They played two intrasquad games at the Complex Friday.
I managed to make it to the Complex in time to see the post-break work out. As I waited for it to start, I was the only non autograph seeker there and was delighted when Mr. Kingery arrived. We talked baseball for a while before I finally noticed that the players hadn’t taken their break in the dugouts as they had in days past. Then I saw an umpire waiting outside the umpires’ locker room. Hallelujah! Games instead of drills.
Soon, players began to straggle out in game uniforms. McKenzie Mills was first out and told me he was scheduled to pitch two innings. I manned the gate by the club house so the players and coaches wouldn’t have to open it themselves. I was able to engage most of them in various levels of conversation. Note that “Thank you.” is a conversation in my book.
I wasn’t going to be able to stay for all nine innings, so I used that as an excuse to not try and score all four line ups again. You have no idea how hard that was. Yesterday, a lot of the pitchers were from the major league camp. I surmised that today, they would be from among the minor league groups. If so, I would look for interesting pitchers and match ups.
So, of course, the games started with my first decision – McKenzie Mills or Francisco Morales. So, I tried for a little of both.
Before I begin, let me stress that there were no radar guns on the pitchers. Even if there were, I would be hesitant to report readings during their first appearance during game conditions this year. I will however, try to be descriptive with as little hyperbole as possible.
Mills v. Altherr – Mills was awesome. He should be in the Phillies’ camp. He blew a first pitch fastball Altherr for a called first strike, probably hi 90s. Then he buckled his knees with the best curve ball I’ve ever seen. Finally, he put him away with swinging at an 80-grade slider in the dirt. Just kidding. That’s an example of the type of reporting I won’t be doing.
Okay, here we go –
- Mills v. Altherr – First pitch fastball, called strike. Two balls on pitches that missed the strike zone by more than a little. Fly ball to right that Altherr just missed. (Note: Altherr batted every half inning for four innings.)
- Mills v. Sandberg – Relying on his FB, Mills threw a first pitch called strike and got a swinging strike on the second pitch. Sandberg pulled the 0-2 pitch through the 3-4 hole for a single.
- Morales v. Gurrola – Morales first two batters were of the younger variety so I stayed with Mills. With Gurrola, he got a more experienced batter. Throwing fastballs, he threw a ball and two called strikes. Gurrola fouled off the 1-2 offering. He took a couple pitches to bring the count full. Morales unleashed an off speed pitch that Gurrola swung at as it drifted outside and in the dirt.
- Connor Seabold was next. I hadn’t seen much of Connor as he was assigned to Williamsport soon after his arrival in XST. I watched all four of his batters.
- Seabold v. Bocio – First pitch foul ball before a 4-3 ground out.
- Seabold v. E. Rodriguez – A ball and swinging strike before a fly out to shallow left.
- Seabold v. Holmes – Ball, called strike, swinging strike before Holmes hit a ground ball into the 5-6 hole. The ball eluded the third baseman’s dive, but not the shortstop’s. Holmes, however, was able to beat the throw for an infield single.
- Seabold v. Encarnacion – A called strike and two balls. Holmes was thrown out trying to steal on the second ball. I thought he was safe.
- Ethan Lindow followed. He pitched well in the GCL, posting a 1.64 ERA in his first 6 games, but struggled in his last two starts in August. He came back to Instructs looking like the Lindow of the first 6 appearances. He continued that today.
- Lindow v. O’Brien – First pitch ba;;, 6-3 on a tough slider than sounded like it turned the bat into kindling.
- Lindow v. Mayer – First pitch ground out, 5-3. Hit hard but right at the third baseman.
- Lindow v. R. Duran – First pitch fly ball to center. Routine. Can of corn.
- Ramon Rosso was a guy who spent too short a time in Clearwater. Fortunately, I saw both of his starts. The 21-year old breezed through the DSL to earn a look stateside. He struck out 13 and allowed a single earned run in 9.0 GCL innings. In the age appropriate NY-Penn League he got 4 starts (18.0 innings) and posted a 3.00 ERA. As he advanced his BB/9 increased from 2.4 to 3.0 to 4.5. But his K/9 was eye catching – 12.8, 13.0, and 11.5.
