2016 Spring Training, March 31st

Spring training continues with the Futures Game in Reading tonight (the Futures got pounded 19-4 in seven innings), a game against Baltimore tomorrow, and another Futures Game at CBP on Saturday.  With 26 prospects up north for the futures games, I was curious how those left in Clearwater would make up the 4 teams for today’s minor league games.

Team 1 was comprised of: cf – David Lough, ss – Ryan Jackson, rf – Cam Perkins, 1b – Jake Fox, 2b – Darnell Sweeney, 3b – Taylor Featherston, dh – Angelys Nina, c – Gabriel Lino, lf – Christian Marrero, dh – Joel Fisher, bench – Lenin Rodriguez, Jesus Alastre, Jose Antequera, Daniel Brito, Arquimedez Gamboa, and Greg Brodzynski.  David Buchanan was their starting pitcher.

Team 2: ss – KC Serna, lf – Cord Sandberg, 1b – Zach Green, 3b – Harold Martinez, 2b – Carlos Alonso, c – Logan Moore, cf – Jiandido Tromp, rf – Jose Pujols, dh – Samuel Hiciano, bench – Chase Numata, Jose Antequera, William Cuicas, Arquimedez Gamboa, Herlis Rodriguez.  Ben Lively was their starting pitcher, followed by – Sutter McLoughlin, Ulises Joaquin. Alexis Rivero, Robert Tasin, and Calvin Rayburn.

RTasin delivery 3-31-2016
Robert Tasin on the mound, 3-31-2016.

Two other teams traveled to Bradenton.  Game notes from the Complex –

  • Lively’s FB was 89-92.  He gave up a couple runs.  One on a home run to the left of the batter’s eye on Carlton Field.
  • Lively was lifted in a long inning and replaced by McLoughlin who recorded the final out of the inning.  Lively might have reached his pitch count for the inning because he returned to pitch the next inning.  The only rule here is that there are no rules.
  • The Phillies took a 3-2 lead on Logan Moore’s 3-run HR to right.  Zach Green had been on base with a line drive single to left.
  • The Phillies stretched their lead a 4-run inning.  Pujols doubled off the base of the LF fence.  Hiciano followed with a triple that one-hopped the CF fence.  Green followed with another line drive single to left.  Martinez lined a ground rule double into the LF corner.  Both scored on Alonso’s ground single to center.
  • Jiandido Tromp added two more runs with a 2-run HR to left.  It was a BLAST!
  • Joaguin struggled and the Pirates closed to 9-7.  He looked to have his normal velocity, but the Pirates just made hard contact on a variety of line drives and seeing-eye ground balls.
  • Rivero pitched a clean quick inning.
  • Rayburn was at 92 with a straight FB and was touched for 3 runs.
  • The Pirates had no more pitchers that needed work so the Phillies didn’t bat in the bottom of the inning.
  • Green, Pujols, Hiciano, Moore, and Tromp made solid contact all afternoon.
  • It was  a sloppy game.  A lot of balls were dropped on easy pop ups by both teams. Moore reached after a K when he ran hard to first and the catcher overthrew the first baseman.  A Pirates catcher almost threw another ball away after a K later in the game.
  • There were some inaccurate throws to bases by fielders.  Routes to pop ups and fly balls were not always direct.
  • One spectator commented that it looked like a high school game.

Here’s video of Robert Tasin on the mound.

Announced Transactions, but not finalized, yet – 

  • Joe Jordan announced that Crawford, Quinn, Alfaro, and Cozens will start season in Reading.
  • Williams, Thompson, Joseph, Stassi, and Knapp are reportedly going to start in Lehigh Valley

It occurred to me today that with all the attention that we are paying to the Phillies’ prospects, the one thing that I hoped wouldn’t happen has happened.  While I was watching the right hand, the Phillies have slipped a bunch of other team’s AAAA players past me with their left hand.  Consider this.  The players on Team 1 and those reportedly going to Lehigh Valley along with a few other upcoming upcoming assignments and Lehigh Valley could look like this –

