After a one week delay due to Hurricane Irma, the Phillies’ Instructional program is underway. Players started arriving in Clearwater on Sunday. They went through their indoctrination meetings on Monday. Tuesday morning, they took to the fields at the Carpenter Complex for drills and BP. Afterwards, they went inside around 12:30 for lunch. The coaches milled about on Ashburn Field, and this tweaked my curiosity. I hung around and was able to watch Zach Eflin pitch a simulated game against Roman Quinn and Zach Green. I spoke briefly with Eflin when he arrived at the Complex. I was talking to Tom at the security shed when Eflin walked by and said “Hi” to the two of us. I recognized him and asked how his knees were. After he responded that they felt fine, I asked about his shoulder. He said that was fine, too. He looked okay on the mound. I wonder if the Phillies would activate him for the weekend.
With Instructs truncated by Irma, the Phillies issued a revised 2017 Instructs Schedule.
Baseball America posted a Phillies Instructional League Roster a couple weeks ago. That day I had been at the Complex and had been told that their roster wasn’t finalized yet. When I saw the BA article, I contacted the Complex and was told that the BS report was essentially correct except that it hadn’t been updated with the deletion of players who had since had winter ball commitments – Daniel Brito, Addison Russ, and Jose Gomez to name a few. Well, Irma prevented the update of the roster, so the attached 2017 Instructs Roster is the same as the earlier one.
The roster includes 68 prospects – 35 pitchers, 6 catchers, 17 infielders, and 10 outfielders.
Invitees finished the 2017 season with the following clubs – 9 DSL, 20 GCL, 19 Williamsport, 11 Lakewood, 4 Clearwater, 5 free agent signees who DNP.
Twenty-four of the Phillies’ 2017 draft signees were invited. Those not on the roster include – Alex Garcia, Brian Mims, Kevin Marchan, Jesus Azuaje, Bailey Cummings, and Sati Santa Cruz.
Alex Garcia didn’t pitch during the GCL season. He may be here on rehab. several players are here on rehab. Sutter McLoughlin (who won’t start throwing until November-December), Jesse Valentin, Roman Quinn, Cole Stobbe (broken leg, took a foul ball to the shin with 10 games left in Williamsport’s season), Kevin Gowdy, and Eflin are among those I have seen.
The five players who Did Not Play were signed during the during the International Signing Period – RHP Carlos Bettencourt, RHP Alfonzo Puello, and RHP Victor Vargas (all 16-years old), INF Luis Garcia, and OF Carlos De La Cruz (both 17-years old).
More than likely, more guys on rehab will be here. The players going to the Arizona Fall League (Glendale Desert Dogs) will also be here – Cornelius Randolph, Trevor Bettencourt, Garrett Cleavinger, Elniery Garcia, J.D. Hammer, Edgar Cabral, and Zach Green.
When I arrived the outfielders were charging balls in center field on Ashburn Field. I could hear the coaches giving instruction on how to approach the ball, where to accept the ball, and how to release the ball. Over on Roberts Field, they were running PFPs. It’s too early to say I predicted this, but Jake Holmes was one of the guys at third base.
Soon after this, they broke into groups for batting practice. A coach who had waved to me earlier from Roberts was on Carlton Field setting up for BP and waved again. As I got closer, I finally recognized him as Feliberto Sanchez, Pitching Coach for one of the DSL squads. Always a personable kid, I was gratified that he remembered me. He used to engage as many people as possible when he was in the GCL so he could work on his English.
Two of the fields were set up with pitching machines, two had live pitching from coaches. I watched a varied collection of hitters on all fields – Guthrie, De La Cruz, Mayer, Gurrola, Holmes, Moniak, Williams, Pelletier, Guzman, Gamboa, Oropeza, Gonzalez, Maton, Green, Quinn, Randolph, and Fitch. On Schmidt Field where they had a coach pitching, I could see and hear batting coaches giving instruction to hitters during and after their swings.
A small group of infielders and pitchers went over to Bowa Field for PFPs. (Bowa Field is what some of the regular spectators call the half field in front of Spectrum Field.)
That’s it for today. First game on Saturday at 10:00 AM at the Complex.