The Phillies are already heavily invested in that market. With a team in the Dominican Republic and only one of four major league teams with a team in Venezuela the Phillies are heavily invested in international rosters. So much so that even the two half season teams in the states, the GCL Phillies and Williamsport in the NY-Penn League had many players on both rosters from the Caribbean region in 2015.
Baseball Betsy and I have become friends with several of the players from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. We provided a month of housing for one of them during the last month of the 2015 season when he was assigned to the Threshers.
We have been asked by another one already if we could provide lodging for him for the 2016 Florida State League season. At the A Advanced level, the Clearwater team is the first level the minor league players are on their own for housing.
We get to know many of them on a first name basis. We share a pizza or a trip to Chipotle along Gulf to Bay and visit the Dominican market a couple of miles down Drew St. with them a few times after the games. Especially, we get to know the pitchers who are not scheduled to pitch that day and have time to intermingle with the fans before and after spring training, extended spring and Gulf Coast League games.
As reported in the Phillies Insider column, eight minor league players from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic have reported to the minor league Complex for special workouts. The are participating in a strength and conditioning program, October 29 through December 19, at Carpenter Complex: SS Malquin Canelo, OF Carlos Duran, RHP Ricardo Pinto, OF Jose Pujols, RHP Franklyn Kilome, 1B Luis Encarnacion, SS Arquismedez Gamboa and C Deivy Grullon.
Franklyn Kilome is one of our favorites and he was selected by Baseball America in its current issue as the seventh best prospect in the Phillies organization. This marks the second year he has appeared in Baseball American as one of the top Phillies prospects.
We took the opportunity to drop off again a copy of BA for Franklyn. Needless to say the workouts at the Complex have been paying off for him. He has always had a powerful lower body and now his upper body is catching up. He is listed at 6’5″ in the Baseball America article but when he came to the door of his motel room he had to duck under the top of the door frame and he looked ready for an opening day 2016 start for either Lakewood or Clearwater.
We had a nice chat with Franklyn since we last saw him at Instructs last month. He showed us his latest pencil sketch which he is a master at. If this baseball thing does not work out, he can always be an accomplished artist.
But I will not forget Kilome’s start for Williamsport in the NY-Penn League playoffs in September when we listened to the game over the internet. He recorded a strikeout for the third out in each of the five shutout innings he worked to earn the win. Can’t recall if I have ever followed another game where that had happened.
As Baseball Betsy and I learned this week, the boys of summer are already getting ready for what should be a great 2016 season in the Phillies minor league season.