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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/16/24 : High Performance Camp - Day Seven

Five pitchers threw side bullpen sessions this morning on the mounds between Ashburn and Schmidt fields.  Mick Abel, Cristian Hernandez, Andrew Baker, Tyler McKay and Samuel Aldegheri each threw their second side of the camp.  One notable addition to the catching group today was Aramis Garcia who spent last season at Lehigh Valley.  The veteran receiver caught Mick Abel.  I can also report that RHP Nick Nelson has arrived in Clearwater and was throwing on the outfield area of Ashburn field this morning.

I honed in on Cristian Hernandez’s work this morning, the 23 year old from Venezuela was throwing a few cutters in his mix which is something I’ve not seen from him before.  Cristian made 15 appearances in the Venezuela Winter League this year for Caribes de Anzoategui so he’s thrown a bit more than the others coming into camp.  He’s a workhorse type pitcher who can eat up innings - last year he had a very solid season at Reading as a bulk reliever, pitched multiple innings or more in 20 of his 35 games. In times past I’ve seen him feature a four pitch mix (fastball, slider, change up and curve) with the heater sitting in the 92 to 95 mph range.  Adding a cutter into the repertoire with the action it was presenting today is yet another weapon.  Cristian is another young hurler I’m anxious to see in some Grapefruit League action - another fella I believe can eventually contribute at the major league level.

Good Stuff :

We met a first time Phantasy Camper today - he came over to watch some practice along with his wife and son.  During our conversation the young son (looked to be around 12 or so) said that he was hoping to get Mick Abel to sign his baseball.  He had seen Mick a couple years back when they attended a Jersey Shore BlueClaws High A level game in Wilmington, Delaware.  Mick is one of the kindest and most cordial folks in the organization, not only did he sign the baseball he chatted with the young man and took a photo with him as well.  When the young fella returned to the bleachers where we were sitting he was beaming and said the baseball would go at the top of his shelf back home.  Really cool stuff - it’s a small sample of how a few minutes of kindness and interaction can impact a person.  Mick likely made himself a new lifelong fan!

Signings and Graduations :

Yesterday was the beginning of the international signing period and the Phillies signed multiple players to contracts - it’s a great day in a person’s life to obtain their first job.  Family members usually gather to celebrate the signings, photos are taken and memories are made.  Congrats to all the new additions to the organization, we look forward to seeing them in action.

Another event is taking place today at the Phillies Dominican Academy.  The Phillies offer players at the Academy the opportunity to complete their education and upon doing so receive their high school diplomas.  I’ve long thought it is one of the coolest things the organization does.  The graduation celebrations are replete with caps, gowns and the presentations of diplomas.  At each occurrence Phillies leadership is on hand to take part in the occasion.  This most recent graduation includes team owner John Middleton along with multiple executives and leaders from the baseball operations group as they join with the local Dominican management team to honor the graduates.  It’s the recognition of the individual growth of the people within the organization even outside of baseball that makes the leadership stand out.  It’s a standard established long ago and it’s great to see it’s continuation is honored and protected.  Really good stuff!

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

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