Hitter Spotlight: Jose Pujols 8-13 4 2B 3B SB K
It is hard for someone to have a better start than Pujols did for Williamsport. It is a big start for the lanky right fielder, who might have the best raw tools in the system. Pujols has really struggled with the mental aspects of the game, whether it is his approach at the plate, his route running in the outfield, or his base path awareness. However, he has made big strides over the years and has an incredibly bright future on the back of elite raw power from great bat speed, and a cannon arm in right field. At the plate Pujols is at his best when he uses the full field, and this weekend that was on full display. He will face bigger challenges as more college pitchers arrive, especially those with some command and feel for off speed pitches. However, for now it is a great start for an important prospect in the Phillies system.
Here is some Pujols BP:
Pitcher Spotlight #1: Franklyn Kilome 5.2 IP 3 H 1 ER 2 BB 4 K 1 HR
Given the legend of Kilome, this start might look like a bit of a disappointment, but the big righty got his year off to a solid start. After coming out a bit wild early, he settled in, pitching mostly in the 94-95 range with a good looking curveball and changeup. In addition to flashing big time stuff, Kilome showed his other important skill, his ability to generate tons of ground ball contact. He faced 22 batters on Saturday, only 3 put the ball in the outfield.
The plan for now is for him to spend the whole year in Williamsport, getting his work in and learning consistency. He is all ready to be the guy to irrationally love, here is a curveball to help that process.
Pitcher Spotlight #2: Josh Taylor 7.2 IP 4 H 3 ER 2 BB 9 K
Taylor made three mistakes on Sunday, 2 home runs and a triple, but was otherwise brilliant in Lakewood’s last start of the first half. The big lefty was apparently flashing mid-90s heat to start the game, and already brings a good arsenal for someone fairly new to high level pitching. On the year his 4.64 ERA is mostly a product of big innings and extra runs deep into games. With his 9 strikeouts, he moved into a tie for the org lead with strikeouts (along with Aaron Nola and Mark Leiter Jr.) and leads all Phillies’ minor league starters in K/9, while also sporting a 2.8 BB/9. At one point people were looking at Taylor as a guy who could lose his rotation spot, but he might actually be primed for a second half breakout.
GCL Season Kicks Off:
Today (weather permitting) the GCL Phillies start their season. The team won’t have a ton of well known names if you haven’t been following the draft or the international signing period closely. However, there is a lot of talent on the team this year including a couple of pop up guys that the Phillies have brought stateside. There will be a full preview up soon, but for now there are 8 box scores to follow daily (9 if you actually look at the major leagues).