I always like to be at the lid lifter. Opening night in baseball is always something special. It was no different last night in Williamsport. The rain held off, the ceremonies were nice and baseball finally got underway in the short season New York-Penn League.
Unfortunately the 10-3 Crosscutter defeat was all too similar to other games we have watch in the Phillies farm system this season. None of the Phillies farm teams have been able to play .500 baseball this season. Some of them, such as the Threshers, have been just overmatched. Others such as Reading and Lehigh Valley have hung around .500 before falling under in recent games. None of the teams appear to be getting better as we near the half way point in the minor league seasons next week. Help is on the way and none too soon. Todd Zolecki of MLB.com has reported that the Phillies have signed 26 of their top 29 picks in the recent draft.
I try to focus on individual players to see if any have major league potential. Last night I was fascinated with the Crosscutters 6’4”, first baseman Rhys Hoskins. He was a recent Phillies fifth round draft pick out of Cal. State Sacrament0. He was one of the offensive leaders and All Star in last summer’s Cape Code League where top college talent play. Though he went 0-4, he showed long ball power in his first two of four at bats. He squared up long fly balls to the track that were caught in front of the .405 sign in center at Bowman Field. They were hit into a 15 mph wind cross wind blowing to right. See Here.
Other than Hoskins we have seen all these guys before. Weak defense in the field and little hitting until the Cutters got into the State College Spikes bullpen was not surprising. Some of these guys are still teenagers and need much more development time.
Jan Hernandez someday will play in the major leagues. It remains to be seen if it is will be as a third baseman. He has a strong arm but struggles to field ground balls. Last night was no exception as a grounder hit right at him got by and would later result in five unearned runs. Dievy Grullon will catch in the major leagues some day but his throwing errors must be reduced. He had a throwing error in a pick-off attempt at first. It was his seventh error of the season including six in 24 games at Lakewood earlier.
If center fielder Jiandido Thromp could only cut down on his strike outs, he would be a major league prospect. He hit a long drive for an rbi double in the eight. Grillon barreled a double to right and DH Wilmer Obert0 squared up a single in a three-run eight inning but that was about it for the offense.
The pitchers need more swing and miss stuff and command in the strike zone if they are to move to the next level. The three Williamsport pitchers combined to strike out only two Cardinal farm hands but walked seven. They need to pound the strike zone with better command. A two strike out to seven walk ratio over the nine innings that Crosscutter pitchers Alejandro Arteaga, Rick Bielski and Manny Martinez combined for should have been 7 strike outs to 2 walks to be acceptable. The Spikes pitchers had a 10-2 strikeout to walk ratio.
As I have blogged previously the strike out to walk ratio has become a major metric for determining whether or not a pitcher is a major league pitching prospect. The Phillies No. 1 draft pick 21 year old Aaron Nola has an excellent 5-1 strike out to walk ratio. That’s why he will be pitching in the major leagues soon. Hopefully, we will see him pitch any day now for the Threshers as has been speculated by the Phillies Front Office.
Opening night baseball is great but well played winning baseball is even better. I did not see enough of that last night by the Phillies prospects in Williamsport.