Luis Garcia, Ben Aklinski and Kevin Gowdy Lead Phillies Instructs Team to 6-1 Win Over Yankees in Final Game

Finally, the curtain was brought down on the Phillies 2018 season Friday morning at Spectrum Field.  The Phillies ended Fall Instructs by downing the Yankees Instructs 6-1.  They were led by Luis Garcia’s two hits and the two home runs by Ben Aklinski. Also the seven pitchers the Phillies used in the game combined to strikeout 14 Yankees and allowed only three hits.

Luis Garcia

Garcia started off the game with a long single off the right field wall. He eventually scored the first run on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch of Carlos De La Cruz. Garcia drove in the third run on a base hit to left center. Watch his hits HERE.

Ben Aklinski celebrates his second home run of the game.

Aklinski provided the power by hitting a home into the visitors bullpen in left for the second run and a three-run homer over the Tiki Bar roof down the line late in the game to seal the win. Watch his second home run, HERE.

Kevin Gowdy

Kevin Gowdy



Kevin Gowdy made his first appearance in a league game since August 27th of 2016. He struck out the first batter of the the game. Watch HERE. Coming off of Tommy John surgery, Gowdy threw 24 pitches, 12 for strikes, before leaving in the first inning on a pitch count limit. In addition to his strikeout, he walked two and induced a fly ball out to center. It has been a long road back for Gowdy who was selected in the second round of the 2016 draft.

The Phillies pitching was dominating. The Instructs pitching staff has looked sharp for the most part all Fall under the direction of pitching coach Brad Bergesen. His Lakewood staff had the lowest ERA in minor league baseball during the regular season in the South Atlantic League.

Gowdy was followed on the mound by Robinson Martinez, 1.1 innings, two K’s; Alexis Rivero, one K; Victor Santos, two innings, four K’s; Blake Bennett, two innings, three K’s;  Gabriel Cotto, one K and Austin Ross, two K’s. Watch these strikeouts from Friday’s game HERE.

We were able to watch all the home Instructs games. We were fascinated by all the young talent at the lower levels of the system.  Clearly, Luis Garcia would get my vote for Phillies Instructs Player of the Year. He can do it all right now at baseball age 18.

Because the pitchers throw only an inning or two, it is hard to get a read on all of them.  The four strikeouts by Victor Santos in two innings Friday and Mauricio Llovera striking out the side in turn, in a inning of work to start the Instructs season were impressive.  Clearly, Austin Ross pitching the last inning of his last two appearances striking out four was noteworthy.

Now on to the Arizona Fall League which started earlier in the week and Caribbean Winter Ball which starts this weekend.















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Phillies Instructs Players Luis Garcia and Luke Miller Standout in FIL Action

Luis Garcia

Luis Garcia just turned 18-years-old, but he plays like he is already major league ready. In Tuesday’s Phillies game with the Yankees Instructs, he made a play to his right playing second base that some major league second baseman could not make. He went to his right as far he could, fielded the ball with his back to first base, pivoted in one motion and made a strong throw to get the runner at first. Earlier he lined a base hit to center. Watch his hit HERE. He can do it all!

Luke Miller

Another guy who is doing it with his bat is first baseman Luke Miller. He lined two doubles down the left field line. Watch his second double HERE.  He and Garcia had three of four hits the Phillies had in the 6-2 loss. Miller also showed a strong glove making a pick at first. Watch HERE.

Alfonso Puello

Jaylen Smith

Jake Kinney

With the exception of allowing four runs in the ninth inning to break up a 2-2 game, the Phillies pitched well. Alfonso Puello and Jake Kinney struck out two in two innings each, while lefty Jaylen Smith mowed down two Yankees on strikeouts in one inning of work.  Watch HERE.

The Phillies Instructs wrap up the Florida Instructional League season and Florida baseball for another season on Friday morning with another game at Spectrum Field with the Yankees.






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Additional Phillies Instructs Talent Stood Out in Saturday’s Game

In the previous blog, we showed the top Phillies talent who played in Saturday’s FIL game. These guys impressed us as likely to play someday in the major leagues.  Now, we go down a level of players, who it is too early to tell, but they showed promise in the game.

