The Instructional League began in earnest today when the Phillies faced off against the Toronto Blue Jays at Spectrum Field. In addition to the 15 or so fans and one baseball reporter (me), there were about 30 scouts and a couple dozen Phillies front office and support personnel in the stands, Notables included Jorge Velandia, Dana Parks, a guy who looked like Bryan Minniti, and Oneri Fleita. Fleita was hired last off season to supervise scouting in Mexico. After the 2015 season, he had been signed by the Tigers as an international crosschecker. But, prior to that he had spent 25 years in the Cubs organization – notably as the director of the Cubs’ Latin American operations from 1997-2008, Director of Player Development from 2000-2008, and Vice President, Player Personnel from 2011 until his firing when Theo Epstein took over as GM.
The players still went through their morning drills as they have been for the past week. Three of the position players who are headed to the Arizona Fall League were at the Complex today – Luke Williams, Darick Hall, and Austin Listi. Sixto Sanchez pitched Saturday. I’m sure the other four participants are also here.
The teams played a nine inning game with the home team batting in the bottom of the ninth even though we had a 6-5 lead. Remember this is an Instructional league. Pitchers will always get their work in regardless of the score. Also, the outcome isn’t really all that important. Seeing the players implement the things in which they are instructed is important. But, since I don’t know what those lessons are, here’s what I saw during the game.
Mauricio Llovera pitched a perfect inning, getting a strike out to end the first inning. James McArthur pitched two, one-run innings with at least 2 K. Keylan Killgore also pitched two, one-run innings. I think he struck out three (maybe four). Jack Perkins pitched a one-run inning. Manuel Silva pitched a scoreless inning. Michael Gomes pitched a one-run inning. And, Robinson Martinez gave up a run in one inning.
Luis Garcia had a 2-run double in 4 at bats. He was thrown out at home on a single to center on a close play, strong throw. He ground the ball sharply between the first baseman and the bag. He exhibited a couple of strong throws of his own, and saved a run when the third base coach chose not to challenge. But, he also threw a ball away on a double attempt that allowed a run to score when the out wasn’t recorded.
Alec Bohm went 2-3 with a mammoth HR hit the roof of the Tiki Bar and short-hopped the Frenchy’s sign. When we left, the ball was still caught in the netting above the bar stools, prompting me to say during the next at bat that it still hadn’t come down to earth. (rim shot) His single was a hard hit, line drive to left center. He would have had an RBI if a runner hadn’t scored from third on a wild pitch on the previous pitch. It looked like he gave the runner a “stay” sign, as though he wanted the RBI opportunity.
Catcher Freddy Francisco had a 2-run single, and was thrown out trying to stretch it to a double. Left fielder Ben Aklinski had two sharp singles. The Phillies had 11 hits. Among the remaining hits, a double by Juan Herrera caught my eye. The 18-year old from Venezuela played for DSL White. He looks like a promising player. He has a build that reminds me of Christian Yelich, although he is right-handed.
The Phillies are on the road the next two days and return to a Camp Day on Thursday (usually means an intrasquad game). Ben Brown gets an inning or two tomorrow.
That’s another thing of which we should be aware. With the large number of players invited plus the AFL guys getting some work, some pitchers have been told to expect as little as 3-5 innings of game work during the Instructs schedule.
Sorry, no video. I took some of McArthur and Killgore, but the new screen blurred the players out.