When two games are going on at the same time you tend to focus on one game over the other. With my friend Jim, we tried to pay more attention to the Group 3 game on Thursday. These guys are on the bubble between A+ Clearwater Threshers and A- Lakewood BlueClaws. We are Thresher season ticketholders so we want to know who we will be following this summer. The other A game was made up of primarily Group 4 players who are fighting for spots on the Lakewood and the extended spring training rosters. No matter how much we tried to watch the Group 3 game against the Yankee farmhands, our attention always kept going back to Group 4’s first baseman Art Charles and DH Dylan Cozen when they came to bat..
Charles was hitting the ball hard as he has all of the minor League camp. He hit a two run homer that was so high in the blue sky that it was hard to follow as the ball went high over the right field fence on Schmidt Field. Then in a later at bat he skied another long shot to left center that the Yankee outfielder managed to catch as he fell on his bottom at the base of the fence. Not be be out done Dylan Cozen was on fire again too. He had two line drive singles and finished off his day in the bottom of the eight with a two out, two run triple that he lined over the center-fielder’s head.
These guys both stand about 6’6″, weight close to 230 lbs and swing left-handed. Charles is older at 22 and Cozens is still a teenager, not turning 19 until the end of May. Batting back to back again in the lineup they are like twin towers of power. If they are assigned to Lakewood to start the season the fans there will be in for a twin treat. It’s almost like we would like to see them hit against a higher level of pitching in spring training games just to see how good they are. But first base as far as Charles is concerned is already in the good hands of Chris Serritella on Group 3.
Serritella had a big game too on Thursday. He was a triple short of the cycle with a homer, double and single in the game on Ashburn Field. He seems to have the inside track for the first base job at Clearwater. Yet, another left-handed hitter Serritella tore up the NY-Penn League with Williamsport last season. Finally a right handed bat, big Jim Murphy who led the Florida State League in doubles with Clearwater last season looks like he will win the first base job with Reading at AA.
Every spring training the play in the minor league camp has special memories. Several years ago it was the catching of Tuffy Gosewisch who was widely praise by Roy Halladay for his handling of pitchers. He was traded to Arizona for “nothing” at the end of last season. One year outfielder Derrick Mitchell hit a home run off of Roy Oswalt who was pitching in an intrasquad game that day and every one wondered at that game why we were cheering Mitch hitting a homer off of one of the Phillies aces at the time. The 2013 Phillies spring training minor league camp will be remembered for the long ball hitting of Art Charles and Dylan Cozens. The pop of these two power hitters will always be etched in my mind when I think about the 2013 minor league spring camp.
Other happening in Thursday’s games: Often injured lefty Nick Hernandez started for Group 3 and pitched three strong innings. Angelo Mora continues to play well at short and had a rbi single. He has a shot at the Clearwater Threshers shortstop job. Young 17 year old center-fielder Carlos Tocci struggled at the plate going 0 for 4 and was hit by a pitch for Group 3. He did hit the ball hard to the second baseman in his final at bat. Zach Green homered for Group 4. Lefty Brendan Lafferty gave up a run and two hits but did strike out three more batters in two inning of relief for Group Three.