1/11/23 : High Performance Camp - Day Three
Today at the Complex :
Multiple fields were in use once again - running drills, pitchers fielding practices, throwing, infield and outfield drills as well as batting practice. The High Performance Camps have a focus on strength and conditioning but also highlight individualized baseball instruction. Two previous camps were held this off season ( one in Clearwater and another in the Dominican ) - after this particular camp concludes the final High Performance Camp is slated for the Dominican later this month.
The Chicago Cubs introduced extended training work at their complex in Arizona during the 2021/2022 off season by bringing a core group of minor league players together in November and interspersing others with them thru February till spring training or mini camp commenced. The Phillies off season of Fall Instructs followed by four high performance camps along with select players also training at Cressy Sports in South Florida somewhat mirrors the concept. After the High Performance Camps conclude there will be a minor league mini camp in Clearwater which leads into Spring Training. As plans continue to develop for the Clearwater Complex in regards to site upgrades and a build out into a state of the art year round training facility incorporating a player development schematic aligned to it is part of the equation - the vision of the “Protect the Standard” mantra becomes even more solidified albeit a strong foundation has already been established this past year.
Batting practice sessions don’t indicate full hitting abilities but an observer can certainly find some takeaways. I especially notice when players hustle and have to give kudos to outfielder Cade Fergus for busting his tail to shag fly balls in center today - says a lot when a player goes hard when nobody’s particularly watching - especially when it’s in a BP session in January 😳. I watch and I notice - Cade made a nice running snag of a ball hit into the gap off the bat of Baron Radcliff. Good stuff in my book.
The young players in camp from the Dominican Academy we’ve seen over the past three days have all made good impressions - they participate like they belong and are well schooled in baseball acumen. Outfielder Manolfi Jimenez ( 18 years old ) is my shout out of the day from a hitting perspective - strong lefty swing and frame - drove the ball on more than a couple occasions. Leandro Pineda ( 20 year old outfielder who played last season with Clearwater & Jersey Shore ) also impressed today - sweet lefty swing who shows easy pull field power - we liked what we saw of him last summer - continues to progress. Carlos De LA Cruz has been squaring it up regularly in the two sessions we’ve watched - just seems like a really confident player right now - he also took grounders at first base today in infield drills.
Roster Notes :
RHP Francisco Morales cleared waivers and has been out-righted to AAA level Lehigh Valley. Francisco was designated for assignment on 1/4/23 - the 23 year old will now likely receive a non-roster invitation to major league spring training camp. He’s coming off a good Arizona Fall League season where he posted a 0.84 ERA in nine games ( 10 2/3 IP ) with 17 K’s and 7 walks.
The club has signed 32 year old RHP Louis Head to a minor league contract. Last season he pitched in the Baltimore Orioles organization. He was the 18th round draft selection in the 2012 draft of the Cleveland Guardians from Texas State. Head appeared in 23 major league games last season with the Miami Marlins ( 23 2/3 IP - 1.56 WHIP - 23 K’s & 11 BB ) and 5 games with the Orioles ( 1.80 ERA in 5 IP ). He pitched in 27 games with the Tampa Rays in 2021 ( 2.31 ERA in 35 IP - 0.86 WHIP - 32 K’s & 9 walks ). He features a “heavy” fastball ( sits at 93 to 94 mph - touched 96 ) and a high spin slider ( Avg of 2600 RPM ) that is his feature pitch - lots of movement when he’s on, a changeup is his third pitch. The veteran has played in the Guardians, Dodgers, Rays, Mariners, Marlins and Orioles organizations - he will receive a non-roster invitation to big league spring training.
Back at em tomorrow I reckon.
There will be a pause on the daily articles for a bit next week - Phantasy Campers arrive and take the fields from Thursday thru Sunday - word is it’s a full camp - all fields including the two across the street ( DiMaggio Complex ) will be in use.
Happy Day Happy Baseball ⚾️
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Repair work on the Carlton Field center field batting eye - Hurricane winds last fall tattered it a bit