The Phillies Instructs have been pitching well. The staff threw 15.2 innings in a row of shutout baseball in the Friday and Saturday games before an Orioles batter went deep with two outs in the seventh inning in Saturday’s game.

Gabriel Cotto

One of the pitchers who caught my attention was 18-year-old, 6’5″, lefty, Gabriel Cotto out of the Puerto Rican Academy. He was a seventh round pick in the 2018 draft. In his two shutout inning, he had a lot of movement on his slider. Saw a little of Steve Carlton in him. Watch two strikeouts HERE. Cotto struggled with his control walking 16 in 15.1 innings in his Gulf Coast League debut this summer.

With the bat, several other Phillies Instructs stood out. Corner infielder/outfielder Luke Miller lined a two-run, RBI base hit to left. Watch HERE. He hit .294 over the last ten games he played in the GCL.

Juan Aparicio

Catchers Juan Aparico and Freddy Francisco had hard hit singles. Watch HERE. Aparicio hit .339 for the GCL Phillies East team. Francisco hit .342 for the Phillies Red team in the DSL.

Madison Stokes

First baseman Madison Stokes hit the ball hard. Watch HERE. He ended the regular season with Lakewood hitting .325 in his last ten games and had the game winning hit in the only game Lakewood win in the Sally League Championship Series.

Instructs end this Friday and the Arizona Fall League opens up on Tuesday night. Phillies baseball never ends!






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Watching Future Major Leaguers Play In The Phillies System In Saturday’s Instructs Game

I once heard an old hockey coach give his thoughts when asked in a preseason camp “how do you know if he will play in the NHL”. He simply replied “you know it when you see it”. Needless to say in baseball today, all we hear about are prospect metics such as “launch angles” and exit velocity” or “can he throw 95 mph”. I’ll take the old scout who “knows it when he sees it” when when scouting a major league prospect.

When I went to the Phillies-Orioles Instructs game on Saturday morning I went hunting for guys I thought would some day play in the major leagues. I found some. I am going to say that third baseman Alec Bohm, shortstop Luis Garcia, right fielder Carlos De La Cruz and closer Austin Ross will someday play in the Show. They all showed major league skills sets in the game.

Alec Bohm

The Phillies No. 1 2018 draft pick, Bohm has impressed us every game we have seen him play in Florida. Yesterday, he lined a rbi single to center to score Garcia for the first Phillies run.  Watch HERE.

Luis Garcia

Garcia just turned 18-years-old on October 1st and was the top Phillies international signing in 2017 and 2018 GCL All-Star shortstop. Watch him bat HERE. He beats a throw to first and eventually scored on Bohm’s base hit.

Carlos De La Cruz

De La Cruz continues to impress us as a five-tool player. He just turned 19-years-old on October 6th. Yesterday, he threw out a tagging runner at the plate for a 9-2 double play.  He then singled, stole second and scored on an infield out in his next at bat.  Watch his single HERE. The New York City area native went undrafted in 2017 and was signed as a free agent that August.

Austin Ross

The surprise yesterday was the work in the ninth inning by pitcher Austin Ross who was a Phillies 35th round draft pick back in June. Ross had shoulder surgery in 2017 and did not pitch. The Phillies took a chance on him late in the 2018 draft.  He struck out two in his one inning of work. His pitches he threw were at the knees, on the corners and in the mid 90’s.  Watch one of his strikeouts HERE.  Read more about him HERE.

The Phillies are finding major-league talent at the top and bottom of the 2018 Draft and North American and International free agents as we saw in Saturday’s Instructs game. In our next blog we will write about several more Phillies Instructs who impressed us in Saturday’s game.

The Phillies charged out to a 4-0 lead after 6.2 inning before an Orioles home run. The Orioles tied it with three runs in the eight inning. The game ended 4-4 after nine innings.

The Instruct season comes to an end next week after home games against the Yankees on Tuesday an Friday.








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The Phillies Looked Sharp in Win Over the Braves in Fall Instructional League Play

The Phillies Instructs downed the Braves 3-0 at Roberts Field in a Friday afternoon FIL game. It was a good game all around. The Phillies showed good pitching, timely pitching and strong defense in the win.

The Phillies used five pitchers in the three-hit, shutout. Victor Santos, Christian Hernandez, Tyler McKay and Waylon Richardson each pitched two innings and Blake Bennett pitched the ninth.

