The 2013 baseball season was long for those of us who watch and follow Phillies minor league baseball. Baseball Betsy and I were there for the opening day of the major league spring training games in February and minor league spring games back March. We did not miss the lid- lifter for the extended spring training games and the Florida State League games in April and the Gulf Coast League opening day in mid June. We saw it all, right down to the last pitch of the Threshers’ season on September 1st.
Let’s just say we saw a lot more losses than wins. None of the Phillies minor league teams playing on the mainland made the playoffs and none played over .500 baseball. We must congratulate the two Phillies teams in the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues for finishing a few games over .500 in their respective leagues.
As a minor league fan it is probably better not to look at the teams’ record but at the individual prospects by position and hope for a better season next year in the won-loss column. Baseball Betsy estimates we went together to about 140 games and I went to few more by myself. We saw all the Phillies minor league guys at one point or another except for those guys who were assigned directly to Williamsport after the June draft and the VSL and DSL teams.
Here’s my 2013 Phillies Players of the Year by position: RHP Severino Gonzalez Clearwater, Lakewood and Reading, LHP Hoby Milner, Clearwater; Catcher Cameron Rupp, Reading, Lehigh Valley, First base Art Charles, Lakewood; Second base, Carlos Alonso Clearwater; shortstop J.P. Crawford GCL Phillies, Lakewood; third base, Maikel Franco, Clearwater, Reading; outfield Kelly Dugan Clearwater, Reading; Cameron Perkins, Clearwater; and Aaron Altherr, Clearwater.
Most Unusual Statistic By A Position Player: Carlos Alonso for being charged with only two errors at second base in 539 chances. The best in all of baseball.
Best Outfield Arm: Cameron Perkins. He caught a ball at the base of the wall in right at Dunedin and threw a one hop strike to the plate to just miss getting the runner who had tagged on a sacrifice fly.
Most Satisfying Hit: Baseball Betsy and I were watching from the stands at Reading back in July when Derrick Mitchell hit a lead off 400 ft.+ home run over the 370 ft. sign in left center on her birthday again. He did the same thing back in 2011 when he got one just over the center field fence while we were at First Energy Stadium for her birthday.
Best Hits: Watching Maikel Franco hit the east side of the Tiki bar’s thatched roof at Brighhouse Field in Clearwater with one of his home runs and Kelly Dugan hitting at least four home runs during his stay in Clearwater either in front of or over the Oakley billboard sign behind the berm in right center.
Best Infield Defense: Watching the soft hands of Maikel Franco making bare hand throws on slowly hit ground balls to third.
Worst Break Of The Season: Watching a hard hit bouncing ball to Carlos Alonso that took an in between hop off his shoulder in which he was charged with his first of only two errors all season.
Best Outfield Defense: Watching Kelly Dugan track fly balls in right-field.
Biggest Disappointments: Not seeing Carlos Alonso and Hoby Milner move up to AA and Derrick Mitchell not given a chance to play in the big leagues despite poor outfield play all season by the Phillies.
Best Learning Experience: Getting to know several of the Latin players on the GCL Phillies and watching them play in GCL games at Pirate City, Tigertown and DisneyWorld.
Most Head Scratching Decision: After watching big right fielder Dylan Cozens hit behind Art Charles in the minor league spring training camp and hit the ball hard including home runs and doubles. He get passed over and not sent to Lakewood while light hitting Carlos Tocci starts in Lakewood’s outfield and struggles all season while Cozens goes to Williamsport and hits nine home runs in the half season league.
Best Way To Follow A Game: Watching the games through the eyes of the players’ parents such as sitting next to Carlos Alonso’s parents at Steinbrenner Field in a FSL game, learning about J.P. Crawford standing next his father, Larry, at Ashburn Field. And following Rick Bielski Sr. out in California hanging on his son Ricky’s every outing via the internet and text messages from Baseball Betsy.
Most Statisfying Moments: Watching on MLB-TV Cody Asche and Cameron Rupp get their first major league starts. We watched them play in the same lineup during the first half of the season last year in Clearwater. It made me realize how little difference in skill sets exists between certain players in the Florida State League and the major league players in the National League. Also it made me question why Maikel Franco was not given the opportunity to be a September call-up for the Phillies.