  1. Catchers – Andrew Knapp,
  2. J.P. Arencibia (AAAA),
  3. Infielders – Jake Fox (AAAA),
  4. Brock Stassi,
  5. Tommy Joseph,
  6. Taylor Featherston (AAAA),
  7. Angelys Nina (AAAA),
  8. Darnell Sweeney,
  9. Outfielders – David Lough (AAAA),
  10. Christian Marrero (AAAA),
  11. Nick Williams,
  12. Starting Pitchers – Jake Thompson,
  13. Mark Appel,
  14. David Buchanan,
  15. Zach Eflin,
  16. Adam Morgan,
  17. Alec Asher,
  18. Seve Gonzalez,
  19. Relievers – Joely Rodriguez,
  20. Elvis Araujo,
  21. Jeremy Bleich (AAAA),
  22. Greg Burke (AAAA),
  23. Luis Garcia,
  24. Miguel Gonzalez,
  25. Edgar Ibarra (AAAA),
  26. Gregory Infante (AAAA),
  27. Bobby LaFromboise (AAAA),
  28. Chris Leroux,
  29. Colton Murray,
  30. Ken Roberts (AAAA),
  31. Barring a waiver pickup, one of Emmanuel Burriss (AAAA), Cedric Hunter (AAAA), and Will Venable (AAAA) will be added to this roster,
  32. Two of Andrew Bailey (AAAA), Ernesto Frieri (AAAA), and Hector Neris.

I know that the roster is limited to 24 players, but I count about 17 AAAA guys from other organizations, not to mention our own AAAA guys. We all know who they are.  All spring, I was fooled by the illusion that we would have top prospects at Lehigh Valley for a change. Now, we will have Thompson, Appel, Knapp, and Williams there.  And a couple of second tier prospects, maybe.  But the Lehigh Valley roster is going to contain a lot more suspects than I expected.


31 thoughts on “2016 Spring Training, March 31st

  1. I was at the futures game tonight man talk about surprised. I didn’t think that the futures team would win but then again I didn’t think that would get smashed that bad. The long ball was really working tonight I think there were 11 hr’s.

    1. this shows you two things:
      1. how big of a gap there is between majors and high minors
      2 how important it is to be able to miss bats. yes, the wind was blowing out and yes, it sounds like the defense wasn’t great. but at the end of the day, if your strategy is to “pitch to contact” you are going to get hit hard by good contact hitters.

      1. To be fair, I don’t think those guys were really pitching to contact (although I think they were working hard to throw first pitch strikes), although the result may have suggested otherwise.

        What last night showed me (other than confirming that Reading is the exact bandbox we believe it to be) is how important command is (especially FB command) and how important pitch movement and pitching ahead of the count can be. Both Eflin and Appel threw with good to excellent velocity but had all kinds of trouble with FB command and grooved their pitches. Both pitchers have a ways to go although you could clearly see their talent.

        The game also brought to mind how odd it can be how certain types of pitches go in and out of vogue, often with little or no fanfare. 30-40 years go, the splitter was a big thing. Before that, many pitchers threw a screwball (as far as I can tell, by the 80s almost nobody but Valenzuela threw that pitch anymore). In the 80s and 90s, all pitchers tried to throw the “circle change”. In the 90s and until about 4 or 5 years ago, the cutter was a big pitch thanks in large part to Mariano Rivera’s success – a pitch that I have heard some recently label a “garbage pitch” and which is not a regular part of most current pitchers’ repertoires (especially righties; a bunch of lefties still throw it).

        Why do I mention this? I mention it because I watch Eflin and Appel and think how much they could each benefit from even an average cut fastball. Both throw their regular FB with a lot of gas, but if they lost a little zip and gained just a touch of movement, they could benefit enormously. If they were pitching in 2000 or 2005, my guess is that they would almost certainly be throwing that pitch. But it’s no longer in vogue and, unlike the splitter and screwball, which may (or may not) hurt a pitcher’s arm, I don’t think I’ve ever heard that a cutter puts undue pressure or strain on a pitcher’s arm.

