2017 Spring Training, 2/23

Wednesday’s practice was driven inside by off-and-on rain and wind.  The coaches brought out some position players for fielding practice, but I saw few “A-listers” among the group.  

Before leaving I stopped by the stadium to see what changes had been incorporated for the start of the Grapefruit League games.


The biggest change is the installation of metal detectors as prescribed by MLB.  They are portable and are moved into position before each game.  The canopy was installed for protection from the sun while screening.  The Spectrum Field sign was being installed as I took this photo and the sign for the south gate was on the truck for installation when this was completed.

I attended the University of Tampa game on Thursday, but stopped by the Complex until the gates opened.  Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek were throwing live batting practice to Cameron Perkins, Chace Numata, and Jesse Valentin.  Neshek’s strange delivery did little to confuse Numata who lashed a couple of line drives and a blast over the right field fence.

Numata and Valentin waiting while Perkins bats against Neshek

I have video of Neshak from two vantage points – Neshek side view and Neshek from behind the batting cage.

Joe Jordan, Charlie Manuel, and Matt Stairs among the group watching Neshek’s live BP

Gates open at 10:35.  I was able to catch 2 groups’ batting practice and a small portion of a third.  If you plan on attending, arrive early and expect to miss some BP.  Crowds will certainly be much larger Saturday when a real Grapefruit League game is played against the Yankees.

MarK Leiter got the start against the University Tampa and breezed through the first inning.  His first batter reached on a J.P. Crawford fielding error.  Leiter retired the next three batters in order.  The Spartans put their lead off batter on in each of the first three innings but couldn’t score.  Leiter’s fastball topped out at 90 mph.

Tyler Viza pitched the second inning and gave up a ground ball single through the 5-6 hole. Scott Kingery started a beautiful 4-6-3 double play and Viza got the third out on another well played ground ball to Kingery.  I had Viza’s fastball at 93-94 mph.

Alberto Tirado started the third inning with a walk but induced a double play ground ball to Crawford.  Kingery retired the third out on a shallow pop in right field.  Tirado’s fastball was at only 91-92 mph.

Miguel Nunez pitched the fourth inning.  He issued the Phillies second walk but also recorded their first strike out.  A pop out and caught stealing ended the inning.  Nunez’ fastball was consistently at 94 mph but he had trouble throwing it for strikes.  When he did, he set up his slider.  Jorge Alfaro gunned out the base runner by a safe margin.  Kingery appeared to tag him in the face.  Alfaro’s arm = cannon.

Colton Murray came on for the fifth inning.  He was efficient retiring the Spartans in order for the first time in the game on three ground balls.  His fastball was 92-93 mph.

Pedro Beato got the sixth inning.  He was the softest tosser of the day only reaching 89 mph with his fastball.  But he recorded the Phillies second strike out and retired Tampa in order.

Michael Mariot pitched the seventh and final inning.  He immediately got into trouble giving up a lead off, line drive single and hitting the next batter.  He bounced back getting the next three batters swinging.  His fastball was in the 92-94 mph range.

Offensively, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs donned Phillies’ uniforms.  Roman Qunn started the home first with a ground single to center.  As I yelled “run, Roman, run” from the stands, Quinn broke on the first pitch and stole second by a wide margin.  He advanced to third on Crawford’s ground out, and scored on Dylan Cozens’ deep sacrifice fly to center field.

Before the game, a friend challenged me to pick the Phillie to hit the first home run today.  I chose Quinn.  In the third inning, he made my prediction come true when he lashed a line drive through the wind over the right field fence.  Crawford lofted a fly ball down the left field line that dropped in for a double, and Cozens beat out a ground ball to second before the Phillies were retired.

In the fourth, Alfaro lined a one out double off the wall in right center field.  Chace Numata came in as a pinch runner and scored on a Hector Gomez single to left.  Andrew Pullin pulled a ground ball through the hole into right field and took second on the throw.  The inning ended with no further damage.

Crawford opened the fifth inning with a walk.  Cozens crushed a two-run homer to center. (Cozens had been my friend’s pick as the first to hit a home run.)  Brock Stassi (Rhys Hoskins replacement) grounded a single up-the-middle and Kingery lined a single to right, but the Phillies couldn’t plate another run.

The Phillies added their sixth and final run in the sixth inning.  Cameron Perkins who replaced Quinn in center and grounded a single to center.  Pedro Florimon, Crawford’s replacement, lined a single to left and Perkins went to third.  He scored on a throwing error on a hard hit fielder’s choice by Cozens.

The Phillies were retired in order only once and scored in every inning but the second. Mark Leiter was awarded the win.


