1/31/2021 : Similar but Different
I’ve been a baseball fan and observer for a very long time now so have developed a relatively large memory bank of baseball references. I think that most baseball players have at one point in time emulated players that have come before them even if not by direct intent.
I thought I’d take a light hearted look of some of the current Phillies minor leaguers and write a bit about similar styles from players of yesterday that come to mind. Each comparative is intended as a flattering one and includes those of personality, mechanics or skillset, that’s not to say or meant to infer they are equivalent, at least not yet 😎 ... here goes a few 🤓
Chris Micheles - Terry Mulholland
LHP Chris Micheles was drafted by the Phillies in the 14th round of the 2019 draft out of the University of Washington. He started his career in the GCL which is where we saw him, he was later promoted to Williamsport. His windup is very reminiscent of how Terry Mulholland used to pitch ... a drop of the hands and slight hesitation ( hitch ) before delivering the baseball.
The first time I saw Chris pitch I mentioned it to him afterwards ... he wasn’t aware of who Mr. Mulholland was but said he would look him up. The next day he said he watched some videos and saw the comparison 🤓. I told him to research Terry’s step back pick off move to first base ... something else to emulate 👍.
Austin Listi - Jeff Bagwell
Austin was drafted by the Phillies in the 17th round of the 2017 draft from Dallas Baptist University. He’s from Huffman, TX and grew up an Astros fan. Austin has been very successful to date in his minor league career and was the 2018 recipient of the Paul Owens Award.
When you watch his batting stance ... spread out in the box and leaning low you can’t help but see the comparison to former Astro and now baseball hall of famer Jeff Bagwell. Austin carries his hands higher than Bagwell did but the set up is strikingly similar. Hey ... one fella got to the hall of fame and the other is knocking on the door of a major league debut ... works for me 🧐.
Johan Rojas - Juan Samuel
Few baseball players have the athletic ability and skill set that Juan Samuel possessed. He combined speed, power, passion and outstanding eye/hand coordination to play 16 years in the big leagues. His smile and personality have made him a favorite of all that know him.
I first met Johan Rojas in 2019 when he was playing in the Gulf Coast League. He was on deck on Roberts field and I was standing nearby taking video shots of the action on my trusty iPad. Johan said to me “Facebook guy ?” and I nodded yes ... he gave me a wide smile and a thumbs up 😎. When you watch this young man play the comparison to Sammy is evident. Johan has speed, a very quick bat, covers a lot of ground on defense and plays with a love for the game and passion akin to how Sammy did. He’s also got a smile that can light up a room. Those are the fellas everyone roots for 👏👀.
Albertus Barber - Rex Hudler
Whenever I hear Rex Hudler on a broadcast or see him on TV in an interview appearance on the MLB network the energy and drive he projects jumps thru the screen. I remember his brief time in Philly as a player as well and how he was full throttle on the field.
RHP Albertus Barber is also a very high energy full throttle personality. I remember his first game appearance on 6/26/19 shortly after he had signed an amateur free agent contract. We congratulated him after the game and he thanked us but also said “I’m much better than that and am gonna work my tail off to prove it.” I haven’t found anyone who can match the energy and desire this young man has ... he’s constant go and wants to excel so much it just exudes from him. Hopefully one day he can meet Mr Hudler ... the two of them together could provide enough electricity to fuel our country ! Great young man who just makes ya smile and pull for him. 🔥
Rafael Marchan -Rodolfo Duran - Carlos Ruiz
Every Phillies fan remembers Chooch as the glue behind the dish that was a defensive stalwart of the 2008 WS Champions. He came up thru the minor leagues though as what some thought to be an undersized catcher spending seven years in the organization before making his big league debut in 2006. The arm strength, baseball acumen and leadership carried him to a 12 year big league career.
I first truly noticed Rafael Marchan during fall instructs camp in 2017. I remember a game at Spectrum Field where he stood out defensively in how he received the ball, blocked pitches in the dirt and when he threw a couple runners out attempting to steal. I wrote about him that day as a “fella to watch”. Rafael is just 21 years old now and made his big league debut last summer. I was so very proud for him the way he played with such poise and leadership ... very Chooch like 👏.
Rodolfo Duran has also long been a young catcher on my “fellas to watch” list. He suffered a serious knee injury while playing for the Threshers in 2019 which required surgery and a long rehab effort. The now 22 year old possesses a very similar skill set to Marchan in that he’s a strong defender with a rocket arm. Rodolfo also has shown a bit more pop thus far in his minor league career ... he hit 18 homers at the low A level for Lakewood in 2018. He’s now back to full health and I’d expect he’s gonna see a lot of action in Reading this season.
Rodolfo is 5’9” 215 ... Rafael is 5’9” 170 and Carlos played at 5’10” 215 ... the size comparison isn’t the only similarity amongst the three 🧐
I’ll conclude this two part article series with six more “similar styles” that I’ve noticed ... till then Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️