This morning I posted the first of the work group lists. For those of you not familiar, the work groups are preseason “rosters” for the minor league organization. It is important to note that they are very fluid at this point as there are still quite a few players still in the major league camp who will be coming down to minor league camp causing a lot of shifting among the rosters as well as some outright releases.
Baseball Ross and I compiled some of our favorite pictures from the first two days of minor league camp. You can see the vlog with pictures of Mickey Moniak, Franklyn Kilome and many others by clicking HERE.
Hurricane Hermine’s bands of rain moved onshore here this morning. While it was obvious that’s the Threshers game against the Dunedin Blue Jays in Dunedin would be cancelled, our baseball son was still required to report to Brighthouse field.
It wasn’t too hard of a trip but Old Coachman was closed from the Complex to NE Coachman. There was a few heavy bands of rain and a few periods without rain.
I also took video driving through the area…you can watch it HERE.
Here are a few pictures of the Florida Auto Exchange Stadium where the game was to take place tonight…
Earlier today, the final game of the GCL Phillies was cancelled and it locked them in as the first place team so (weather permitting) the play off game would be held tomorrow. I sincerely doubt it will be played.
So it’s a very wet night.they have added the Clearwater area to the Tropical Storm warning area and we are also under a tornado warning tonight. Baseball Ross and I live outside the 100 year flood plain so we should be safe.
It’s a scorcher here in Clearwater. Those of us brave enough to sit out in the heat and humidity were treated to a pair of major leaguers on rehab, Wil Nieves and Darren Ruf. We were also able to see Luke Dykstra, son of Lenny Dykstra play for the Braves.
Extended Spring Training has ended and now it’s time for short-season New York-Penn League to start.
It’s been the best of times and the worst of times. We watched some good friends get promoted to Williamsport and others were either left for the Gulf Coast League, sent to the Dominican Summer League (DSL) or given their outright release.
Last summer was the first summer that Baseball Ross and I spent nearly every day sitting in the stifling noon-day heat watching these young guys play in the rookie league of GCL.
GCL is special for the simple fact that the fans that go are either related to the players or die-hards. What other kind of crazy people would sit out in the heat at noon? There usually are only 5 or 6 “non family” members there so the players get to know you and you really feel invested in their progress.
The short-season New York-Penn League starts on Friday and Ross and I will be on our way to Pennsylvania. We are hoping to see Williamsport, then AA Reading, AAA Lehigh Valley and A- Lakewood, though not necessarily in that order. Couple that with seeing the GCL Phillies and the A+ Threshers the day we return and we will have seen EVERY team in the Phillies’ minor League system! By the end of the week, I will wager that we will travel close to THREE THOUSAND MILES!
Baseball Ross and I like to take advantage of all the baseball that Florida has to offer. Over the last few weeks, GCL Phillies pitcher, Feliberto Sanchez has taken to Ross, making a point of telling Ross every time he is going to pitch. This week, Sanchez was the opening day pitcher in Dunedin and after we congratulated him on his 3 scoreless innings, he told us that he was going to pitch when the team went to Bradenton.
So after having many a day this week ruined by rain and storms we decided to head over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to Bradenton. I had never been to Pirate City. It’s about an hour from the Carpenter complex. Pirate city is a nice facility with some history.
The only downside to the facility was the lack of shade and the inoperable vending machines. It was 88 degrees with a “real feel” of 97. So shade and a cool drink would have been refreshing.
I was glad to be there, this game was the first appearance of touted draft pick, JP Crawford.
In his first game, Crawford was DH and managed a little blooper down toward third that got him his first professional hit-a single.
Then, Feliberto Sanchez was in to pitch.
Sanchez looked very sharp. One of the things I like about him is his attitude. He’s so happy. He is likely the most friendly and gregarious player I’ve ever met and that’s not one of the most common traits of a pitcher. Sanchez is so unflappable it amazes me.
He missed a pitch and with many young (19 year olds) pitchers, it sometimes can spook them and it may take them a few pitches or even batters until they regain their composure. Not Sanchez. Next pitch was right where it needed to be and he didn’t even seem bothered.
With this great mindset I think it will help him progress.
Sanchez went five scoreless innings. As is typical for this atypical pitcher, he was smiling from ear to ear when he was done.
But was our day done?
There was a double header at Brighthouse! So off we went. After a brief stop for lunch and a little shopping, we headed back across the Skyway to Clearwater for the Threshers double header.
They dropped the first game in an extra inning and when the second game went into an extra inning, I was so sure we were going to drop another one.
