Pitchers and Catchers, First 2018 Workout

The start of 2018 Spring Training finally arrived.  Pitchers and catchers came onto the fields at the Carpenter Complex at 11:00 AM and began their spring workouts.

Under the Kapler Regime, spring training will look very different to those who became familiar with the camps held by Charlie Manual and Pete Mackinon.  The first noticeable change was the later start.  Other changes include greater use of all fields.  More involvement by coaches and staff.  Shorter, more intense sessions.  And a distinction between “throwing” pitchers and “non-throwing” pitchers.

Here’s what I saw (or didn’t see) today.

I arrived at 8:15 AM.  We had been told on Tuesday and had it confirmed in a Bob Brookover article that the Wednesday workout would start at 11:00 AM.  But, I’ve been practicing getting up at 6:00 AM for 6 weeks now.  What else am I going to do in the morning.

So, I was there when coaches made their way from the Complex clubhouse to the Spectrum Field clubhouse for a 9:30 AM staff meeting.  By the way, there are a lot of staff down here – coaches, trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, guest coaches, the “stats” people. Seems like the players are outnumbered by staff and support people.

At 10:00 AM, pitchers and catchers arrived for an orientation meeting in the clubhouse at Spectrum Field.  Here’s where things started to deviate from previous years.  While the orientation meeting was being held, position players stretched on Spectrum Field.  Then they went through their throwing with coaches Flores and Fuld.  At 10:30 AM, they moved on to Individual Defense – infielders on Bowa Field (the 1/2 field in front of the ticket windows) with coaches Flores, Bowa, Truby, Jones, Legg, and Calitri; and the outfielders in the stadium with coaches Fuld, Abad, Rende, and Helms.

Before the pitchers and catchers took arrived on the Complex fields, the position players had begun batting practice at 10:55 AM with coaches Mallee, Guerrero, Tracy, Rende, Flores, Legg, and Bowa.  the 14 players were broken into four groups –

  1. Altherr, Franco, Hoskins, Joseph
  2. Crawford, Florimon, Middlebrooks, Williams
  3. Cozens,
  4. Rosales, Quinn
  5. Kingery, Pullin, Walding

BP was closed to the public.  The concourse isn’t ready to accommodate spectators.  This will be a day-to-day decision.

Hitting was done before noon and the players went through some conditioning with the strength staff to close out the day.

The non-throwing pitchers stretched on Ashburn Field and then did their throwing program with Coach Lundquist  observing.  By 11:40 AM they broke out into three PFP groups.

  • Roberts Field – fielding 3-1, 1-3, and 3-6-1 with coaches Lundquist and Helms.
  • Fielding good bunts and bad bunts with coaches Jones and Truby
  • Sacrifice bunting with Coach Ducey

The groups were –

  1. Arano, Beato, Curtis, Eflin, L. Garcia (starting on Roberts)
  2. Hunter, Milner, Morgan, Neris, Neshek, Rodriguez (starting on Carlton)
  3. Pinto, Ramos, Rios, Thompson, Velasquez (starting on Ashburn)

Pitchers rotated counter clockwise – Roberts to Carlton to Ashburn, Carlton to Ashburn to Roberts, and Ashburn to Roberts to Carlton.

They finished with conditioning with the Strength Staff.

Catchers and the throwing pitchers did their stretching on Schmidt Field (catchers) and Ashburn Field (pitchers with the non-throwing pitchers).  The catchers completed their throwing with Coach Wathan before the throwing pitchers completed their stretching. They worked on defense waiting for the throwing pitchers to arrive.  The pitchers threw in small groups off the mound for about 15 minutes each.  Each pitcher was paired with a specific catcher.  While waiting, the extra catchers performed pop up drills on Roberts with coaches Wathan, Whitt, Stumpo, Driver.

The groups/pairings were –

  • Eickhoff (Moore), Lively (Rickles), Nola (Alfaro), Pivetta (Knapp)
  • Anderson (Rupp), Eshelman (Moore), Leiter (Cabral)
  • Dominguez (Cabral), Hammer (Knapp), Kilome (Alfaro), Taveras (McBride)
  • De Los Santos (Cabral), Irvin (Rickles), Leibrandt (Rupp), Suarez (McBride)

Pitching was done under the observation of coaches Kranitz, Gott, Chavez, Young.

