1/22/ 23 : Spring Competition - Clearwater Threshers
Continuing with the theme of anticipation for the 2023 season ( see https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/12-26-22-2023-pre-season-is-near ) I’ve produced a five part series of articles looking forward to some spring competitions we might expect to see in the next couple of months for roster placements on opening day.
I began with the major league club https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/1-9-22-spring-competition and followed up with articles on Lehigh Valley https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/1-13-22-spring-competition-lehigh-valley-iron-pigs, Reading
https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/1-15-22-spring-competition-reading-fightins , Jersey Shore https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/1-18-23-spring-competition-jersey-shore-blueclaws and now Clearwater. This series won’t be detailed profiles of players - we’ve done that for the minor leaguers already ( see https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/12-20-22-who-will-reach-the-major-leagues-2023 ) but rather a limited discussion on what each roster may look like. There are maybe still player signings to be announced so at this point we may not yet know all the names competing for the jobs but we will do our best with what we know at present.
So here goes - the Clearwater Threshers - there are 30 active roster spots allowed for the A level however teams generally carry a few more than that - they are just inactive on game days.
Low A - Clearwater Threshers :
RH Estibenzon Jimenez ( 20 years old ) finished the 2022 season by throwing five scoreless innings for the Threshers on 9/6 against Bradenton - he had a very strong summer in the Florida Complex League where he posted a 2.29 ERA in 35 1/3 IP and could be the opening day starter for Clearwater in 2023. Twenty one year old RH Jaydenn Estanista has big time velocity - he turned heads on the backfields in the FCL last summer and is very likely in the opening day rotation with the Threshers. LH Samuel Aldegheri spent most of last season on the IL but did make 8 FCL appearances in July & August and recorded a 1.46 ERA in 12 1/3 IP - the 21 year old from Italy has the mix to be an effective starter - we think he starts 2023 with the Threshers. RH Jean Cabrera ( 21 years old ) made 12 starts for the Threshers in 2022 amassing 46 1/3 IP - July was his best month before he hit his innings limit - the 2021 Paul Owens Award winner should return to the CW rotation this summer. RH Alex McFarlane ( 21 years old ) saw limited action with the Threshers in 2022 after being drafted in the 4th round, primarily a reliever at the University of Miami the club believes he’s got a starters mix - we think he will start the season at least with the Threshers to build that out. Twenty year old Danyony Pulido made 11 starts for DSL league champions Phillies White and recorded a 1.82 ERA in 49 1/3 IP - he’s pitched two seasons in the DSL and looks ready to come stateside. LH Braeden Fausnaught ( 23 years old ) was a starter throughout his collegiate career at West Chester University - he saw limited action last summer in the FCL after signing as an un-drafted free agent - should compete in spring camp for a roster spot with Jersey Shore however if the club prefers getting him lower level time as a starter he may begin the year with the Threshers. RH Oswald Medina ( 21 years old ) made 19 appearances ( 14 starts ) with the Threshers in 2022, we see him returning, at least, to begin 2023 as part of the rotation. Twenty one year old RH Jonathan Petit has pitched well in the Venezuelan Winter League as both a starter and reliever and will compete for a Threshers job this spring.
RH Enrique Segura is just 18 years old but has really good stuff as witnessed by his 2.32 ERA in the DSL last season ( his first as a pro ) - he may come stateside and begin on the backfields but we could also envision him in the Threshers rotation also. LH Mavis Graves is a another teenager who could push his way into the Threshers opening day rotation - the 6th round draft selection from last season has a big time hook and has done really well in the off-season strength and conditioning program. RH Maxwell Hernandez ( 19 years old ) had an outstanding 2022 season for the DSL Phillies White team ( 0.72 ERA in 11 starts - 49 2/3 IP ) - he features an outstanding change up and could put himself in the mix. Twenty year old Wen-Hui Pan features upper nineties heat and a splitter he uses often - he will come to minor league camp and could open either with the Threshers or in extended spring on the backfields.
The 2023 Threshers bullpen looks like one that will have a wide array of looks and talent - there will be power arms as well as pitchers that feature traditional “secondaries” as primaries and those who offer a mix of deliveries. RH Malik Binns falls into the power pitcher category - he began the ‘22 season with the Threshers but control and command issues pushed his development path to the backfields, with a good spring camp he should return to full season play. LH Maikel Garrido has always intrigued with his power arm arsenal, a good bit of his prior time has been spent on the IL - looks like this spring he should he ready to compete in game action once again. RH Pedro Reyes has a power arsenal and posted a 1.37 ERA in the DSL last summer ending the season as a starter - the 20 year old could be in the mix for a bulk reliever role with the Threshers. RH Nicoly Pina should compete for a Jersey Shore role in camp but could open with the Threshers as he’s been limited in innings for a couple seasons while in rehab work coming back from Tommy John surgery. RH Guissepe Velasquez is just 19 years old however worked last summer with the FCL Phillies and might bump up. LH Mason Ronan registers big time spin rates on his curve and splitter and will compete for a roster spot for either Jersey Shore or Clearwater. RH Jesus Querales ( 19 years old ) made the DSL All Star team last summer and is poised to move stateside as a closer. RH Ty Collins, RH Eric Garcia, LH Jose Acuna, RH Nathan Karaffa, RH Fernando Lozano, LH Jake McKenna, RH Daniel Mejia, RH Yoniel Ramirez, LH Christopher Soriano, RH Wilson Valdez Jr, LH Wesley Moore & LH Danny Wilkinson should all be in the mix of competition for Threshers opening day spots.
