While the Phillies were beating the Astros in Bright House Field, several pitchers who missed facing live hitters due to Saturday’s cancellation got their work pitching for Groups 3 and 4 against the Pirates. This was to the chagrin of most observers who would rather that the young pitchers in the organization not lose 6-7 innings to pitchers who are likely to be released or end up in Lehigh Valley.
James Russell and Chris Leroux pitched for Group 4. Andrew Bailey, Victor Araujo, and Colton Murray pitched for Group 3. I’ve seen Murray and Leroux already this spring, so I tried to watch the other three while “cherry-picking” some of the better hitting prospects.
Russell was effective with a collection of off speed pitches that topped out at 89 mph. He didn’t need many pitches in his inning. If I saw his FB today, it was only 88-89 mph.
Bailey also kept his volume down as he bewildered the Pirates Class A batters with a collection of off-speed pitches. If I saw his FB, it was only 89-90 mph.
Araujo came on and attacked the strike zone with his 92-93 mph heat.
Finally, Franklyn Kilome took the mound. He pitched the middle three innings as the staff starts to stretch him out for Lakewood. He was comfortably in his 93-94 mph range with his FB. His FB was down for the most part, but when he overthrew, it tended to be up out of the zone. He didn’t have his good breaking ball but still managed 3 Ks in his first 2 innings. He retired the side in order in his first inning. He started his second inning with a K, but the next hitter while behind in the count swung late and pushed a ball between the first baseman and the bag for a double. Kilome walked the next batter in a lengthy at bat, then bore down to get a soft fly to shallow RF and a K to get out of the inning.
Elniery Garcia pitched the final 3 innings. His FB was 91-92 mph, and his CH was 83-84 mph.
I saw two of “C” Randolph’s at bats. He lined a double left center field in his first at bat. He turned on a ball his next at bat, but got it a little toward the end of the bat. Still, he drove it to the warning track in right field. At first, we thought it was out, but it dies as it approached the track.
Sam Hiciano grounded out in the two at bats I saw. Reggie Wilson also grounded out a couple of times.
Chase Harris showed the speed I remember from his stint with Clearwater, when he beat out a ground ball into the hole between short and third. He beat the throw by a whisker. Later, he drove a ball into the left center field gap for a double. During the-off season, Harris had surgery to remove 13 floating bodies from his elbow that prevented him from extending his arm by the end of last season.
- Randolph started in left field. The line up card had him in RF and Venn Biter in LF. Those coaches are such kidders.
- Coach Lundquist was at the Complex monitoring the pitchers down from the major league camp.
- Cody Asche took BP in the morning for the first time since his oblique injury.
- I have it on very good authority that Ben Pelletier is still in school. He was in Clearwater for a couple weeks, probably during his school break. He is expected back in June. Pelletier was highly recruited by many scouts last spring. The Phillies identified a loophole in the drafting rules, verified their interpretation with the commissioner’s office, and drafted him in the 34th round. Just before their family and take a flyer picks – Amaro (35), Gonzalez (36, JUCO), Grady (37, HS), Brundage (38, HS), Morandini (39, HS), and McCarthy (40, HS).
- The Class AAA and AA teams traveled to Bradenton. But, I saw a lot of their guys walking around during the Class A games – Roman Quinn, Scott Kingery, Rhys Hoskins, Tommy Joseph, Harold Martinez. And quite a few of their pitchers.
- Group 5 did not have a game today. Historically, Sunday is an off day for group 5 once they start XST. I did see a few of them around the Complex this afternoon.
I get to meet a lot of people at the Complex. Friendly people. People who live down here and love to watch the prospects. People who travel down to Clearwater each spring to watch. Former coaches. People who struck up relationships with players as house parents or fans at the lower level destinations. And actual parents, family members, and friends.
One of the above people told me a distressing story. About a college player. After his junior year, the player’s coach decided that he needed the player to return for his senior season. The player did return and had a remarkable year, hitting around .400 for the season. The distressing part is that after deciding that he needed the player to return for his senior season, the coach told his staff to tell any scouts that made inquiries regarding the player that he wasn’t ready to move up to the professional level. So, after a good junior season, the player went undrafted. Perhaps because of the actions of the coaching staff. After his good senior season, the player was drafted as a senior. You know what happens to senior draft picks. I don’t know how much credence you should give this story. Me? I’m inclined to believe it. A coach doing what is best for him and the program rather than the player? I always believe the “man” is trying to hold us down. But then, I’m not in favor of a draft that is crafted to the benefit of management.
Pirates again tomorrow at the Complex. Game time is 1:00PM. Groups 1 and 2 are scheduled to be at the Complex.