After throwing from the mound, each pitcher group went to Schmidt for PFPs with coaches Arroyo and Calitri – pick offs at 1st, daylight at 2nd, come backers, and squeezes.  From their they did their conditioning with the Strength Staff.

Afterward, the catchers got to have their BP with coaches Mallee, Guerrero, Tracy, Rende, Driver, and Stumpo.  They batted in 2 groups with the non-hitting group getting instruction from coaches Wathan and Whitt on receiving.  The groups were –

  1. Alfaro, Cabral, Moore, Rickles
  2. Knapp, McBride, Rupp

After completion of BP, the catchers did their conditioning with the Strength Staff.

One thing of note, the shagging was done by the staff not by any of the players.

And more, the groups are much smaller allowing more reps in 12-15 minute sessions. Pitchers aren’t pretending to be first baseman during these drills like they were in years past (or in pre-spring training workouts as recently as this week).

Here is the 2018 Spring Training Roster that I posted on Twitter this morning.  Note that there are SEVEN catchers in camp to start, not five.  McBride is listed as an infielder but he is here.  And, Nick Rickles was invited to replace recently retired Eric Fryer.

2018 ST Roster

44 thoughts on “Pitchers and Catchers, First 2018 Workout

  1. Quinn and Velasquez are the two biggest X factors this year. Health is key for both. Breen’s piece on VV yesterday is encouraging and it sounds like Kapler is high on finding a spot for Quinn on the big league roster.

    1. 8mark… think you are correct….Kapler is keen on Quinn.
      Also this is Quinn’s last option year.
      Like Alf from last year.
      He still can go to LHV if he doesn’t make the 25…for one last year.

      1. Unless there’s injury to the starting OF or Nick super under performed, Quinn might start in LHV for a month to get regular ABs at CF. Florimon might win the UTIL role since he can play both INF and OF.

        I’ve been on record on trading Doobie and the opportunity for Quinn to play regularly as CF is one of the reasons why.

        1. With you on trading Doobie. Quinn has the edge to make the roster cuz he brings high energy with his game changing speed. I see him, Florimon, Knapp and Altherr platooning with Williams. A trade of Herrera opens up playing time for Quinn, who at least could bridge the gap to Haseley next year, and at most could be a catalyst going forward. I don’t think Kapler will suffer Doobie’s mental lapses long. His reputation likely won’t allow for any player to be his undoing when it comes to baseball acumen, or a lack thereof. Doobie for Duffy. Make it happen, Matt.

          1. omg trade Herrera to open a spot for a guy who is always hurt. Nice and play Flormon more. I hope this is april fools day. you cant be serious.

        2. That will be an awesome strategy when Odubel hits his peak and starts regularly churning out 4-6 WAR seasons at a bargain-basement price while Quinn sits on the DL.

          Even if you like Quinn, he has been way, way too injury prone to be a primary option now. Also, I don’t get the Odubel hatred or the Cesar hatred.

          1. “Also, I don’t get the Odubel hatred or the Cesar hatred.”….is it hatred or two valuable resources that can bring back in return assets to fill holes…namely quality starting pitchers
            For me …if Kingery was not around and other prospects like Haseley or Moniak..I wouldn’t even be talking about trading them for pitching.
            Granted there are risks trading them with their offensive production, but the club stills needs that quality starter or two to eventually get to the playoffs as contenders.

            1. @romus – i agree that is it not about hating a Doobie and Cesar. IMO, Nola, Sixto, Kingery might be the only ones that are untoucheables unless it will for a player on a Mike Trout caliber.

              While I recognize that both Doobie and Cesar have posted positive values in the past years, I’ve raised the possibility of being traded since a) they can fetch a good trade return; and c) the Phils have adequate replacement to mitigate the loss of Doobie and Cesar – Kingery, Brito, Gamboa and 2019 FAs at 2B and Haseley, Moniak and Trout at CF.

              Not all prospects are not cut from the same cloth and the argument to general all prospects to be same “unproven” commodity to me is weak. I’ve been in the center of Cesar and Doobie debate for 2 years now and so far, my position still remain strong.

