What did we learn about players in the Phillies organization in Clearwater while watching two extended spring games against the Yankees yesterday afternoon and a Florida State League game against Milwawkee Brewers’ Brevard County team last night?
1. Though Ethan Martin has never been particularly successful as a reliever in the minors, it appears the Phillies are planning to try him out of the pen. He pitched one inning in an extended spring game against the Yankees. In 2011 in 25 games in relief at A+ and AA in the Dodgers system he walked 29 in 42 innings with a 4.46 ERA and two saves. They aren’t exactly Ken Giles 2014 numbers at AA.
2. Cord Sandberg can catch a ball. Playing right field he laid out to make a great crab. His hitting is still behind his fielding. Still recovering from Tommy John surgery from back in October, Andrew Knapp impressed at the bat. Still like him better from the right side but he did square up a base hit from the left side of the plate yesterday.
3. Jesus Posso is the real deal. He only caught ten games in the Dominican Summer League last season. So far in 2014 he has shown a great arm and poise behind the plate. Yesterday, he threw out a runner at first on a dibbler in front of the plate and caught a high pop behind home plate. In his brief stay with the Threshers last week he threw out two of five runners attempting to steal. The Phillies just signed a catcher for Reading, Lars Davis, who had not thrown out a runner in 15 attempts at AA before the Arizona Diamondback released him last week. In the five Threshers wins, two of the them came with 18 year old Deivy Grullon and 19 year old Posso making their Florida State League debuts as catchers. Grullon also won on Sunday in his first start for Lakewood in his South Atlantic League debut. They are both winners.
4. Mitch Walding had a couple of hits and is expected to be moved out soon. Not much of a glove at third.
5. Feliberto Sanchez worked 4.2 innings in a start and threw all his pitches for strikes in giving up two runs. Would be nice to see him get some starts in Lakewood.
6. Rehabbing closer Delvey Francisco came on for Sanchez in the middle of an inning which is the new norm these days and the starter then finishes up his work in the pen. Francisco looks ready to close for someone.
7. Roman Quinn played a couple of innings. Got two at bats. He seemed real satisfied with his rehab progress afterwards.
8. Another day another loss for the Threshers. They have won only five games in April which puts them on a pace to win 25 games all season. Gotta give credit to manager Nelson Prada and the boys. They fight to the last out. Prada let the struggling FSL home plate umpire have it after Pete Lavin struck out to end the game with the tying run on base where Lavin appeared to check his swing. Hard to make that call to end game under those circumstances.
9. Speaking of Lavin he should get a chance to play at AA. He went 3 for 5 last night with his third home run of the season and in another at bat for the second time this season he circled the bases on an at bat helped by a fielding error. Both he and third baseman Harold Martinez are in their third seasons with the Threshers.
10. Gabe Lino has struggled defensively in clutch situations. In Sunday’s game a pitched ball bounced off his shin guard and got by him for a wild pitch which allowed the winning run to score in a game against Dunedin. Last night he made a errant throw to third on a stolen base attempt which again allowed what turned out to be the winning run to score.
11. With Logan Moore’s call up to Reading, the Threshers appear to have no apparent major league prospects on their roster. It will be interesting to see if Ethan Stewart can put himself into big league prospect status. The big lefty gets the start tonight and if he can command the strike zone he has a chance to move on up to AA at some point during the season . Now in his second year with the Threshers he has shown a low 90’s fastball and a high 70’s breaking pitch that get FSL batters out but still walks too many at times.
12. Speaking of being in his second year with the Threshers, Colin Kleven gets the start in tomorrow afternoon’s game. Kleven suffered a lower body injury earlier in the month and has been out of the rotation. How do you like that hockey lingo there. He started the season slowly on the mound but was hitting 92 mph on the speed gun and pitched effectively in his last start before the injury.
13. It will be good for the hapless Threshers to get out of town. They get their first over night trip of the season to the east coast of Florida when they open a three game series in Daytona on Thursday. The boys have been traveling around the Tampa Bay area in April without much success. They even lost all three games Cole Hamels started in his rehab starts. Though they have been in most games, the team will soon become a national sports news story for futility if they do not start winning a game or two soon. Hard to believe they are on pace for a 25-115 season. For playoff purposes the FSL divides the 140 game schedule into two, 70 game half seasons.