Watching the action in the Gulf Coast League “is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get” as Forrest Gump would say. With the GCL Phillies you might get two or three rehabbing major leaguers or higher up minor league players in the lineup, or some really good baseball from potential teenager who might turn out to be stars of tomorrow, mixed in with wild swing and misses and off the mark throws as they learn their trade. But it is always interesting.
Because of the unpredictable nature of GCL baseball I prefer watching its games over say the Florida State League where you have a good idea of what you are going to see every game, especially with the Clearwater Threshers.
Yesterday’s GCL’s action on Robin Roberts Field at the Carpenter Complex was typical. I saw some of the best pitching I have seen this season in Clearwater when rehabbing 22 year old Nic Hanson made his 2014 pitching debut to help win 4-1 in the first game of the doubleheader. He pitched four shutout innings with two swinging and two called strike outs . He had outstanding late movement on his slider that kept the Astros hitters off balance and good command of all his pitches. See Here.
Shortstop Grenny Cumana is one of those players you make an extra effort to come to see. He is listed at 5’5″ 145 lbs. but plays much bigger. He has a rocket for an arm and the ball jumps off his bat. In yesterday’s game he was on base all six times in the doubleheader going two for two with a walk in each game. What caught my attention in the first game was how he showed bat control when he went to right field for both of his hits in the first game. With his single, he hit behind the runner on first. See Here.
Cumana is only baseball age 18 but plays older. He is one of the small in height Venezuelans but they know how to play the game at a high level. For example Houston’s All Star second baseman Jose Alturve is listed at 5’6″.
Another player for theGCL Phillies who is worth watching is 6’6″, 19 year old pitcher Franklyn Kilome. The lean, gangly right hander started the second game and it was his error on a pick off attempt that would allow an unearned run to score which turned out the be the difference in the second game 3-2 Astros win. Kilome is being brought around slowly but in his five appearance including the last three as a starter he is being hit for only a .178 average. He has a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings and yesterday struck out three in three innings on the mound.
The GCL is about guys like Nic Hanson who shows that he does have talent and is not the ineffective pitcher we saw last season with the Threshers. But even more so, it is the likes of teenagers like Grenny Cumana who already shows that someday he will play in the major leagues if not be a major league impact star or Franklyn Kolome who is making gradual progress toward being a major league pitcher. It is players like these three guys who keep me coming back game after game to see GCL baseball because you never know what you might find.