            2. Romus you trade theose players. for guys like Moniak and Haseley hoping they will do something. When so far they have proven nothing. In fact Moniak is closer to a bust, then a major league player. This a long with a gm who is Shelton and a owner, who says he will spend but hasn’t. is the reason this team will stink for years to come.

            3. rocco…….last week you watched the Eagles parade form Marconi Plaza, right? That is where you will also watch the Phillies parade on Halloween again…..some day soon.

          2. Yeah I don’t understand at all the idea of trading Odubel. He’s on one of the best contracts in baseball and there’s still room for him to get better as he enters his prime. And he really doesn’t even need to improve to be a quality starter.

            I really like Quinn, but he seems an ideal candidate for a 4th/5th OF slot and at this point the onus is on him to force his way into a starting role by staying healthy and performing at the big league level.

          3. I don’t hate either. I simply see their current value as high as it will ever be. That’s simply my subjective judgment. And we’ve the depth to “risk” trading them now before their value goes south. We urgently need starting pitching more than anything. If Klentak can’t redeem their current value for an arm or two, he’s failed in that department.

            1. I look at Odubel differently that I do Cesar mainly because Cesar’s replacement is ready to take over while Odubel’s are still several years away and therefore come with more risk.

              I’ve been a fan of Quinn for years but they can’t turn over the CF job to him based on his injury history and Hasely/Moniak are at least 2 years away..

    2. I agree. The size of the pitching staff may determine. If they go with 12, I think Quinn has an excellent chance of winning a spot. If 13, things are a little trickier for him. Size matters (sorry).

      1. At some point, you would think the move to larger and larger pitching staffs will come to a halt and I believe we are at or near the tipping point right now.

        I think you could make a pretty darned persuasive argument that a platoon outfielder and switch hitter has a lot more value than situational reliever who is the 12th or 13th guy on a staff. Take for example, Dylan Cozens. Lets say he develops into a guy who can hit 25 homers in 350-400 ABs with a .330 OBP (I’m not saying he is going to be that guy, but, assume for the sake of argument that he is). I’d much rather have him on my team than another LOOGY and you would think the analytics would support this calculus. I also think teams are going to be seeking greater flexibility from their back-up catchers (especially in the AL where you can put a back-up at DH) and, as we’ve seen, greater positional flexibility for all of their players.

        1. There has been talk for the next CBA to have either a larger roster of some number 26 or more…or similar to what the NFL does on game days….i.e. 53 man rosters but can only choose from 46 to dress on game day.
          Naturally baseball managers want that to occur..a set increase roster or have a 30-man roster and each fame decide the best 25 or 26 or whatever number they will decide on to dress.
          I had also read this would also affect the numbers for the Sept 1 call-ups, which many managers do not like…well the managers whose teams are in playoff contention for that particular season..

          1. The regular season rosters are too small and the September rosters are ridiculously large. They could solve a lot of problems by increasing the roster size to 27 during the regular season and increasing it only to 35 in September – that way you could add up to 8 prospects to the team for September, which is plenty, and there would be more room for situational players on the regular roster.

            1. Yeah….seems like an obvious solution.
              But i guess it comes down to money……from the second most revenue producing professional sporting league in the world @ $10B annually….second only to the NFL’s $13B annually

        2. Catch,

          Agree. I’d like to see more versatility in the game on the offensive side, like more pinch runners, pinch hitters, etc. That can’t happen with just 12 position players.

          Also, games are way too long. Clocks and limiting visits to the mound will help some, but fewer pitching changes would help more.

          Expanding the rosters would allow for the use of more position players but wouldn’t, solve the problem of overly long games.

          Unfortunately, I appear to be on the wrong side of history as we’ll see with mix-and-match Kapler this year.

          1. I totally agree on the varsatility side. With Hoskins being our Left fielder I would love to see Quinn in a late inning defensive replacement / pinch runner role. But in today’s game there it is too hard to carry a player like that

    3. Both are supertalented and could change the slope of the rebuilding curse significantly if they stayed healthy and reached their potential

        1. Saw where he will vie for rotation spot. Interesting move what with all the in-house arms already in line. What’s that telling you?

