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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/14/22 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Infielders - Part One

Updated: Nov 15, 2022

Rather than produce a hard copy version of my annual Phillies Minor League Digest this year I’m going with a new approach. A large portion of the digest has been my player notes - views that are not entirely built upon seasonal or short term stats - while I will reference them I rely more upon my observations, coaches/scouts feedback and positive values I saw develop as the year progressed.  I can attest that I actually watched games each day and evening, attended practices and interacted with a vast amount of players, coaches, scouts and front office folks.

I’ve entitled this series “Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes” and will break down the presentations into defensive categories.  I intend to offer notes on every player I watched perform this past season that finished the 2022 season with the organization.

The initial set of articles was on catchers - we chatted about 18 receivers and posted three articles - done in alphabetical order.  I will list below the article links to the catchers notes previously published if ya missed them.

The next group of articles is Infielders - I’ll discuss 40 different players broken down into five postings ( alphabetical order ) :

Group One : Matt Alifano, Alexeis Azuaje, Jamari Baylor, William Bergolla, Erick Brito, Johan Camargo,Ali Castillo, Chad Castilo

Group Two : Aldrem Corredor, Aroon Escobar, Diego Gonzalez, Sal Gozzo, Jonathan Guzman, Darick Hall, Lou Helmig, Otto Kemp

Group Three : Scott Kingery, Hao Yu Lee, Casey Martin, Nick Maton, Freylin Minyety, Cole Moore, Yairo Munoz, Josh Ockimey

Group Four : Nikau Pouaka-Grego, Ty Penner, Wendell Rijo, Bryan Rincon, Daniel Robertson, Jehisbert Sevilla, Kendall Simmons, Marco Soto

Group Five : Madison Stokes, McCarthy Tatum, Will Toffey, Nicolas Torres, Randy Vasquez, Kevin Vicuña, Uziel Viloria, Rixon Wingrove

So here we go - the first article on infielders  ⚾️🤓.

Matt Alifano - 21 years old - 3B - Birthdate : 12/31/00 - signed 7/25/22 as an un-drafted free agent - Adelphi University - Adelphi, NY - This Fan’s View - Matt debuted with the Clearwater Threshers and played in 15 games - all as a third baseman.  We’ve seen him on the field just a bit in post draft camp and Fall Instructs, seems to have good hands and a decent arm.  The Phillies have a good history with Long Island signings - will need to watch Matt a bit more to determine if that trend continues in his case.   2023 Projection -  likely begins the year with the Threshers.

Alexeis Azuaje - 20 years old - INF - Birthdate : 4/24/02 - signed 7/2/18 as an international free agent - Ocurmare del Tuy, Venezuela - This Fan’s View - our first look was during 2019 Fall Instructs, we saw a quick bat with pop - that played out again in  2021 - this past season was an injury riddled one - only appeared in 38 games with the Low A Threshers but posted a .355 OBP in 154 plate appearances.  He went on the IL on May 24th and didn’t return till August 7th but another set back forced him out of action yet again two weeks later.  Alexeis has legit skills, can play all three of the premium infield positions - has the arm, instincts, glove and footwork to handle each.  His route upwards however will be driven by his offensive game - above average bat to ball capabilities, power and also speed.  Good looking player.    2023 Projection -  due to time lost last season could return to Clearwater to start the year however there’s also an opportunity to break camp with Jersey Shore.

Jamari Baylor -22 years old -  SS/2B - Birthdate : 8/25/00 - 2019 3rd round draft selection - Benedictine HS, Richmond, VA - This Fan’s View - Jamari played multiple positions this season with Clearwater adding 1B and 3B to his prior year experiences at 2B and SS ( also appeared in those spots with 2022 CW ) - brings athleticism to each position but struggled finding a fielding consistency - especially in the middle infield spots.  Offensively he got off to a very slow start statistically but what we saw developing was a learning curve on how to better handle pitch recognition and combat an expanded use of off speed deliveries and better fastball pitch placement against him.  Numbers improved quite a bit in July and August -  both in batting average and on base percentage ( .370 in July and .452 in August ).  He also hit quite a few hard “at em” balls.  There’s power in his swing and that also came more to fruition as the season went on - Jamari has good base running instincts and speed as well.  First full season assignment was truly a season of learning how to adapt to and play the pro game.   2023 Projection - could return to Clearwater out of camp but we saw enough advancement in the last two months of the season to believe he’s ready to move up a notch to Jersey Shore.

