2017 Spring Training, Pitchers and Catchers Day 3

Day three of Pitchers and Catchers and still fewer fans made their way to the Complex.  We had bigger crowds at some GCL games last summer than we’ve had for the last two spring training days.

I remained at the Complex after the players completed their stretching and calisthenics. feb-16-2017-pfpsIn previous years , PFPs were held on two fields and pitchers waited in long lines for their turn at some mundane fielding drill.  This year, pitchers break into four groups, one on each field.  Groups are smaller and pitchers get more reps with less standing idle waiting for their next turn.

Coaches wait on each field where a different set of drills is run.  Today  –

  • ground balls to the first baseman with the pitcher running over to cover
  • ground balls back to the pitcher, throw to second
  • ground balls toward first with the pitcher fielding or covering, depending on whether the ball gets past the pitcher
  • pick off moves to second and first, just the mechanics, no throws
  • bunt back to the pitcher, charge and flip to the catcher

No pitchers threw from the mounds today.  Arano was participating in the PFPs.

Position players went into the stadium for batting practice.  I saw Cesar Hernandez in the group but I didn’t go over to watch BP.  I was told later by Eddie,a Toronto Sun photographer and fixture down here, that Michael Saunders did NOT take BP.

After PFPs, the catchers took BP.  Cameron Rupp is a monster in BP.  He hit one off the wall of Spectrum Field.  Bob Stumpo pitched to the second group.  Alfaro put a couple on the practice field by the ticket offices in front of Spectrum Field.  Moore and Knapp hit some hard too.  Moore was handicapped by a strong wind that knocked down balls to RF.  The guys hit Stumpo pretty good.  One of them thanked him as they collected the balls in front of the pitcher’s protective screen.  I think it was Alfaro.

I heard there was some some sort of golf outing in the afternoon, practice was over by noon.

Tomorrow is the first full squad work out.

During the minor leaguers afternoon session, the corner infielders took ground balls, all position players took BP, the pitchers did their running in the outfield, and then did some sort of “ghost” pitching on the seven mounds.  I’ve never seen anything like this – a group of pitchers pretending to throw balls to a pretend catcher.

A fellow spectator said that the Orioles run a similar drill where a pitcher goes through his throwing motion with a towel.  A coach stands with his open hand in the the arc of the pitcher’s throwing motion.  The pitcher has to slap the towel into the hand of the coach. he idea is to help the pitcher repeat the same motion.  Another coach is stationed to watch the pitcher’s arm and shoulder from the side.

Maybe our guys are going through their motion with a pretend towel in to the pretend hand of a pretend coach while another pretend coach watches from the side.  I noticed that none of the pitchers catches the pretend ball when the pretend catcher throws it back.

Sorry.  I just never saw this before.  Maybe they can hire Professor Henry Hill to teach them the “think method” of throwing and they can just think about repeating the same motion.  (Now, there’s a movie reference for you.)

Walding taking a ground ball on his back hand
Walding taking a ground ball on his back hand from deeper position

Cord Sandberg, Mitch Walding, Austin Bossart, Caleb Eldridge, and Luke Maglich took batting practice.  Luis Encarnacion took some ground balls but looked shaky.  Zach Green is here but didn’t participate.

The following pitchers took part in drills – Mark Leiter, Jeff Singer, Nick Fanti, Tom Eshelman, Tyler Viza, Mario Hollands, Trevor Bettencourt, Scott Hoffman, Miguel Nunez, Wil Morris, Kyle Young, and Jesse Beal.  I saw John Richy arrive at the Complex.



15 thoughts on “2017 Spring Training, Pitchers and Catchers Day 3

  1. The towel drill is a great mechanic’s drill for pitchers… don’t forget to give Thresher’s trainer Mickey a shoutout for being promoted to Reading this year!!

  2. I wouldn’t know what previous (or other teams’) hitting coaches have told their players but I’m impressed with what Matt Stairs has reportedly been telling these kids. What a breath of fresh air it would be if we start seeing good ABs and worked counts this spring.


