Today the Phillies played a split squad schedule – home against the Yankees ans on the road against the Tigers. That meant that there were 22 less players in minor league camp for most of the day.
The Phillies have been generous inviting their young prospects to sit in the dugout or bullpen this spring. Many have gotten a chance to play in the games. I’m sure their excitement surpasses mine when I see who is called up. The generosity also comes in a monetary form as they qualify for major league meal money on these days ($150.00 I’ve heard) . Since they don’t get paid for their services during spring training, I’m sure this extra money comes in handy.
Today’s twenty-two call ups included –
- Road game: Pitchers (10) – Adam Cox, Grant Dyer, Jeff Singer, Tyler Fallwell; Catchers – Henri Lartigue, Rafael Marchan; Infielders – Damek Tomscha, Jake Scheiner, Jose Gomez; and Outfielder Matt Vierling.
- Home game (12): Pitchers – Alexis Rivero, Connor Brogdon, Jonathan Hennigman, Luis Ramirez; Catchers – Austin Bossart, Edgar Cabral; Infielders – Darick Hall, Drew Stankiewicz, Jose Antequera; and Outfielders – Ben Aklinski, Luke Williams.
The 12 guys who were activated for the home game against the Yankees took part in morning workouts.
Non-throwing pitchers from the four groups walked over to the two DiMaggio fields for their exercises and PFPs. Pitchers scheduled to throw remained at the Complex and followed a different work out regimen which included throwing on the Seven Mounds and live BP. More on that later.
The position players went through their drills on three fields. It looked like players were moved around within groups a little to accommodate the smaller number of bodies available. For the most part, it looked like groups one and two worked together. Some of the drills included –
- On Roberts, a new one for corner infielders. A coach rolled a ball to a gloveless first or third baseman who must get the correct foot behind the “glove” hand.
- This was followed with a soft toss to the bare glove hand.
- Then a hard one-hop to the left and right of the fielder.
- Finished with a straight one-hop to the fielder. Drew Stankiewicz seemed particularly adept at these drills. He even blocked some of the balls with his foot in a way that the ball popped up so that he could easily grab it with his bare hand.
- Outfielders ran fly ball drills while I was watching the infielders.
- On Carlton, catchers were fielding pop ups from a pitching machine.
- Others were taking hard pitches from a machine set up down the right field line.
- And on Schmidt, players worked on proper base running. Particularly, length, balance, a secondary lead, and the jump or returning to the bag. They line up three deep on the infield dirt at each base. They receive instruction particular to the base and constant reminders about balancing on the balls of their feet (I think) and footwork.
If the Phillies came out to stretch on Ashburn, I missed them. The pitchers who stayed at the Complex worked on PFPs with infielders manning the bases and outfielders acting as runners. I saw pitchers working in the following groups –
- Group one – sorry, I didn’t get there in time, but I’m sure that Bailey Falter is in this group.
- Group two – Dohy, Armas, Aaron Brown, Taveras, T, Bettencourt, Hammer, Warren, Russ, Requena
- Group three – F. Morales, Young, White, McArthur, Santa Cruz, Mezquita, Potter, M. Gomez
- Group four – Santos, C. Betencourt, Gowdy, McKay, Miller, Cotto, Tejada, C. Francisco, Antonac
I spend a lot of time watching the young guys, especially Luis Garcia since my evaluation is a little less glowing than others. I neglected to report on him yesterday because it was his first day, it was cold as heck, and he tried to field his position wearing a hoodie. I didn’t want to report how average he looked. Today, he shed the hoodie and looked much better at shortstop. He actually out performed Jonathan Guzman during the fielding drills I watched. At the plate, he has a nice, easy swing. He looks like a mirror image of himself batting left and right. What power he has seems to be from the right side, the side from which he makes slightly better contact. It’s too early to really comment, so I’ll wait a while to further critique his hitting.
Others I enjoy watching include Jake Holmes and Logan O’Hoppe. Holmes hit in Garcia’s group and made a lot of solid contact, clearing the fence a couple times. He also impressed me with his glove. The converted shortstop seems to have made further strides at third base. He appears very comfortable at the position and shows good instincts moving left and right.
O’Hoppe was on another field. Before he began his earlier workouts, I told him he looked taller than last season. The 6’2 catcher admitted to adding a little height over the winter. He has an athletic build that reminds me of a young Pat Burrell. His pre-draft scouting reports said he was a defense-first catcher. Well, he sure puts a charge into the ball when he swings. There are several of us in my little group whose opinions don’t matter who think Lakewood isn’t too far of a stretch for this kid. That would be quite a feat considering the wealth of catching depth in the lower levels of the organization.
The day ended with pitchers throwing live BP. All attention was focused on Roberts Field where Bryce Harper took swings for about 40 minutes. He, Deivi Grullon, and Jan Hernandez faced Gustavo Armas, Alejandro Requena, Jose Taveras, Addison Russ, and Trevor Bettencourt. Kyle Dohy was warmed up but Harper packed up before he took to the mound.
Harper hit a HR during one at bat. He may have had another couple extra base hits depending on fielder placement. I sure looked to me that Russ struck him out twice, the first time on a 2-2 off-speed pitch. looked like he surprised Harper who went out to talk to Russ after the at bat. He talked to him again after the next K. I think he was complimenting Russ on his stuff. Grullon looked particularly good during BP, hitting a HR and a couple more balls off the fences. He also struck out v Russ between Harper’s two Ks. I should note that live BP did NOT include an umpire.
During Harper’s at bats, other pitchers pitched live BP on the other three fields. Those not similarly engaged were watching the action on Roberts. There were cameras all over the place and the beat writers skipped the start of the Phillies game to watch Harper.
One thing I noticed was that Taveras had more fastball than I recall when he was with the Threshers. When Harper was finished, I walked around and caught a couple at bats against Spencer Howard. He froze successive batters with a 2-strike curve that really dove. Wish I had seen more of his session.
Yesterday, I posted the position player work groups as I saw them on the various fields. I’ll repeat them here with new additions in bold text. I’ll continue until the Phillies provide official work groups. Just remember that this in no way indicates where a player will be assigned.
Group 1 – Bossart, Cabral, Lartigue, Fitch, Tomscha, Randolph, Markham, J. Hernandez, Alastre, K. Martin (red shirt), Marrero, Hall, L. Williams, Cumana, Gomez,
Group 2 – G. Rivero, Conley, N. Martinez, Duran, Henriquez, Mims, Muzziotti, Lancaster, Stokes, Bohm, Nieporte, Guthrie, Brito, Aklinski, Ortiz, Maton, Scheiner, Vierling, Pelletier, Stankiewicz,
Group 3 – Matera, L. Rodriguez, Marchan, Gutierrez, Mayer, J. Francisco, J. Smith, Stobbe, B. Gonzalez, Guzman, Kroon, L. Miller, Stephen, L. Rojas, O’Brien, L. Garcia, M. Matos, Holmes
Group 4 – O’Hoppe, Wang, Edwards, Aparicio, Mendez, Bowles, E. Rodriguez, Bocio, C. Williams, Wingrove, Tortolero, Stewart, Mead, Azuaje, De La Cruz, Torres, Simmons, Litton,
Guys I still haven’t been able to identify with a group – Wilkening, Oropeza, Rivas, Pujols, Antequera, A. Castillo, Alfonso, De La Rosa, J. Herrera, Weeks, Dipre, E. Made, Mercado, JC Smith, J. Rivera, De Freitas, Valerio, L. Matos
Still some kids in hoodies.
Well, that’s all until tomorrow.