2016 Spring Training, March 29th (and the Future’s Roster)

The Phillies had a 7-1 loss washed off the books when the game was halted after four innings.  The minor league games against the Blue Jays, on the other hand, were moved up to 10:00AM because the guys in charge can do that without worrying about advance ticket sales.  ‘Cause there are none.  It’s left to us minor league fans to scramble when the phone/tweet tree spreads the news of a change in start time.

I arrived at the Complex late and since I couldn’t watch the prospective Lakewood team play an entire game, I switched back and forth between games to collect as much information as possible.  I heard later that Teams 1 and 2 lost both games on the road.  Teams 3 and 4 won 6-0 and 6-3 at the Complex.

Notes from Team 3’s game:

  • Cody Forsythe had a low 90s FB.
  • Jiandido Tromp homered.
  • Kyle Martin homered.
  • Jose Pujols homered.
  • Samuel Hiciano had a line drive single to left field.
  • I asked John Richy about his hand (he was hit on the hand bunting last week).  He said it’s fine.  He was hit on the ring finger of his throwing hand.  He said he is having no problems gripping the ball.  He showed me his hand/finger.  No swelling, no discoloration.

Notes from Team 4’s game:

  • Alberto Tirado was throwing an effortless 94-97 MPH FB (mostly 96).  His CB came in at about 80 MPH.  He left some pitches up.  The Jays didn’t seem able to put his FB in play, but scored a couple runs off his off speed stuff.
  • Edgar Garcia’s FB was 93-94 MPH.  He gave up the Jays other run.
  • “C” Randolph lined a 2-0 double down the left field line.
  • “C” Randolph stole third base.  Truth.
  • Luis Encarnacion followed with an RBI, line drive double down the third base line.
  • Both line drives went into the corner.  Randolph’s had the height to clear the third baseman no matter where he stood.  Encarnacion’s was lower and the diving third baseman had no shot.
  • Jan Hernandez blooped a single to center.
  • Venn Biter executed a safety squeeze to score Encarnacion.
  • Carlos Duran hit 2 doubles to left field.  His first double went over the left fielder and one-hopped the fence as I entered the Complex.

Team 3 completed 8 innings and the game ended.  It looked like Team 4 was prepared to play an 8th inning, but the umpires let the increasing thunder influence their correct decision.

Some more transactions and roster moves were announced this morning and contunued through out the day –

  • Released Edward Mujica.  Per Salisbury they avoided paying a $100K bonus they would have incurred sending him to the minors.
  • Mujica had an opt out clause.
  • Per Zolecki, OF David Lough and INF Ryan Jackson were reassigned to minor league camp.
  • Will Venable has arrived and was inserted as leadoff batter in today’s line up.  He went 1-2 with a single and was thrown out by the right fielder trying to score from second.
  • Per Montemurro, Cody Asche re-aggravated his oblique injury on a swing during a minor league game over the weekend. His rehab starts over. No baseball activities. (Can you say starting the season on the DL?  Probably had a lot to do with the Phillies’ quick trigger on Venable.)
  • Per Montemurro, Venable said the Phillies contacted his agent pretty quickly after he was released. If he doesn’t make team, he said he’d be OK going to AAA.
  • The Phillies have 36 players in camp including injured players.
  • Per Montemurro, Morton, Russell, Hernandez, Hinojosa and Bailey are tentatively scheduled to pitch in the Futures Game at CBP on Saturday.
  • Per Housenick, with recent Phillies’ moves. the IronPigs rotation could include 5 (6?) of Morgan, Appel, Asher, Buchanan, Eflin, Thompson, Gonzalez.
  • Per MLB Trade Rumors, the Cubs release Shane Victorino, … (Quick! Call his agent?)
  • Per the Atlanta Braves, purchased the contract of OF Jeff Francoeur and laced him on their 25-man roster. (Yes!  Call Victorino’s agent!?)
  • 3/28 – Released LHP Lino Martinez.
  • 3/28 – Signed free agent CF Will Venable to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
  • 3/28 – Optioned Elvis Araujo to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/28 – Optioned Darnell Sweeney to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/28 – Optioned Luis Garcia to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/28 – Optioned Adam Morgan to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
  • 3/29 – CF Will Venable assigned to Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  (Maybe they ARE going to call Victorino’s agent?)
  • 3/28 – Williamsport Crosscutters released RHP Feliberto Sanchez.
  • 3/28 – Williamsport Crosscutters released C Jesus Posso.
  • 3/28 – Williamsport Crosscutters released LHP Andrew Godail.
  • 3/28 – Williamsport Crosscutters released SS Dylan Bosheers.
  • 3/28 – GCL Phillies released LHP Evan Crower.
  • 3/28 – GCL Phillies released 1B Scott Tomassetti.
  • With Mujica released, 2 bullpen jobs, 4 candidates – Russell, Frieri, Bailey, and Neris.
  • Mackanin says Phillies might have to use closer-by-committee. It’s between Hinojosa and Hernandez if he decides to use just one closer.
  • Aaron Altherr was awarded the Rawlings Sports Glove Award.
  • Former Phillies pitcher, Ethan Martin, was released by the Braves.
  • And, per MLB Trade Rumors, the Cubs may have already re-signed Shane Victorino. (You can hang up the phone, Matt.)

