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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/15/24 : High Performance Camp - Day Six

An overcast day today in Clearwater with a few sprinkles mixed in - didn’t prohibit the continuation of High Performance Camp.

Ten pitchers took to the practice mounds between Ashburn and Schmidt fields to throw “9 Square” sessions (they threw to a square net instead of a catcher with the net containing nine different pockets.  The object is to focus on hitting spots and delivering the baseball into each of the pockets from a natural motion).  Pitchers we saw today included Brandon Beckel, Cam Brown, Ethan Chenault, Gunner Mayer, Jean Cabrera, Wen Hui Pan, Alex Rao, Casey Steward, Jake Eddington and George Klassen. 

When I watch “target” mound sessions I attempt to focus on mechanics and release points rather than spin, velocity or where pitches cross or land.  I’m an old lefty pitcher so the nuances of delivering a baseball intrigue me (especially watching professionals do so along with trying to keep in mind the ongoing development of each hurler).  Today RH Gunner Mayer seemed to be simpler and shorter than what I’ve seen before.  He’s also noticeably stronger with added muscle and weight - I think that’s a help with the body control in his delivery seeming more in sync and repeatable.  On each pitch he was square to his target and the release of the baseball was aligned and in sequence with the rest of the body.  Gunner has always had a big arm - with physical maturity, repeatable delivery and command of the zone he could break out and shine, the talent has always been evident.  It’s just one session but it’s the stuff I notice, now whether I posses actual baseball knowledge of what I speak about is another story 🤪😂.

Outfielders took fly balls on Schmidt Field, catchers went thru framing and receiving by Roberts Field and infielders took grounders on Carlton.  We got to chat with Gabriel Rincones Jr for a bit, congratulated him on his AFL season in Arizona and wished him well for this year, he’s a very well built young man who brims with confidence and ability.  He has to tools to be a major league regular - can see it in approach, attitude, mindset, willingness/want to learn and flat out talent.  Good things to come for that young man!

International Signings :

Today is the first day of the International signing period for amateur players - as reported by Todd Zolecki the Phillies have inked seventeen year old Dominican outfielder Jalvin Arias - he’s one of 22 expected signings by the club.  Baseball America had this to say about him : “Arias has size and power that stick out for his age. He shows flashes of plus raw power that could eventually end up being a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Arias’ power is evident in batting practice and he can crush a fastball if the pitcher makes a mistake over the heart of the plate, though it comes with swing-and-miss risk, so he will need to develop more adjustability with his swing and improve his plate discipline. Arias was running plus times in the 60-yard dash early in the scouting process, when he impressed some scouts with his athleticism and had them believing he could play center field, though as he’s gotten bigger he’s trended more toward a future in an outfield corner. “.   Catcher Cesar Mujica from Venezuela is also a reported signee - BA said this about him “strong-framed, athletic catcher with good raw power for his age, potential 20-plus home run threat with an above-average arm.”

Phantasy Camp :

This week is Phillies Phantasy Camp with participants scheduled to arrive Wednesday afternoon for check in.  Generally there are 12 to 13 players per team, this year twelve teams will take to the fields with games scheduled for Thursday thru Saturday followed by an awards banquet Saturday night and a chance to play against the former pro’s on Sunday as the Phillies legends play a continuous 12 games (three inning stints) against all the teams - a test of endurance for the former Phillies indeed 🤓.  Today camp personnel were on hand to un-pack the equipment and get things ready.  As a five time participant as well as being one who was honored one year as the winner of the Tug McGraw inspiration award I can attest that the folks participating will have a terrific time, to me it was the happiest I’ve ever been on a ball field as I got to share the experience with my entire family (my two sons and son in law played alongside me and my wife, daughters and daughter in laws attended as fans.) It’s a little taste of what the professionals go thru that’s delivered in great fun and spirit - a good time all around.

Back at em tomorrow - till then as always - Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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