The July 4th holiday was always a time to take stock of how things are going with guys we have followed in the low minor leagues.
In our town back in south central Pennsylvania, the local town team always played a morning and afternoon doubleheader and for good measure the Phillies were always on TV. So the 4th of July always brings back special memories for me.
On this July 4th, I ventured over to Robin Roberts field at the Carpenter Complex to see how several of our favorite low minor league players were doing in a morning July 4th game. Two of my favorites, Carlos De La Cruz and Greg Pickett, were suited up for the GCL Phillies East team who were taking on the GCL Blue Jays.
We watched De La Cruz impress us in Fall Instructs last season and Pickett seems like he has been here forever hitting long balls for the Baseball Betsy cameras. Nothing ever changes in the Gulf Coast League especially the umpiring. We were quickly reminded of that fact when both our guys were called out on high up and out of the zone “strike threes”.
But they both rallied in later at bats. De La Cruz hit one to the fence in left and Pickett did the same in right. However, both long balls were caught on the track and the other against the fence. Watch HERE and HERE to see their frustration!
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to go deep in the hot, humid and stagnant weather we have in the summer time in Florida. Long fly balls that normally go out in the fall and spring, die in these summer time conditions.
The Phillies downed the Blue Jays 4-2 thanks to the bats of second baseman, Nicolas Torres who went 3 for 4 with a couple of doubles and a RBI, watch HERE and catcher Juan Aparicio who drove in a run with a double, watch HERE. Torres is hitting .455 in 27 at bats while Aparicio is hitting .524 with a couple of home runs in 21 at bats to start the GCL season.
A couple of pitchers who came on in relief impressed me as well. Alejandro Made pitched two shutout innings to get the win by striking four, Watch a strikeout HERE. Lefty Taylor Lehman also pitched two shutout inning to get credited for a hold. Watch an out of his HERE.
After I got back to our house, I decided to check up on one of our favorite Clearwater Threshers from last season and the start of this season, Wilson Garcia. The “experts” in the Phillies minor league department traded him away to the Baltimore organization to start the month of May.
He had a big game on July 4th. Read and watch HERE.
The Phillies Front Office apparently had no need for a 24-year-old, switch hitting, power bat who can catch, play first and DH. I was pleasantly surprised to read that Willie in his last “eight” games has gone 15 for 32 with 9 home runs, 18 RBIs for the Frederick Keys in the High A, Carolina League. With 6 RBIs with Clearwater and now 52 RBIs with Frederick, he is second in all of Advanced A with 58 RBIs this season. His 16 home runs with Frederick puts him only three behind the leader in Advanced A who has 19. In last year and this year so far Garcia has hit 28 home runs combined against right handed pitchers. “Way to go Willie!”