Minor league spring training kicked off this weekend. The first group of work groups are out thanks to pictures by everyone in Florida (the copy I am using was posted by Frank Berlingis). The first work group lists serve to show two things. The first is who is stateside and the second is who is still in the organization. So before jumping into some quick thoughts, here is the roster.
Because there is still a large number of players in major league camp so view these roughly as Reading, Clearwater, Lakewood, and Extended Spring Training. Then acknowledge that everyone has a margin of error of one group because in the end the important part is having 4 complete groups so that you can do workouts the way you want to.
- The first place I look is which Latin American players are stateside. Not everyone here will remain here all year, and the Phillies will likely bring in another group of players in early April after regular spring training as complete. So some notable arrivals…
- Catcher Juan Aparicio – Another in a line of offense first catchers signed by the Phillies in recent years. BA had him as a Top 50 international prospect last year.
- Catcher Rafael Marchan – Marchan tore up the DSL in the year after signing. He is a converted shortstop who still needs work behind the plate but can really hit.
- Infielder Keudy Bocio – Small second baseman with feel for the strike zone and speed. Walked more than he struck out last year and stole 28 bases in 61 games and will play the year at age 18.
- Infielder Jonathan Guzman – Probably the most exciting of the new arrivals, Guzman is a true shortstop with a real feel for contact. He needs to add strength, but he also won’t turn 18 until late in the summer, he will be one of the top players on the GCL team.
- Outfielder Simon Muzziotti – Muzziotti had his contract voided last summer when major league baseball passed down punishments on the Red Sox. As a no power, skinny, Venezuelan center fielder he is going to draw Carlos Tocci comps.
- RHP Rafael Carvajal – Carvajal is a bit older, and he is a bit small for a pitcher, but he put up great numbers in the DSL after signing and was featured in Matt Gelb’s series on the Dominican Complex. Was up to 90 in Fall Instructs in Florida.
- RHP Francisco Morales – Morales is a big righty who was the Phillies top Latin American signing last year due to a fastball that was already into the mid 90s and a promising slider. His development hinges on developing command and a changeup.
- LHP Manuel Silva – Silva along with Bocio and Guzman was one of the lower money signings the Phillies filled in around Jhailyn Ortiz in 2015. He is a big lefty who will need to add velocity, but is an interesting project.
- LHP Denny Martinez, LHP Orestes Melendez, RHP Victor Sobil, and RHP Sandro Rosario – All are new arrivals with no data on them, so we will see why the Phillies like them
- Some group placement things to think about.
- Cole Irvin is a level ahead of JoJo Romero and is in the Clearwater group, it makes more sense roster wise for him to skip Lakewood, but we will see if that holds.
- We could see someone backslide to Lakewood, but it looks right now like a Brito-Gamboa 2B-SS combo in Lakewood.
- Cole Stobbe and Lucas Williams are in the same group and competing for the same spot, Lakewood 3B, and that battle should be intense.
- Greg Pickett is listed as an infielder after missing all of the 2016 season. It seems he will be moving full time to first base.
- People you forgot existed.
- RHP Mario Sanchez – Solid org reliever who came back from Washington for Jimmy Cordero
- RHP David Whitehead – Traded to Pirates for Charlie Morton. Had a terrible year. Got released. Re-signed by the Phillies.
- RHP Tommy Bergjans – #5 starter type who came back from the Dodgers in the Carlos Ruiz trade along with…
- OF Joey Curletta – The other non AJ Ellis return in the Ruiz trade. Imagine you took Dylan Cozens, made him right handed, made him much less athletic, and then reduced his power slightly, you would have something similar to Curletta who has a chance to be a Reading hero.
- LHP Mario Hollands – His velocity never came back after Tommy John surgery, but maybe another year of recovery will get him back to being a useful arm.