Game One of the 2016 Grapefruit League is in the bank. What stuck me was the Phillies had no offense and the leading closer candidate did not strikeout a batter in his inning of work. You only get one chance to make a first impression and the first impression of the 2016 Phillies was not good in the 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays.
No matter how great your pitching is, no team is going to win going 5 for 32 ( .156) and the likely 2016 season starters going 3 for 23 (.130) as the Phillies lineup did on opening day of the Grapefruit League. Oh yea, its only one game but yet this team will have trouble scoring runs. Bet on it!
Yet, the guy in the farm system who can actually hit a baseball was not even invited to the major league spring training camp. Rhys Hoskins was the only offensive bat in the farm system of note in 2015. This is why the minor league camp will be more interesting than what we saw yesterday!
In three different leagues combined Hoskins hit .311 with 55 doubles, 26 home runs, 135 runs batted in and an OPS of over .900. He can hit both lefties and righties. He is all but the same age as Franco, both of them will play most of the 2016 season at baseball age 23.
Quite frankly I am tired of both first baseman, Ryan Howard who will play at baseball age 36 and Darin Ruf who will play at baseball age 29 the first two-thirds of this season, It’s simply time to move on from both of them, especially for a rebuilding team.
New closer David Hernandez did not record a strikeout in retiring the three batters he faced in the the fourth innings. He has only recorded double digits in saves once in his career when he had 11 saves for Arizona by in 2011 no less. However, he does have ties with the former Baltimore Orioles Front Office personnel who are now running the Phillies. It remains to be seen if he has the stuff to close in 2016. His fastball did hit 93 mph yesterday and is working on a change-up.
I was disappointed in Edubray Ramos outing. He gave up a run on two hits in his one inning and only a strong throw by Aaron Altherr bailed him out from more damage.
The good news is that a plane loaded with young minor league pitching prospects from Latin America is arriving at TIA tomorrow. We plan to spend most of our time in spring training watching them.
We find the twin towers, 6’6″ Franklyn Kilome and 6’8″ Ranfi Casimiro, exciting starters. Elniery Garcia is one of the top lefty starters in the Phillies minor league system. Victor Arano put up over-the-top numbers in winter ball relief. Alexis Rivero finish strong out the pen last season in the Florida State League. Filiberto Sanchez struck out seven in his last two outings in relief in the NY-Penn League. Edgar Garcia and Felix Paulino were dominating pitchers in the GCL and in Fall Instructs. These are just some of the young pitchers who will make the spring training minor league camp more worth watching than what was on the field yesterday.