2019 Prospect Discussion, 1 of … ; Rixon Wingrove

Here’s an open discussion about some of the Phillies’ minor league prospects I saw this season.  Phillies’ talk and other non-prospect discussion should remain in the Open Discussion.

This is an open format for any minor league prospect you want to discuss.  However, I am going to start with Rixon Wingrove.  I will continue this on an irregular schedule for as long as I stay interested.  This will be mostly about low-level prospects, but could include anyone I saw last season.  If you have someone in particular you want to hear about, put the name in the comments section.  If I’ve seen enough to warrant a post, I’ll strongly consider it.

Rixon Wingrove was signed by the Phillies as an international free agent on April 20, 2018 out of Australia.

Rixon Taylor-Wingrove was signed as an 18-year-old.  He was initially listed as a catcher.  But, the 6’5, 230 lb., left-handed hitter was switched to first base very early during extended spring training.  He posted a .241/.310/.342/.652 slash with one HR and 8 RBI in 87 plate appearances during his first GCL season.  He looked really raw at first base.  He’s a big fellow (he’s currently 6’5, 260) who the Phillies spotted with the Sydney Blue Sox during the 2017 Australian Baseball League season.  With the Phillies, he hit .429 in the 21 times he led off an inning.  His big game came on August 17, 2018 when he went 3-5 with a walk, HR, and 4 RBI.  He returned to the Sydney Blue Sox for the 2018 ABL season.

In 2019, a 19-year-old Wingrove slashed .298/.374/.500/.874 in a team high 48 games.  In 203 plate appearances, he had a team high 17 doubles, 2 triples, a team high 5 HR, and a team high 37 RBI.  He had 22 walks (10.8%) and 38 strike outs (18.7%).  He played first base and one game in left field.  He committed 8 errors at first base in 361 chances and had a fielding percentage of .978.  He played error-free on 2 chances in left field.  Wingrove may be the most improved player in the organization.  His play at first base improved dramatically, and his offense also took a big step forward.  I was also impressed by his patience at the plate.  He wasn’t the free swinger I expected.  He sees a lot of pitches and handles himself well in 2-strike counts.

Wingrove is also somewhat of a character.  He speaks with a thick Australian accent and a quick smile.  On one occasion, a June 26th no-hitter against the GCL Phillies East, Wingrove walked past the relief pitcher inserted for the ninth inning and said on his way to first base, “Don’t f@%$ this up”.  Tyler Burch, the pitcher, had no idea that a no-hitter was in progress.  On another occasion, while waiting in the on-deck circle, Wingrove quipped to a photographer along the fence, “Make sure you get this, I’m going to end this”.  He didn’t, but two innings later he singled to start the go ahead rally.  On yet another occasion, he remarked to teammate Mitchell Edwards, “He’s only got the one pitch.  Wait for it and kill it”.   He’s very outgoing.  I have often seen him chatting with people along the fence while on deck.

Wingrove exhibits good baseball IQ.  He has a strong arm, moves well at his position, anticipates where he should be when a play breaks down, and has a controlled swing.  He has decent speed for a big guy.    His best game came on July 10, 2019 when he went 3-4 with 2 runs scored, a double, triple, 6 RBI, and a walk.  Which leads to one last anecdote.  This was his first triple, but not his first attempt.  He doubled on an July 10th on a ball into the left field corner.  On Ashburn Field, the corner extends well into foul territory.  With several runners on base, the relay throw was headed to the plate.  There was no one guarding second base and Wingrove never broke stride as he headed to third.  The relay was cutoff and thrown to third.  Wingrove was within 15 feet of the bag when he stopped and returned to second.  There was no one at the base so the fielder had to catch him from behind, which he did about ten feet from the bag.  It reminded me of one of those Looney Toons cartoons about baseball.

Wingrove seems like a born leader.  He could make the jump to Lakewood in 2020.  How well he adjusts to better off speed pitches will determine how soon and how far he will advance.

Wingrove will join Phillies’ teammates Curtis Mead and Mitchell Edwards in the 2019 Australian Baseball League season playing for the Adelaide Giants.

  • Bats left, Throws right
  • 6’5, 260 lb.
  • Born May 23, 2000 (age 19)
  • International FA out of New Castle, New South Wales, Australia signed on 4/20/2018
  • 2018; GCL Phillies West
  • 2019; GCL Phillies West

 

29 thoughts on “2019 Prospect Discussion, 1 of … ; Rixon Wingrove

  1. Jim, I thoroughly enjoyed your profile on Wingrove. He’s a kid to really pull for. As long as he continues to develop, we would certainly welcome a character like his to emerge as a real team leader to give a ball club some identity.

    Question – do you have any concern with his weight which increased from 230 to 260 over a fairly short period? And what are some observers saying about his long term projection?

    1. His weight does not concern me. Here he is at the plate (photo by Casey Burns).

      And, here he is with a couple of teammates (photo by Mark Wylie)

      I think that’s Chris Cornelius (6’0, 186) on the left and Luis Rojas (5’9, 150) on the right.

      The observers are pretty much me and Steve Potter. It’s hard to give a long term projection on GCL guys. It all depends on how they handle better change ups, curve balls, and sliders as they move up.

