Sorry for the absence over the last 10 days or so. I had to have a procedure done on my “Frankenfoot” that required rest. On the plus side, I’m able to walk now, the best since I sprained it and broke a bone just 10 days before spring training began.
Yesterday was one of my favorite days of the year…the day that minor league pitchers and catchers report. Additionally, the majority of the position players are here already. I’ve known some of these guys for more than five years so it’s great to see some of my friends again.
Matt Hockenberry, who pitched for the Threshers last season, is now a pitching coach for one of the two Gulf Coast League teams the Phillies will be fielding this year. I love this picture as the pitchers are all former colleagues of Hockenberry’s and it’s good to see them all enjoying a laugh together before the work begins. Also in the picture from left to right: Tyler Viza, Alberto Tirado, Alexis Rivero, Garrett Clevenger, Luke Leftwich and Jacob Waguespack in the red shirt.
I took a lot of pictures all around camp yesterday as they are all during drills, there’s not much to say as the pictures speak for themselves:
This is the part of spring training where in many aspects, it’s hard to write a narrative of where a team is going to be. This week is sort of a “limbo”for the players. There are way too many players in camp and the minor leaguers who are on the major league roster have yet to be cut.
The major league camp will start cutting players and those players will either be sent to minor league camp or given their outright release. Once that happens, all of the players sent down will have to be placed on a roster and then the players will have to be shifted around and again, some will be given their release as well.
It’s a nervous time. That being said, as far as a story, the story is the minor leaguers are playing other minor leaguers to keep a spot on the roster. It’s as if everyone is waiting for the other proverbial “shoe to drop”.
Baseball Ross and I will have a recap of the week’s intrasquad games tomorrow so be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, you can find it HERE.
What I thought I’d share today is a series of pictures I took for your enjoyment.
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.
Today the first minor league work group list was released. Keep in mind this list is FLUID and will change. The first big change will be when the guys that are currently in the major league camp are sent down. Then some of the players in group 1 (AAA, the far left column) will shift right into AA. Then players in the second column will shift to the third, high a and so on.
So to lay it out the columns from left to right are:
AAA-Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, AA-Reading Fightins, A+-Clearwater Threshers, A–Lakewood BlueClaws. The fifth column will be the Williamsport Crosscutters/Extended Spring group once the shift of players starts.
Again this year, I was privileged to be asked by Reading Eagle Sports Writer Mike Drago to be part of the “Rank the Phillies Prospects” survey. He asked us to “rank the top players in the Phillies organization from No. 1 to No. 25, based on their present value to the organization and their major league ceiling/potential. (A weighted ballot will be used, with first-place votes earning 25 points, second place 24 points, etc.)”
This is one of my favorite things to take part in as it’s so cool to be included with so many other reporters and bloggers whose work I enjoy reading.
So I talked through my list with Baseball Ross and we realized that we have seen so many of the prospects as they have progressed, save for a few that were acquired via trades or the draft. So here’s “our” list:
1. Jake Thompson
2. Dylan Cozens
3. Rhys Hoskins
4. Jorge Alfaro
5. J P Crawford
6. Roman Quinn
7. Mickey Moniak
8. Franklyn Kilome
9. Elniery Garcia
10. Nick Williams
11. Jose Taveras
12. Scott Kingery
13. Ben Lively
14. Tyler Viza
15. Jose Pujols
16. Cornelius Randolph
17. Jhailyn Ortiz
18. Andrew Pullin
19. Andrew Knapp
20. Jiandido Tromp
21. Alberto Tirado
22. Jimmy Cordero
23. Sixto Sanchez
24. Nick Fanti
25. Adonis Medina
As you can see, I have been able to take pictures of all but two, and I have seen all 25 but sadly the two I missed were on days where I didn’t have my camera with me or the battery was dead by the end of the day during spring training. So Ross and I really put a lot of thought into our list.
The list from Drago as complied by all my fellow reporters and bloggers:
Reading Eagle Phillies minor league prospect ranks
(with position, current club)
1. J.P. Crawford, SS, Lehigh Valley
2. Jorge Alfaro, C, Reading
3. Nick Williams, OF, Lehigh Valley
4. Jake Thompson, P, Philadelphia
5. Mickey Moniak, OF, Gulf Coast
6. Dylan Cozens, OF, Reading
7. Roman Quinn, OF, Reading
8. Cornelius Randolph, OF, Lakewood
9. Franklyn Kilome, P, Lakewood
10. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Reading
11. Scott Kingery, 2B, Reading
12. Andrew Knapp, C, Lehigh Valley
13. Adonis Medina, P, Williamsport
14. Nick Pivetta, P, Lehigh Valley
15. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF, Gulf Coast
16. Ricardo Pinto, P, Reading
17. Elniery Garcia, P, Clearwater
18. Ben Lively, P, Lehigh Valley
19. Kevin Gowdy, P, Gulf Coast
20. Carlos Tocci, OF, Clearwater
Others receiving multiple votes( in order of vote total):
Mark Appel, P, Lehigh Valley
Sixto Sanchez, P, Gulf Coast
Jimmy Cordeo, P, Reading
Cole Stobbe, SS, Gulf Coast
Jose Pujols, OF, Lakewood
Alberto Tirado, P, Lakewood
Alec Asher, P, Lehigh Valley
Thomas Eshelman, P, Reading
Drew Anderson, P, Clearwater
Andrew Pullin, OF, Reading
Cole Irvin, P, Williamsport
Arquimedes Gamboa, Williamsport
JoJo Romero, P, Williamsport
Malquin Canelo, SS, Clearwater
Tyler Viza, P, Reading
It’s enlightening to see where all they players fall per the weighted vote. Of the list, Ross and I could see almost any of them on the list though may be in a different position (as was evidenced by our differences on our list). I will find it interesting to see how this pans out in the future.
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!