  • Scott Kingery showed a heck of a lot of range at second.  And an accurate arm.
  • Quinn at the top of the order is exciting.
  • Cozens is really strong.  His HR was into a right-to-left wind and was never in doubt.
  • Neither was Quinn’s HR for that matter.  He cleared the back fence.
  • Alfaro is strong too.  His line drive out was on a diving catch in right center.
  • And I can’t say enough about his arm.
  • Several of our outs came on line drives. These guys put good wood on the ball today.
  • Our pitchers were just too much for the Spartans.
  • Quinn made a diving catch in the 1st inning on a ball that he seemed to have trouble.
  • Lehigh Valley is going to be a tough team to beat this year.

The box score says the wind was coming in from left.  I checked the flags on our two home runs.  It had shifted and was R-to-L on both.



62 thoughts on “2017 Spring Training, 2/23

  1. It was fun to watch the future Phils play.Jim , I also was yelling to Quinn to run, love his speed. Was hoping to see Cozens to face a lefty to see if he has adjusted . Also ran into Moniak on the way back to my car at the Capenter complex , he looked a little bigger to me. Cant wait to see him in action this year.

    1. LHV will sure be the place to be this season, at least for the first few months. Hopefully Kingery will do very well at Reading and force his way to LHV to join these guys.

    2. Cozens did face a soft tossing lefty in his 3rd AB I believe. That was the ball he crushed at the 2B who smartly tried to take it off to the side but couldn’t pick it.

  2. Nick Williams if you just looked at the BX didn’t seem to do much but he hit the ball really hard yesterday. I’m really high on Nick still and will be rooting for him to make things interesting at the trade deadline.

    I also add again how dumb it would be in my opinion not to take Roman north to start the season. That kid is liquid excitement in cleats and deserves a spot on the 25 man.

    Seriously wouldn’t you rather watch Quinn over Kendrick; or Quinn over Saunders; or Quinn as a pinch runner and late inning DR? And besides what better way to increase the trade value of both by limiting their same side splits.

    1. DMAR, I agree with you on each point. My question is this – is it a foregone conclusion that Valentin doesn’t go north as utility IF and Kingery doesn’t start the season at Lehigh?

      1. OOOh 8mark way to put me on the spot…

        In my opinion I don’t believe Valentin goes north. Blanco will be that guy. I think he is the 2B at LHV and a possible trade piece this season. Kingery is going to start at AA and if all goes well he will give Klentak the luxury of moving Valentin for something useful.

        1. I think we will see Kingery leap Valentin sooner than later. Still think Jesse will be a Blanco-comp player but he simply cannot match the tools that Kingery brings to the table.

          1. Still comes down to the basic tool…hitting.
            I think Valentin can be a little more than a Blanco by just looking at the comps of the middle infielders on the team:
            .Jesmuel Valentin:…..PA1752….263/.348/.736….K-15%….BB-11%….ISO (AA/AAA—approx 500PAs)-.12
            Freddy Galvis:……PA2631….246/.291/.625….K-15%…BB-6%……ISO(AA/AAA—approx 1600PAs)-.105
            Cesar Hernandez:….PA 2673….294/352/.740…K-14%…BB-8%…….ISO(AA/AAA—approx 1300PAs)-.102

          2. I overheard a conversation that Valentin had sore ribs. If true, Kingery could vault ahead of him this spring, if he hasn’t already, in the org’s eyes.

    2. DMAR…why would you deny Quinn the opportunity to face any AAA pitching?
      In the long term I would think it would be beneficial to him.

      1. Meh some guys are just ready Romus and as a Switch Hitter it’s not as big a deal. he has a really nice short swing from both sides of the plate and he already commands the strike zone really well.

        Additionally given his injury history I’m not sure I want him playing everyday.

        1. DMAR…understand, but Mack will not get him enough ABs with Saunders and Kendrick and Herrera out there for the better part of April and May.
          He will be splitting them with Altherr, who they still want to see what he can do..

    3. DMAR – i’m also excited to see Quinn with the Phils and even projected him to be the CF and move Doobie to LF assuming no trades. Sometimes patience is a virtue. I think it will be beneficial to Quinn to gain some AAA experience (playing with regular at bats) and continue to grow, develop and win together with the rest of the LHV team — a team which he will be playing with all the way to the minors and

      A Quinn-JPC in the top of the order is really exciting and we will see that at some point in 2017 season.

      1. Kuko/Romus yes I get it the whole AAA thing isn’t going to hurt Roman’s development.

        I’m merely coming from the POV of what I want to watch every night 🙂

        as for you Romus saying Pete can’t get him the AB’s I say baloney…Mack doesn’t owe Howie or Saunders a thing by nature of the contracts they gave them so Quinn being a switch hitter who can play all 3 OF positions can be in the starting line-up 3/6 even 4/6 games a week.

        And if they truly believe they need to see more of Altherr then he should go to LHV until they trade Howie.

        1. Everyone seems to be overlooking the fact that Quinn has never played in AAA. He could probably use some time there even if he does well in ST. If he dominates AAA for a month or two, they will need to make some other decisions. I expect this to be a pretty fluid situation but I think it’s very unlikely that he breaks ST with the big league team, even if he looks like he’s just about ready.

        2. DMAR…..Kendrick/Saunders tandem was Mack’s wish list in October to MK….get me middle of the lineup hitters. The contract aside….Mack wants to win and wants the veteran bats intermingled among Herrera/Franco and Joseph.

  3. Man, I hope Quinn can somehow overcome his injury prone nature. He is the kind of dynamic athlete that can really spur a team. I do not see any other prospects in the Phils’ system with the potential to bring the same skill set that he possesses. I think he and his health are a key to the success of the lineup going forward.

      1. Yeah, he’s pretty interesting. Unlike many of our top prospects, he has no performance related red flags. It’s generally just a health issue. He has a very high ceiling, especially if he can include some power. He’s also one hell of a fielder with about as good of an outfield arm as you are going to see – that’s one reason they tried him at shortstop.

  4. Just an aside. (And as a life long Phillies and baseball fan maybe I’m biased but…) is it me or are the Phillies the only organization in town who have even a trace of an idea of what they’re trying to build? If the head isn’the working right, how well will the body be?

    1. No, I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

      As for the Flyers, I actually think they know what they are doing, but they are in the middle stages of a rebuild. The current record makes it look as if they are not as far as they really are. In 2-3 years, this could be an outstanding team. And they may be very interesting come playoff time next year. I think Ron Hextall is a super, super sharp guy and certainly rivals the Phillies brain trust in terms of savvy.

      On the Sixers, you can argue about what Hinkie did, but if Simmons and Embiid get close to achieving their projected peaks and the Sixers acquire one strong shooting guard, they could be one of the dominant franchises in the NBA for a decade. As a result, I think they are probably doing this the right way. Especially since the “old” way made them irrelevant for an entire generation (15 years of oblivion). Thanks for nothing Ed Stefanski and Billy King.

      As for the Eagles, they are trying to do some things the right way, but time will tell. They are going to have to show the ability to draft consistently well and retain quality people and show some front office stability. The jury is out on them and I question whether Doug Pederson (nice guy that he is) is ever going to be the type of coach who can out-coach the Bill Belichicks of the world in the playoffs. I have my doubts.

      1. agree with catch — although with some reservations with the Eagles. I have no doubt that Lurie wants to win Superbowl(s) — but the issue is, it appears that he doesn’t know how to do it or doesn’t know how to get the right people to help him to do it.

        1. Agree on Eagles, Kuko. Lurie doesn’t have that fire in his belly or that foitball voice in his ears. That’s huge.

          Flyers do seem to have things moving in the right direction, but then find themselves chronically 3 yrs away from being 3 yrs away.

          As for the Sixers, the owner gives me pause. The talent is there.

          1. i have faith with the Flyers and Sixers – legit young core of talent is there with a potential to have a superstar within the core. as for the Phils, it just a matter of time, when the young core matures and the right superstar type of FA is there to be taken.

            the thing that works with the Eagles is, it doesn’t take a lot of time to turn around a team. any NFL team can be contending one year then crap out the next.

      2. The Flyers rebuild is going well, but if Claude Giroux was even just 80% of his former self, they’d be much further along. His demise was unexpected and unprecedented.

        1. Mike Richards had a similar precipitous decline. I’m no hockey expert but I wonder if he will bounce back.

          By the way, nobody told Richaun Holmes that the Nerlens Noel trade was a bad thing. People are calling the Sixers idiots for trading Noel, but his contract was expiring and if they can sign Holmes to a long term contract to be the back-up at 30% the cost of Noel and 90% of the production – which could easily happen – they will look like geniuses. You don’t give a near max contract to a guy who will be playing 16-20 minutes a game and backs up your best player. That’s moronic.

      1. His arm is legit. I’ve seen him sit in the mid to high 90s. If he masters his command and breaking pitches he has a high ceiling.

        Not to rain on any parade, but the Yankees are throwing a perfect game against the Phillies.

        1. Yes.
          Elniery Garcia has good stuff….of course except the one pitch to Judge and the one the Phillies RFer mishandled in RF.

          1. My first time seeing him Romus I know you like him. Yeah he just left it up and over the plate. I like that little hook curve he throws but would like to see a better CU to hold the righties at bay.

            1. Yeah, he will need to develop the CU. Though did he throw it at all?
              I may have missed it.
              His CB at 74/75 needs more command, but it is early on in spring training so that will come around..
              He may also be throwing, what looks like a slider in the 83-85 range.
              But have to like the velo on his FB right now at 89-92T93. Hopefully as he gets his rhythm and stronger that will tick up a few notches later this season.

