Tuesday night finally saw the end of Spring Training 2012. The Phillies looked like they are ready to start the season after dispatching the Pirates at Citizen Bank Park. It looks like Joe Savery made the opening day 25 man roster. Of course Freddy Galvis was the spring training ROY and will start at second base for Chase Utley who starts the season in Arizona rehabbing his chronically aching knees. Two rookies on the the Phillies opening day rosters is two more rookies than most observers thought would make the major league roster when spring training started six weeks ago .
So who looks like they will have break out years at the minor league level. At AAA the IronPigs first baseman Cody Overbeck had a strong spring putting up excellent power numbers. Catcher Tuffy Gosewisch gets his first taste of AAA ball and might see more action than might be expected behind the plate because of his excellent defensive skills. All Derrick Mitchell needs is another chance after a break out year in 2011 in Reading. Mitchell figures to be the fourth outfielder for the IronPigs. He was supposed to be a fourth outfielder for Reading last year but veteran Chris Frey went down with a back problem last April that ended his career and Mitchell took his place in center field and played every game the rest of the season putting up strong power, clutch and speed numbers. The keu guy to watch at AAA is tall, lean, side arming Jake Diekman out of the bullpen. If Antonio Bastardo keeps struggling Diekman might be fast tracked as the top lefty out of the pen in Philadelphia.
The Reading Phillies are loaded this year. They have the most young talent of any team in the Phillies system. After watching them in the minor league camp this spring, I have no doubt this team will have many players ready to breakout and prove that they are true major league prospects. No faster outfielders exist than Jiwan James and Tyson Gillies. If Steve Susdorf had stayed healthy last year he would have won the Eastern League batting championship. He is back and fully healed to do it this year either as a DH, first baseman or corner outfielder. In the infield Cesar Hernandez hopefully will mature into a major league ready second baseman. He has all the tools but he needs to prove he can be ready to play every pitch. Darin Ruf’s bat is ideally suited for the friendly confines of the Reading ball park. He should put up big power numbers there. Now that Tim Kennelly is no longer catching don’t be surprised if his bat comes alive as a third or second baseman for the R-Phils. I will be watching to see if catcher Sebastian Valle can regain some power numbers he lost last year in Clearwater. If he does watch out. The real key to Reading success is can the overly hyped starting pitchers of Jonathan Pettibone, Julio Rodriguez and Trevor May live up to the top billing as “baby aces” in a ballpark that can easily give up pop fly home runs that would have been outs in most parks they have pitched in.
Tuesday night Baseball Betsy and I went to see the Threshers take on the BlueClaws in a battle of the Phillies two A ball teams at Bright House Field. Though the final score was 5-1 Threshers in regulation and 7-1 after an extra inning was tacked on to get pitchers some additional work. Pitching wise Brody Colvin looked sharp in an inning of work taking over from Michael Stutes who pitched an inning to start the game. Percival Garner game on and pitched four shutout inning. He looks ready for a break out year on the mound. Edgar Duran stoked a nice double to left and looks to be a major league prospect at short. Another Thresher that stood out was catcher Cameron Rupp. He is much more than a catch and throw defensive catcher. He can drive the ball a long way. Rupp hit one out that landed to the right of the visitor’s bullpen on the top of the berm in left.
Over on the BlueClaws side I saw someone who might be the third baseman of the future, Maikel Franco, range far to the short stop side of third to rob a Thresher of a ground ball hit. Franco has the power bat and strong arm to play third base in the major leagues. Aaron Althere looks poised for a break out year in left. He had two of the BlueClaws six hits in the game. Kyrell Hudson’s time has come in center. Known for his speed and defense in center up until now but in Tuesday’s game he hit a long home run into the home team’s bullpen in left to plate the BlueClaws only run in the game. My favorite left handed hitting catcher in the system,, Logan Moore was the starting catcher and drove a long fly to left center that was run down on the warning track. On the mound big lefty Ethan Stewart started but gave up four runs and six hits in his three innings of work. Colin Kleven looked sharp in his three innings only getting nicked by Rupp’s long home run after striking out the side in the fifth and the first batter he faced in the sixth.
So there you have it. What a nice way to end the 2012 spring training season on Tuesday night with a Phillies win at Citizen Bank Park and a display of many potential major league prospects in games in Reading and Clearwater. Let’s see how the season pans out. Each team has players ready to have break out years when the games begin on Thursday. After watching too many games to count over the last six weeks I am satisfied that the talent is there for certain players to very good breakout seasons at all levels of the Phillies organization.