On Saturday morning about 6:30 a.m. Baseball Betsy and I were headed to TIA to drop off an ardent Phillies fan who had a flight back to central Pennsylvania after spending the week with us watching the first week of spring training. From the car we could see as we drove by, the entire Carpenter Complex was a washed in lights as players filed in to begin the first day of the minor league spring training camp. It has been reported that 175 players are now in camp working out on the four fields of the Carpenter Complex and a far back field about a mile a way at the DiMaggio Complex.
The position players and the pitchers rotate through many different stations from lifting weights inside the recently construct indoor work out facility, indoor and out door batting cages, the seven mounds” bullpen, pitching fielding drills, infield, outfield and running drills, live batting practice and the catchers get a special seminar from Dusty Wathan on the new procedures on tagging a runner trying to score on a throw to home plate. For the most part it is constant movement every 15 minutes signaled by Mike Compton’s air horn. Workouts go from 10:00 a.m to 1:15 p.m. with a break for lunch then chalk talks that wind up about 3:30 in the afternoon.
Baseball Betsy and I are in constant motion trying to find out favorites from last season and try to identify the best newcomers for the 2014 season. Still I am gravitated to the batting cages. The seven mounds bullpen is all but impossible to track with limited views to the public. Nothing is quite as boring as PFP but it is better to stand next to the crack of the bats next to the outdoor batting cages and live BP is never boring to me. I loved to throw BP back in the day and in Legion ball I was lucky enough to throw BP to a future major leaguer on our team at the time before he was drafted.
Sunday was a special day for me watching two of my favorite players go deep during BP in the same batting group on Carlton Field. Carlos Alonso went deep over the left field fence and Dylan Cozens launched a long drive probably over 400 feet clearing the right field fence that landed some where in the swamp beyond the Ream Wilson trail. My day was made with long balls like that from two of the guys I would want on my team. Of course hitting coach Frank Cacciatore was calling out situational hitting instructions for each pitch but watching Alonso and Cozens go yard made my day.
Alonso was one of nine Minor League Baseball players chosen as a recipient of the 2013 Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Alonso compiled an outstanding .996 fielding percentage and turned a Florida State League high 75 double plays in 117 games at second base for the Threshers. He was charged with only two errors all season at second base compared to a league leading 17 errors at second for Chase Utley last season for the Phillies. Still Carlos has been taking balls at third, second and short during Saturday and Sunday infield drills. The Phillies minor league department appears to view him as a possible utility infielder at the next level rather than the best defensive second baseman in baseball.
Dylan Cozens is another mystery to me because of his slow movement up the Phillies system. Last season the Phillies minor league department kept the big 6’6″ 230 lbs., left handed power hitting right fielder in extended spring training rather than send him to Lakewood to start the season. He was then sent to the half season Williamsport Crosscutters in the New York/Penn League. Cozens is a five tools player. He hits with power and can run, throw and field in right when I have watched him play in the 2012 Gulf Coast League, in the 2013 extended spring training and and the Fall Instructional League.
Coz, as he is called by every one, dominates a batting cage. (see the pictures from Sunday’s BP below). Only at baseball age 20 this season, he is the closest the Phillies organization will ever come to a Mike Trout type player, only with a better arm. No doubt the way the Phillies run things he will go to Lakewood this season as he continues the slow march to the major league stardom somewhere three or four years from now.
In action below on Sunday Carlos Alonso works out at second base as Dylan Cozens awaits action in right field. The second picture shows Cozens setting up in the batting cage.
Below Coz barrels a shot. On of his hits went over 400 feet well over the fence in right.
Below, Coz hits a majestic drive as his big frame dominates the batting cage.
Below the ball just jumps off of Coz’s bat as he squares up a ball below in BP at Carlton Field. Needless to say when the “Coz” is in the batting cage everyone stops to watch as the examples below show.