The big league team was back in action today on the road against the Tigers. Whoever didn’t make the trip probably worked out in the stadium. But, I arrived at the Complex in time to see the end of live BP by Jake Thompson. Other pitchers included Zach Eflin, Alberto Tirado, and Joaquin Benoit. Dylan Cozens took some swings. I think Andres Blanco did as well. Three catchers were on hand – Cameron Rupp, Andrew Knapp, and Chace Numata.
The youngest minor league group made the trek over to DiMaggio Field. I’m going to follow them over one day this week. The group includes some interesting prospects – catchers Rafael Marchan, Juan Aparicio; infielders Keudy Bocio, Jonathan Guzman, Greg Pickett; outfielders Jhailyn Ortiz, Josh Stephen, Ben Pelletier, and Simon Muzziotti. Pitchers in the group include Kevin Gowdy, Francisco Morales, and Kyle Young.
I’ve got a lot of BP video, but first I tried to get a better idea of what happens on each field before, during, and after batting practice. It’s accurate to say that the Phillies are using all available time to deliver instruction to all players.
The players separate into their four main groups and go through stretching and other exercises on the fields at the Complex (and I assume DiMaggio). Then they pair up and long toss – pitchers with pitchers, position players with position players.
Batting practice starts on three fields. The pitchers retreat to Schmidt Field for PFPs and other instruction while some of them go to the Seven Mounds to throw. While BP is going on (and you’ll see this on some of the videos), a pair of coaches hit ground balls to infielders. Outfielders and any one not involved in some other drill shags during BP.
BP generally lasts about 3-4 groups worth. The first group is usually catchers if they weren’t pulled over to the Seven Mounds, then infielders followed by outfielders. So, if you are planning to visit, Mickey Moniak has been batting in the final group on Ashburn Field. However, when catchers from the group were working with pitchers will bat last.
The group returns from DiMaggio and everyone gets a short respite, about 15-20 minutes, before the post-BP workouts begin. A lot of players go inside to put on spikes for these drills.
Schmidt Field is used for infield drills. Three coaches are hitting at all times as they make the best use of the time they have with each group of infielders. Some pitchers can be seen running or soft tossing in left field.
Ashburn Field is used for bunting drills. Batters react to the instructions given by the coach at the pitching machine (Clearwater manager, Shawn Williams) – safety, suicide, safety-squeeze. The situation dictates when they square and where they put the ball in play. Most of the kids I’ve seen bunt well, very few stab at the ball. One of the better bunters I’ve seen was Jhailyn Ortiz. No kidding. His only bat movement is vertical to meet the ball squarely. I was very impressed, not that I expect to ever see him bunt. Some pitchers run sprints in left field.
Carlton Field is used for PFPs with infielders. The coach determines the situation on the bases. The pitcher makes a pitch to the plate and the coach decides where a bunted ball is hit, rolling it in the direction he chooses. The pitcher and corner infielders converge to field and make the play depending on the situation and the base the catcher directs the throw. Outfielders take fly balls in center field from a machine and coach on the right field line. Carlton Field has outdoor batting cages inside netting along the left field line. A group of players rotates out of those each round.
Roberts Field is used for pitching instruction, base running, and outfield drills. There is a lot of verbal instruction on each field, but it seems more so here. Today pitchers and a catcher with a coach in the batter’s box worked on pitch outs. Outfielders practiced taking balls caroming off the center field wall. Another group of position players received instruction on leading off third base. I overheard the coach tell the players NOT to take their lead on the grass in foul territory, but rather to stay on the dirt just touching the grass where they would still be in foul territory.
There were some pitchers on the Seven Mounds. And a few doing their running drills in right field on Roberts.
I spoke briefly with a few players as they went to their fields before practices started (but not after the drills started at 10:00AM).
- Alex Wojochiechowski did sign a few days ago. He said his elbow feels fine and he missed baseball.
- Greg Picket said his knees feel fine. He will be predominantly first base for now. Outfield isn’t ruled out down the road.
- 2016 29th round draft pick Alexander Kline has been MIA. Unsubstantiated rumor that he has been out of town to see a doctor.
- Heard another unsubstantiated rumor that 2014 27th round draft pick Scott Harris has retired. I had expected him to be in Clearwater’s bullpen this season.
- Spoke with Kyle Young. The 2016 22nd round draft pick was in Clearwater for the GCL season last year. He returned for Instructs, then came back for the Strength and Conditioning session the Phillies offer. He was back in Clearwater in January, well before ST started. He says he feels much stronger and he looks healthy. He seems to be standing more erect and looks taller. I asked him and he said he was measured at 7′ when he reported for ST.
And now the videos.
Today’s PFP drill was flipping to home on a roller back to the mound. See if you can Identify Kyle Young in the outfield tossing to a team mate.
And noe some catchers.
And a couple outfielders.