- Rosso v. Encarnacion – First pitch ball, two called strikes, and a ball to even the count at 2-2. Encarnacion struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt. I’m sure it was a fastball.
- Rosso v. De La Cruz – Called strike, foull ball, close ball, strike out swinging.
- Rosso v. Stewart – Foul ball, ball, and a ground ball double that just barely made it to the GRD area. The ball was hit sharply down the left field line but almost died in the grass. Stewart was past second when the ball finally trickled out the gate.
- Rosso v. L. Rodriguez – first pitch ground out, 6-3.
- Alfonso Puella has a solid baseball body at 6’3, 200 lbs. Your not used to the Phillies signing LA players with this build, although Morales comes to mind. I watched the 17-year old’s four batters.
- Puella v.Buhner – First pitch fly out, F8.
- Puella v.Guthrie – Hi, inside FB for a ball, FB for a called strike, slider for a called strike, soft ground ball, 3 unassisted.
- Puella v. Stobbe – Hi, inside CB for a ball, ball in the dirt, called strike, ball in the dirt, walk.
- Puella v. N. Martinez – Two balls, then an F9,
- Connor Brogdon was next. Like Seabold, I hadn’t seen much of Connor as he was assigned to Williamsport soon after his arrival in XST. I watched three of his batters.
- Brogdon v. Guzman – Two foul balls followed by a line drive to the first baseman.
- Brogdon v. Stephen – Foul ball, ball, and a line drive double down the RF line.
- Brogdon v. Gonzalez – First pitch fly out, F9.
- I had intended to watch Brogdon’s complete inning, but Kyle Young took the mound on the other field. He was facing batters two levels above his Williamsport assignment last season. I had to see this. Young has a killer off speed pitch that he called a “slurve” in the GCL in 2016. It had slider movement and curve ball speed. Today it had more velocity, and probably qualifies as a slider. He threw it sparingly.
- Young v. Grullon – Foul ball, ball, called strike, strike out swinging. I think all FB except the third pitch (called strike).
- Young v. Tomscha – Swinging strike, ball, ball, foul ball, strike out looking (FB down and in).
- Young v. Altherr – Called strike. I turned to a friend and said he better not throw his “slurve” to Altherr. The next pitch was a slider that hung, center cut, double one-hopping the LF fence.
- Young v. Coppola – Ball, ball, come backer, 1-3.
- I got back to see Zach Warren, yet another guy I hadn’t seen much of in Clearwater before he was assigned to Williamsport soon after his arrival in XST. I caught his last two batters.
- Warren v. Encarnacion – I saw the last pitch of a strike out looking, FB at the bottom corner of the strike zone, away.
- Warren v. De La Cruz – He looked a little over-matched as he fouled off the first pitch, swung and missed, took a close pitch for a ball, and struck out swinging at an off speed pitch.
- Victor Vargas is another young LA pitcher. He’s 6’1, 175 lbs, 17-years old.
- Vargas v. Mayer – First pitch ground out to third, 5-3, nice play by the third baseman.
- Vargas v. R. Duran – Ball and a line drive to third, L5.
- Vargas v. Buhner – Called strike, foul ball, strike out looking at a slider.
- Jakob Hernandez had a killer curve in the GCL last season. But, he was working on locating his fastball and only threw 3 among his 14 pitches.
- Hernandez v. Stewart – Called strike, ball, swinging strike, semi liner to LF for a single.
- Hernandez v. L. Rodriguez – Ball, foul ball, fielder’s choice, 3-6.
- Hernandez v. Guzman – Ball, ball, swinging strike, ball, walk. Rodriguez thrown out stealing during the at bat.
- Hernandez v. Stephen – Called strike, ball, called strike. Guzman thrown out stealing
- Romero v. Altherr – ended on a strike out looking on a 3-2 pitch. Romero struck out the side in his first inning.
