Winter ball is winding down and spring training is just around the corner. The temperature has been in the low eighties the last two day here in Clearwater and we just got word over Facebook that one of our favorite pitchers is back in town to start working out. It’s only the first weekend of January but its time to amp up the physical training and get ready for another baseball season.
Last night while watching the NFL playoffs on TV, I kept my laptop running watching the Australian Baseball League games. I was watching was another favorite pitcher of mine Drew Naylor making his first appearance since the 2012 season when he was shutdown and underwent Tommy John surgery. Now a free agent he was impressive for the Brisbane Bandits. He went four innings giving up one earned run on four hits, striking out five and walking one. He was on a 60 pitch count. They said that his fast ball was in the low 90’s to go with his breaking ball and change up.
One of Naylor’s strikeouts came at the expense of the Perth left fielder Brian Pointer who we saw play last year with the Clearwater Threshers. Pointer would come back against against a Brisbane relief pitcher later in the game and lined a grand slam home run over the right field wall. After a slow start in the ABL Pointer has hit .313 over his last ten games with a couple of homers.
Then, this morning I read that another former Phillies pitcher Ryan Madson has signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals. He, like Naylor, has gone a long period without pitching after ongoing TJ surgery. He left the Phillies as a free agent after the 2011 season and has not pitched in the major leagues since after signing with the Angels and then the Reds.
The Phillies still do have players in the system playing in the offseason leagues. In addition to Pointer in the ABL, Chace Numata is catching and Dylan Cozens is in right field for Melbourne and Mitch Walding is playing third with Canberra. Down in the Venezuelan playoffs Willians Astudillo is playing left field for Caribes; Freddy Galvis and pitcher Elvis Araujo are with Zulia and Rule Five pick-up center fielder Odubel Herrera is with LaGuaria. Last night Maikel Franco continued to have a good post season in the Dominican Winter League playoffs picking up two hits and hard throwing reliever Nefi Ogando struck out the side in his one inning of relief to get a hold.
We learned this morning that our favorite Canadian right-hander Colin Kleven is back in Clearwater to start training for the most important season in his career. As you know he was a feature pitcher on the Baseball Betsy YouTube channel in 2014. His swing and miss stuff was one of the main reason we did not miss any of his home starts last season. You saw Colin in 22 YouTube videos and we had over 1,800 views of his videos last year. He came on strong over his last ten starts going 4-3 for a not very good team while averaging almost a strikeout an inning in those starts.
Most articles I have read have newly acquired Zach Eflin, Tom Windle and Ben Lively to go along with Aaron Nola, all starting off in the Reading AA rotation. See Here. Room should be available for Colin Kleven and his swing and miss stuff in that rotation too!