When I go to a game I want to see the long ball and lots of Ks. Maybe because I grew up closer to Baltimore than Philadelphia all I ever heard of growing up was the O’s manager Earl Weaver’s team hitting three run homers. Over the years it was the likes of Boog Powell from the left side and Frank Robinson from the right side and Eddie Murray from both sides driving the ball out of old Memorial Stadium. Then every Sunday afternoon our family would gather around the TV set to watch Richie Allen to see if he could hit one over the left field second deck at Connie Mack Stadium or how high Wes Covington could hit one off the Ballantine Beer Scoreboard or over the corrugated wall in right center. It was the long balls that lured us to the TV sets back in the day and still does today.
This season I saw nine Instruct games during the three week season including two that were being played at the same time at the Carpenter Complex. In four of the games the Phillies Instructs hit balls that left the yard. Second baseman Andrew Pullin drove a high, long shot out to right at Carlton Field. Right fielder Dylan Cozens and middle infielder Angelo Mora hit tape measure shots over the wall to right at the Blue Jays minor league complex field in Dunedin. Switch hitting first baseman William Carmona lined one over the left field fence from the right side at the same field. Left handed bat Larry Greene hit a couple of long triples over center fielders’ heads in a couple of games that landed at the base of the .400 sign as did Dylan Cozens hit a double there as well. Chris Serritella lined one off the .335 ft. sign down the right field line that just missed going out of Brighthouse too. So the Phillies do seem to have some young power bats who will probably start out at Lakewood next season.
We did not see the great power arms out of the pen all the time back in the day. In the 60’s we saw Jack Baldschun and his screwball as we did with Tug McGraw in the 80 series. We did see Mitch Williams come out of the pen throwing heat in 1993 but we always worried if any one knew where it was going. It turned out Joe Carter did. It seems today if you can’t throw at least in the low 90’s you will not make the Phillies bullpen at any level or you will need a very good trick pitch.
At Instructs the starting pitching struggled in many games though they were always limited to two or three innings of work The young teenagers then came on and showed promise but struggled from outing to outing to throw strikes. Lefties Garcia, Cedeno and Vargas are worth watching. Righthander Ronald Mendez is worth a closer look too. Closer Delvy Francisco is one to watch as he develops. However Tim Kennelly and Kenny Giles could throw serious heat. I only saw Kennelly and Giles throw once each but you quickly realized these guys throw serious heat. The big decision is will the Phillies put Kennelly on the 40 man roster since he is eligible for the Rule Five draft. With what converted catcher Jason Motte is doing with the Cardinals as their closer I am sure a team or two would be interesting in keeping TK on the 25 man roster next season. Kenny Giles should be in Reading to start next season. Remember, he struck out the side each time in the ninth inning in his last two Florida State League appearances to end the season with serious heat.
Some of the 52 Phillies minor league guys who were on the opening day Florida Instructional league roster guys will play in the major leagues some day . Dylan Cozens is a can’t miss as a right fielder with a power bat. Larry Greene has a career in left field if he keeps up his development. I gotta believe Andrew Pullin can someday hit major league pitching if he can make the transition to second base. Angelo Mora looks like his bat will produce long balls at the major league level someday. The three young teenage Dominican lefthanders all have major league arms. And Kennelly and Giles will someday pitch out of a major league pen.
In baseball nothing is certain. Trades will take place. Injuries will end careers early. Some of these guys will be released. I remember back in 2009 watching the last Phillies Instruct game of the season that year. I walked out to the bullpen at Brighthouse to watch Instruct special pitching coach at the time Bryan Price working with an eight inning lefthanded set up man named Jake Diekman on his new release point and Austin Hyatt who was getting ready to close in the ninth inning of that game. Jonathan Villar looked like a super prospect was playing at short. Just three years later later Price is the Cincinnati Reds pitching coach, Diekman made it to the Show as a lefty specialist with the Phillies this season, Hyatt was sent back to AA after starting the season in the AAA rotation and Villar was traded and now toils in the Houston Astros minor league system. In baseball one never know where any of these 2012 instructs including the coaches will end up. It will be interesting to follow where these guys will be in the future.