    1. Maybe Matt Stairs can hit another one outta here with the kids as he did vs. the Dodgers in 2008. Let’s hope.

  3. Full squad today! That means spring training starts in full and the manager gives the team his speech. It’s a shame that 500 or bust is our goal but reality is that would be a great achievement for this club. I just bought tix to multiple games in Sept because that will be the club of the future most likely. This is the start of a huge season for Phillies baseball. A bad year in the minors could mean 5 more years of losing baseball but a great year could mean we’re ready to turn the corner with our next Core Group of players. Who will be part of that Core?? Let’s Go Phils!

    1. Murray, I’m not so sure we need to take a binary (all good or all bad) approach to this season in terms of the performance of minor leaguers. There are so many possible candidates that I think some are likely to pan out, so there are a whole variety of possible outcomes, but I see your point. As I think about this team over and over again, the issue will not be salary structure (they’ve got all the flexibility in the world), depth at all positions (they’ve got that covered too), but who are going to become the marquee players for this team. Right now, about the only sure thing among the minor leaguers is Crawford and even he is not a sure thing to be a star – he’s a pretty sure thing to be at least above average. And their young major leaguers present the same issue – right now we have two above average regulars – Herrera and C. Hernandez and two young above average starters (Eickhoff and Nola, if he is healthy) – everything else in a complete state of flux.

    2. i know that “depth” has been mentioned hundred of times already — but the real importance of the depth is not to have a high ranking farm system but to give the Phillies bigger chances of producing quality players that will help form core group of the next Phillies make a sustainable run. The last great Phillies team probably has one of the greatest homegrown core of talent, but the lack of subsequent infusion of quality players from the farm impeded them to make a sustainable run.

      The 1st batch of the core team are already in the majors – VV, Nola, Eickhoff, Doobie, Franco, Neris, Ramos.

      The 2nd batch will join sometime in 2017/2018 – JPC, Alfaro, Quinn, Williams, Cozens, Pivetta, Kingery, Hoskins, Arano, Anderson

      And the final batch will join in 2019 and start to contend – Moniak, C, Kilome, Sanchez, Medina

      And reinforcements coming 2020 onward (replace non-performers) and make a sustainable run – Ortiz, Stephen, Stobbe, Brito, Morales and future Rule IV draftees.

      1. Kurdt,

        That’s laying out a beautiful scenario. And the next batch after that might also include guys yet to be signed. Let’s hope it happens. I also hope the core includes Hoskins and Anderson.

  4. Most teams when they turn a corner have some surprises. For our run starting in 06 it was Howard, Victorino and Werth really. I don’t think anyone back then would have predicted those guys were capable of producing at the levels they did.

    They had Rollins, Utley, Ruiz and Burrell as mainstays 3rd base was in flux and the rotation was kind of just pieced together.

    If this site was around when Howard was drafted I wasn’t aware of it so I often wonder what the conversation was or would have been like on him after he was drafted.

    1. The surprises that I’m hoping to happen in the next 2-3 years are:

      1) Anderson – to be the Phils version of deGrom with his mid to upper 90s FB, plus CB and hopefully a plus CH and/or CU

      2) Hoskins – to develop as Rizzo-lite and regularly produce a 25-30 HRs, 90-100 RBIs, 0.275 ave, 0.350 OBP and 0.800+ OPS.

      3) Edgar Garcia or Arano as shut down late inning relievers.

        1. I’ll take Goldy lite for Hoskins considering both were lowly regarded 1B prospects. Although is still route TJ’s success as the Phils 1B – TJ got a nice compact swing and his power is real.

          1. KuKo…….Goldey was only lowly regarded by KLaw, BA et al, because he was a RHB 1st baseman…as most are.
            His metrcis were plus-plus in the minors.

  5. I’m getting older so I’m done guarding my heart from possible disappointment. Throwing caution to the wind, I’m dreaming on a core group right up the middle – Alfaro, Crawford, Moniak, and Kingery (or Brito) – with some thump and leather at the corners. Pick 3 from this current crop of arms (don’t care who but I personally like Sixto, Nola, and Eickhoff) and we’re looking good.

  6. I am with you 8mark. I do think that there is going to have to be a little luck involved, or what was termed earlier as surprises. I can see Doobie being Victorino, but Werth was a big surprise and a guy like that would be a big boost. I think Cesar can play and still has more that he can improve on, so if Kingery or Brito is better, then we have a really top level 2B. We will need to find an Ace, I believe, and a corner OF with some thump.

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