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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/17/24 : High Performance Camp - Day Eight

Cold (by Clearwater standards) morning for today’s workouts as temperatures sat in the upper 40’s to mid 50’s.  I started by watching infield drills on the Bowa half field - got there in time to see Nolan Beltran, Aroon Escobar, William Bergolla and Bryan Rincon take grounders - just fielding, no throwing in the drills yet.  Rincon is rightfully a highly regarded prospect as a shortstop.  He’s just 19 years old (will be 20 on 2/8/24) and already has a full season of A ball (split the year between Clearwater and Jersey Shore) under his belt.  He’s got multiple tools but at this point in his development is noted as a standout defender.  Here are my notes on him from last year’s observations.

SS - Bryan Rincon  - 19 years old - drafted in 14th round of the 2022 draft from Shaler Area HS , Pittsburgh, PA

2023 Stats :  played in 99 games combined for Clearwater and Jersey Shore.  He was promoted to the BlueClaws on 8/15/23 and played 18 regular season games with them plus 3 post season contests. Overall he posted a .234/.368/.361 slash line in 425 plate appearances with 17 doubles, a triple, 8 home runs and 52 RBIs.  Walked 68 times and stole 27 bases in 41 attempts.  Had a .970 fielding percentage at shortstop in 371 chances.

2023 Notes :  was voted as the best defensive shortstop in the Florida State League in a Baseball America survey amongst scouts.  Has great hands, range and arm, covers a lot of ground, first noticed that in 2023 spring camp. He’s a switch hitter who has strong bat to ball skills and a great approach, makes pitchers work deep into counts and takes walks.  He’s got pop as well, particularly from the left side - can really turn on pitches as a lefty hitter, drives the ball.  Has great energy and presence, will jump pitcher’s mistakes - really good eye-hand coordination and is baseball savvy.  One to watch - has a lot of tools to work with and can be a very solid high level performer at a premium position.  Folks should take note, this young man has a big league skill set.

To be frank all of the young men in the morning infield session have strong upside, all are 19 year olds - is gonna be fun to watch them play this summer including the two that followed in the second session.  That pair was the tandem of Starlyn Caba and Juan Villavicencio - two more teenagers.  Caba is smooth, he’s seemingly glides in his movement to the baseball - just has an aura about him that indicates he’s going to be a really good one.

Johan in the house!

Johan Rojas was working at the complex today as he’s moved his off-season training from the Dominican to Clearwater.  Before arriving here Johan has been working out most recently with Cincinnati Reds budding star Elly De La Cruz, they are good friendsToday we saw him in the cage on Schmidt Field practicing bunting under the tutelage of coaches Andy Abad and Gary Cathcart.  They worked on bunting to both sides of the field, bunting for a base hit as well as getting sacrifice bunts down.  There was great interaction between Johan and his instructors, that’s always been the case with the young man, he’s a sponge who’s willingness and desire to learn and get better has been evident from the first day we watched him work back in 2019 in the Gulf Coast League.  No one can ever rightfully accuse Johan of lack of effort, he’s a tremendous worker who loves playing the game of baseball and also has great fun doing so.  His commitment and competitiveness shines thru even in drills like today, it’s why this observer has no doubt in his ability to be a very good all-around major league player.  The combination of skills and “want to” give him a tremendous advantage - he can be a very special player, have said that from day one.

Spring Training :

The first official workout for pitchers and catchers is set for 2/14/24 with the first full squad workout slated for 2/19/24.  Grapefruit League play begins on 2/24/24 with an away game in Dunedin against the Blue Jays.  The Clearwater home opener is scheduled for 2/25/24 against the Yankees.  The Phillies will play 16 home games this spring at BayCare BallPark and 15 away games.  There will also be a smaller subset of minor league games (played at the complex) in March.

Phantasy Camp :

Over the next four days the complex will be hopping with former Phillies legends serving as coaches and managers to approximately 150 Phillies Phantasy campers living out their dream of being a Philadelphia Phillies ball player.  While the camp is going on I’ll be taking a small hiatus from High Performance Camp coverage and will return with my daily notes on 2/22/24.  Wishing all the Phantasy Campers a healthy, fun and memorable experience during the balance of this week.  Good stuff.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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