The announced players for the Future’s Game –

  1. Zach Eflin and Mark Appel pitch on Thursday; Jake Thompson and Ricardo Pinto on Saturday; Victor Arano, Miguel Nunez, Tom Windle, Joely Rodriguez, and Edubray Ramos in the bullpen.
  2. Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro
  3. Brock Stassi and Rhys Hoskins
  4. Scott Kingery and Jesse Valentin
  5. Mitch Walding and Angelo Mora (second is Mora’s more natural position)
  6. J.P. Crawford and Malquin Canelo
  7. Nick Williams and Andrew Pullin
  8. Roman Quinn and Carloa Tocci
  9. Dylan Cozens and Aaron Brown
  10. Tommy Joseph as DH

That’s a pretty strong roster and it doesn’t even include “C” Randolph, Franklyn Kilome, Lucas Williams, Tom Eshelman, Cord Sandberg, Adonis Medina, and some other talented position players, starters, and relievers. Wow!

One last story.  With the release of Evan Crower, I’ll relate the story I was told and that he verified.  This will explain how he could walk away from baseball for a few years.

“All through high school, he was a two sport athlete, baseball and football, but as a youngster he always envisioned that pitching was his future. However, when Jim Harbaugh personally recruited Evan for QB at Stanford, he readily committed. Another Stanford QB beat him to the job and as they had a great record with him, no changes were made. When it came time for Evan’s 5th year, he could have easily signed with another school to play football, but he had always missed playing baseball. The Stanford coaches would not allow him to pitch there despite their original promises when he signed. In the end, Evan decided to shelve his 5th year and graduate early. He immediately picked up the baseball and for 6 months trained his pitching arm and attended a few pitching camps while waiting for winter league to start.”

I had intended to provide the above information when I reported his next pitching appearance.  I didn’t see Evan pitch until this past weekend.  He was on the Team 5 field and when I arrived at Ashburn Field he was into his third inning.  Will Stewart was charting pitches.  I asked him what Crower’s FB was.  He replied 86-87.  I was incredulous. I watched the rest of Crower’s inning and he was wild inside and out, reaching the backstop on several pitches.  It looked like he was working on off-speed pitches judging by the in and out movement on the ball.  Since I hadn’t seen his entire outing, and since his FB was well below what I expected, I decided to not report on him until I could see him again.  I expected to see him during XST.  I can’t help but feel that Crower, and a few others, are victims of an improving minor league system.  Failure to produce up to expectations early isn’t accepted any more with all the talent the Phillies have acquired.

40 thoughts on “2016 Spring Training, March 29th (and the Future’s Roster)

  1. Klentak being 35 and Will Venable being 32, I bet Klentak played against Venable in the Ivy League when they played at Dartmouth and and Princeton.

    1. You’d lose your bet, then. Klentak was a senior in 2002 when Venable was a freshman. However, Venable didn’t play baseball as a freshman; he was focused on basketball. The next year, when Venable started playing college baseball, Klentak’d graduated.

      1. However, there are some current major leaguers who probably played against Klentak in the Ivy league. Chris Young (the pitcher not the outfielder) played a couple of seasons for Princeton that overlapped with Klentak, Ross Ohlendorf also played for Princeton, and Craig Breslow was with Yale.

  2. No issues with releasing Mujica unless they keep frieri. He looked more like Guy Fieri early in the spring. If Mujica goes unsigned can see him coming back unless arms become available. Next outing will determine Bailey’s fate. I suspect they are scouring the waive wire looking for relief help. Any chance Seve Gonzalez converted to relief with a crowded AAA rotation.

    1. OMG I think its like four years ago and people kept mentioning that left hander, who name I forgot. Please stop with Gonzalez he stinks. why cant you see it. I just don’t understand.

