This has been the first week of extended spring training games. So I decided it was time to check out the bottom rungs of the Phillies farm system to see how they are progressing. Basically its the future Williamsport Crosscutters and GCL Phillies tuning up for the start of the split season NY/Penn League and rookie Gulf Coast League which start after the 2012 amateur in mid June. Also rehabbing players on the disabled list see action. The games are seven innings and against other squads from major league teams who train in the Tampa Bay area.
On Thursday afternoon it was the arch rival Pittsburgh Pirates extended spring training squads visiting the Carpenter Complex. First year Crosscutter manager Andy Tracy and his pitching coach Aaron Fultz had a squad playing on Ashburn Field. The players on the field were Angel Chavarin, catching; Brock Stassi, first; Stephen Malcolm, second; Angelo Mora, SS; and Harold Martinez at third. In the outfield were Diego Gonzalez in center and Anthony Hewitt on a rehab assignment in right and Devy Francisco in left. Pitchers included Jonathan Musser, James Birmingham and Mario Hollands. Several other players also had some at bats in the game including catcher Chace Numatta, infielders Carlos Valenzuela and Ajejandro Villalobos. The high lights of the game while I watched were a three run home run by Villalobos off the left field foul pole; a gap double to left by Francisco and a hard hit single up the middle by Hewitt.
Over on Carlton Field, GCL manager Roly De Armas and his pitching coach Steve Schrenk were putting some interesting talent through the paces against the GCL Pirates. The Phillies position lineup had Kevin Quaranto and then Williams Astudillo catching; Trey Ford at first; Jairo Cardozo at second; Roman Quinn at SS; and Mitch Walding at third. In the outfield, Larry Greene was in left; Jiandido Tromp in center and Yan Olmo was in right. Pitching were Jesen Therrien, Carlos Best and Delvin Perez. The players who caught my eye were the first four batters in the lineup; Quinn, Walding, Greene and Olmo. The second round 2011 draft pick Quinn went two for two with a walk and a stolen base while I watched. Every time I watch Roman he is doing some thing interesting. Another high draft pick from 2011, Walding lined a base hit in the hole to right in his first at bat. No. 1 2011 draft pick Larry Greene is built like a young Prince Fielder and showed a power swing. Olmo is a tall well built outfielder who reminded me of Domingo Santana who was traded to Houston in the Hunter Pence deal.
The makeup of the two teams will no doubt change after the amateur draft in June. The teams now are made up of high draft picks like Quinn and Greene both of whom signed late last summer and did not play in the short season leagues. Others players played with the GCL Phillies and Crosscutters last year and are back for more seasoning. The players include many international free agent signings who played in the Dominican and Venezuelan leagues and a few players from Australia and Europe. Some of these players in extended spring training might move up the chain if injuries occur to players on teams up above in the minor league system. Look for additional cuts when the extended spring training games end in a few weeks.