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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

1/24/24 : High Performance Camp - Day Thirteen

I received numerous messages regarding my posting yesterday. They came from players, parents, grandparents, etc.   Most of them requested that I continue to provide coverage of the Phillies player development process.   

A misunderstanding prompted my decision, one that has now been addressed.  With that clarity in place I will humbly continue to write and share my daily notes.

Today’s Camp Activities :

Pickoff and throws to bases drills for pitchers, continued fielding practice for position players along with offensive prep sessions in the indoor cages. Some interesting infield drills involving the use of high bouncing rubber baseballs - I believe intended for tracking the ball into the glove.  All players continued their strength and conditioning training.

Big League Sightings :

We saw Matt Strahm, JT Realmuto, Jose Alvarado, Orion Kerkering and Nick Nelson having catches on Ashburn Field.

Yesterday’s Camp Activities :

Mick Abel, Tyler McKay, Andrew Baker, Griff McGarry, Samuel Aldegheri, Cristian Hernandez, Jonathan Petit and Micah Ottenbreit threw side bullpens.  Abel, McKay, and Baker all seemed to be letting it fly, good velocity.  McGarry had a much shorter and compact delivery and stayed straight thru his target, a big difference as compared to what we saw last season.  If he can keep that consistency he will have success.  Aldegheri was continually on target and showed good pop to end his session.  Micah threw effortlessly - a great sign - I’ve been telling ya for awhile now he’s gonna be really good.

Position players took fielding practice on the fields and worked on offensive skills inside the Montgomery Training Center.

Big League Sighting :

Aaron Nola was at the complex, we saw him having a catch on Ashburn field by the left field fence.

Player Spotlight :

Sometimes as fans we forget that the players we watch play pro ball are people just like us.  They experience life events and have families the same as those of us not in the public spotlight like they are as professional athletes.

Tommy McCollum experienced quite a few happy life events this off season.  He was a groomsman in a teammate’s wedding in October, proposed to his now fiancé (she said yes 👏 ) in December and graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Accounting from Wingate University in the same month!  All of that while also focusing on continuing to develop his craft as a professional baseball player.  He told me that this coming season will be less mentally cumbersome in that he won’t have to study during the season for college courses now that he’s graduated.  I’m sure that he will be an excellent accountant someday however it’s gonna have to wait a bit as he’s an excellent pitcher right now.  Here’s my notes on him from last season.

RHP Tommy McCollum - 24 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 7/20/21 - Wingate University , NC

2023 Stats :  a career high 44 appearances (44.1 IP) between Jersey Shore (34 games - 35 IP - 2.31 ERA - .143 BAA, 1.14 WHIP, 56 K’s, 23 walks) and Reading (10 games - 9.1 IP, 3.86 ERA, .100 BAA, 1.29 WHIP) posting a cumulative 2.64 ERA with a whopping 67 strikeouts against 32 walks.  Opposing hitters struggled mightily against him posting a .134 BAA. Tommy had a 1.17 WHIP and averaged 18.36 pitches per inning pitched, 59 % strike ratio.  Posted a 0.00 ERA in six July appearances (6.2 IP) with 7 K’s, a 0.091 BAA.  Had a 2.70 ERA in 17 games during April and May in 16.2 IP.  K/9 ratio was 13.60.

2023 Notes :   Is the definition of a strikeout pitcher with two put-away deliveries, a heavy fastball that generally sits in the 94-96 mph range but reaches upper nineties and a devastating splitter that drops off the table. Tommy is an imposing figure on the hill at 6’5” and has an easy downward plane delivery, the baseball gets on the batter quickly and comes out of the hand with lots of movement.  He’s also got a slider he will use for good measure.  He was promoted to Reading on 7/26/23.  A big arm talent that when he controls the zone has the goods to be a big leaguer.

Tommy’s reflections :  “I think for me it is realizing how long of a season it is because ya know I got hurt in 2022 and just recognizing everything to be prepared for a full year.  This offseason just focusing on getting stronger and everything!”

New Addition :

On Monday I got the opportunity to meet and chat with Miguel Prestol who has joined the Phillies Player Development front office as an Organizational Intern.  Miguel has most recently been the Coordinator of Baseball Operations for Escogido in the Dominican Winter League along with serving as an area scout (2020-2023) in the Dominican Republic for the Atlanta Braves organization.  Previously he was a video manager for the New York Yankees at their dominican complex (2016-2019).  From a fan’s view welcome to the organization Miguel!

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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