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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/16/22 : Major League Debuts

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

Last season the Phillies had eight minor leaguers make their major league debuts with them. Contributions varied but they all got a taste of what the show’s life is like. Coming into the 2022 season OF Matt Vierling, UTL Luke Williams, INF Nick Maton, LHP Damon Jones, LHP Bailey Falter, LHP Christopher Sanchez, RHP Hans Crouse and LHP Kyle Dohy at the least have an initial line of big league service.

So who might make their MLB debut in 2022 ? While most media outlets are focused on the lower levels when discussing Phillies minor league players they deem as potential big leaguers, albeit not in the immediate future, there are players who will perform at the upper levels this coming season who indeed may push their way to the show. Opinions are subjective, in today’s world of player development there are also more defined objective tools that reflect potential and some folks may regard the data it provides as most telling. I have long believed it’s a combination, skill sets that stand out in data and technology measurements certainly give strong indications but subjectively a player’s heart, will, mental strength and ability to adapt will factor heavily to determine their success. Good coaches find ways to use the entire toolset to train their players.

My observations are based on more subjective views than objective data, although I consider everything as best I can. I admittedly am biased, I want every player to succeed and will do all that is possible as a fan/observer/advocate to encourage, promote and assist them to do so. With that being said here are a few current Phillies minor leaguers I think have chances to make their major league debuts in 2022. Since I tend to get too long winded on these articles I’ll start with the position players and focus on five or six players at a time, breaking it into two parts. The other parts of this mini series will be the pitchers ( will break out starters and relievers ). My notes likely aren’t as “technical” or data driven as you find on other sites - they are based on my observations, notes, readings and in many cases getting to know the player a bit whenever possible. Here goes … for those interested.

SS Bryson Stott - 24 years old - the best way to describe him is that he’s a very good all around baseball player. His hitting abilities are the ticket that will drive him to the show, has shown a selective approach, willingness to work for walks and quickness to drive thru the baseball on pitches within his hitting zone. In my opinion he capitalizes on pitchers mistakes very well, as a former hurler those are the types of hitters ya don’t like facing. Very capable of being a steady lineup regular and perhaps even more. Defensively he’s gonna make just about every play, works at his craft. Has the arm and mobility to be a JJ Hardy like big league shortstop. This spring, if the lockout ends, affords him an opportunity to make the club and be part of opening day. If that comes to fruition it has to be as the starting shortstop, if not then he should head to Lehigh Valley with an eye on being productive enough to earn a promotion if a starter is needed in the infield. He’s definitely on the verge of his MLB debut.

C Donny Sands - 25 years old - “pure hitting ability, displaying quick hands and a smooth right-handed swing. He slammed 18 homers in 94 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021. After years of hard work he has made himself into a capable receiver.” - MLB He will be in the mix for the big league backup role this spring and if not that then will likely see a lot of game action at LHV. Originally drafted as a third baseman by the Yankees, was acquired by the Phillies in a trade before the lockout occurred. We saw him quite a bit as an opposing player for Somerset and Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

1B/DH Darrick Hall - 26 years old - has been a consistent run producer throughout his career, those that discount the value of RBIs likely haven’t ever been in the box with runners in scoring position with the pressure to deliver. Darick is an aggressive hitter who attacks pitches when he’s going well. Hits the ball hard consistently however loses quite a few would be knocks to the extended left handed batter shift where a fielder is placed in short right field. Very powerful swing that has delivered many long home runs. Has shown the ability to take the outside pitch the other way and with that has left center field gap power. Is also a very solid defender at first base, very good hands and arm. Has shown he can also play some corner outfield albeit range will be limited. I’ve long touted his skill sets as big league caliber and still believe that’s the case. Just needs the opportunity to contribute even if that comes as a reserve who provides power off the bench that can deliver runs.

C Logan O’Hoppe - 21 years old - very intuitive and prepared player. Has a great persona about him, well mannered and liked, just a good person. Last season was a breakout year that displayed an offensive prowess that some may have doubted would come to fruition. He’s got the ability to hit the baseball out of any yard and is a student of hitting, always striving to learn and get better. As a receiver the skills are there, good arm, footwork and mechanics. Blocking skills are much improved, won’t shy away from work to get better at all facets. He is a leader, learns each member of his pitching staff’s nuances, gets to know what makes them tick and uses it to help them succeed. This young man will play Major League Baseball at some point, perhaps allows JT to eventually move to either 1B or the outfield. Likely starts the season at Reading as a lineup regular. If things go as they did last season for him and there’s a need for a catcher in the show he could get a chance to make his debut this year, if no need arises then I believe there is a summer of solid development play beginning at Reading and ending up with Lehigh Valley.

OF Jhailyn Ortiz - 23 years old - Has easy power that drives the baseball long distances. Vision issues early in his career hindered pitch recognition, that’s seemingly been resolved. Outstanding thrower and good speed for a big fella, generally gets decent reads on balls to the outfield and has played all three positions. Is a great teammate, well regarded and respected. Smile lights up the room. Just a young man you want to root for. Likely begins the year at Reading and with success moves to LHV putting himself on the verge of the big leagues. Can’t teach the power this young man possesses.

In part two of the position player review we will highlight Simon Muzziotti, Dalton Guthrie, Matt Kroon, Madison Stokes, Luis Garcia and Johan Rojas.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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