The Phillies minor league action mostly starts at about noon each day when the young guys start reporting for early spring training. Today, while we watched the major league camp catchers take batting practice on Ashburn Field, the minor league guys hustled by on their way to the clubhouse at the Carpenter Complex. Some of the guys walked, other came by car walking from the parking lot and Jiandido Tromp and Colin Kleven peddled in on bicycles.
Then, by one o’clock the minor league guys were out on Roberts Field getting ready for live pitching batting practice. Today, it was again six pitchers building up their pitch counts by facing four rotating batters. One new face taking live BP was Roman Quinn who was joined by Carlos Alonso, Tyler Henson and Tromp. Roman had come over from the Carlton Field outfield where he was taking fly balls from the coaches along with Tromp.
The pitchers (Leiter Jr., Zgardowski, Harris, Bogese, Viza and Benitez) who took the mound today threw fewer pitchers and had less experience than yesterday’s pitchers when we saw the possible relief pitching staff for the Reading Fighting Phillies on the mound. The six who threw live BP yesterday, in order Rosin, Nesseth, Wright, Murray, Kleven and Guth, could form the AA bullpen plus closer Nefi Ogando who is in the major league camp. They would join Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, Zach Eflin, Ben Lively and Tom Windle in what projects as a talented AA starting rotation.
I would not be surprised to see Carlos Alonso and Tyler Henson somewhere in the AA infield. They were taking ground balls at third today. At some point during the season they would be joined by J.P. Crawford at short and Roman Quinn in center at AA though both of them could start the season in the Florida State League with the Threshers. Major league camp guys Aaron Altherr and Kelly Dugan would play the likely corner outfield spots in the AA outfield. Look for Tommy Joseph also in the major league camp to be the catcher. That roster would make for an interesting Reading team.
Over the winter the Phillies basically went out and bought a AAA roster. Most of the players are the non-roster invitees to the major league camp. You can find them about ten o’clock each morning starting to take batting practice at Bright House Field. Then, they break-up, with the infielders going to the half-field in front of Bright House to take infield and the outfielders take fly balls at Bright House finishing up just before noon. In any event the 2015 Lehigh Valley AAA roster will be comprised mostly of free agent released by other organizations. Few if any of them will be players signed and developed by the Phillies.
Clearly, many of the top prospects of the Phillies will be on the Reading AA roster at some point this season. If will be interesting to watch how they develop as the 2015 season progresses. How they develop will determine if the Phillies can compete for the post season by the state Front Office goal of the 2017 or 2018 season.
Below are several photos by Baseball Betsy from today from the Phillies minor league camp.