It’s early for the minor league camp but about a dozen Phillies minor league prospects went through live pitching, batting practice this afternoon on Roberts Field at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater. Under a clear blue high sky, 50 degree temperatures with strong winds blowing third to first from the northwest, an important workout for many of these players took place.
Some of these guys are on the bubble. In previous seasons the likes of Colin Kleven and Jordan Guth would make up the starting rotation of the AA Reading Phightin’ Phillies. But perhaps not this year. You see the Phillies have built up starting pitching depth at AA with the acquisitions of Zach Elfin, Tom Windle and Ben Lively in high profile trades over the winter. Throw into the AA starting rotation two former number one draft picks, Jesse Biddle and Aaron Nola, that does not leave much room for Kleven and Guth.
The six pitchers today from 2014 included starters Kleven and Guth who were with the Clearwater Threshers and relievers Seth Rosin, Mike Nesseth, Colton Murray and Austin Wright who pitched at AA mostly last season showed their stuff in front of pitching coach Steve Schrenk behind the mound and farm director Joe Jordan and other coaches behind the batting cage. They were caught by Logan Moore and Corey Bass. They threw about 25 pitches each showing all their stuff from the catchers’ signals. They faced the right-handed the bats of Jiandido Tromp, Tyler Henson and Carlos Alonso and left-handed bats of Cord Sandberg and Moore.
At the bat Alonso stood out. He hit a line drive off the middle of left field fence against the third to first wind and barreled a shot to right that bounced up against the fence. He looked “hitterish” as Richie Ashburn might have said.
On the mound they all looked ready. Kleven and Guth were the first to report last month. Look for them to appear in some of the early major league spring training games. They look ready now. Lefty Austin Wright had Tromp’s number with first a back foot slider and then over powered him with high heat. Kleven showed a major league late breaking slider that exploded down in the strike zone as it crossed the plate on a pitch to Henson.
Some of these guys are fighting for jobs at the next level from where they played last season. With the increased depth in the Phillies minor league system they have their work cut out for them as they prove themselves in spring training.
Below are several pictures taken by Baseball Betsy from this afternoon’s live pitching, batting practice: