It’s always nice when two guys you have blogged about recently again have big games. Brock Stassi and Severino Gonzalez did not let me down in today’s AA and AAA games against the Blue Jays at the Englebert Complex in Dunedin.
In the AA game I saw Stassi bat three times and hit frozen ropes each time to the right side. Only a great ole’ sweep by the glove of the Blue Jays first baseman denied Stassi going three for three while I watched.
In the AAA game Gonzalez looked almost in mid-season form as he pitched three scoreless innings. He gave up only a first inning double, struck out two and walk no one in facing only 10 batters. Just about all his pitches were at the knees and on the corners of the plate.
I have not been watching closely the AAA and AA camp games, instead focusing on the A level teams. Teams I find more interesting and projectionable. I am not a big fan of all the free agents the Phillies bring in at AA and AAA levels who have failed in other organizations. Today it was good to see some of the guys who are talented and have come up the Phillies chain and are now vying for AA and AAA jobs.
There was Carlos Alonso the best defensive second baseman in all of minor league baseball last season. Today he was serving as the DH for the AA team to start the game. When I first arrived Carlos was working the count by taking the first two strikes and then he lined a base hit on the next pitch. Later in second half of the game the Phillies relented and Carlos played second base turning a double play and making a beautiful 4-1 play to get the runner at first.
Last season Carlos had one of the highest on base percents, number of walks and runs scored in the entire Phillies organization to go with his great defensive metrics that earned him his minor league Gold Glove. He should be on the AAA roster. He plays the game the way it should be played.
There was Tyler Knigge coming on in relief in the AA game. He wins “the heater of the day” award today with the Phillies radar gun showing his fastball at 93 mph to go with an 81 mph slider.
There was Kelly Dugan, after a stint with in the major league camp, getting two base hits in the AAA game. Kelly looks ready to have a big season. Let’s hope it is at Lehigh Valley but Reading looks more likely of course.
And there was Maikel Franco, down from the major league camp, batting second in all nine innings of the AAA game. I saw him hit two doubles to the fence and a single today in those nine at bats. I also saw him strike out twice and in one of those at bats he was over matched by three straight slow curves from a Blue Jays lefty.
All in all a beautiful day for baseball and it was good to see some of the guys from last season who made it worth while to go to the Clearwater Threshers games in the Florida State League. Someday we might even see them play somewhere in the major leagues.