Position Players :
The 2023 Threshers could seemingly be one of the youngest teams in the Florida State League and that includes the catcher position where six young receivers would appear to be in the coming spring competition for what will likely be three roster spots. Rickardo Perez ( 19 yrs old ) had a strong season in the FCL last season posting a .349 batting average in 83 AB’s and seems poised to move up to full season play. Jordan Dissin ( 20 yrs old ) and Gustavo Sosa ( 21 yrs old ) along with Ryan Leitch ( 21 yrs old ) are strong throwers who made their pro debuts last summer after the draft - all three have impressed in their short careers thus far. Adony Mejia ( 21 yrs old ) and Jackie Pertuz ( 20 yrs old ) are also promising receivers and will be in the mix of the competition.
Cole Moore played in 12 FCL games last summer after signing as an un-drafted free agent out of Dallas Baptist University. He’s noted as an outstanding fielding first baseman and will likely compete in spring training for a roster spot with either Clearwater or Jersey Shore. Ty Penner played in 10 FCL games after signing as an un-drafted free agent from British Colombia College - he plays both first and third base. Randy Vasquez played in 4 games with the Threshers last season after playing in 38 FCL games - he’s primarily a third baseman but can also play first or second base. Felix Reyes has big power but struggled with contact in his 14 games with the Threshers last summer and played the brunt of the year in the FCL - the 21 year old 1B/OF will likely be in the mix for an opening day Clearwater job. Jordan Viars ( 19 years old ) finished 2022 with the Threshers and likely returns in 2023 - he’s primarily an outfielder but also could see action at first base. 19 year old Lou Helmig played last season in the FCL - he will compete for the Threshers 1B job this spring. 3B Aroon Escobar is just 18 years old and if he comes stateside in his second pro season likely plays in the FCL but ya never know - he’s a power bat with a lot of upside that may push his way earlier than expected to the low A level.
Alexeis Azuaje had an injury riddled 2022 season and appeared in just 38 games with the Threshers - in his 138 AB’s he posted a .285 batting average and .355 OBP - the 20 year old can swing the bat and should be part of the Threshers opening day lineup once again seeing time at both second base and shortstop. Pedro Martinez ( 21 yrs old ) was selected in the minor league rule 5 draft from the Rays and should compete for the shortstop job with the Threshers this spring. Erick Brito ( 20 years old ) played in 97 games for Clearwater last summer - he might move up a notch out of camp to Jersey Shore but we also see benefit in a return to Clearwater to begin the 2023 season - smooth but erratic fielder. Diego Gonzalez ( 19 years old ) played stateside with the FCL Phillies last summer posting a .276 batting average and .364 OBP in 140 plate appearances - he will definitely be in the mix for a roster spot. Jehisbert Sevilla ( 19 years old ) also spent last season in the FCL appearing in 43 games - very good fielder at shortstop with a big arm. Teenagers Bryan Rincon ( 18 yrs old ), Nolan Beltran ( 17 yrs old ), William Bergolla ( 18 years old ) and Marco Soto ( 18 years old ) likely all see the brunt of their 2023 playing time in either the FCL or DSL but might push their way to some low A level action as well - all talented players. Nikau Pouaka Grego ( 18 years old ) underwent knee surgery this off season - he will be sidelined for a bit else likely would have competed for an opening day Threshers roster spot.
There won’t be many fly balls falling to the grass with the potential speed occupying the outfield positions for the 2023 Threshers. Justin Crawford ( 19 yrs old ), Emaarion Boyd ( 19 yrs old ) and Yhoswar Garcia ( 21 yrs old ) are all lightning fast - Garcia is coming off a couple injury ( lower leg ) plagued seasons yet may bump up to Jersey Shore but he’s seen limited time with the Threshers so a return to begin ‘23 might be beneficial. Gabriel Rincones Jr ( 21 yrs old ) is healthy after spending his first pro season inactive rehabbing a shoulder issue and could begin his pro playing career with either Clearwater or Jersey Shore - big power - can also play first base. Jordan Viars ( 19 yrs old ) finished the ‘22 season with the Threshers and looks to return as part of the opening day lineup - also a power bat. Gavin Tonkel ( 20 yrs old ) lost the ‘22 season to injury but he’s ready to go now and looks to move up from the FCL - he’s a burner as well - also has pop. Chris Burke ( 21 yrs old ) was converted to outfield from catching last summer to take advantage of his speed - he should compete for a roster position with either Jersey Shore or Clearwater. Young outfielders in the mix for extended spring, the FCL roster or perhaps even some Thresher AB’s this summer include 20 year old Darium Gutierrez, Jorge Garcia ( 18 yrs old ), Raylin Heredia ( 19 yrs old ), Manolfi Jimenez ( 18 yrs old ), Albert Rodriquez ( 20 yrs old ), Ezra Farmer ( 19 yrs old ), Ricardo Rosario ( 19 yrs old ) and Yemal Flores ( 19 yrs old ).
Players still working their way back from injuries include the following : RHP Chase Antle, RHP Blake Brown, RHP Drew Garrett, LHP Damon Jones, RHP Nate Karaffa, RHP Christian McGowan, LHP Jhordany Mezquita, RHP Micah Ottenbreit, RHP Tyler Phillips, INF Nikau Pouaka - Grego, RHP Tom Sutera, LHP Spencer Van Scoyoc, LHP Danny Wilkinson, RHP Cam Wynne & LHP JP Woodward. Once they are given the clearance to compete they will be in the hunt for roster spots at various levels.
Last article - Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️
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Threshers mascot Phinley