Only three more games and extended spring training will finally be over. Though I must admit with all the ball players around it sure seemed like spring training was in full swing this morning at the Carpenter Complex. While standing behind the screen at Ashburn watching the Phillies and Blue Jays extended game, guys like Adam Morgan, Cody Asche and Fredy Galvis walked by. Over on Schmidt Field we could see the likes of Kelly Dugan, Larry Greene and Zach Collier getting their rehab work in on the bases.
But the real purpose of extended spring training is for the young players who remain behind after the full season teams break camp is to get ready for the start of half-season New York/Penn League and Gulf Coast League.
Baseball Betsy and I focused on the likely Williamsport Crosscutter team the last two days at the Complex which opens play at home on June 13th against State College. I must say I have been impressed with the likely makeup of the team.
Left-handed starter Denton Keys pitched the best game of the extended spring that I have seen yet, Saturday morning against the Blue Jays. He went five strong innings making only one mistake, giving up a long home run to right. He gave up only one other hit and walked another in an impressive start. He was throwing strikes and had excellent downward movement on his curve ball. Keys pitched in relief last year for the GCL Phillies after being drafted and looks to be a top of the rotation starter this season with Williamsport.
The big bats in the Williamsport lineup look to be Herlis Rodriguez, Jan Hernandez and Trey Williams. H-Rod led off today. No one can work a count better than the five-tool outfielder who played in left in Friday’s game. In that game he worked a count until he got a hitters count at 3 and 1 and then lined a double down the right field line. Today, in the leadoff spot he simply lined a double over the right fielders head.
High draft pick from last year, third baseman Jan Hernandez has spent most of April and May in extend spring training after playing for the GCL Phillies in 2013. He did make a cameo appearance for a couple of weeks with the Lakewood BlueClaws. He lined a triple over the center fielder’s head in Saturday morning’s game. He is going to be a big power bat in the middle of the Crosscutters lineup.
One of the guys who looks most improved at the plate from the start of extended spring to now is the clean-up hitter and first baseman Trey Williams who was drafted last year. Yesterday, the broad-shouldered Williams lined a long homer over the left field fence at Roberts Field and today hit the ball hard on a line-drive out to left. He looks poised to have a big year in the NY-Penn League with a new open stance.
The two-hole hitter may be only 5’5″ in height but Venezuelan shortstop Grenny Cumana plays big. He has a strong arm and has shown an improved glove but what I like is his ability to hit with runners in scoring position. In a recent game he drove a single to left to drive in two runs and yesterday he lined another single to left for another run batted in. He has a major league skill set.
What we saw in the last two days at the Carpenter Complex tells us that the Phillies do have major league prospects at the lower levels of the organization. These players include Denton Keys on the mound, middle infielder Grenny Cumana, corner infielders Jan Hernandez and Trey William and in particular outfielder Herlis Rodriquez. They should form the core of the Williamsport Crosscutters to start the 2014 NY-Penn season.