A Big Saturday for Phillies Prospects In Arizona and Monteria, Columbia

Seems like Phillies baseball never ends. Phillies prospects had good games in the Arizona Fall League and in the U-23 World Baseball Cup tournament on Saturday.

The Phillies contingent came up big in the Arizona Fall League in a 9-7, 11 inning win and one of our favorite young catching prospects hit an RBI double in the U-23 tournament in Monteria, Columbia.

In the desert, first basement Darick Hall hit a solo homer and an RBI single.  Right fielder Austin Listi had three “knocks”, as Mike Schmidt would say, with two runs scored and a drove in a run. Hall is second on the Scottsdale Scorpions in home runs with two and RBIs with seven in only six games. The problem is Hall has struck out in nine of 24 at bats.

On the mound, Luke Leftwich is Rule Five eligible and is fighting for a spot on the 40-man roster. He has been a shutdown reliever so far in the AFL. He pitched another shutout inning in the game and is yet to allow a run in 5.2 innings in four appearances striking out eight. Lefty, Jonathan Hennigan pitched a clean 11th inning striking two for the save.

In the U-23 tournament for Team Australia, catcher Mitch Edward lined a run scoring double to get the Aussies on the board. You can watch his hit HERE. They went on to a 5-3 win over the Czech Republic. In Sunday’s game, the Aussies downed the Dominican Republic 4-3 though Edwards did not play. They are now 2-1 in the tournament.

Mitchell Edwards lines a down and in pitch for an RBI double. (Photo courtesy of U-23 WBSC)

Edwards played in the recently concluded Fall Instructs in Clearwater.  Watch Edward’s “loud out” in an Instructs game against the Yankees, HERE. He will play for the Adelaide Bite in the Australia Baseball League which opens up on November 15th. He will be joined by second baseman Curtis Mead who was also at Phillies Instructs.  Other Phillies prospects listed on the ABL rosters are first baseman, Rixan Wingrove and pitcher, Nick Fanti for the Sydney Blue Sox and one of the top pitching prospects, Kyle Glogoski from New Zealand. He will pitch with a 25-inning ABL season limit for the Auckland Tuatara. Read HERE.

Nick Fanti in Fall Instructional League play

 

 

 

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What Was The Most Important Question That Needed To Be Answered at Phillies Instructs?

The final game last week of Phillies Instructs against the Yankees Instructs gave us hope for a better future. But the future is a long way off.  They won the game convincingly, 6-1, but that was not important. What was important that all seven pitchers in the game had “swing and miss” stuff, striking out 14. They had some pop in the lineup. One batter, corner outfielder Ben Akilinski, hit two home runs. The left side of the infield performed credibly with Alec Bohm and Luis Garcia each having base hits. You can read more about the final Instructs game in the previous blog, HERE.

For me, the most important question that needed to be answered in Instructs is this. Do the Phillies have a long term solution at third base and shortstop?  Clearly, both Bohm, the 2018 first round draft pick, and Garcia, the big international signing from 2017, can hit based on what we saw at Instructs games.

Will Alec Bohm and Luis Garcia be the answers on the left side of a future Phillies infield?

It’s clear from the scouting reports over the last few weeks that Luis Garcia will be an elite player in the middle infield. He looked great at both both second and shortstop in the Instructs games we attended.

This is what Ben Badler of Baseball America said in a recent chat and update on the Gulf Coast League:

“The split on Garcia as an amateur was whether you saw him as a top of the order bat or someone who could play shortstop well but would fit better at the bottom of the order. This year, all the reviews I was hearing on his bat were highly encouraging. Good bat control, advanced approach, knows the strike zone, and obviously the performance to go with it as a 17-year-old in that league is impressive. That’s a very well-rounded player, and the chance to be a plus hitter with plus defense at shortstop is really exciting.”

“Garcia is a smooth, graceful defender at shortstop with quick feet, great hands and a plus arm. He has the ability to make the flashy barehanded play, though unlike a lot of young shortstops, Garcia also makes smart decisions in the field and plays under control. While there was a split camp among scouts on Garcia’s hitting ability as an amateur, he showed a mature hitting approach from both sides in the GCL.”

“A solid-average runner, Garcia has a calm, quiet setup and uses his hands well at the plate, staying within the strike zone and spraying line drives around the field with gap power.”

Jim Salisbury, of nbcsports.com.Phildelphia, posted a recent article about Garcia after he was named the top prospect this year in the Gulf Coast League by Baseball America, Read HERE. 

Philly.com’s Bob Brookover in his recent review of the Phillies farm system quotes a scout  as saying Garcia “is going to be a player.”

The verdict on Bohm is not as optimistic on his defense.   We have seem him make a couple of errors at third in Instructs games.

Brookover quoted a scout as saying about Bohm, “most of the time college players come into professional baseball, you don’t see the guy at his best. You’ll see the real guy in 2019. I do not think he will be a third baseman”.

Another infielder gets high grades from a Phillies assistant General Manager, Bryan Minniti. He is Logan Simmons. Minniti said in the Brookover post, “he’s one of the guys you haven’t heard of yet but you will soon”.  Simmons was a sixth round draft pick in the 2018 draft.

Could this be the likely Phillies infield in the next couple of years: Bohm at third, Garcia at short, Scott Kingery at second and Rhys Hoskins at first?  The 2019 season should tell us a lot more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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