          1. I can still see that Klentak will trade one (or two) of either Leiter, Thompson, Eflin, Lively before the season starts – this is will be made to accommodate 2 veteran FA (SP and RP) in the 40-man. Hutchinson, if he played well in ST, can fill the RHP long man focusing on his FB and plus SL and he can be one of the trade assets by the deadline.

            I’m no longer excited of the remaining FAs so Klentak will do his normal MO of low risk low reward signing of Hellickson type.

            3 (of 5) of the starters is almost lock to Nola, Eickhoff and Vinny (Kapler’s interest will keep Vinny as a starter) and a FA as the 4th. So similar to last year, the battle will be for the 5th starter. The decision for the pen is whether to carry 7 or 8 and the decision will be Hutchinson vs K-Rod.

            1. Does anybody else find it odd that the biggest battle of the Spring is for the 5th starter on a team that finished last.

            2. The problem with this team is that the 2nd starter and the 5th starter are of the same quality – at least right now. It’s more about with whom Kapler will cast his lot.

            3. i don’t find it odd. In management’s perspective, the options are sometimes related to the available alternatives and add the impact of analytics in the current decision making process.

              The reality is that the Phils have Nola and a bunch of #4/#5s and MORs with big question marks. The alternatives are: a) SP via trade (and we know that the price is prohibitive) or b) FAs (and the best out there in Arrieta is probably worth additional 4 wins).

              I’ve been vocal before in signing FAs (Ohtani, Darvish, Lucroy, McGee, Minor and Shaw are the ones on my wish list) since like most here, I want to the Phils to start winning.

        2. A Pirate analysis on him from a few years ago:
          “……Coming up through the minors he was known for his command, being named by Baseball America as having the best control in the Blue Jay’s farm system.
          He has a three pitch mix, including a fastball that sits 92-93, which can reach as high as 95 miles per hour, and has good movement on it. He also throws a plus slider, that he used to throw in the range of 85-87. He received Tommy-John surgery in 2012, and since coming back from his surgery he has dropped his slider velocity to 83-85 miles per hour. By taking speed off the pitch, it has added more downward movement, as well as horizontal. It is considered an even better pitch than it was before the surgery. In 2014, he saw his strikeout rate go up to 26%. He also throws a change-up. It is considered an average offering, but he has better success using it against left-handed hitters. If the Pirates can teach him how to use it effectively against right-handed hitters, it could be a third plus pitch for him. For the Blue Jays he was ranked as a top five prospect in their system for multiple years between 2010 and 2012.”

          1. remember picking him up in a fantasy league back in 2014 and then watching him throw a complete game shutout in Texas – thought he was going to be a stud.
            if the Pirates couldnt straighten him out im not optimistic, but at age 27, worth a shot.

  2. Mike, I think the biggest battle was in the Front Office when MacPhail and Klentak talked Middleton out of acquiring SP help. But, all kidding aside, I think a bigger battle is Altherr vs. Williams in RF. Both guys think they are every day players. Both guys have signs of being good, and both need to prove they can play.

  3. Matt, I’ve been fighting all winter with people who think that Middleton’s being cheap, and I believe the opposite to be true. I don’t see a battle for RF because I still think one will be traded. After an offseason of nothing happening, I foresee Klentak making a number of big moves before March 1st. Call it Hope or a Hunch

    1. I’m with you, I’m glad he’s being “cheap” and not going out and throwing 100+million at Arrieta just because the Phils can easily do it. These are the moves that annoying fans always gripe about the team NOT making (being ‘cheap’), and these fans are the first to whine when the same deal goes south in a hurry. Can’t please ’em. I, for one, am looking forward to 2018 as the pivotal year in which Kapler, Klentak, & Co. say to the young guys, “prove to us that you belong here in 2019 and beyond.” While the rotation might be tough to watch at times, I can’t wait to see who steps up (Pivetta and Leiter are my guesses) and earns a long-term slot in the rotation.

  4. Stroman lost arbitration and appears to be not happy with the Jays. The Jays is a candidate to dismantle their current core and rebuild it behind Vlad Jr and Bichette. If the Jays will be out of contention – Donaldson and Stroman are trade candidates.

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