        1. I believe Hamels, Kendrick and Madson all learned the cutter at some point after getting established in the majors. With the changes in the front office and coaching staff, whoever the catalyst was for those guys learning the pitch may not be around anymore but I agree that it can be a useful weapon. Nola is another guy who I think could benefit from throwing one.

          On a non-Phillies note, I’m really rooting for Brent Honeywell of the Rays to make it as a major leaguer because he throws a screwball.

          1. I Forget the screwball is thrown with you two fingers around the ball. and reverse inward action I believe. How is that different than forkball.

        2. You forgot the ‘fork ball’ by Pirates Elroy Face in the 50s.
          And Spock’s, the Vulcan change-up today.

          1. Yes, the “fork ball” (predecessor of the splitter) and the palm ball – remember that? It’s a shame that these pitches have been seemingly lost to history or are de-emphasized. Why should that be? Not all work for every player, but a good out pitch can dramatically reverse the fortunes of a pitcher. Bruce Sutter was a minor league washout before the splitter. Knuckleballs have saved many pitchers and the cutter made Rivera, a very good pitcher before he mastered the pitch, the Babe Ruth of relief pitchers. And let’s not forget the screwball – Valenzuela and Carl Hubbell made careers on that pitch. I get that some pitches are especially hard to teach (knuckler) or may hurt a pitcher’s arm, but others are just lost to time for no reason other than that there is nobody around to teach them or advocate for their use.

            1. Yes…many different grips and arm techniques. I guess pitchers just feel comfortable with what they know and unless a career is in a tail spin to rock bottom… then they entertain change.

        3. Nola pitched pretty well in that “bandbox”.

          Last night’s poor results were a combination of poor command and no swing and miss stuff.

          1. v1…that has been your biggest complaint with Eflin…lack of swing and miss thru his career to date. They say he has got bigger…ht and wt…maybe that will increase his 4S velo….whenever he uses it..to get more whiffs.

          2. Yeah, but, come on, they were also pitching against the major league team with the wind blowing out like 30 MPH. And the fact that Nola pitched well there doesn’t change the fact that it is a bandbox.

    2. No, what it really shows is that sometimes weird things happen if the sample size is small enough. If this were a true reflection of the talent gap, guys doing injury rehabs would all hit .400 and all the MLB players would crush the ball in spring training. Lots of major league hitters strike out 3 or 4 times in a game when they get their extra ABs with the minor league teams in ST.

      There are lots of examples of big-league hitters or pitchers being owned vs. minor leaguers. The talent gap is not as big as it looked last night.

  2. Well Eflin in LV too some of those Hr were wind aided. I think the Phillies will be moving tons of prospects all around this yr. The bullpen for LV I thought would have Ramos, Roibal .

  3. I truly appreciate the education you’ve given me along the way in the last couple of years here, Jim. I like to think of you as my go-to guy when seeking out updates on which Phils prospects are trending up vs. down, etc. I like to think I can now hold my own when having a few with my buddies as we look to the future of the franchise.

  4. There are 4 legitimate top prospects for the LV team. What team ever has more than that? There aren’t more than 10-12 top prospects in any team’s entire system.

    1. It’s not that there are only 4 top prospects. That might be as many as /more than they’ve had in a while. It’s that there is the potential for so many AAAA guys from outside the org to be in Lehigh. It probably doesn’t matter to the Phillies’ fan who follows only the major league team. But I/we watch these kids climb through our system, and I would rather see our org filler than some other team’s failed org filler. Call me sentimental, but I would rather see Pointer in LHV than Lough. I understand that guys like Lough, Hunter, and Venable are brought in to compete to fill out the major league roster. But if they don’t win a spot, I would release them rather than put them on Lehigh’s roster. If Herrera or Bourjos goes down with an injury, how much difference is it going to make if the call up is Williams or Quinn over a Venable or Lough? Or Perkins rather than Marrero?

      Really, I’m just surprised that so many of the AAAA guys are still around. I had expected the releases to come from the top rather than the lower portions of the organization. Just shows how much more I still have to learn. Foremost would be forget sentiment.

