We were able to spend about an hour at the minor league camp Friday afternoon. So much action was going on it was hard to get a read on just who are the prospects to watch this spring. The minor league preseason games start Tuesday. A better picture will emerge as the games take place and I would suspect cuts from the major league camp will begin to arrive at the Complex by then too.
A report by the Phillies Insider blog of Larry Shenk reported earlier that 167 players are in the minor league camp. They are spread out all over the four fields of the complex, the distant back field called Joe DiMaggio about a mile away, in the weight rooms, the indoor and outdoor batting cages and the two bull pens. To say the least it is hard to track them all down even in an hour of moving from field to field.
The sad part is that most of these guys will never play in the major leagues. Looking back from the 2000 draft to the 2008 draft only 32 players drafted by the Phillies have ever made it to the major leagues. On average only 3.5 of the Phillies drafted each year have made it during this period. No one has yet made it to the Show from the most recent drafts since 2008. These numbers do not include international free agents signed by the Phillies. Carlos Ruiz and Antonio Bastardo are two of these free agents who have made it.
In making my quick rounds at the Complex two guys have caught my eye, Mitch Walding and Logan Moore from the 2011 draft. Both 6′ 3″ around 200 lbs. they have powerful builds and look to grow into major league prospects. They both hit from the left side and turned down chances to play college ball. Walding has been working out at third base and Moore has been impressive in the catching drills. These two guys will be key players to watch in the minor league spring games at the A ball level.
It was good to see our good friend Derrick Mitchell again working out in the AAA group. He looks like he added few extra lbs. of muscle over the winter. He was in a hitters group with fellow outfielders from Reading’s playoff team from last year Mike Spidale and Brent Clevlen. The guys were taking live batting practice on Ashburn Field. Mitch drove a couple of long shots off of Colby Shreve into the wind that bounced off the right field fence. One hard hit shot we could hear a reaction from infield instructor Doug Mansolino who was watching the BP behind the cage at the time.
As you can imagine the hard work of camp is taking place. Physical training, hitting in the cages and working on fundamental is not exactly fun. All these guys hope to play in the major leagues someday but few will ever get the call to the Show. For me it’s hard to relate to the million dollar players who make it to the major leagues but it does not take much for any of us to pull for the 167 guys who have been working out this week on the back fields of Phillies baseball hoping for a chance to make it big someday as well.