The Phillies search for a third baseman seems to be a never ending story. Today in the Gulf Coast League opener at Ashburn Field against the GCL Tigers, Cameron Perkins threw his hat into the ring as a possible third baseman of the future in Philadelphia. Perkins, a 21 year old, at 6’5″, 200 lbs. is a recently signed 6th round Phillies draft pick from Purdue. Today he made all the right moves in his first professional game at third base and at the plate for the GCL Phillies.
In his second at bat in the fifth inning Perkins barreled a first pitch fastball to center for his first professional base hit and the first hit of the game for the over matched GCL Phillies. Earlier in the game he made a nice stop at third on an in between hop of a hard hit bouncing ball that he blocked with his chest and calmly threw the running out at first. Later he laid out to his left trying to knock down a ball hit in the hole that was fielded behind him by the shortstop for a base hit. In his final at bat he just missed squaring up a hanging curve ball as he flew out to shallow left center.
Perkins was an All Big Ten unanimous selection this season as a third baseman, hitting .355 with 9 homer runs and 61 RBIs. He had a .930 OPS and was 8 for 11 in stolen base attempts. The only concern was his .926 fielding percent and 14 errors at third base this season for Purdue which was down from .970 fielding percent and 8 errors in 2011.
Dylan Cozens also made his pro debut in right field. He faced the cunning left-handed starter Hua-Wee Lo of the Tigers who looked like he should be pitching at a higher level. He walked Cozens in his first at bat. Then facing another lefty, Cozens struck out on what appeared to be a check swing but was ruled a swinging strike three. In his final at bat he pulled a ground ball to second for a 4-3 out off a right-handed pitcher. He had one chance on a fly ball which he went back on to his right and made the catch in right.
The only other player who caught my attention for the Phillies in the game was lefty Jay Johnson who was on a rehab assignment from Reading. JJ came on in relief in the seventh inning and picked up three quick strike outs relying on a side arm delivery similar to Jake Diekman’s delivery. After he struck out his first batter, all the batter could say to the next hitter on his way back to the Tiger’s bench was “sneaky fast”. That drop down delivery that Canadians Chris Kissock from the right side and Jay Johnson from the left side are working on in Clearwater can be difficult to pick up at just about any level.
Today’s GCL opener was a quick game that took only a few minutes over two hours to play. The young Phillies looked over matched but especially by the Tigers’ starter Lo who pitched brilliantly working the corners and keeping the ball down. If Roly DeArmas’s guys keep facing pitching like they saw today it’s going to be challenging season for these rookies. Today Cameron Perkins and Dylan Cozen were the only two young players that drew my attention. Still want to see more players like Carlos Tocci who was not in uniform but was watching the game in his Phillies red top and blue shorts work out gear. I am sure more players who have just signed or will be signing from the Draft by the July 13th deadline will also make appearances in future GCL games.