The Phillies major league spring training is going at full pace. In fact I have been impressed by the pace and conditioning of the guys in camp after the first two days. But as you know I like to follow the the minor league guys. These are the guys who do not get invited to work out with the big boys. They struggle day after day for recognition. They put in the time hoping only that they might get called over for backup fielding roles or a chance to pitch an inning in relief in a major league spring training Grapefruit game.
After the 58 guys in the major league camp called it a day a little after noon each, the minor league guys get ready to take over on the back fields of Carlton and Roberts at the Carpenter Complex. In the morning hundreds of fans jockey for positions to watch the guys of the major league camp and reporters stand around waiting to ambush Cliff Lee and others to see how he they feel. Only a handful of us at most gather behind the screens in the afternoon to watch the minor league guys in their unofficial early camp go through the motions in near anonymity wearing their nameless and numberless jerseys.
Several of these guys should have been invited to the Phillies major league camp but to no avail. The Phillies brought in 15 or so minor league free agents and gave them invites to the major league camp. All of them have been let go by other organizations. Many of them let go by more than one MLB team over the years.
I’ll take the Phillies minor league guys any day. Roman Quinn and Carlos Alonso are both under six feet in height but they both have put on power shows with the bat in the early minor league camp’s live batting practice. Today, Roman hit two long drives left-handed, one that hopped over the left center field fence and the the other bounced over the right field fence. Carlos has squared up more balls than any other of the hitters so far during live batting practice. Though Tyler Henson is a close second.
Not only have we seen power bats in the minor league camp but we have seen some power arms. I asked one of the starting pitchers in the camp if he could pitch in relief since it seems like the Phillies have a glut of starting pitchers in the organization. He said he probably could it if that what it took to move up and could throw 98 mph for an inning. I told him that one of his sliders that he threw in live batting practice that day reminded me of Ken Giles major league slider from last year. Giles fastball according to Fangraph averaged 97.2 mph last year. His slider usually hit 88 mph when I watched his pitch speed on MLB-TV last year.
It would have been nice if some of these guys in the minor league camp would have gotten invites to the major league camp. But it was not to be.
Below are Baseball Betsy photos of minor league camp pitchers Colin Kleven and Perci Garner and outfielder Cameron Perkins from the minor league camp from the last two days: