very well to stick.

    3. Surprised by BP’s release but suspect he’s a consequence of the in flux of talent the past few years. Power + willingness to work a walk will keep you around baseball for a while. He just turned 24 and even if the ceiling is low I’m sure he’ll find another minor league deal for 2016

  2. Hoskins up with the big boys today! Stassi sent down, teammates applauded when he joined them on the field. Nice recognition.

  3. Hopefully this is a picture of the updated workgroups. Alfaro and Stassi need to be added.

    1. While there’s still trickle down from big league camp left, JP Crawford, Roman Quinn, Nick Williams, and Andrew Knapp in what’s more or less the AAA group? Yes please.

    2. Eight potential decent starting pitchers in Group 1, although Windle and Rodriguez likely destined for the pen. Probably one of the eight to the Reading Group 2, which looks a little light. Group 3 pitching looks really light.

      1. You need extra starters early in the year. They don’t start but pick up for the top 5 after 3 or 4 innings. It takes a few weeks before starters are going 6 innings routinely. So late April or early May will be decision time for some of these 2nd tier starters. Is it the bullpen, push down to AA or release?

  4. Random Observations from two days here – Alfaro hits the ball very hard, Cozens looks much better to me, Kingery is small but fast, Pinto throws hard, Rios looked very good to me, Anthony Hewitt was walking around today saying hello to his old friends- I thought I overheard him say that he started college- good for him, he’s a nice guy, I never saw C unfortunately, I don’t have lots of confidence that Aaron Brown will make it big, even in the rain it’s a fun annual trip.

    1. Murray,

      I’m no scout. Just a fan. But I’ve been very impressed with Alfaro’s athleticism. We hear that word attached to him, but actually seeing him swing, run and throw live makes a big difference. He’s a muscular thoroughbred, if there is such a thing.

      I wasn’t certain about those who said he might be a right fielder because of his arm and power bat. That just didn’t seem right for a catcher. But now I can envision him there.

      He looks like a future Big League starter at some position.

      1. Agreed, he looks very confident and very capable. Can’t wait to see how he does this year. Also I watched Pinto warm up and he blew me away with his stuff. Btw, I was standing next to Aaron Judge. He’s the largest baseball player I’ve ever seen. Huge!

  5. On Aaron Brown—>is it time for him to go back to his pitching work? A lefty w a mid-90s FB….is something to check out….IMO he is not a viable MLB OFer since his numbers continue to not gain credence. I am also hoping that JP is started at AA Reading where he’d have to improve his numbers there before moving up to AAA. The great potential is there…must be refined more for MLB. Also, Vinny needs some AAA time to stretch him out AND gain credibility as a starter. No reason to rush him with the SPs roles pretty certain w Eichoff coming along. Give him developmental time there which IMO would pay dividends in time following his AAA work.

    1. I don’t see why Eickhoff should have a definite spot in the starting 5-man rotation. He hasn’t been healthy enough to work on anything. He needs to work on his change-up as much as Vasquez needs to work on his pitches. And Vasquez has as much MLB starting experience and success as Eickhoff.

      1. AVOR: The several starts by Eickhoff for the Phils in the final months of ’16 was intriguing. He did very well. With that effective time behind him, naturally he’d be assumed to be in the 5. True, his thumb injury has been holding him back…and that may make it impossible for him to be ready at MLB’s opening day(s). But IMO Morgan is ticketed to remain as part of the starting 5. There is NO resason to have Vinny trying to work his way into the five…he would benefit greatly, IMO, from solidifying his status at AAA LV. I find no urgency to have him in the 5…now. Further GOOD pitching at AAA would furnish a guy most ready to be part of the SPs for a long time to come. Polishing is part of the process.

        But thanks for the commentary.

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