      1. It is actually Chris Cornelius on the left and Luis Rojas on the right. Photo was taken at the Yankees complex before the first GCL game of the 2019 season.

    1. No, but I did see Hsin-Chieh Lin. Haha.

      He pitched 3.2 innings in Phillies West’s no-hitter over Phillies East. He walked one and struck out 6. (Disregard the game log that says he threw 23 strikes in 27 pitches. It is wrong) His FB was 90-92 mph and sat 90-91 mph.

      His second appearance was with Clearwater and he threw 2.0 no-hit innings. He struck out one in a combined 2-hitter. Unfortunately, Fort Myers threw a one-hitter. That game log is accurate, 20 pitches, 15 strikes. I don’t have his velo.

      He finished the season with Williamsport.

      1. Thanks, Jim very much! And I will also try in the future be respectful like you and follow Chinese nomenclature with last name!!!

          1. When you add up the number of Chinese people who use the three most common surnames (Wang, Li, and Zhang), it’s greater than the population of Indonesia – 257M plus….the 4th most populous country in the world behind China, India and the US! Now you know why phone books are obsolete in China.

  2. This is going to be a really cool series. Rixon seems like a great leader in the making.

    Do we know the reason he was moved off catcher?

  3. Jim, I am so excited about this “series” on prospects. This will be a great way to spend the off season. Every question I had while reading the article was answered in the next sentence or paragraph. Please keep up the hard work, it is greatly appreciated.

  4. I will throw in some personal observations from having seen Rixon quite a few times over the last two seasons. Rixon led the GCL in 2019 in games played (48), AB’s (178), doubles (17), and RBI’s (37). He was second in hits (53), and second in total bases (89). Going into the final two weeks of the season, he was probably the leading candidate for the league MVP award, but he struggled at the plate down the stretch, and Kerry Carpenter of the Tigers West got hot and hit 4 homers and had 11 RBI’s during the last week to grab the award. It looked like the brutal Florida humidity finally took its toll and Rixon’s bat speed was noticeably slower during the last two weeks of the season. Rixon’s swing was much more compact in 2019 than it was in 2018, and he takes pitches on the outside half of the plate and drives them the other way with authority. I was at an XST game at the Yankees complex in May, and Rixon saw two pitches while he was in the game. The first, hit high off of the batter’s eye in dead center field for a stand up double. The second, he hit out of the park to left field for a home run. He isn’t a free swinger and he waits on getting pitches he can drive. He had 22 BB’s/38 K’s. Rixon has worked very hard on his fielding at first base. In his 2018 GCL season, he looked stiff and mechanical at first as he was learning the position. This year, he was quite agile/fluid and more instinctive there, and has perfected making quick tags on pickoff attempts. He moves well for a big man, and has a strong arm, as Jim stated. Rixon is definitely a character who has a passion for the game and is fun to watch play. He is a team leader, and his teammates love his personality. He is easy to root for. It will be fun to see his progress through the Phillies system!

    1. Mark…you seem really excited about Wingrove’s potential….and also a very good report on him.
      The way his character is described…..maybe a little Crocodile Dundee in the guy.

      1. I am excited about Rixon’s potential. He has come so far (no pun intended) this year with his improvement at first base. His footwork at first made a dramatic improvement. The fielding instructors worked him hard in Spring Training and in XST. The cool thing during the intense workouts was that Rixon was always smiling, and he takes instructions well. He truly enjoys playing the game, and he cherishes the opportunity he has been given to play here in the States. He had a rough bout with the flu early in Spring Training and was out for a while, but once he was back on the practice fields, he went to work with a vengeance on his fielding. He was chosen as the GCL all-star first baseman for the 2019 season. For a teenager, Rixon showed remarkable plate discipline. He turns 20 next May, and is very excited for what his 20 in 20 (2020) year will bring. The ABL Summer League starts up around November 21. Rixon is so looking forward to playing for Adelaide this season, and It will be fun watching his exploits with the Giants. Rixon is a big person, but he isn’t overweight, is in good shape, and is quite agile for his size. He is the fourth generation of his family to play baseball, which is quite a rarity for an Aussie. Being around the game his entire life is why his baseball instincts are so keen. He knows the game! He does have that Crocodile Dundee quirkiness, which makes him a favorite of his teammates, and of everyone who meets him. Very easy to root for him! Hoping he continues to improve and moves quickly through the Phillies minor league system!

        1. Great.
          Will be watching to see how he does in the ABL…along with his mates Mitch Edwards, and Curtis Mead.
          Last year Bruce Wang came down and played in the league, not sure if he will be playing in it this year.
          Former Phil ‘old-timer’ Tim Kennelly still may be around down there and if so, probably talks baseball with the youngsters and gives them some pointers.

  5. Jim, very interesting write up. Rixon seems like a legit upside guy, something we’re in need of. Do we have any low level pitchers who can hit 95 routinely? We seem full of guys throwing 90-92 which is ok if other things are working but not really enough. Any thoughts on Nicholas Torres? Thanks

            1. Ok….then he will go to spring training with them but probably will be assigned to Durham, if he does not get selected to their 26 man roster at the start of the season.

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