It’s Mickey Moniak vs. Simon Mizziotti For The Phillies Centerfielder Of The Future

When minor league spring training camp opens around the first of March next year we will be watching for many contests to see who will be Phillies of the Future.

Mickey Moniak at Instructs 2017

One of the most interesting contests will be for centerfield.  Right now it looks like it’s Mickey Moniak or Simon Muzziotti who someday will be patrolling the outfield at Citizens Bank Park.

Simon Muzziotti at Instructs 2017

Both of them have so many similarities in build, age, swing and tools.  Moniak played at one level higher than did Muzziotti in 2017.   They each have finished two years of play and the Phillies can control them for three more years before the Rule 5 draft eligibility sets in.

Read about what was said about them when Moniak was drafted HERE and Muzziotti was signed as an international free agent HERE in 2016.

We watched them play at the recent Fall Instructs.  Both looked sharp with quick bats.  Watch video of Moniak HERE and Muzziotti HERE from 2017 Instructs.

Also from Fall Instructs it looks like Adam Haseley in left and Jhailyn Ortiz in right are the morning line favorites for the outfield corners in the future.

Moniak and Muzziotti are so close in ability with similar skill sets that it is hard to project who has the advantage in center now.

I like Muzziotti better but not by much after watching both of them play this season.  One scout told MLB.com that he compares to a Jacoby Ellsbury.

It seems to me the Phillies will have room for only one of them on their major league roster in the future when that day comes.  So let the battle continue in the 2018 minor league spring training camp.  It will be interesting to see who eventually wins the centerfielder job.

 

 

 

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Greg Pickett Put Together A Hitter’s Highlight Reel In The 2017 Phillies Instructs Games

We did not get to see all the Phillies Instructs and intrasquad games on the two week scheduled. In the games we did see, first baseman Greg Pickett was usually the best player on the field.

We put together a highlight reel that says it all.  Pickett hit two long home runs to center during the time.  One just to the right of the batter’s eye at Ashburn Field and another one high off the netting of the “eye’ at the Blue Jays Field.

Also we watched him hit two singles and a double in other games.

Greg Pickett

Watch Pickett’s five-hit highlight video HERE.

It was harder to get a read on the Phillies Instructs pitchers.  They had 35 young pitchers in camp who pitched either at the rookie or low A ball levels including three 16 year- olds who were making their professional debuts. Also the four Phillies minor league pitchers now pitching in the Arizona Fall League were given a couple of innings of work each in the first week of Instructs games.

So we are going to pick Elniery Garcia as the best pitcher that we saw in Instructs.  Garcia  pitched in the first week. Watch him pitch at Instructs HERE.  He is now pitching in the AFL.  On Monday he pitched a brilliant four-inning, one-hitter for the Glendale Desert Dogs for the win.  He struck out five and walked only one in what had to be his best outing of the season.

Jim Callis of MLB.com wrote an account of the game.  Read it HERE.

We all know the Elniery Garcia story.  He was added to the 40 man roster at end of last season. Then suspended for first 80 games of this minor league season.  But clearly he is on the road to a great comeback story if Monday night’s game is any indication though his fastball was off a few miles per hour according to the Callis article.

The 2017 season was one of the few if only times in Phillies history where they did not have a game started by a left-handed pitcher.  Elniery Garcia has the opportunity of a lifetime to make the Phillies 25-man roster to give them a lefty starter in its 2018 MLB rotation.

It’s unfortunate that Pickett played only at Williamsport in 2017 in the half season NY/Penn League.  He looked like a seasoned veteran at the plate in the Instructs games.

He will probably start the 2018 season at Lakewood in the South Atlantic League.  This was the third season in the Phillies system for the 20 year-old.  He was an eight round  draft pick in 2015 and missed the 2016 regular season with knee tendinitis.

Two players to watch in the 2018 season will be left handed hitting Greg Pickett with the bat and lefty starter Elniery Garcia based on what they have done this Fall.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Jury Is Still Out On The Last Five Phillies First Round Draft Picks

The Phillies have not been successful yet in developing impact recent first round draft picks. If the Phillies are ever to make it to October baseball they need to hit on some of them.  Here is an update on how the five most recent first round picks have progressed this season.

The 2013 first rounder J.P. Crawford finally started to hit at AAA after the All Star break with a  second half AAA average of .287 and an .898 OPS. But he ran out of gas at the major league level going only 4 for 27 in his last ten games to finish up hitting .214 in 70 September MLB at bats with the Phillies

Yes, 2014 first round pick Aaron Nola did win one more game than he lost in 2017 going 12-11 and now is 24-22 in his three year MLB career.  But is he the No. 1, top of the rotation, stopper the Phillies need in the rotation?

