Middle Infield

Predicting the IronPigs roster is difficult enough, but the Phillies keep inviting guys to Clearwater.  It’s an excercise in futility, I know.  But, I like it anyway.  Let’s narrow our focus a bit and make some bold predictions.  Today:  Middle Infield

Yesterday, Decal posted some interesting info about contracts and opt-outs which he got from Todd Zolecki from Philadelphia.  I urge those interested to go back and read that information in the comments section of the “odds and ends” post.  Usually, I don’t get worried about opt-outs and the like until after the season starts.  Guys are playing well and I want them to stick around, so I get worried they’ll opt-out.  Sometimes I refer to it as a “Dewayne Wise.”   Recently, though, it seems a few NRI (non-roster invite) guys have come into Spring Training with immediate opt-outs if they don’t make the team out of  camp.  The interesting one this year, from Decal’s comment/re-post, is Yuni Betancourt.  As the Phillies make a decision about what to do with Yuni, the ripples will be felt all the way down the system for the initial rosters.

Here’s our pool:

“Old Friends”

Pete Orr

Andres Blanco

Michael Martinez


Cesar Hernandez

Freddy Galvis


Yuni Betancourt

Matt Tolbert

Not included, are the big boys:  Rollins and Utley.  If they’re healthy, they’ll have their traditional spots in Philadelphia, of course.  Kevin Frandsen isn’t included in my pool, either.  He’s on the 40-man and if something happens where he or the Phillies are unhappy, I see him going elsewhere.  Otherwise, he can back up every infield position and hit doubles.  He won’t be on the ‘Pigs.

So if I’ve got to make a prediction on February 10, here it is:

Of the above seven players, I see one in Philadelphia and four with the IronPigs.

Jimmy and Chase are healthy.  Charlie likes vets, so Yuni gets a job to start the season in Philadelphia.

Joe Jordan’s comments lead me to believe that I’m not the only one who wants to see Freddy start at AAA and play every day to begin the season (it’ll change fast, and he’ll be up sooner rather than later).  Pete Orr can play third, so they keep him around.  Blanco will be the AAA shortstop once Galvis receives the inevitable call-up, and Tolbert is a vet with experience who can help fill 2B should Utley go down for an extended period.  That leaves Hernandez and Martinez.  Cesar gets pushed back to Reading to start the season.  It’s temporary and I know he has nothing to prove at that level, but he gets caught in the opening-day numbers game.  Martinez does too–doesn’t handle it as well and gets cut just before opening day.

So that’s my take on it at this moment.  What say you, Pig Nation?  I know I had to make a lot of assumptions in my prediction, and we all know how that works out.  So leave your own in the comments below.  Thanks for dropping by,


Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

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7 replies

  1. One thing I should add:

    Kram’s Keys: (what to watch for during Spring Training to know if my predictions are on schedule)

    1. Health. Obviously. We’ve been told Chase Utley’s healthy before. It turns into an episode of Waiting for Godot over here. Look for JRoll and Chase in the lineup at least periodically during the S/T games.
    2. Yuni. As I tried to say above, if his numbers are good and Charlie’s saying good things about him and he’s getting time at multiple positions, then it’ll look good for him (maybe not for the Phillies, but that’s another story).

  2. Not an execercise in futility. Of course it is only February and many players could come and go during Spring Training for a variety of different reasons. Happens every year. But, proper pre-season analysis has to start somewhere, no?


  3. Thank you for your kind words. I guess my feeling is that a worthwhile prediction should be based on a solid set of data with a certain confidence in the “givens.” In this case, too many moving parts makes it more “guess” than “prediction.” Perhaps that’s splitting hairs… I’m gonna do it anyway!

    • The way I see it, this is the worst Phiadelphia Phillies team since the IronPigs started playing in Allentown. To me, that says there will be less “givens” than ever before. Which makes certain roster “predictions” even more of a ‘crap-shoot’ than it probably was already … But, on the other hand, the pitchers and catchers have officially reported. And besides, what ELSE is there to do to make the time go by faster? … 😉

      • Yeah, certainly. It will be interesting to see if the “unrest” in Philadelphia leads to “better” or “worse” players for us in Allentown. Or, if it just creates a ton of roster moves like last season. We’ll see I guess. If I’m a Phillies fan, though, I can’t be feeling too confident right now. Still plenty of talent in Philly, but they need to stay healthy and catch lightning in a bottle somewhat now.

  4. Good stuff here, but I can’t see any reason for the Phillies to send one of their better prospects to AA when he has already proved he can handle AAA pitching. Cesar Hernandez will be the starting second baseman for the Ironpigs on opening day. Moving him backwards makes no sense.

    • Yeah, you’re probably right. I just thought since there isn’t really anyone pushing him hard up the levels and with a glut of players, they might just park him there early because he didn’t complete the year there last year.

      You are right, of course, there’s nothing to prove there. He’s got to get a little slicker, perhaps, at 2B, and he’s got to hit the ball a little harder (not even true power, really, just square it up and drive it go get those doubles and triples he was getting at AA which decreased with his move to AAA last season.)

      Perhaps someone ends up with an injured Velandia out of this group, or maybe Tolbert doesn’t make it all the way.

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