Ben Pelletier

Ben Pelletier drove-in the first run with a base hit. Watch HERE. A Logan Simmons base hit moved the runners around in the inning with another base hit. Watch HERE.

Later in the game, the Phillies added two more runs on hits by Simon Muzziotti, Jesus Alastre, Matt Vierling and Cole Stobbe. Watch HERE.

Defensively, catcher Mitch Edwards made a great stab of a pitch wide of the plate and threw to second where they eventually got a baserunner attempting to advance.  Watch HERE.

Second baseman Christian Valerio had big top of the seventh inning making a pickup of a hard hit ground ball and turned it into a 4-6-3 double play.  Then in the bottom of the inning he lined a single to center. He did it all. Watch HERE.

The Phillies Instructs go at it again Saturday morning against the Orioles  Instructs at the Carpenter Complex.







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The Phillies Instructs Shutdown by the Orioles, 7-2 in Tuesday’s FIL Action

Not much was going on in yesterday’s Instructs game for the Phillies. The Phillies had trouble squaring up the ball while the Orioles hit the ball hard. In fact the “O’s” hit two homers and two doubles to up end the Phillies 7-2 in FIL action.

Matt Vierling

The only hard hit balls by the Phillies included a RBI single by left fielder Matt Veirling  (USA), watch HERE. Other than in Veirling’s at bats, nothing else was hit hard except a double by Arquimedes Gamboa (VZ) watch HERE and a foul ball line drive down the right field line by 17-year-old catcher Cesar Rodriguez (VZ). Watch HERE. Yes, it was that bad that I had to use a foul ball to get another hard hit ball by the Phillies in the game.

Victor Vargas

We did get to watch a top international signing from last year ($500,000), starting pitcher Victor Vargas (Columbia). He worked the first, two-innings. Watch his strikeout HERE.

Ben Pelletier

Right fielder Ben Pelletier (Canada), catcher Abrahan Gutierrez (VZ) and second baseman Curtis Mead (Australia) managed soft contact base hits, watch HERE. Pelletier showed off his accurate arm from the edge of the warning track in right on a throw to third base. Watch HERE. 

Curtis Mead

It was not a great game to evaluate the Phillies talent. After watching two interesting Instructs games last week, Monday’s game was great only if you were an Orioles fan.

The next home Instructs games at Spectrum Field are scheduled for Friday at noon with the Braves and Saturday morning at ten o’clock again with the Orioles.





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Four Young Phillies Prospects Stand Out In Fall Instructional League Play

The Phillies Instructs were in camp on Saturday morning. It gave us a chance to see many kids who likely will never make it, others just trying to hang on for next season and top young prospects. We watched several of the Phillies prospects headed to the Arizona Fall League.

Four prospects jumped out to us early on in the scrimmage on Roberts Field at the Complex.  They were: shortstop Luis Garcia, first baseman Darick Hall, corner outfielders Ben Pelletier and Carlos del la Cruz.

Luis Garcia

Garcia was a top international signing in the 2017 season. He signed with the Phillies for $2.5 million. Read HERE. The switch-hitting shortstop reminds me of  Jimmy Rollins.  All he  did was lead the Gulf Coast League in hitting with a .369 average and was third in the league in RBIs with 32,  hitting .358 with runners in scoring position.

Garcia hit a line drive single in Saturday’s game. Watch HERE.

Darick Hall

Darick Hall is headed for the Arizona Fall League.  He arrived at the Complex and looks ready to go.  Darick had a big season hitting with runners in scoring position (RISP). He hit .304 with Reading after hitting .362 with Clearwater with RISP. Overall, he hit 26 homers and 87 RBIs in 128 games in 2018.

Ben Pelletier

Ben Pelletier was third in home runs and second in RBIs in the half season NY-Penn League in 2018.  He is probably the best young outfielder to come out of Canada recently.  He played the corner outfield positions for Williamsport.

Carlos De La Cruz

Carlos Del La Cruz played the corner outfield for the GCL Phillies East and was fourth in the league in home runs. He turns only 19 years-old on October 6th. He made a nice throw in Saturday’s game to nail a runner at third.  Watch HERE.

Fall Instructs games go on until Oct. 12th before the 2018 baseball season finally comes to an end in Clearwater.






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