10/8/21 : Arizona Fall League
The rosters were announced yesterday for the AFL ( Arizona Fall League ). The seven initial roster spots from the Phillies are SS Bryson Stott, C Logan O’Hoppe, OF Simon Muzziotti and pitchers Hans Crouse, Damon Jones, Erik Miller and James McArthur. There’s an 8th slot to be filled as well, the extra slot is eligible to play twice a week while participating in all the team practices. I have an idea whom the Phillies 8th player is but will wait till the club makes the announcement.
This year there are a couple “experimental” rules being put in place …
Pitchers will be subject to a 15-second pitch clock and limited to two pickoff attempts per plate appearance. These rule were employed in the Low A level this summer, the pitch clock was used in the Low A West league only.
Infielders will be required to remain in the dirt with two infielders on each side of second base; and the size of the bases will be increased. This rule was in place during the second half of double A level play this summer.
The automated ball-strike system will be used for the 15 games played at Salt River Fields. It was used in the Low A Southeast League this summer.
The size of the bases will be increased from 15 inches square to 18 inches square. The change led to a slight increase in the success rate of stolen base attempts and led to a decrease in the number of collisions and injuries sustained around the bag at the Triple A level this summer.
The Phillies contingent will be part of the Peoria Javelinas joining forces with the Braves, Pirates, Mariners and Padres. The team will be managed by Anthony Contreras from the Padres … he served as the manager of the High A Fort Wayne Tin Caps this summer. While not officially announced yet by the team Mike Calitri will be the Phillies coaching representative … he served as quality assurance coach on the big league staff this summer.
Here’s a summary of the seven players announced as heading to the AFL …
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. Playing in the Arizona Fall League will finish a long season which started back in February as a participant in big league spring training.
Logan O’Hoppe ( 21 yrs old ) had a breakout season playing at three levels ( Jersey Shore, Reading & Lehigh Valley ) posting a very solid .274 batting average in 379 AB’s to date with 18 doubles, 2 triples, 16 home runs and 56 RBIs. When drafted in the 23rd round of the 2018 draft we noted a defensive presence and leadership skill set evident from his first workouts that summer at Carpenter Complex. Logan also is a very popular teammate and has a great personality, another young man we’ve felt could be a big leaguer at some point, he’s certainly made the case even stronger with this year’s play.
Simon Muzziotti ( 22 yrs old ) was hampered by a late start to the season, he’s a prototype lead off hitter who’s also an outstanding defender. In a perfect world he would have played most of the summer with Reading and be better positioned for 2022 for big league consideration. He’s still definitely in the mix I would think at some point, just needs more minor league reps in 2022.
Hans Crouse has worked to simplify his delivery since joining the organization, it’s still a bit quirky but that’s an advantage … his release point slots akin to a Roy Halladay angle. The ability to command the zone has been most impressive in the few times we’ve seen him ( none in person yet ) … he also features a power slider and is working on a change up that will give him a softer pitch option to alter the hitter’s timing. From what we’ve seen both the heater and slider can compete at the top level as well as the command and poise.
LH Erik Miller battled shoulder discomfort most of the season and finished the year at the Complex trying to sort his way back. Erik made five starts this summer ( FCL/CW/JS ). He’s got a starter’s repertoire that can advance quickly once he’s in good health.
James McArthur gave us glimpses of what might be this summer and last fall in instructs. James was popping the mitt in the 95-98 range in 2020 Instructs and we saw a bit more of that this summer in Reading. He had outings this season where they just overpowered the opponents. With any young hurler finding a repeatable routine and arm slot is the ultimate key to success … along with stuff 🤓. Just saying that we’ve witnessed the “stuff” part and if consistency is found we have a big leaguer on the horizon.