Last night the Clearwater Threshers tuned up against the young extended spring training team at Brighthouse field. Thursday night in Dunedin against the Blue Jays, the Threshers start play for real and it might be a long season for the Phillies advanced A Florida State League team. What did we learn from last night’s game?
1. Cole Hamels is making good progress after his second rehab start. He pitched three innings for the Extenders including getting four outs in the third inning in giving up a run on two hits. He is expected to make four more starts somewhere before joining the Phillies rotation in late April.
2. Two of the top Phillies catching prospects were on display last night. Logan Moore, the expected Threshers starting catcher returning from last season looked strong at the plate. He handled Cole Hamels. It was Moore’s arm that stood out as he was accurate and strong in throwing out runners at second in his six innings behind the plate. Young Deivy Grullon who is slotted for the top extended spring catching spot and was catching for the Threshers had no trouble hitting Hamels as he lined a single to center off of him and doubled in a later at bat off another pitcher. He did have trouble throwing to second as his throws were sailing high on him but he does have a strong arm that just needs additional work.
3. Starting pitching might be a problem for the Threshers in the early going. Starter Miguel Nunez was hit hard by the Extenders. He gave up six runs on nine hits in six innings of work. Two of the other Threshers starter are back for a second season. Big lefty Ethan Stewart had control problems and Colin Kleven had back problems last year.
4. Threshers third baseman Harold Martinez who is back for a second season might be moved up quickly as he continues to hit. He had two singles last night after homering on Monday night. Martinez can hit but did commit a throwing error in Monday’s game.
5. The bats of the Extenders were impressive. Third baseman Jan Hernandez continues to impress. He hit a gap double to left center. Outfielder Cord Sandberg had a couple of hits as well. If Jiandido Tromp could cut down on strike outs, he would be a lock as an outfield prospect. He was the DH last night and was robbed of a double down the left field line which the home umpire incorrectly said was foul. In a later at bat he hit a triple to deep center. The guy just flew around the bases.
6. Several defensive notes on the Extenders. I was impressed with Grenny Cumana’s arm at shortstop. I had seen him play second but he has too strong of an arm to waste there. My favorite Herlis Gonzalez made yet another great catch in center. Jake Sweaney made a nice catch in left going back on a fly ball. It was the first time I saw the catcher by trade in the outfield.
Tonight the Threshers will be introduced to the season ticket holders at Brighthouse. It will be interesting to see how competitive they will be in the Florida State League. I would expect many Threshers roster movements to take place around All-Star time as it was last season when Kelly Dugan and Maikel Franco moved up to Reading. This season I would expect to see some upward movement from Lakewood to bolster the Threshers by mid-season.