Five Days Until the Official Start of Spring Training

Beautiful morning in Clearwater Friday.  I arrived at the Complex early just in case the workouts started early again.  My Complex buddy, Steve Potter, arrived early too.  They didn’t start early, but we got to see the players as they crossed from the stadium to the building that houses the weight room and batting cages until practice started.  We got to engage with a lot of the players.  They seem to be more likely to stop and talk before practice starts.  Six new faces today.

Jeff Singer walking from the clubhouse to the weight room

I’m repeating the following to make sure the word gets out.  There has been a change to the players’ reporting date.  Pitchers and catchers will undergo physicals on Monday and Tuesday next week.  Their first workout will be on Wednesday, February 14th.  Valentine’s Day.  The first full workout is still on the 19th.

Some big names made their first appearance at today’s workout – Nick Williams, Hector Neris, Luis Garcia, Andrew Knapp, Will Middlebrooks, and Dalton Guthrie.  My count is up to 48 in Clearwater.

Zach Warren in the foreground, Andrew Knapp and Nick Williams in the background

During exercises and stretching, coaches usually stand around the perimeter conversing. The actual workout is run by the strength and conditioning guys.

Charlie Manuel chatting up Pitching Coordinator Rafael Chaves

I counted 28 pitchers long tossing on Schmidt Field and 15 position players on Ashburn. Mario Sanchez and Grant Dyer tossed separately with a coach.  The coach took Dyer’s throws in a squat and Sanchez returned the toss.  I think Dyer is almost ready to throw off a mound.

Dyer to Brodzinski, Sanchez to Dyer

During long toss, coaches wait to run the fielding drills.

That’s Larry Bowa in shorts talking to Rob Ducey and Rob Thomson (Phillies pinstripped pants)

After long toss, the pitchers and catchers went to the Seven Mounds while the position players split up on Ashburn.  Williams, Hoskins, Quinn, Cozens, Pullin, and De La Cruz fielded balls in the outfield.  Guthrie and Stankiewicz switched off at shortstop, Middlebrooks manned third, and Joseph fielded balls at first.

Coaches took throws on the first base bag until a new first baseman joined the practice.

Gabe Kapler mans first base
Coach Kapler displaying his form

During the infield drills, Roman Quinn came in to take some balls at short.  This fits in with the organization’s creating depth and flexibility.

When the pitchers are on the Seven Mounds, they are in an area where we can’t watch them pitch.  I was able to take the photo below, but it is difficult to identify the pitchers, and impossible to comment on their pitching.

Even with zoom, this is the best I can do

There are six pitchers throwing.  With only 5 catchers in town, Coach Greg Brodzinski dons the tools of ignorance to help out.  Before Knapp arrived, Coach Shawn Williams was helping out, sans equipment.  This first group was comprised of guys who were on the major league roster.  Mark Leiter is in the gray tee.  Lively has his glove up.  Eflin is in the black tee.  I think the other three are Pivetta, Eickhoff, and Anderson.  One is off screen. After I took this, Velasquez started to throw.  That’s Scott Palmer in the dugout.

The position players batted in four groups today –

  • 1.) Nick Williams, Tommy Joseph, Rhys Hoskins;
  • 2.) Roman Quinn, Dylan Cozens,  Will Middlebrooks, Andrew Pullin;
  • 3.) Edgar Cabral, Carlos De La Cruz, Drew Stankiewicz, Dalton Guthrie;
  • 4.) Jorge Alfaro, Matt McBride; Logan Moore, Andrew Knapp.

Cozens, Joseph, Hoskins, and Alfaro continue to hit bombs.  Joseph cleared the batter’s eye and bounced a couple others toward the half-field in front of Spectrum Field.  A few of us have decided to refer to it as Bowa Field.  If I start typing that here, that’s the field I am referring to.  Knapp still has a beautiful swing from both sides of the plate.  Cabral shows surprising power and makes a lot of solid contact.  De La Cruz is coming along.  He’s going to be fun to follow in the GCL.

After the catcher’s finished hitting, Hoskins took ground balls at first.