- Austin Bossart crushed a 3-run HR off Ismael Cabrerra.
- Josh Stephen hit a second double into the RF gap. (His swing looks good, roccom!)
Once again, group assignments were not available. So, I am declaring my list official. Still don’t know what is up with Gabriel Lino, Josh Tols, and Adron Chambers, although Tols was spotted this morning before I got to the Complex.
- Group 1 – (with the Reading staff)
Catchers – Bossart, Grullon, Cabral
Infielders – Cumana, Jose Gomez, Martin, Joey Meneses, Stankiewicz , Tomscha, Canelo, Green, Emmanuel Marrero
Outfield – Haseley, Jan Hernandez, Sandberg, Tromp, Randolph, Coppola
Pitchers – Arauz, Bergjans, Tim Berry, Casimiro, Cleavinger, Davis, DeNato , Parker Frazier, Elniery Garcia, Gilbert, Leftwich, McGarry, Rivero, Romero, Singer, Tirado, Viza, Watson, Windle, Waguespack, Anderson, Hammer
- Group 2 – (with the Clearwater staff)
Catchers – W. Garcia, Rivero, Fitch, Lartigue
Infielders – Antequera, Brito, Gamboa, Hall, Listi, Rivas, Scheiner, Williams
Outfielders – Alastre, Martinelli, Pujols, Matos, Moniak
Pitchers – Alcantara, Aaron Brown, Casey Brown, Cabrera, Ryan Etsell, Falter, Fanti, Edgar Garcia, Hallead, Hibbs, Kelzer, Llovera, Medina, Mills, Paulino, Blake Quinn, Requena, Russ, Sixto Sanchez, Hennigan, Bettencourt
- Group 3 – (with the Lakewood staff)
Catchers – Duran, Marchan, Nerluis Martinez
Infielders – Azuaje, Buhner, Guthrie, Maton, Mims, Nieporte, Austin O’Brien, Pickett, Stobbe, Zoellner
Outfielders – Gurrola, Markham, Mayer, Muzziotti, Jhailyn Ortiz,
Pitchers – Armas, Brogdon, Andrew Brown, Carrasco, Dohy, Julian Garcia, Hernandez, Howard, Jones, Marcelino, Melendez, Nunez, Parkinson, Ramirez, Rosario, Rosso, Seabold, Sobil, Stewart, Warren, Young,
- Group 4 – (with the Williamsport and GCL staffs)
Catchers – Aparicio, Gutierrez, Lenin Rodriguez
Infielders – Encarnacion, Luis Garcia, Gonzalez, Guzman, Henriquez, Holmes, Rodriguez, Rojas, Stewart, Torres
Outfielders – Bocio, De La Cruz, Pelletier, Stephen
Pitchers – Leonel Aponte, Carlos Bettencourt, Ben Brown, Carvajal, Conopoima, Cummings, Cummings, Juan Escorcia, Alex Garcia, Jimenez, Kuznetsov, Lindow, Denny Martinez, Robinson Martinez, Mezquita, Miller, Morales, Alfonzo Puello, Santa Cruz, Juan Santos, Silva, Vargas
More guys sent down to the Complex – Franklyn Kilome, Jose Taveras, and Ranger Suarez were reassigned; Dylan Cozens and Eliezer Alazar were optioned. No groups for them yet.
These four guys are on rehab – Mario Sanchez, Grant Dyer, Sutter McLoughlin, and Kevin Gowdy.
One of the pitchers (yours, Sandi) told me that he thinks that they will have intrasquad games the next two days and an off day on Monday before starting their spring training games on Tuesday.
Phillies lost a one-run game against the Pirates. MLB showed a graphic that reminded us that the Phillies had the worst record in one run games in 2017. Thank you MLB. I’d like to remind MLB that in 2016, the Phillies had a 28-23 (.549) record in one-run games. Hah! Okay, that was after they started the season 14-3 in one-run games. But still, Hah” to MLB.
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