• Steve Potter

10/1/21 : Let’s Review 🤔 - Infielders

Here’s the sixth in a series of articles from this observers view of the “state of the system.” I’ll attempt to “keep it real” … not a doom and gloom, there’s no talent in the system editorial but also not a “pie in the sky” everything is great PR piece … just a somewhat educated “fan’s view”.

If ya missed the first article here’s a link …https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/9-22-21-let-s-review-part-one-arms

The link to article # 2 … https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/9-23-21-let-s-review-part-one-a-arms

The link to article 3 … https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/9-26-21-let-s-review-part-one-b-arms

The link to article 4 … https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/9-27-21-let-s-review-outfielders

The link to article 5 … https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/9-29-21-let-s-review-catchers

We finish the series with the infielders …

The Upper Levels :

Bryson Stott had a great season spending time at Jersey Shore, Reading and Lehigh Valley. He earned the 2021 Paul Owens Award as the most outstanding player in the minor league organization. The 23 year old has posted a .306 batting average in 402 AB’s with 26 doubles, 2 triples, 16 home runs and 48 RBIs. He bats exclusively from the left side. When we first saw Bryson on the backfields some voiced concern about his arm strength in regards to sticking at shortstop however he’s proven that to be an inaccurate worry. He’s gonna play in the Arizona Fall League to finish a long season which started back in February as a participant in big league spring training.

Madison Stokes ( 25 yrs old ) had a very solid season highlighted by a great month of June when he hit .318 with 6 home runs and 17 RBIs. Madison is a versatile defender and played games at all four infield spots plus left and right field. We’d expect him to move up to the AAA level in 2022 and be positioned to be on the verge of the major leagues.

Dalton Guthrie ( 25 yrs old ) also had a solid 2021 season … he played for both Reading and Lehigh Valley and put up better numbers at the AAA level than at Reading. He had a torrid month of July with the Iron Pigs posting a .354/.393/.506 slash line in 79 AB’s with 12 doubles. An injury set him back and he missed time from 7/28 to 8/26 but posted a .303 batting average for Reading in 33 September AB’s and is now finishing up the season with LHV. Dalton played six defensive positions ( 2B,SS,3B, LF,CF,RF ) this summer showing off his versatility for consideration next season.

Darick Hall ( 26 yrs old ) had a strong big league ST camp followed by Alternate Camp in Allentown … then for the first couple months of the 2021 AAA season it seemed as if he couldn’t buy a hit. Things picked up in July for the slugging first baseman when he posted a .314 average in 70 AB’s and subsequently in the months that followed produced numbers akin to what we’ve seen throughout his career. ( .280 BA since 7/1/21 with 10 home runs and 45 RBIs in 225 AB’s ). He’s a steady run producer, no one has more RBIs in the minor league system in the past five seasons. Darick is also a strong defender at first base and has provided consistent power. I’ve long touted him as a big league talent, nothing has changed in that regard from my view.

Nick Maton ( 24 yrs old ) & Luke Williams ( 25 yrs old ) both had extended runs in the major leagues this season and showed that they have the talent to contribute. Each player is a versatile defender … both are likely to play winter league baseball to further refine and hone their skills. Solid players that can be long term contributors in the show.

High A :

Luis Garcia ( 20 yrs old ) is far and above the best fielding middle infielder in the minor league system. Eye hand coordination, quickness, reads, range, arm strength and baseball acumen are all plus. He did commit more errors than desired this season but many of those can be attributed to getting to balls that others simply can’t and trying to do too much thereafter. Offensively he showed pop we hadn’t seen before with 18 doubles, 3 triples and 13 home runs in 391 AB’s between Clearwater and Jersey Shore. The young man is on the right track to the ultimate goal, playing in the show, from what we’ve seen there’s every reason to believe he will get there.

Vito Friscia ( 24 yrs old ) consistently hits the baseball hard akin to now big leaguer Matt Vierling. He posted a .380 OBP this summer with Jersey Shore where he primarily played first base. Vito finished his season playing for Team Italy in the European Baseball Championship where he hit .526 with 3 home runs and 11 RBIs in 19 AB’s as their primary first baseman. He’s likely targeted for Reading in 2022.

DJ Stewart ( 22 yrs old ) had a breakout 2021 season with Clearwater and Jersey Shore. The 1B/3B posted 13 doubles, 3 triples and 14 home runs with 63 RBIs in 358 AB’s. He’s powerfully built and can drive the baseball with authority. DJ is short and quick to the baseball which enables him to put more balls in play than “traditional” power hitters. We’re excited to see him in Reading in 2022 to see what kind of numbers he can put up at the AA level.