      1. amen dude. some ppl still have a weird interest in him, some even had him in their top 20. Hes just not good. I hate saying that because I want all phillies to succeed but that is just not MLB caliber stuff. He’ll make decent money as an org filler and occasional call-up, a la Yohan Flande. No shame in that.

  3. There was noise of Seve to pen. We’ll have to see if anything comes of it

    Venable has May 1 opt out so he won’t be in AAA long, regardless.

    Game Thurs now listed as “7-inning showcase”. I thought I was buying tix for a 9-inning baseball game. At least weather is looking nicer lately…

  4. Mujica…although I didn’t have him making the 25 man roster…now I am wondering why not?

  5. Lino Martinez had a very long leash with the Phillies. Five years and probably had one good year. That was 2011 @ Williamsport. Seems like light years ago and it was. They tried him every which way but he never put it together. Never even pitched above A+.

    One less catcher in the organization but Posso’s (was) at one of the lowest levels of the organization.

    1. Just surprised that Posso was the catcher released. While reports on his defense were not stellar, he did show good power.

  6. How ironic is it that the big club is scrambling for a veteran outfielder to plug the gap due to injury when the answer was on the team last year and wanted badly to reup with us and has had such a great spring that one of our division rivals, has decided to keep him on their major league roster?

    Surely Jeff francoeur would have been a better option than wil veneble. I realize that he is not an Ivy League grad but geez”…………….. I realize in the grand scheme of things that francoeur does not move the needle but he is truly the perfect veteran player you want to have around your younger players and was well regarded here.

      1. Francouer was a better pitcher than Venable in2015 and that’s about the only thing going for him.

        1. But but he was “good guy” so being a replacement level player warrants a new contract…

  7. Looking forward to prospect games, a terrific marketing idea for a team who will stink but who has lots of prospects in the upper system.
    Mora may have moved permanently to 3b since there’s less competition for him there and he’s not the best defensive 2b. Does that mean Harold will get cut?
    Crower story played out the likeliest way but I was hoping for a much better ending.
    Who thinks Buchannan and Seve are in consideration for a starters spot?? Both could be released….
    Thanks Jim for the inside stuff. Love it!

  8. In the brief pitching yesterday Obie could have been more impressive.
    Was looking for more from him, but perhaps he is a slow starter.

  9. Excellent reporting as always Jim. I caught the MLB 30/30 last night with the Phillies. Can I say that Plesac might be the best and most entertaining guy in baseball. That guy always makes me laugh out loud. Even the wife gets drawn in when he’s on.

  10. Looking at the Futures lineup….appears Williams will be sharing LF with Pullin, while Cozens and Brown will be sharing RF. is that a good assumption to make?

  11. If they were gonna bring in a middling OF to split time just for the sake of it, i at least wish they brought in Victorino just for the nostalgia factor. Just a great dude who the city loves and it would be cool seeing him back in the uniform once more. Obviously not much production would be expected, but same goes for Venable

  12. So far so good for Jose Pujols…he just keeps hitting home runs.
    Over the last two years I have had many doubts about him and his projectability solely based on his metrics and reports on his batting approach and mechanics. Perhaps I better check a local restaurant’s menu for grilled crow for later this summer.

    1. It’s 2 by position. No, Perkins is not a major league prospect at this time. There are six legit OF prospects playing in the game.

  13. Blanco is getting better the older he gets. Ethan Martin released by Braves and Jimmy Rollins gets his MLB contract and is the starter.

  14. Chase Ultey to start for LA and bat lead off for the first wk.nice to see him and Jimmy still playing good ball.

  15. Who has more talent the Phillies roster or the Phuture games roster ? I’m going with the Phuture Games roster.

    1. It’s funny you mentioned that, because I was thinking the same thing this morning. I think, talent-wise, the Phutures roster is probably more talented. It’s only debatable because of the talent that has been added to the big league roster in the last calendar year. The talent at Reading and Lehigh Valley is staggering. I’ve been following the Phillies for about 23 years and these two teams have, by far and away, so much more talent than they’ve ever had any given time. And what’s impressive is that the talent is spread across all positions. Starters, outfielders, catchers, middle infielders. The only average talent pool is reliever – everything else is above average to plus.

  16. Now that is funny the Phillies bullpen scares me as well The SS and 2nd . The OF other then Herrera could be a AAA OF for a good team. Franco is the best player by far Rupp can be good . The Phillies might get 30 Homers from Howard and Ruff. The LV and Reading Are loaded in both , pitching and hitting. I wish I know who was going where as far as the minor teams go. Funny my friends went down to get a game in and fish it rained so much they flying to Texas . Jim as always good call on the rosters

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