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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

11/17/22 : Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes - Infielders - Part Four

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 Castillo - article posted 11/14/22 - link -

Group Two : Aldrem Corredor, Aroon Escobar, Diego Gonzalez, Sal Gozzo, Jonathan Guzman, Darick Hall, Lou Helmig, Otto Kemp  - article posted 11/15/22 - link -

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, Brian 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 we continue - the fourth article in the series on infielders  ⚾️🤓.

Nikau Pouaka-Grego - 18 years old - INF - Birthdate : 9/13/04- signed as an international free agent 1/17/22 - This Fan’s View

is an exciting player to see continue to develop.  He can flat out swing the bat - a left hand hitter and has shown the ability to drive the ball out of the yard, he hit three homers on the expansive backfields this year and posted a .301 batting average with an OBP of .424 in 125 plate appearances - that’s even with losing some time due to a runner sliding into him fielding a throw at third base earlier in the year.  For such a young player he’s got the look of a polished hitter already, perhaps due to his extensive play in previous international competitions for Australia.  The eye-hand coordination and bat to ball skills stood out as we watched this summer.  Has quick hands and good baseball instincts.  Power will seemingly develop even further as he grows into his body.  Defensively we saw him at all four infield positions - frame wise looks like a middle infielder but I can see an Alex Bregman third base comparison as well - he will need to continue to work to find the proper defensive slot else could perhaps be valuable remaining versatile.  Isn’t the quickest afoot but when ya square it up consistently that’s not an absolute need. Is playing winter ball with Adelaide in the Australian Baseball League.  One to watch for sure. 2023 Projection - we think he could be a regular out of camp with the Clearwater Threshers.

Ty Penner - 22 years old - 3B/1B - Birthdate : 5/1/00 - signed as an un-drafted free agent 8/1/22 - British Columbia University - This Fan’s View - appeared in 10 FCL games and hit his first pro home run - lefty hitter.  Projects as a third baseman - saw him working diligently there in Fall Instructs - Ty played summer league baseball for well regarded Lethridge in the Western Canadian League and was part of a championship team in 2021.  He’s got good size (6’4”) and has also played first base and left field in his amateur days.  In BP sessions at the complex we’ve seen that his swing is consistently on a level plain and covers the plate, looks to have good bat to ball skills that will put the ball in play more often than not.  2023 Projection : will compete for a full season roster spot in spring training.

Wendell Rijo - 27 years old - INF - Birthdate : 9/4/95 - signed as a minor league free agent 12/10/21 from Braves - This Fan’s View  - had a solid season at AA Reading - 12 home runs and 53 RBIs with 23 doubles in 413 plate appearances - .353 OBP - has played in Red Sox, Brewers, Yankees and Braves organizations also.  2023 Projection - elected minor league free agency

Bryan Rincon - 18 years old - SS - Birthdate : 2/8/04 - 2022 14th round draft selection - Shaler Area High School, Pittsburgh, PA - This Fan’s View - played in 12 FCL games ( 34 AB’s ) and posted 2 doubles, 2 home runs  with 9 RBIs.  He’s a switch hitter — seems to have great baseball instincts, quick hands - we saw his first pro home run against the Yankees ( maybe my future employer 🤓 ).  Defensively he’s smooth, we’ve seen him in multiple practices, is well schooled - in a small sample size has shown all the tools to be a regular at shortstop - arm strength and throwing accuracy has stood out.  Bryan moved to the Pittsburgh area two years ago from Venezuela along with his cousin Miguel Hugas who is also likely to be drafted in the coming year. The ability to drive the baseball out of the expansive complex back fields as a teenager is impressive - generates a lot of bat speed - ball jumps off the bat.  2023 Projection - given his age and inexperience likely spends a season on the backfields and in FCL play.

Daniel Robertson - 28 years old - INF - Birthdate : 3/22/94 - signed as a minor league free agent from Twins - 6/20/22 - This Fan’s View - was a late season addition to Lehigh Valley after spending the earlier part of the year with St Paul - appeared in 41 games - 141 ABs - 5 HR, 16 RBIs - played three infield spots - has appeared in 300 big league games with the Rays, Giants and Brewers.  2023 Projection - elected minor league free agency

Jehisbert Sevilla - 19 years old - INF - Birthdate : 3/21/03 - signed as an international free agent 7/2/19 - Maracay, Venezuela - This Fan’s View  - we first saw him in 2022 Extended Spring Training and were impressed immediately with the arm strength he displayed at shortstop, it’s certainly one that is worthy of high marks.  Jehsibert struggled to find consistency this summer offensively yet showed ability to become a steady line drive type hitter.  He’s got decent wheels - played primarily shortstop this year but also saw some action at second base.  At this point, at least in our observations, defensively he’s more advanced than he is as a hitter.  Youth and energy are to his advantage - has only two years of professional play under his belt - just needs to find an offensive focus so that he can become a lineup regular. - 2023 Projection : with a solid spring can push for a Clearwater opening day roster spot.

Kendall Simmons - 22 years old INF - Birthdate : 4/11/00 - 2018 6th round draft selection - Tattnall Square High School , Macon, GA … This Fan’s View - was promoted to High A Jersey Shore on August 5th from Clearwater and finished the season strong posting a .281 batting average and .361 OBP in 17 games.  In his September plate appearances he hit .381 with a .441 OBP.  Kendall has perhaps one of the quickest bat I’ve seen on high inside pitches - the way he gets on top of those defy baseball logic - he once took both Zack Wheeler and Seranthony Dominguez yard in a live BP session.   He’s battled inconsistencies in his four year pro career to date along with some injury bugs but the athleticism and baseball skill set we’ve seen are intriguing as to what he can become - particularly as a hitter.   The overall season numbers don’t indicate the potential breakout that can occur.  Defensively his approach at third base aligns more to his amateur days as a shortstop than the reactive nature the position requires - I like him better as a second baseman which is where we saw him working extensively in the mini camp held after Fall Instructs.    2023 Projection -  a return to Jersey Shore with an eye towards Reading.

Marco Soto - 18 years old - INF - Birthdate : 3/8/04 - signed as international free agent 2/2/21 - Maturin, Venezuela - This Fan’s View  - hit .299/.371/.373 in 203 PA’s with 11 doubles and a triple for Phillies Red in 2022 regular season - added to the Phillies White for playoffs in their championship run.  Made his stateside debut in Fall Instructs.  Played all four infield positions during regular season - 3B in playoffs. We saw him briefly in Instructs and via streams on line - looks like a solid player.  - 2023 Projection -  would seem to be on track to be in extended spring training and FCL play.

Top then - left to right - Ty Penner, Nikau Pouaka-Grego, Wendell Rijo,, Bryan Rincon, Marco Soto, Daniel Robertson, Kendall Simmons & Jehisbert Sevilla - photos by Mark Wylie, George Youngs Jr and 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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