It’s always a special time when the Gulf Coast League opens. Yesterday was no exception. The Phillies GCL East team downed the the Yankees West team, 8-3. They banged out 13 hits including five doubles on Ashburn Field at the Carpenter Complex.
The score was really not all that important as it was watching many of the young players making professional debuts. Several of the teenage Phillies prospects stood out including two, 18-year-olds, right fielder Carlos De La Cruz and shortstop Logan Simmons. Also 19-year-old catcher Carlos Oropeza was strong with the bat as well.
Centerfielder Julio Francisco has already opened two league seasons in the last four days. He homered in Williamsport’s home opener on Friday night in the NY-Penn League. After the first two games there, he was sent to the GCL and arrived just in time to bat lead off in Monday’s GCL Phillies lidlifter. He went 3 for 4 with a double, two RBIs and a walk . Can’t get off to a better start than that!
De La Cruz was an undrafted free agent out of New York City who was signed after the 2017 draft last August. We were impressed with him in Fall Instructs and he did nothing to disappoint yesterday in the big six-run, second inning. He drove in two runs with a double down the left field line. He singled to left in the third inning. Watch both hits HERE. He finished up 2 for 3 with two RBIs, two runs scored and a walk.
Simmons stood out at shortstop. He was a sixth round pick in the recent draft. He was solid in the field and with the bat. He hit a sacrifice fly RBI in the big second inning and just missed foul an extra base hit down the third base line in the third inning. Watch HERE.
Oropeza played two season in the Dominican Summer League where he showed an outstanding arm by throwing out 50 percent of base stealing attempts. It was his bat that stood out yesterday. He went 2 for 4 with a walk. His big hit was a two-run double in the second inning. Watch HERE.
For the first time the Phillies are fielding two teams in the GCL this season. The Phillies GCL West team opens their season today. We watched several of West team take batting practice yesterday including first round draft pick Alec Bohm. You can read Betsy’s blog to see pictures and watch the video she took of his BP. You can find it HERE. He is expected to play a few games in the GCL before moving up to Williamsport.
We saw a lot of exciting young talent on the field yesterday and we will be busy this season for the first time watching not one, but two Phillies GCL teams in action.