Alternate Training Site All-Stars [Phillies]

Here’s what it looks like when they’re playing “Taxi Ball”
Photo: Kram

They continue to engage in baseball activities at the Alternate Training Site, Coca Cola Park, in East Allentown.  After scouts got their pants in a twist (thanks to MY POST unfortunately) guests are no longer allowed at the stadium.  Neither are scouts though, or any media other than our friends at Service Electric TV-2.  So of course I’ve been taking in the action with my new cable subscription and sharing some observations on Twitter.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we’re lucky to have such a skilled TV outfit right here in our community.

Mickey Moniak. Image capture from TV-2 Broadcast, Service Electric.

I’m often asked by folks who can’t get the broadcast, what the players are ‘looking like.”  And, “What if you had to pick an All Star Team?”

First, let’s dispense with some caveats:  These are not real games.  Recently, they aren’t even keeping score conventionally.  You’ve got way more pitchers than position players, so the lineups are only 3-5 deep, and they play only 3-6 innings per day.  They’ll often “roll” innings depending on pitch counts and the lineup and whatnot.  Finally, because it’s the same pitchers facing the same hitters day after day, both groups adjust in a somewhat abnormal manner.  There’s no radar gun and of course we don’t know what the players are working on, or being asked to do.  Coaches and coordinators are playing in the field.

So, I apologize for the “click bait” title, but you can barely put one team together, let alone an “All Star” team.  So let’s divide the players into groups and we’ll provide updates that way:

Player Updates, News and Notes

A couple updates to start us off, “in case you hadn’t heard” kind-of stuff:

  • RHP Edgar Garcia was send to Tampa Bay via waiver-trade.
  • LHP Austin Davis was traded to the Pirates for cash and a player-to-be-named
  • In a similar move, RHP David Hale came to the Phillies via waiver-trade, in exchange for RHP Addison Russ.
  • Boston took C Deivy Grullon from waivers.
  • As you know, 3B Alec Bohm, RHP Spencer Howard and LHP JoJo Romero are all with the Phillies right now and contributing–as is former IronPig Phil Gosselin.  Top prospects Howard and Bohm appeared in Reading last season, but never made it to Lehigh Valley officially, before making their MLB debuts this crazy season.
  • OF/DH Jay Bruce did a stint on the IL with a balky quadriceps, was re-activated, but also re-injured.  OF Kyle Garlick finds himself back on the Phillies.
  • RHP Mauricio Llovera was added to the 40-man and made his MLB debut yesterday.  He played in Reading last season and never for the IronPigs.
  • OF Roman Quinn was added to the concussion-IL (7 days) and is in the protocol.
  • INF/OF Scott Kingery is on the IL with his back.  He’s been in Allentown for a few days, and is scheduled to take batting practice today (Monday).  Perhaps we’ll see him in some game action on TV-2 shortly.  The Phillies need him for CF depth just about now.
  • LHP Jeff Singer, 3B/OF Luke Williams, and C Henri Lartigue have been added to the (60-man) player pool, and will soon be in games at Coca Cola Park.  Singer had four appearances with the IronPigs in 2018, Williams and Lartigue played with Reading last season.  Singer is a lefty who throws hard; many people thought he should have been with the IronPigs in the second half of last season as he was working on a 0.99 WHIP in Baseballtown.  Williams can be very streaky at the plate, but was fun to watch last season at .238/.319/.395 with 11 HR.  Lartigue was added to Reading’s roster following the Bossart trade.  He did fine, and is the next man up for catcher depth.
  • OF Mickey Moniak has been playing lately in Allentown.  Many of us (including yours truly) expected him to be in the player pool much earlier.  Reportedly, he was nursing a sore knee in Clearwater until he was ready to be added.
“So, How Are They Doing?”

The “Top” Prospects

There were a couple guys added who perhaps don’t have a realistic shot at being added to the Phillies this season.  Or, so you’d think.  These are the guys who may have never played above ‘A’ ball.

Rafael Marchan who spent only half of last season at High-A Clearwater, really impressed in Spring Training, and continued to look good at the Alternate Training Site.   In fact, it’s probably why they found Grullon expendable.  He really is a good ballplayer, and you can see why he’s a top 10 prospect by most rankers.  The only thing missing from his game is power, and that’s something you can live without for a top-flight catcher.  He’s been on the road with the Phillies as their emergency catcher.

C Logan O’Hoppe played only at Williamsport last season after having been drafted in 2018.  He’s only 20 years old but has worked his way into the hierarchy of catching prospects and is also important depth at this juncture.  He hits and fields well and hit a home run yesterday.

SS Bryson Stott was the first round pick of the Phillies in 2019 out of UNLV.  He played at Williamsport last season slashing .295/.391/.494 with 6 HR.  He’s become more and more confident at the plate, and his defense has been good.  The TV crew yesterday said that he had gone 8 of his last 19 at the plate.

LHP Christopher Sanchez came over from Tampa where he pitched at three levels last season.  He’s a lefty who throws gas and did spend time at AA and one game at AAA last season–but that’s why I’m going to include him with this group.  He’s bounced between starting and relieving, and there was the thought that maybe he could help in the ‘pen as soon as this season with the Phillies.  You can’t tell the velocity on the video feed, but the fact is that he’s been uneven.  There’s stuff there, but not what the Phillies need right now, which is consistency and experience.  So we’ll watch him develop.  Unfortunately, he took a liner off the hand the other day.  He did subsequently return later in the week, to throw, but it remains something to watch.

OF Mickey Moniak has just arrived in town.  He was at AA Reading last season.  He’s appeared in a couple of “games,” but they’ve also given him rest for his knee.  He’s looked good playing center field.

Veteran Outfielders and Infielders

Had there been an IronPigs season, these are the guys who would have been roaming the outfield for much of the season:

OF Mickie Mahtook was named the top outfield defender in the Tampa farm system some years ago.  He’s done pretty well in center field.  He started ice cold at the plate, but has since heated up.  He’s not on the 40-man, but if the Phillies have an outfield need he might have to be added.  He has 291 games of MLB experience with Tampa and Detroit.

OF Nick Martini was claimed from waivers from the Reds via San Diego, where he played last season.  He has 87 games of MLB experience and is mostly a corner outfielder and left-hand bat.  He pulled up lame two days ago, grabbing his hamstring.  He may or may not be available right now, and is not on the 40-man after passing through waivers earlier this year from the Phillies.

OF Kyle Garlic had hit a ton of doubles at the training site, but that’s about it.  He is on the 40-man, and on the Phillies right now as you can see above.  He came over in a trade from the Dodgers who had a crowded outfield following the Mookie Betts trade.

INF/OF Ronald Torreyes is a guy Phillies manager Joe Girardi may be familiar with from his time in the Yankees system.  He has 236 games of MLB experience and can play all of the infield positions.  He’s been nothing but a pro at the alternate site, and is constantly hitting for average.  The diminutive Torreyes is infield depth for the Phillies, and may be pressed into duty in the OF if the need presents.  He’s not on the 40-man.

Young Bucks

INF Austin Listi is a blog favorite.  Like Mahtook, he seemed to start slow, but has been hitting great lately.  It seems he’s been feeling contact better and not swinging for the fence every time? –Just my recent observation.  He’s played both 3B and 1B, but I don’t think I’ve seen him in the outfield yet, but I could have missed it.  Defensive position continues to be his biggest obstacle, in my opinion.

INF Nick Maton played last season at AA Reading.  He’s looked good and played a variety of infield positions.  He remains a prospect as a utility infielder.

MLB Relievers

RHP Deolis Guerra is here after passing through waivers.  He’s done well against the training site competition.

RHP JD Hammer has been pitching with a ton of confidence.  He’s looked really good, and while he may not get an MLB shot this season, he should be in the mix going forward, despite the fact that he passed through waivers unclaimed.  He’s looked really good and the stuff has been nasty.

RHP Reggie McClain was also out-righted to the training site after passing through waivers.  I haven’t seen him a ton.

RHP Connor Brogdon is on the 40, and was optioned back following a short stint and he MLB debut.  He’s been OK–just needs to sharpen things up and add consistency.  That, and adapt to the “move up, sent down” routine that can mess with young pitchers.  Like Hammer, he should be good going forward.

LHP Garrett Cleavinger made some really good pitches yesterday, and has been throwing very well.  However, most recently he’s had difficulty putting guys away with two strikes.  The stuff is there, but a common refrain:  He needs seasoning and consistency.  He’s also on the 40-man, so I’ll include him with this group.

RHP Trevor Kelley passed through waivers and made it down.  He’ll trick some guys with that delivery, but the small player pool is a disadvantage for him, methinks.

LHP Adam Morgan is on the IL and may appear at the training site soon.

RHP David Robertson had a setback in his rehab and has discontinued throwing.

Damon Jones. Horn and Bell exclusive by Steve Kiebach from 2019

Starters and Potential Starters

With the spate of double-headers coming the Phillies’ way, they may need an arm or two from this group:

RHP Adonis Medina has looked like he did in Reading last season.  Inconsistent.  He is on the 40-man; I’d like to see them come up with a focused plan for him and see if he can sink or swim.  That might have to wait until next season.

LHP Cole Irvin has not looked good at all, to me, in his last couple outings.  It appears he’s being re-stretched as a starter, and perhaps that’s part of what I’m seeing on the screen.  I’m a fan of his and I want him to do well, but I’m not sure I’m confident putting him in one of these MLB games right away.

RHP Ramon Rosso is being re-stretched as a starter after starting in Philly as a reliever.  The TV crew is championing his different fastball usage.  We’ll see.  He did look pretty good at times yesterday pitching into the fourth inning.  Another blog-favorite, I just want him to do well and want to see the Phillies use him properly.

LHP Damon Jones is not on the 40-man and has been inconsistent at times at the Alternate Training Site.  He’ll throw a few really, really good pitches and then lose control or lose focus or something.  Again, it’s difficult not knowing the exact training plan, and not being on the 40-man has him lower on this list.  He’s looked more like the guy who struggled at times when he came to AAA last season, compared with the guy who mowed his way through AA I saw in Reading.  He is being used as a starter, though.

See you….online I guess.  I miss the park.


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

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