William Bergolla - 18 years old - SS - Birthdate : 10/20/04 - signed 1/15/22 as international free agent - Valencia, Venezuela - This Fan’s View -  began the season late due to a leg injury but once he took the field for the Phillies White team on July 21st in the Dominican Summer League he excelled.  Hit out of the leadoff spot for the league championship team and recorded a .380/.470/.423 slash line in 83 plate appearances.  He’s a left handed hitter, high energy player - reportedly also has a very high baseball IQ - we’ve seen him only in livestream game action from the Dominican with limited camera views - hopefully get to watch in person this spring.  2023 Projection - seems probable he will be stateside in extended spring training and Florida Complex League action.

Erick Brito - 20 years old - SS - Birthdate : 5/25/02 - signed as an international free agent 11/29/18 - Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela - This Fan’s View -  Erick was promoted to the Clearwater Threshers from extended spring camp on May 1st and became the team’s regular shortstop, he played in 97 games and accumulated 327 plate appearances - by far the most in his young career to date. While the numbers weren’t great those who watched him play daily noted his baseball savvy, defensive skills and competitiveness, he never backed down nor was overwhelmed from the challenge of playing full season baseball as one of the younger players in the loop.  There’s an evident skill set which we feel will become better from the struggles he incurred in 2022.  2023 Projection - wouldn’t hurt to begin the season again with the Threshers with a year of experienced banked already.

Johan Camargo - 28 years old - UTL - Birthdate : 12/13/93 - signed as free agent 12/1/21 - This Fan’s View - made the major league roster out of spring camp but wasn’t able to stick and finished the season as a role player with the AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.  Is a good defensive player - had an off year with the bat.  2023 Projection - declared minor league free agency.

Ali Castillo - 33 years old - UTL - Birthdate : 6/19/89 - signed as free agent 12/8/21 -  This Fan’s View - a veteran presence who’s always been well received and liked by teammates and staff.  In the last game of the season he played all nine defensive positions.  Ali played for both AA Reading and AAA Lehigh Valley in 2022 hitting .262 in 352 AB’s.  It was his 14th minor league season - has never played in the big leagues.  Many folks feel he will become a coach at some point and be very good at it.  2023 Projection - declared minor league free agency.

Chad Castillo - 22 years old - 1B/OF - Birthdate : 4/19/00 - 2022 9th round draft selection - California Baptist This Fan’s View -   Chad played in 24 games with the Clearwater Threshers amassing 86 AB’s and hit 8 doubles and 3 home runs.  He’s a solid left handed bat who has some pop, we like watching his BP sessions as he’s got a very balanced swing - there’s something about lefty hitters with simple thru the ball approaches that get baseball folks excited.  Defensively there’s a concerted effort to transform him into a first baseman although he played corner outfield in college.  We saw numerous sessions on ground balls, receiving and making throws and pitcher flips in Fall Instructs and during the follow up camp thereafter.  He just seems like a good all around baseball player - what I’ve referred to in times past as a “cardinals type player” - knows how to play, makes very few mistakes and wins games.  2023 Projection - seems likely to open the year as the regular first baseman at either Jersey Shore or Clearwater.

Left to Right - starting at top - Alexeis Azuaje, Jamari Baylor, William Bergolla, Erick Brito, Johan Camargo, Ali Castillo, Matt Alifano & Chad Castillo - photos by Mark Wylie & Cheryl Pursell

Prior Reports - Catchers :

Group 1 : Jack Conley, Arturo DeFreitas, Jordan Dissin, Vito Friscia, Herbert Iser and Ryan Leitch. -

Group 2 : Rafael Marchan, Nick Matera, Adony Mejia, Andrik Nava, Rickardo Perez & Jackie Pertuz  -

Group 3 : Anthony Quirion, Caleb Ricketts, Leanardo Rondon, Donny Sands, Gustavo Sosa & Micah Yonamine -

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