Ever since Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said that pitching and defense wins World Championships, I began paying extra attention to fielding stats in addition to the always important pitching numbers. The Baseball Reference website is a great resource for defensive numbers. But I still like to put a pair of eyes on the players as well.
This baseball season has been extra special for Baseball Betsy and me to watch three exceptional defensive players for the Clearwater Threshers: Catcher Logan Moore, third baseman Maikel Franco and second baseman Carlos Alonso. Moore has thrown out 47% of stolen base attempts and Franco and Alonso have yet to commit an error in the field.
Moore has an amazing release. He is like a quarterback with a rifle arm. He simply cocks his arm and snaps it off and the ball is always there, straight as an arrow on the right side of the second base bag to get the runner many times. I was told that a catcher who throws out 30% of the runners is considered good. If this is the case Moore is at the top of the class, throwing out 16 of 34 stolen base attempts for 47% this season. He has only two errors for a .992 fielding percent. He has an excellent chance to be a major league “catch and throw” receiver. His left–handed bat is the problem though hitting under .200 all season and is currently has the next to lowest batting average of all qualified Florida State League hitters.
Third base has been call the hot corner. For Maikel Franco to have yet to commit an error this season at third base is amazing. At Lakewood last season he committed 16 errors for the full season for a .944 fielding percent. He has a strong accurate arm and soft hands that allows him to field the slow rollers to third and make the accurate barehanded throw. I have seen him make the strong throw to get the runner from deep behind third base. He knows he has a strong arm which allows him many times to make the pick up and then calmly straighten up and throw a bullet to first to get the runner. With his bat he has been hitting close to .300 this season and has been a leader in home runs and RBIs. He is tied with Cameron Perkins in the FSL in doubles with 16.
We have been chronicling Carlos Alonso’s play at second base in previous blogs. So far this season he has been error free, turning the double plays and he has a 5.06 range factor which is putouts and assists divided by chances. In addition to his fielding at second base Carlos had another lead off home run yesterday. This time as a DH. Ironically, the guy who took his place at second committed an error in the game. Alonso is second in the league in runs scored and hitting over .300 out of the lead off spot. He is fifth in the league in on base percent. What more can he do to prove he is the All Star FSL second baseman this season.
If defense wins world championship the Phillies have three players with the Clearwater Threshers this season who fit the bill. Logan Moore, Maikel Franco and Carlos Alonso are three players who could play key roles in the future if the Phillies are to return to a World Championship caliber team.