    1. with his physical frame, Pivetta can be another version of Eickhoff but with better FB. He does need to develop a consistent 3rd pitcher behind his FB-SL combo to be a steady and reliable part of the rotation.

  5. NYY is throwing a combine perfect game after 5 IP. I don’t like the roster arrangement today (not necessary the line up but just the batting order) with Nava batting 3rd, Coghlan 5th and Goedel 6th. I rather see a Quinn-JPC-Cesar-TJ-Coghlan-Knapp-Nava-Goedel-Gomez instead.

    1. unless you’re reacting to Luis Garcia. #sarcasm. Perkins and Stassi hit HRs and both can keep it up, they can be good options to complete the bench especially if Kendrick can play some decent IF if needed.

      1. Kurdt,

        Mack quoted in Philly.com saying Kendrick is his left fielder, he’s not going to move him around.

        1. that’s has been the intention and LF is kenrick’s to lose — but it’s going to be a short one (unless the phils suddenly contends and kendrick is playing well) since we all know that kendrick will not last the rest of the season so it doesn’t really matter what mckannin’s plan with kendrick because it will change once the prospects like quinn, williams, etc will force the issue.

          1. Kurdt,

            And let’s hope they do force it. I’m rooting for Quinn really hard. A great guy and a potentially great player.

  6. I like what Matt Gelb is predicting as the ’17 big league roster takes shape. 3 catchers should go north with a bench of Knapp, Hanigan, Altherr, Coghlan and Blanco. Bullpen of 2 lefties – Joely and Morgan. Righties – Neris, Ramos, Neshek, Benoit and Jeanmar.

    1. Knapp’s selection would pretty much kill any chance a guy like Stassi might otherwise have of going north.

      1. I really like Stassi. And if you’ve been reading my comments for the last two years (not that you should have done that or should have remembered what I said), that’s a strong statement. A couple of years ago, as a 24 year-old, Stassi made huge changes to his hitting style and had a nice season in Reading. But he was older and played first base and didn’t show big power – so I viewed him as little more than an org player. Last year he had a deceptively good season in AAA, playing really well the last few months. This winter he did an outstanding job, hitting for power and drawing tons of walks. He is said to have an excellent glove at first base.

        Once in a long while, a guy in his mid-20s will totally revamp his game and change his projections entirely. I think Stassi might be one of those guys. I was skeptical of him at first, but he has won me over. He could have a Greg Dobbs type major league career and there’s an outside chance we are looking at another Brandon Moss, with less power but a better hit tool and on-base skills. Kudos to you Brock Stassi for battling through, figuring things out and fighting the good fight. You deserve all the credit in the world and here’s to hoping you get your shot somewhere. Don’t quit now!

        1. Well said, Catch! He seems like the consummate pro. He definitely would be my ‘feel good’ story of ’17 if he gets a shot here OR gets packaged in a trade to a club needing a player of his profile. A strong ST (and yesterday was a good start) and he’ll make Klentak’s decision difficult.

            1. As a former Mets’ fan (insert “boo” here), Keith Hernandez was one of my favorite players growing up. If he turns into a Hernandez lite, that would be great.

    2. I still think the 40 man roster will play into the 25 man roster. Luis Garcia is the next man off the 40, and he didn’t make that decision harder yesterday. That’s one spot and I think it will go to Coughlin. Beyond that, Knapp looks like it’s his spot to lose. Morgan is on the 40 and will get first crack at the pen spot. As for the last 25 spot, Valentin and Goeddel are on the 40 and the other options are not. That means that Nava, Stassi, Perkins, Gomez, or one of the catchers would require someone to be released, unless someone goes on the 60 DL. These things usually have a way of resolving themselves. As for Luis Garcia, I hope he rented…

      1. I don’t know why they even kept Luis Garcia. It’s become clear to me that, even though he has a good arm (sometimes), he’s just far too inconsistent. It isn’t a big deal now, but if Pullin had been chosen in the Rule 5 it could have been a pretty big problem.

  7. i agree with murray. coghlan will probably boot out luis garcia. with good ST (and atherr’s ability to play all the OF positions and Blaco as UTIL INF) Stassi can make MK think of considering him as the LH bat from the bench playing LF/1B and beat out Coghlan. The next spot will be Valentin as bench INF (probably gonna happen) or trade/DFA of Goeddel to accomodate another FA as bench player. If no trade(s) happen, another possibility is a 60-DL to open a spot which is also a possibility. I can see also Morgan in the BP.

  8. Funny Blanco did the same thing he up as a defensive specialist. He was pretty young it wasn’t until he came here that he changed his hitting approach. He found his gig in Philly .

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