Tuesday was a cold blustery day at the Carpenter Complex but it was a good opportunity to see the Phillies low minor league A ball teams play in game situations. I focused primarily on Schmidt Field where Group 4 was playing the Yankee low A ball team because that is where Roman Quinn was playing. He is the Phillies short stop of the future and top position prospect in the organization The Phillies Group 4 team will become the Lakewood BlueClaws of the South Atlantic League when camp breaks and they all head north on Saturday. On the other hand it might be a long season for us Clearwater Thresher season ticket holders in the Florida State League . The future Threshers team (Group 3) playing on Ashburn Field is much less interesting and lacking in any sure fire major league prospects.
It’s real simple to know where a future major league prospect is playing when you see the name Roman Quinn in the lineup as he was on Monday. He never disappoints. If the catcher drops pitched ball even for a slit second Quinn is off to the next base. In Tuesday’s game Quinn singled, stole second and came home on one of the most interesting plays I have ever seen. With center-fielder Carlos Tocci at the plate Roman broke for third and Tocci lined a base hit through the very spot where the third baseman had just vacated to cover the steal of third. Can’t say I have ever seen what developed into a hit and run with a man on second like that one. You just can’t defense speed. Quinny as the guys called him scored easily on Tocci’s single to left.
One of my favorite players in camp is middle infielder, switch hitting Angel Mora who was playing second base for Group 4 . Seems like many of the times I show up at games he plays Angelo goes deep. This game was no exception. He lined a home run to right. Another interesting this time defensive play with Mora took place late in the game. The Yankees appeared to successfully execute a hit and run as the ball was driven into right field as Mora went to cover second base. Mora saw the runner from first had his head down, deked him into thinking a throw was coming and he slide into second base. So instead of runners at first and third the Yankees had runners only at first and second. Good baseball IQ by Mora.
So the future Lakewood team is looking strong with the likes of Roman Quinn and Angelo Mora as the keystone combination. Then you add Carlos Tocci in center and Chace Numata behind the plate they looks very strong up the middle. Numata threw a bullet to second base to cut down a runner trying to steal in the game. On the infield corners Mitch Walding will hold down third and power hitting Art Charles will be at first. If they have any weakness it might be on the mound though Aussie Josh Warner looked effective on the mound in the game but Nick Hanson struggled in the cold and wind in relief. The Phillies first round draft pick from last year Shane Watson is also on the Group 4 roster and hopefully will be effective as a starter.
As I said earlier it looks like to me it will be a long season for the Thresher playing as Group 3 in Tuesday’s game though first baseman Harold Martinez did hit a home run almost simultaneously with Mora’s home run in the other game. Lefty Ethan Stewart was on the mound and looked effective. A poor throw from shortstop Jonathan Roof on what looked like a tailor made double play forced second baseman Alejandro Villalobos out of the game. Roof who was just picked up, played in the Padres organization last year, lobbed a ball from short to Villalobos just as the Yankee runner from first was sliding into second and knocked over the second baseman as he tried to pivot and throw to first. He had to come out of the game and was replaced by utility infielder Tim Carver.
With the minor league spring training season ending on Friday the rosters are now more or less set to start the minor league season next week. To me if Lakewood gets some pitching they should be a factor in the SAL race because they are strong up the middle led by Roman Quinn at short and Angelo Mora at second. Carlos Tocci will be patrolling center plus they will have a big power hitter in Art Charles at first base. The jury is still out though if the Clearwater Threshers can be a .500 team in the FSL. Mikael Franco at third and first basemen/DH Chris Serritella and Harold Martinez might give them some pop in the batting order to keep them competitive.
Hope to get a look at the Phillies AAA/AA teams on Wednesday as they take on the Pirates top minor league teams at the Carpenter Complex.