We did not get to see all the Phillies Instructs and intrasquad games on the two week scheduled. In the games we did see, first baseman Greg Pickett was usually the best player on the field.
We put together a highlight reel that says it all. Pickett hit two long home runs to center during the time. One just to the right of the batter’s eye at Ashburn Field and another one high off the netting of the “eye’ at the Blue Jays Field.
Also we watched him hit two singles and a double in other games.
Watch Pickett’s five-hit highlight video HERE.
It was harder to get a read on the Phillies Instructs pitchers. They had 35 young pitchers in camp who pitched either at the rookie or low A ball levels including three 16 year- olds who were making their professional debuts. Also the four Phillies minor league pitchers now pitching in the Arizona Fall League were given a couple of innings of work each in the first week of Instructs games.
So we are going to pick Elniery Garcia as the best pitcher that we saw in Instructs. Garcia pitched in the first week. Watch him pitch at Instructs HERE. He is now pitching in the AFL. On Monday he pitched a brilliant four-inning, one-hitter for the Glendale Desert Dogs for the win. He struck out five and walked only one in what had to be his best outing of the season.
Jim Callis of MLB.com wrote an account of the game. Read it HERE.
We all know the Elniery Garcia story. He was added to the 40 man roster at end of last season. Then suspended for first 80 games of this minor league season. But clearly he is on the road to a great comeback story if Monday night’s game is any indication though his fastball was off a few miles per hour according to the Callis article.
The 2017 season was one of the few if only times in Phillies history where they did not have a game started by a left-handed pitcher. Elniery Garcia has the opportunity of a lifetime to make the Phillies 25-man roster to give them a lefty starter in its 2018 MLB rotation.
It’s unfortunate that Pickett played only at Williamsport in 2017 in the half season NY/Penn League. He looked like a seasoned veteran at the plate in the Instructs games.
He will probably start the 2018 season at Lakewood in the South Atlantic League. This was the third season in the Phillies system for the 20 year-old. He was an eight round draft pick in 2015 and missed the 2016 regular season with knee tendinitis.
Two players to watch in the 2018 season will be left handed hitting Greg Pickett with the bat and lefty starter Elniery Garcia based on what they have done this Fall.