Today is like the end of the baseball season here in Clearwater. The GCL Phillies play their final game at noon. The Threshers home season ends tonight. One team just eliminate from the post season while the other eliminated almost from the first pitch of the season.
The GCL Phillies go into today’s game with the third best winning percent in the league but only the four division winners make the post season. The fought to the end going 17-5 in August to come just short to the Yankees1 team. The seemed to take off after the major league rehabbers left and the roster settled.
The Threshers never were in it from game one. The were weak in many facets of the game. Yet we got to see the last two No. 1 picks in J.P. Crawford and Aaron Nola. Crawford will be a major league impact player as a power hitting shortstop in a year or two. If Nola can keep the ball in the park he might make it as a No. 4 or 5 in the major league rotation.
The jury is still out on Roman Quinn who has converted to centerfield. Right now he is in the middle of the pack in the Florida State League in batting average and on base percent. His play in the Arizona Fall League will tell us a lot about him as a prospect.
Speaking of the AFL the other player I will be watching is big lefty Ethan Stewart. He showed promise out of the pen once he was taken out of the starting rotation. I saw him hit as high as 96 on the speed gun. So far with four games remaining in his last ten games over 18 innings in relief he has walked only 1 and struck out 20. As a starter in 80 innings he had more walks than strikeouts. Big Stew does have a major league arm.
I was also impressed with the Threshers second half starting rotation. Colin Kleven and Jordan Guth have major league arms. We watched Miguel Nunez pitch eight brilliant innings on Sunday and Mark Leiter has been up and down but when he is spotting his pitches he can and did go all nine and get double digit strikeouts.
Last night Baseball Betsy and I went over to Steinbrenner Stadium to watch Guth pitch in his final start against the Tampa Yankees. He was up in the zone and gave up a couple of homers but you could still see a major league arm. Control and command are all that is stopping him from pitching in the major leagues.
I wrote down Guth’s pitch speeds from the big scoreboard and when he was down in the zone he was hitting 94 but sat at 91-92 when he was up. His curve came in at 79-81 and his change-up was around 83. Now he only needs work and he will be a starting pitching prospect.
Tonight we get to see our favorite starter Colin Kleven for the Threshers. The tall, lean right hander can bring it and when he is locating his pitchers he can average a strikeout an inning with his 92-93 mph fastball.
So we have watched Phillies prospects this season here in the Tampa Bay area. With Crawford at short, the starting pitching also shows promise. Not many wins but they do have some major league prospects worth watching. Next year in Reading hopefully we will not be watching on MiLB-TV starting pitching some of whom were in their early to mid thirties pitching there as was the case this year.