Nicolas Torres ( 22 yrs old ) excelled at Jersey Shore after being promoted from Clearwater on 8/14/21. He hit .388/.429/.447 in 27 games ( 103 AB’s ) with the Blue Claws and .286 overall in 329 AB’s. Versatility defensively is his ticket to advancement as well as he played every position except pitcher and catcher in 2021. He’s in Fall Instructs now … smart, heady ball player with solid bat to ball skills, we’ll take that any day.

Jonathan Guzman ( 22 yrs old ) struggled offensively this summer with Jersey Shore but he’s too good a talent to write off due to that. Jonathan is a solid middle infield defender, has plus speed on the base paths and has shown in times past he’s a capable hitter. He hit .304 in September this year in 46 AB’s, a glimpse that his offensive game is still there. I’m not giving up on this young man at all.

Low A & FCL :

Jamari Baylor ( 21 yrs old ) has the offensive tools to climb the ladder to the top, quick hands, bat speed and the ability to barrel the baseball. We saw him on multiple occasions drive hits with authority ( 8 doubles, 1 triple and 5 home runs in FCL play). Jamari finished the year with the Threshers after being promoted on 9/2/21. Defense remains a work in progress however he’s shown the capabilities to stick in the middle of the infield. We look forward to seeing him again in Fall Instructs this season and next spring.

Kendall Simmons ( 21 yrs old ) had an injury riddled season which limited him to 46 games and 147 AB’s. When we saw him play the power potential shined thru, the young man can turn a pitch around quickly … especially those up in the zone.

Alexeis Azuaje ( 19 yrs old ) went on a power surge the last week of FCL play driving three home runs. He ended up with a .400/.509/.867 slash line in 19 FCL games … a small sample size but we’ve seen him before in 2019 Fall Instructs and are intrigued by what he’s potentially capable of doing. One to watch going forward.

Hao Yu Lee ( 18 yrs old ) played briefly in the FCL … just 9 games … but we saw an ability to drive the ball with authority ( 2 doubles, 2 triples and a HR in 22 AB’s ). Way too small a sample size but certainly worth noting the skill set displayed.

Dominican Summer League :

Diego Gonzalez ( 18 yrs old ), Erick Brito ( 19 yrs old ), Jehisbert Sevilla ( 18 yrs old ),

Deivi Cabrera ( 17 yrs old ) and Carlos Rondon ( 19 yrs old ) have all been part of our weekly highlights this season. Hopefully we will get to see them in either Fall Instructs or next year in Spring Training.

This is the last of the “Let’s Review” series. The Fall Instructs Phillies will play the Blue Jays group over the next couple of weeks, we will produce write ups of our observations and then enter the off-season of inactivity deciding when and if to pick up the minor league correspondence for next season. The complex is generally busy thru the end of the year with various camps but access remains restricted. Time will tell how that goes for 2022.

Some “did ya know” tidbits …

Model of consistency - In 2016, the Cardinals were eliminated in game 162. In 2017, it was game 158. In 2018, it was game 161. Since the end of the 2010 season, the Cardinals have played a total of four regular season games in which they didn't have a chance to make the post-season.

The Braves current active roster has 11 of the 28 slots filled by players they developed … only one of which was signed or traded for since the 2017 season …

Signed and Developed : 7 - Anderson( 2016 ), Minter ( 2015 ), Albies ( 2013 ), Riley( 2015 ), Freeman ( 2007 ) , Webb ( 2014 ) , Contreras ( 2015 )

Traded for and Developed : 4 - Ynoa ( Twins -2014 - traded for 2017 ) Fried ( Padres 2012 - traded for 2014 ) Swanson ( DBacks -2015 - traded for 2015 ) ,Newcomb ( Angels - 2014 - traded for 2015 )

Conversely the Phillies finish the 2021 season also with 11 of the 28 slots filled by players they developed … four of which were drafted in 2017 or later …

Signed and Developed : 11 - Brogdon ( 2017 ), Neris ( 2010 ), Nola ( 2014 ) , Suarez ( 2012 ) , Falter ( 2015 ), Vierling ( 2018 ), Bohm ( 2018 ), Dohy ( 2017 ), Galvis ( 2007 ), Medina ( 2014 ) Knapp ( 2013 )

By comparison the Braves excelled in selections, trades and signings from 2012 to 2015 ( 8 players ), they also signed currently injured Ronald Acuna Jr during that time frame ( 2015 ) … the Phillies not so much ( 5 players ) … Ruben Amaro Jr presided as GM during that time frame … just sayin 🤷‍♂️

Till next time … Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Darick Hall - photo by Cheryl Pursell

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