Spring Training, Pitchers and Catchers, 2/15/2020

Day 4.  So, a Saturday schedule is the same as the week day schedule … this week.  Position players came out at 9:30 AM and after stretching, they started BP at 9:50 AM.  While the stretching was taking place on Ashburn Field, a group of pitchers came out on Rollins Field and went threw some of their non-throwing exercises.

The first noticeable addition to BP was the return of Roman Quinn to his group.  However, today’s absences included Jay Bruce, Didi Gregorius, Ronald Torreyes, and Matt Szczur.

  • Ashburn Field
  • Group One – Hoskins, McCutchen, Quinn
  • Group Two – Kingery, Forsythe
  • Schmidt Field
  • Group One – Mahtook, Walker, N. Williams, Harrison
  • Group Two – Haseley, Moniak, L. Williams
  • Roberts Field
  • Group One – Bohm, Gosselin, Listi
  • Group Two – Gamboa, Hall, Maton

This afternoon, the Phillies traded LHP Tyler Gilbert to the Dodgers for OF Kyle Garlick.  I saw one description of his 2019 season at Lehigh Valley as “awesome”.  I will grant you that Gilbert put up some nice numbers in his past TWO seasons with sub-3.00 ERAs ar Reading and LHV.  His BB9 and K9 were respectable, too.  He throws a low 90s FB (90-93) and a slider.  But, he was also passed over in the past two Rule 5 drafts when a team could have had him for only money ($100K).  I am concerned that in the event that McCutchen is mot ready at the start of the season, that Garlick was brought in as insurance for a Bruce/Garlick platoon.  Of course, this assumes that Quinn could be on the IL by then.  Like I say insurance.  To make room on the 40-man roster for Garlick, Nick Martini was DFA-ed.

I mentioned yesterday that I find it difficult to get excited about BP.  It is intended to help batters get their timing.  But, when a coach is inconsistent, that exercise can fail when the batters have to chase pitches all over and out of the strike zone, which I saw today.

After BP, the outfielders retired to Spectrum Field for their fielding drills.  Infielders completed throwing to loosen their arms and divided into two groups on different fields for their fielding practice.

  • Ashburn Field
  • Hoskins and Walker 1B, Kingery 2B, Williams and Gosselin SS, Listi and Forsythe 3B
  • Schmidt Field
  • Hall 1B, Harrison 2B, Gamboa and Maton SS, Bohm 3B

The players on Ashburn took part in IFPs that I like to refer to as a fire drill.  Four coaches hit balls simultaneously to fielders at each position.  The fielders at third complete the play to a simulated throw to first then drop the ball into a five gallon bucket and return to the “line”.  The fielders at shortstop complete the throw to first base where a Walker receives the throw with the fielder queuing up for his next turn.  Fielders at second and first field balls in a similar fashion as the third baseman.

After several turns, the shortstops drop the balls into a bucket and the second basemen throw to first.  After a few more turns, the second basemen return to dropping the balls into a bucket and the first basemen throw to a coach on second base.  Later variations will use three coaches and the middle infielders will alternate covering second; first basemen will alternate taking throws at first; and shifting will be addressed.

Today, Forsythe, Gosselin, Walker, and Williams moved among multiple positions.  Listi, Hoskins, and Kingery  stayed on 3B, 1B, and 2B respectively.  Not a big deal in Kingery’s case since Segura isn’t here yet for us to fan rumors about positions on opening day.

Pitchers and catchers took to the field by 11:00 AM.  The catchers and the pitchers who were going to throw bullpens gathered on Schmidt Field.  Umpires were on hand again to call balls and strikes.

  • Schmidt Field
  •  Hammer, Medina, Nola, Romero, Kelley, Llovera, Russ, Sanchez, Wheeler, Brogdon, Cleavinger, Irvin, and Pivetta were among the 14 pitchers to throw bullpens
  • Ashburn Field
  • Alvarez, Arano, Arrieta, Davis, Howard, Jones, Liriano, Morgan, Stock, Velasquez, Hunter
  • Carlton Field
  • Dohy, Dominguez, Eflin, Garcia, Guerra, McClain, Norris, Parker, Rosso, Suarez, Warren

Pitchers did their PFPs after their bullpen sessions.  Before closing out with bunting practice, Manager Joe Girardi had the pitchers on Ashburn perform the following competitive drill.  (I don’t know the scoring or if a winner was determined.)  a pitcher stood facing the field from in front of the third base dugout.  A coach, standing on the foul line,  hit a rubber coated baseball to the pitcher.  More like at the pitcher.  The objective was for the pitcher to prevent the ball from hitting the fence.  After a while, Joe had two pitchers at a time stand together to stop the ball from hitting the fence.  This required teamwork.  Joe finally stepped in on a righty/lefty combination to point out that they shouldn’t have their gloves to the outside since that left the middle open, requiring both to try and backhand while avoiding each other.  It was a fun drill to watch.  And, it introduced a little fun for the players.  I remember several drills like this last season with Coach Thompson running the show.