We watched 2015 first round pick left fielder Cornelius Randolph from our front row seats at Clearwater Threshers games.  He ended the Florida State League season hitting .162 going 6 for 37 in last ten games.  He hit .250 for the 2017 FSL season.   He now is playing in the Arizona Fall League.

We watched 2016 first overall pick, centerfielder Mickey Moniak, on a few MilB-TV games for Lakewood.   In his last ten games he hit .205 going 8 for 39.  He hit .236 for the Sally League season.  We just finish watching him play several games in the Florida Instructs. He came up with several base hits in one of the final FIL games. Watch HERE.  

Mickey Moniak doubles at Instructs against the Yankees

So what has the 2017 first round pick, left fielder Adam Haseley, done so far? He did hit .308 going 12 for 39 in his last ten games at Lakewood.   He hit .270 at Williamsport with a .730 OPS in 137 at bats and .258 at Lakewood with a .694 OPS in 66 at bats.  A .730 OPS is usually considered the average OPS in most leagues.  He has just finished up playing in Instructs.  There he showed the ability to hit to all fields in the final week of Instructs.  Watch HERE.  Looks for him to get an invite to the major league camp.

Adam Haseley singles down the left field line at Instructs against the Yankees

The jury is still out on the last five Phillies first round draft picks.  The 2018 season will be important for them all to see if any of these first round picks can have a breakout season to become significant impact players .  So far I am of limited optimism with Aaron Nola as the best of the bunch.  The rest still have a lot to prove for the amount of money they have been paid as No. 1 picks.

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Phillies Instructs Rodolfo Duran Showed Why He Just Might Be The Best Young Catching Prospect They Have!

Rodolfo Duran has to be one of the top young catching prospects in the Phillies system.  The 19 year-old hit .313 over his last ten games for Williamsport and for the 2017 season threw out almost an amazing 50% of base stealing attempts (24 of 50 attempts) in the half- season NY-Penn League.

Rodolfo Duran squares up a triple to center against the Yankees Instructs

On Tuesday against the Yankees Instructs, he put on a show for us on Ashburn Field.  He hit a triple.  The ball landed at the base of the batter’s eye in center. Watch HERE.  He eventually scored the first Phillies run in the 6-2 loss to the Yankees.  Notice he was giving it all he had coming into third base.

But the most impressive play by Duran was from behind the plate when he stopped a double steal attempt of home plate.  With runners on first and third he threw out the runner attempting to steal second and then made an outstanding tag on the return throw from second to the get the runner on third attempting a delayed steal of home.  The best 2-6-2 double play I have ever seen.

On the mound, the Phillies were giving a lot of pitchers work as Fall Instructs comes to an end with camp breaking on Friday.

Victor Santos, a 17 year-old who played in the Dominican Summer League in 2017, pitched an impressive inning striking out two.  Watch his two strikeouts HERE.  Santos went 3-2 with a  2.25 ERA, striking out 30 and walking 2 in 40 inning in his last 10 DSL appearances.

 

 

 

 

 

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Was The Phillies Future Unfolding Before Our Eyes At Instructs? Moniak and Ortiz Combine For The Winning Run

Instructs can tell us much about the Phillies future and yesterday’s game at Ashburn Field was no exception.  We also thought about are past earlier in the day.

We had to arrive late for the game. Earlier in the morning we went to the Vet to bring home the Urn of our late Shih Tzu puppy, Maggie.  She passed recently after 17 great years at our side.  Now she will be forever with us.

We arrived in the fifth inning at Ashburn Field just in time time watch the Phillies two top prospects from 2016 and 2015 deliver. Mickey Moniak  promptly lined a double into the right center field gap. Watch HERE.  He was driven in by the next batter , Jhailyn Ortiz, who singled through the 5-6 hole, Watch HERE. This gave the Phillies the lead over the visiting Braves instructs which they would not give up in a 3-1 win.

Then we saw two pitchers shutdown the Bravos over the final four innings.

Lefty Ethan Lindow, a 2017 fifth round draft pick who will turn 19 years-old on October 15, was outstanding in the 6th and 7th innings.  Watch one of his strike “threes” HERE. He struck out 34 in 27.1 innings for the GCL Phillies this season.

