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 –
- Altherr, Franco, Hoskins, Joseph
- Crawford, Florimon, Middlebrooks, Williams
- Rosales, Quinn
- 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 –
- Arano, Beato, Curtis, Eflin, L. Garcia (starting on Roberts)
- Hunter, Milner, Morgan, Neris, Neshek, Rodriguez (starting on Carlton)
- 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 –
- Alfaro, Cabral, Moore, Rickles
- 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.