  5. Ah Houston we have a problem…we want Derek Fisher back!

    With all seriousness Appel has a lot more work to do than I had originally thought. The 0-2 or maybe it was 1-2 pitch to Goeddel was just dumb. The insistence to just try and blow guys away with a straight FB is going to keep him in the minors.

    And I get the wind was blowing out and none of those balls were really crushed but they were all squared up. Just so weird to me after the first 2 guys were foiled on weak contact to the second baseman.

    1. Eflin and Appel did have some fun tweeting each other after the game on their performances.

        1. And Appel on the mound laughed it all off.
          This is another critical season for him.
          I hope he realizes this season could be his last as a starter if he doesn’t progress enough for the organization’s liking.
          He may go the route of Luke Hochevar or do the roller coaster Phillipe Aumont ride.

  6. It’s good that this kind of game happened. Now we don’t have to read how much better Eflin and Appel are, compared to Hellickson and Morton, when they have struggles this year.

    1. Your being overly optimistic. We will most certainly hear how much better those guys are, I’m guessing by sometime in May…

  7. This here’s a tale for all the fellas
    Trying to learn what the scouts tell us
    Get shot down cause your over-zealous
    you’re post sux now don’t get jealous
    cause VOR knows more than you (and I do too)
    Your Prospects are sad and showin no potential
    until Matt Winks stops by and says no you’re not mental
    “I like Cozens and Kilome is true here check out my cell let
    Me see what else I got for you

    JP’s feastin, Thompson’s beastin and Knapp is
    least impressed about the rank he’s seeing
    Asche’s name comes up and Rocco starts to dance
    Romus laughed so hard he nearly pissed his pants
    Keith Law starts talking the board starts balking
    he said some more dumb stuff about Arm Bar Swings And walking
    he Says Franco’s never gonna make it but has no proof

    So come on phuture phils you know what to do
    Click thumbs down and disapprove

    You’re on a mission and you’re wishin
    you’re prospect will get a promotion and an ovation
    Lookin for stats in all the wrong places
    close down fangraphs you try creating your own information
    In general discussion no one pays attention
    But in Jumps jim to call you out on your misinformation
    see he’s stationed on permanent vacation he watches all the games and he’s got all the information
    Your BS is showin, so you’re goin to make another point
    We all Could care less about
    but instead you wanna talk about some guy we don’t know
    Nick Williams goes yard to start the show

    In this city we seem gritty
    Guys tell jokes so they can seem witty
    Tell a funny joke let’s just say Rhys will be an all-star one day
    Then you try to make a point that shows you’re smart
    Like “for goodness sakin Alfaro is rakin
    he’s gonna be the kid who brings home the bacon
    but you got a bad walk rate and k percentage
    so you got shot down on the point you’re makin

    Some prospects are realistic, they got the statistics
    Lookin for a break makes them opportunistic
    They’re laying and waitin for howard to get traded
    But Klentak calls and says they were just baitin
    You’re perpetrating as a fan so you post a rumor
    Cleveland is interested and we all find humor
    you’re so off base no time to erase another dumb
    post to prove you’re a fake

    So come on Phuture Phils you know what to do
    Click thumbs down to disapprove

    our best friend Lmaggati has a brother LarryM
    In five days from now he’s gonna carry
    Bill James’ bust to a SABR party
    he says neat-o, rents a tuxedo
    And rolls to the hall with a 12 page speech-NO
    the nerds walk in to start the proceeding
    he’s starts reading but no one is listening
    So you start thinkin then you start drinking
    V1agains in the crowd and thinks that you’re Tocci
    he thinks you kinda suck so he talks smack
    about your small frame and how you lack
    the power to advance to an MLB groove

    So come on Phuture Phils you know what to do
    Click thumbs down to disapprove

    You wanted! You got it an April Fools rap
    From DMAR’s new comic

    inspired by the greatest carlton rapper of all time ‘Young MC”

  8. Bailey, Frieri, Arencibia and Venable sent LHV after game. With 22 players on the 25 man roster and 1 pitcher and 2 position players missing, and Russell and Burriss and Hunter on Non-roster list, it looks like we have our 25 man roster.

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