Another lefty, Jakob Hernandez, came on in the final two innings with his swing and miss stuff for the save.  He was a 2017, 21st round draft pick.  He struck out 18 in 13 innings over 10 appearances this season out of the pen including the GCL playoff game without amazingly issuing  a walk.   Watch one of his strike “threes” from yesterday HERE.

It was quite a day for us and the Phillies prospects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Jhordany Mezquinta and Francisco Morales Standout On The Mound and Greg Pickett Hits The Batter’s Eye In Instructs Action

No doubt the Phillies have outstanding young talent baseball age 20 and under. We were lucky enough to watch lefty Jhordany Mezquita pitch on Thursday in a game against the Yankees and Francisco Morales pitch on Saturday morning against the Blue Jays Instructs.

Mezquita was an eight round draft pick in the June draft.  He was eligible for the draft though he was born in Santiago, Dominican Republic but is listed as living in Hazleton Pa.

Mezquita had a great season with the GCL Phillies where he started nine games and went 3-0.  He allowed only 3 earned runs for a 0.72 ERA in 37.2 innings, striking 35 and walking 12.  He had an amazing WHIP of 0.85. He will turn 20 years old on January 30th.

Baseball America selected Mezquita for its 2017 Rookie-Level Classification All-Star team. He was one of only two left-handed starters selected.  The other one was the 2017 No. 1 draft pick of the San Diego.  That is lofty company.

Watch HERE Mezquita strike out a Yankee Instruct in Thursday’s game at Ashburn Field.

Francisco Morales started Saturday’s Instructs game at the Blue Jays Complex in Dunedin. He was a starting pitcher also with the GCL Phillies also this summer.  He had a 3-2 record 10 appearances including 9 starts.  In 41.1 innings he compiled a 3.05 ERA striking out 44 and walking 20.

Morales will turn 18 on October 27th.  He has grown into a powerful looking body.  Originally signed in July of 2016 as an international free agent  when he was listed at 6’4″ 185 lbs.  He is now listed on the Instructs roster at 224 lbs.

He seemed to be working on pitching inside t0 right-handed hitters in a couple of innings of work on Saturday morning.  Watch HERE him induce a bases loaded double play and record a strikeout.

The big bat after the first week of Instructs continues to be first baseman Greg Pickett.  The left handed hitting first baseman hit one of the longest home runs to center I might have seen. He just missed clearing the top of the batters eye in straight center field at the Blue Jays field.

His first Instruct home run went just to the right of the batter’s eye at Ashburn Field earlier last week. This blast hit above the yellow line high up on the eye for his second Instructs homer. Watch HERE.  In the games I saw last week, he hit two homers, a double and two singles.

Instructs wrap up this week with games against the Braves on Monday and the Yankees on  Tuesday at the Carpenter Complex.  A Phillies camp day is scheduled on Wednesday and a game at Pirate City in Bradenton is slated against the Pirates on Thursday.  The Phillies break camp on Friday to end Florida Instructs for another season.

Our attention turns to the Arizona Fall which opens up tomorrow. Representing the Phillies on the Glendale Desert Dogs are pitchers Trevor Betencourt, Garrett Clevenger, Elniery Garcia and J.D. Hammer; catcher Edgar Cabral, infielder Zach Green and outfielder “C” Randolph.

 

 

 

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Phillies Instructs 2017, Pickett and De La Cruz Continue To Star, Still a Few More Games To Go!

The compact three week period of Florida Instructs is always fun to watch.  It’s been a little more cozy this time played at the fields of the Carpenter Complex that made it even better to watch because scouts and Front Office types are always walking by. It is good to see Pat Gillick back on the scene, for example.

Still, it is the young mostly baseball age 20 and under players in the Phillies system that we first get introduced to at Instructs.  For me the stars have been  a veteran of Instructs who put on a show for us last year in Instructs at then Bright House Field, Greg Pickett, and  17-year-old newcomer, Carlos De La Cruz.

In Wednesday’s intrasquad game on Ashburn Field, Pickett doubled down the right field line, Watch HERE and De La Cruz again singled in the ninth inning to drive in two runs. Watch HERE.

Pickett played first base in Thursday’s game against the Yankees and lined two hard hit balls for base hits.

Saturday morning the Phillies Instructs travel up Belcher Rd. to play the Blue Jays Instructs.

They finish Instructs at Carpenter with games against the Braves on Monday, the Yankees on Tuesday and an intrasquad game on Wednesday before ending the Florida Instructional League season with a game against the Pirates at Pirates City in Bradenton on Thursday.

 

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