While watching the pitchers on Ashburn as they gathered after long toss to do their PFPs, I spotted Spencer Howard (whom I didn’t see Friday, but assumed I just missed him).  He was in one of the PFP lines waiting for the drills to start.  A person (I don’t know if it was a coach, trainer, or other) came up to Howard, spoke to him and walked with him off the field.  Howard continued to walk down the foul line, out the gate, and into the club house.  I looked for my baseball buddy, Steve, to report on this action.  He was talking to Jim Salisbury and another guy.

I waited a little bit, went back to confirm that Howard was entering the club house, and returned to my friend.  I interrupted with the news and suggested that maybe Salisbury could find out if Howard was okay.  He pointed to his companion and suggested that I should be asking him.  I didn’t know who he was, I thought he was another sports writer.  Well, he didn’t know either.  There was some joking about possible silly reasons, and they departed.  As soon as they were out of ear shot, Steve told me that the “other guy” was Assistant GM, Ned Rice.

Jim and Ned walked well out of earshot, but I could see them talking for a considerable time.  Later, Salisbury posted a story about Howard injuring himself during an exercise a week ago and that the MRI was negative.  I wonder if my observation spurred a savvy reporter to get a story that the Phillies might not have reported.  I don’t think it will matter in the long or short run.  Howard states he’s not hurt and the Phillies were planning an innings limit anyway.  If you listened to Salisbury’s podcast on Friday, Howard knows about the limits and said he is aware that everything from an innings/pitch count in Lehigh Valley to starting the season in XST is being considered.  I don’t think this alters his timeline and we can still expect Howard in pinstripes sometime in June.


Minor league mini campers took to the fields in the afternoon.  The position players took lengthy fielding practice on Roberts Field while the pitchers worked out on Schmidt.  I stayed with the position players.  The Schmidt side of the facility had no shade and no breeze.  It felt like the GCL over there.

Eight outfielders went through fielding drills in left field – charging batted balls that drop in and fly balls.  The coach hits from the foul line and the fielders are in CF.  The outfielders were Muzziotti, Stephen, Randolph, Herrera, De La Cruz, Ortiz, Vierling. Rojas.

IFPs had the fielders stick to one position today – Castillo, Garcia, and Brito at 2B; Stott, Guzman, Rivera at SS; Baylor, Simmons, Guthrie 3B

Later, coaches spent some one-on-one with Simmons and Guthrie on crossing second on a toss from short and readying a release to first.  The lesson seemed to be that as you come across you do NOT land on both feet and then step toward first on your throw.  Looked like they want the step to start before the front foot lands so that the throw comes out a tic sooner.

BP was held on two fields.

  • Carlton Field
  • Group One – Castillo, Rivera, Guthrie, Gomez, Rojas
  • Group Two – Stott, Muzziotti, Randolph, Stephen
  • Roberts Field
  • Group One – Herrera, Garcia, Guzman, Brito, Simmons
  • Group Two – De La Cruz, Ortiz, Baylor, Vierling

I watched group two on Carlton but was disappointed.  This was a field where pitching inconsistency had an effect on the hitting.

Tyler Hallead and Nick Fanti threw their third bullpens under the watchful eye of Coach Ray Burris, the Rehab Pitcher Coordinator.  They threw 15 fastballs each.

Identifying players was a little easier.  Very few wore shirts with their names and numbers, but I was sure about the batters and fielders today.

This is still a rough draft of who I think is here.  Expect some changes and additions in the coming days.  Julian Garcia is a new addition.

Catchers – Vito Friscia, Micah Yonamine, Colin Fitch, Jack Conley, Herbert Iser, and 2 young Latin kids – 2 of Abrahan Gutierrez, Juan Aparicio, Andrick Nava, Rafael Marchan)

Infielders – Jabari Baylor, Daniel Brito, Kendall Simmons, T.J Rivera 2B; Bryson Stott, Luis Garcia, Jonathan Guzman SS; Ali Castillo, Dylan Guthrie, Jose Gomez 3B.

Outfielders – Jhailyn Ortiz, Simon Muzziotti, Carlos De La Cruz, Odubel Herrera, Josh Stephen, Cornelius Randolph, Matt Vierling, Johan Rojas.

Pitchers – Julian Garcia, Bailey Falter, Tyler Carr, Connor Seabold, Jose Jimenez, Aaron Brown, Eudiver Avendano, Lizardo Herrera, Jake Hernandez, Jhordany Mezquita, Francisco Morales, Luke Leftwich, Jaylen Smith, Taylor lehman, Austin Ross, Ethan Lindow, Spencer Van Scoyoc, Dominic Pipkin, plus at least 5 other pitchers (2 RHP, 3 LHP) whom I couldn’t identify.