BUT who was up? Carlos Alonso. He managed to drill one that brought in the winning run.
The GCL Phillies won, the Threshers won one of two…I guess two outta three ain’t bad?
It’s summer here in Florida. Yesterday was supposed to be the beginning of the Gulf Coast League season with the GCL Phillies playing the GCL Blue Jays at the Carpenter Complex.
As it often happens here in Florida, we left our home just a few miles from the Complex and the sun was out and there were only big fluffy clouds. Three miles later, the sky had opened up and as we neared the Complex it was obvious that they had had a good amount of rain. The drainage culverts that were usually empty were more than half full and there was standing water in both the outfield and infield at the Complex. We were informed that the game was cancelled and that a double header would be held on Saturday at the Blue Jay’s Englebert Field. We went to a local eatery for lunch and they were without power–which may show how much worse the weather was in Clearwater as opposed to Dunedin.
Today started out beautiful, sunny and a light breeze and since we had rain last night, the temperature was good.
Draft pick Cord Sandberg led off for the Phillies….unfortunately, he struck out. Sandberg is from nearby Bradenton and he had several fans there to see him in his first professional game. (Next week the GCL Phils will head to Bradenton to play the Pirates and I will bet that there will be a large contingent of fans to see their hometown boy. Ross and I will also hope to make the trip over the Sunshine Skyway to see Feliberto Sanchez pitch again.)
Jiwan James was up next in a rehab appearance and he singles. Followed by Tommy Joseph who was also making a rehab appearance. There’s a pass ball and James goes to second. Joseph walked and James to third. Next was Nick Ferdinand…
Ferdinand hit one to center that SHOULD have been caught, but as it wasn’t he goes to first, Joseph to second and James scores!
Next up was Robinson Torres who popped up. Next was Jose Pujols. The pitcher for the Jays throws another ball that gets by the catcher and Tommy Joseph runs home, but is tagged at the plate. (I thought he was safe, but what do I know?)
The opening day pitcher for the Phillies was Feliberto Sanchez. He’s a 19 year old out of the Dominican Republic.
Sanchez was impressive in his first start. By the end of his 3 innings, he gave up 2 hits, no runs, no walks, hit one batter and 2 strike outs. When he left the game the Phils were up 5-0.
Next to pitch for the Phils was Mark Leiter. His line 1 inning, no hits, no runs, no walks and 1 strike out.
In the fifth, Matt Soren came in to pitch and the wheels came off for the Phils. Soren looked great for the first two batters then fell apart. Soren’s final line was 2/3 of an inning, 3 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk and 1 strike out. Phils still up 5-3. Ronald Mendez came in to finish the inning and pitched the sixth and gave up a run, but it was unearned as it was the result of an error. Phils up 5-4.
In the seventh, Cody Forsythe, gave up 3 hits, one run and no walks or strikeouts. So what was supposed to be the last inning of the first game of a double header…wasn’t and not by long shot. The game ended up going FOURTEEN innings.
Ricky Bielski was the highlight of the next two innings.
Bielski went 2 innings 1 hit, no runs, no walks, 3 strike outs. He had good command and when he started the 2nd he got behind with a 3-0 count, he got the batter to ground out to second. What impressed me is that after that 3-0 count, he struck out the next two batters. It was good to see that during this first game of the season. I was impressed.
In the fourteenth, the Jays managed to score and ended the game. It was a hot one, 92 degrees and sunny with little to no breeze. I called it a day. I was fried by the sun, very hot and downed almost 80 ounces of iced tea to cool off!
I left game two to more hardy folk, like Baseball Ross.
In the end, it was a day that supposed to be the second game of the season, then a day with two 7 inning games and by the time it was done, TWENTY innings of baseball were in the books…I’ll bet those guys will sleep well tonight. (Sadly, the GCL Phillies also dropped the second game 3-1)
Derrick Mitchell had been on a tear. One Saturday night in June, he hit EIGHT RBIs during a double header, one GRAND SLAM home run and in the second game of the evening, he rustled up four more RBIs. It was one of those nights where it made the future seem limitless…
Then…the next night…
During the 9th inning he was hit on the hand by a pitch.
Pins and surgery followed. It’s been eight weeks since Derrick’s been on the field…but he’s back.
He played yesterday with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in a game in Orlando against the GCL Braves. He hit a home run and had a put out as he played centerfield.
Today, the team returned to Ashburn field and Derrick was the designated hitter. He went 1 for 5 today…but that one…