Drew Stankiewicz wears a compression sleeve on his right arm.  He didn’t have a particular reason why, it’s just something he started using and got used to.  Roman Quinn has been in good spirits since talking to Kapler earlier in the week.  Kapler makes a point to talk to all the new guys each day, even the low minors guys.  He seems to be having a conversation each day with Roman.  Quinn seems a lot looser.  Yesterday he and Cozens were play sparring with Quinn darting in and out and Cozens just trying to grab an arm.  Ended in a draw.  We suggested to Roman that he stop bullying the big guy.  Dalton Guthrie looks bigger than I remember from last season.  He was able to lift during the off season.  He  was happy that I noticed.  Middlebrooks had a cool tee and reacted favorably when I complimented him for it.  It read, “Wendy Peppercorn is a dime”.  Coach Hines is a local guy.  He’ll be the hitting coach for one of the GCL teams.  He’s happy to be working so close to home.  Also got to speak briefly with Kapler, Chaves, Thomson, Shaun Williams, Scott Palmer, Roly, and a gaggle of players.

I’m going to miss this familiarity when all the ST fans show up.

These are the players identified at the Complex –

  1. Mario Sanchez (rehab, PFPs and throwing from flat ground)
  2. Kevin Gowdy (rehab, may have returned home until his next scheduled appt.)
  3. Grant Dyer (rehab, PFPs and throwing from flat ground)
  4. Sutter McLoughlin (rehab, may have returned home until his next scheduled appt.)
  5. Pedro Florimon (rehab, MIA on Friday)
  6. Roman Quinn
  7. Dylan Cozens
  8. Carlos De La Cruz
  9. Ryan Etsell
  10. Ben Brown
  11. J.D. Hammer
  12. Kyle Young
  13. Garrett Cleavinger
  14. Seth McGarry
  15. Zach Warren
  16. McKenzie Mills
  17. Jeff Singer
  18. Nick Pivetta
  19. Drew Anderson
  20. Zach Eflin
  21. Ben Lively
  22. Jake Thompson
  23. Logan Moore
  24. Pedro Beato
  25. Adam Morgan
  26. Mitch Walding (MIA again, rumored to be limping around the Complex)
  27. Edgar Cabral
  28. Mark Leiter
  29. Vince Velasquez
  30. Tom Eshelman
  31. Jerad Eickhoff
  32. Aaron Nola
  33. Hoby Milner
  34. Rhys Hoskins
  35. Jorge Alfaro
  36. Tommy Joseph
  37. Brandon Leibrandt
  38. Andrew Pullin
  39. Matt McBride
  40. Austin Davis
  41. Drew Stankiewicz
  42. Jiandido Tromp (MIA on Friday, wondering if his sighting was correct)
  43. Nick Williams
  44. Hector Neris
  45. Luis Garcia
  46. Andrew Knapp
  47. Will Middlebrooks
  48. Dalton Guthrie


20 thoughts on “Five Days Until the Official Start of Spring Training

  1. When I see the list of things that get loaded on the truck I always think it’s just PR. I mean they can buy the plastic cups, sunflower seeds, and Gator aid mix in Florida.

    1. Imagine the team results if Franco puts a 260/35/100 out there this season batting 6th. It’s not impossible. Hoskins could match it and Williams could put up a 280/30/90. With Santana, Hernandez, and Herrera getting on base, that could be a decent offense. I can dream…,

      1. Agree….the offense could come alive this season.
        Now all the Phillies need to do is get the starting pitching up to speed outside of Nola, to match the projected offense..

      2. We need some more love for Aaron Altherr. This dude is really, really good at baseball. So many people are overlooking him. He could end up being a core piece – he’s that good and, I think, quite a bit better than Nick Williams.

        1. Agree. I also think he gets slighted on his CF play. If given an opportunity to play there regularly, he would excel IMO.

          1. I think Altherr is the best CF on the team. What he lacks in burst speed compared to Herrera, he makes up in accurate routes and a special arm. Herrera’s arm is disastrous.

          1. Give me Altherr under Kapler’s strength and conditioning regimen and positional flexibility approach. But I still like Nick.

  2. See the three baskets of balls in the picture at the top of the page. See how white the balls are in the front basket. New balls. Major League balls. Not the minor league balls they’ve been using until Friday. They used them for the first time during BP. The guy outside the right field fence must have gotten a couple dozen souvenirs.

    1. I am in the minority, I believe. I have little interest in the free agent pitchers available this year. Even if there were an attractive free agent arm available, I would still prefer that the rotation be Nola and the next best four from within the organization. I would be in favor of a six-man rotation. I am in favor of a 13-man pitching staff, if necessary. If a free agent signing occurs, I hope it is a left-handed starter. There are only 4 LHP on the 40-man roster (Curtis, Milner, Morgan, Suarez) and 2 among the NRIs (Irvin and Liebrandt), that’s 6 lefties among 31 pitchers in camp.

      1. Ut oh. Do you have any details, Jim? Was the drug he was juiced on Marijuana, like the last times?

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