Probables – pitchers Brandon Ramey, Tyler McKay, Jake Kinney, Nicoly Pina, Brandon Leibrandt, Jeff Singer; catcher Nick Matera.  There are certainly other players who might be here.  I just didn’t see them today.

Updates will continue until the Phillies provide rosters.  That might not come until the day after they begin working in their minor league spring training groups.  I’m still waiting for the minor league spring training game schedule.

Players who are apparently still rehabbing include – pitchers Kyle Young, Tyler Hallead, Ben Brown, Sandro Rosario, Trevor Bettencourt, Brian Auerbach, Carlos Francisco (WPT), Josh Tols, Robinson Martinez, Nick Fanti; catchers Edgar Cabral, Rodolfo Duran; INF Grenny Cumana; OF Jose Pujols.

I think we are going to have more than 125 players here before March 1st.

Sunday, the position players will take their physicals.  No schedule BP tomorrow.  Pitchers and catchers will practice tomorrow.  I may take the day off.  Full squad on Monday.

Saturday, I found out that I was on an ABC 6 sportscast in Philadelphia.

The photo was aired during a story about Hoskins not signing autographs for Mets fans.

19 thoughts on “Spring Training, Pitchers and Catchers, 2/15/2020

  1. thought that was you on the sportscast. Love the reports daily and the hat as well. Headed for our 20th year soon.

  2. Disappointed that Segura is not there. He didn’t endear himself last season. Appeared over weight and didn’t hustle. Anxious to hear Jim’s report on how he looks when he reports
    You would have thought that Klentak would have questioned why he switched teams so frequently. Bad contract.

    1. He was an MVP candidate not to long lvl, more recent than McCutchen. His hustle level is certainly not MVP-Esque. He reminds me somewhat of Bobby Abreu, the dude can hit but seems like he’d rather be doing something else at times .

      Jim, first time I’ve seen a picture of you, I was starting to question if you were Batman … never being in the same place at the same time .. 🙂

      1. TAC3….Dan Vogelbach from Ft Myers, teammates with both Robbie Cano and Jean Segura as Mariners…..they were each extremely challenged as teammates in the clubhouse. Lets just put it at that.

  3. Glad to read Nick Fanti is throwing some…hope all the ailments from the back to the shoulder are behind him now.

    1. 88 mph fastball, is going to be hard for him to win in majors. I liked this kid coming out of high school, but the velo scares me

      1. rocco….correct.
        Fanti does not have the velo that many MLB pitchers have and you want to have….he, however, has the lefty aspect as his saving grace.
        More lefties with his hi-80s velo , and I do not need to name the many who have since we all know who they were, have succeeded than their counterparts…right handed pitchers.
        So I am hoping someday he can achieve his end result.

        1. I know some left handers win with less. but its hard. I swear for the few who win with less, I would never draft a pitcher with less than 90 in high school, I would hit a lot more than miss if you follow that formula

  4. I feel odd (and always will) saying I’m glad the Phillies got Garlick, but this is precisely the type of move I think they should be making. We should be looking for the next Max Muncy or Luke Voit. I know it was in the PCL, but Garlick put together a knock your socks off 81 games in AAA last year. I want to see more moves like this. More moves like picking up a Chris Sanchez. I trash the Phils when they do things I don’t like, so I’ve got to applaud them when do smart things like this.

    FYI, in the “great baseball names” category is the kid that Dom Brown is shown coaching in the Inquirer article today “Max Hitman” – he should be Josh Outman’s nemesis.

  5. Thank you for the reports Jim. You have a great way of making readers feel like we are there with the details you provide. Much appreciated.

  6. I’ve always believed starting Spencer Howard in XST was the best way to limit his innings and keep him available for a possible playoff run (not to mention allow him to skip throwing in cold weather). This reported tweak to his knee seems like a logical reason to put him on that XST course.

    1. It’s a smart move – I like it. To this day I think the Nationals cost themselves a possible WS championship in the early 2010s (I forget the year) by not stringing Strasburg along and pulling him from the rotation before the season ended. We want to see Spencer pitching 5 or 6 innings in a playoff game, not throwing 7 innings in AAA in April.

      1. I don’t expect him to pitch in ST at all. He’s there to observe. He’ll stay in XST until May and then make about 9 starts (5 innings max) at LHV and, if they’re good ones, he’ll be up in July to make about 15 starts (also 5 innings max). That would reach about 120 innings by the end of the regular season.

      1. Thanks, Frankk. Think it has been a couple of years since his TJ surgery so hopefully he can make a good contribution!

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