I love to project. So lets project what the 2017 or 2018 roster might look like. The future was right in front of me every day after watching the Phillies minor league camp for the month of March.
Some of the boys have just deplaned and are heading to their minor league teams up north and the rest including the Threshers, the rehabbers and the extenders are still here in Clearwater . What did I learn from watching them play?
1. The Phillies need pitching. They really have no power arms in the system. Only Ken Giles can get it in the mid to high nineties on a regular basis and he projects as a ninth inning guy.
2. Dylan Cozens is the real deal. He needs to keep playing center field. Nothing was more exciting than watching him leg out those three triples I saw him hit.
3. Hoby Milner my not be a power pitcher but he mans up with runners in scoring position. The highlights of the major league camp was watching Mario Hollands and David Buchanan pitch. Mario actually was hitting 93 mph on the Dunedin scoreboard radar gun. Severino Gonzalez just pounds the strike zone at the knees on the corners. What more can you ask of any pitcher. And this is a make or break year for Jesse Biddle.
4. Lots of good Latin pitchers at the rookie and A ball levels but will any of them be able to get anyone out at the higher levels remains to be seen. Will be watching them closely.
5. Andrew Pullin had a great camp. His defense at second improved and he can hit to all fields. I have always been a Carlos Alonso guy but not so much the Phillies Front Office. They had him in left field in the last game I saw him play. Guess he is a super sub type according to their projections.
6. J.P. Crawford can do it all at short. Nice to watch his home run fly high and deep late in camp.
7. Jan Hernandez impressed me at third much more than last year with the GCL Phillies. He seems to be still growing and is going to be a good one. Franco and Asche will battle it out at third but Hernandez just might pass both of them in a few years.
8. Deivy Grullon and Cameron Rupp would be my Phillies catchers of the future. Grullon is just a good all around guy. I have always been a Cameron Rupp guy too.
9. Zach Green has a role but but the Phillies worked him at first in addition to his normal third base. I would give him a shot in left field too. Need his right handed power bat in the lineup somewhere. At first, both Oberto and Charles hit long balls far but from the left side.
10. Sam Hiciano might be the right handed power bat they are looking for in the outfield.
11. Lefty Cord Sandberg is my other outfielder. He just looks like a major league player.
12. The Phillies do not seem to have a spot for Herlis Rodriquez in the outfield but he always did something in each game I saw that impressed me. He can do it all. Would be a nice outfield addition who can play anywhere out there. I saw him hit, hit with power, run, throw and field and bunt. What more does he have to do!
So when the major league camp breaks in 2017 or 18 here’s the position players who I would take north: Rupp/Grullon 2; Oberto/Charles/Green 3; Pullin 4; Hernandez 5; Crawford 6; Hiciano 7; Cozens 8; Sandberg 9 with Rodriquez off the bench with Alonso as the super sub. Pitching is harder to project with all the injuries but I would draft all the power arms I could find in the 2014, 15 and 16 drafts.
Sure the Phillies have some other guys at the AAA and AA levels who might have an impact sooner or later with the big team but they just have did not impress me in the major or minor league camp games I saw this time around as much as the guys did above.
So let’s get this party and see what happens!