Last off-season I started a different writing venture - rather than producing a hard copy version of what was an annual Phillies Minor League Digest I went with a new approach and posted a series of articles on the webpage instead. A large portion of the digest was my player notes - views that are not entirely built upon seasonal or short term stats - while I referenced them I relied more upon my observations and feedback from players and coaches.
This off-season we continue the series “Annual Phillies Minor League Player Notes”with profiles presented in groupings by defensive positions. I intend to offer notes on every stateside player I watched perform this past season that finished the 2023 season with the organization. I can attest that I actually watched most every Phillies minor league game each evening, attended practices and interacted with a vast amount of players, coaches, scouts and front office folks. Recently I sent a couple questions to the players - asked them what was their biggest personal takeaway from the 2023 season and what they are focusing on this off-season to prepare for 2024. Where I have responses I will include them in the notes. Also where I’m able I will include feedback from coaches and player development leadership.
The initial set of twenty articles were on the pitchers - if you missed them here’s a link to article 20, it contains within it links to the other 19 pitcher’s articles - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-17-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-pitchers-part-twenty.
The second set was four articles on the catchers - - if you missed them here’s a link to article 4, it contains within it links to the other 3 catcher’s articles - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-21-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-catchers-part-four
We now present notes on infielders in eight groups of as listed below.
Today we focus on group three of the infielders.
Group Three : Wilfredo Flores, Diego Gonzalez, Jim Haley, Darick Hall, Lou Helmig
Link to previous infielders articles :
Group One : Keaton Anthony, Zach Arnold, Pierce Bennett, William Bergolla, Erick Brito - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-22-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-infielders-part-one
Group Two : Chad Castillo, Kody Clemens, Oliver Dunn, Drew Ellis, Trent Farquhar - https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/11-23-23-annual-phillies-minor-league-player-notes-infielders-part-two
The following players will be discussed in future articles :
Group Four : Otto Kemp, Scott Kingery, Dakota Kotowski, Matt Kroon, Casey Martin
Group Five : Pedro Martinez, Aidan Miller, Freylin Minyety, Cole Moore, Nick Podkul
Group Six : Nikau Pouaka-Grego, Marco Soto, Ty Penner, Esteban Quiroz, Felix Reyes
Group Seven : Bryan Rincon, Devin Saltiban, Jehisbert Sevilla, Kendall Simmons, Madison Stokes
Group Eight : Will Toffey, Nick Ward, Bryson Ware, Weston Wilson, Rixon Wingrove
So we continue - the third article in the 2023 series on infielders ⚾️🤓.
UTL - Wilfredo Flores - 23 years old - signed as an international free agent 5/8/18 - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
2023 Stats : hit .288/.322/.335 in 202 plate appearances for Jersey Shore with 7 doubles, a triple and 17 RBIs, walked 10 times. Has a career slash line of .293/.336/.357 in 952 plate appearances. Defensively played second base, third base and left field during the season.
2023 Notes : Left handed hitter who plays hard, smart and is fundamentally sound. Defensively he’s played every position except pitcher, catcher and first base. Is a tough out - has a career 17 % strikeout ratio, will put the ball in play. Wilfredo has great bat to ball skills and eye hand coordination. He’s not going to hit the ball out of the yard but can produce hard hit line drives, a throwback player in that regard - will make the defense work to get him out. Is an adequate defender however not his strength, defensive versatility is something he does provide. Is a team player that can come off the bench and produce.
2024 Projection : in the mix for a reserve role at High A or the AA level.
3B-2B-SS - Diego Gonzalez - 20 years old - signed as an international free agent 7/2/19 - Barquisimeto, Venezuela
2023 Stats : slashed .258/.340/.371 in 100 plate appearances for the FCL Phillies with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 10 RBIs, had 10 walks. Finished the season strong with a .385/.407/.538 slash line in 27 plate appearances in August. Defensively played mostly third base this season - .964 fielding percentage in 28 chances.
2023 Notes : this was his second season in the FCL, played primarily third base this year but also saw time at both 2B and SS - good range and arm, made plays consistently. Upbeat personality and energetic player, popular teammate. He is a relatively patient hitter, will work a walk and produce “pro AB’s”. We saw some pop this summer from the right handed hitter as he delivered his first two home runs state side. Is not intimidated - will get after it.
Diego’s reflections : “I learned to control my feelings during the game as well as on defense and offense. One of my strengths this year was that I finished strong. 2024 is a year of new opportunities. I am in the DR working on my physique, I am very focused on my hitting. Thank you so much for asking!”
2024 Projection : in the mix in spring training for a roster spot with the Clearwater Threshers.
UTL - Jim Haley - 28 years old - signed as a minor league free agent 12/21/22 from Rays organization
2023 Stats : a .253/.324/.412 slash line in 410 plate appearances for Lehigh Valley with 17 doubles, 4 triples, 11 home runs and 58 RBIs. Had 34 walks and stole 18 bases, .736 OPS. Defensively played all four infield positions with most time at 1B - .990 fielding percentage in 382 chances and second base - .974 fielding percentage in 155 chances.
2023 Notes : a local from Lansdowne, PA and Penn State University Jim provided steady play and professionalism for the IronPigs after spending the first seven years of his career in the Rays system (2016 19th round draft selection). He had a very good month of May with seven doubles, two triples, three home runs and seventeen RBIs followed by strong months of July and August combined when he hit six home runs and drove in twenty seven in thirty three games played. Right handed batter who gives a professional effort every time he’s on the field.
2024 Projection : minor league free agent
1B - Darick Hall - 28 years old - drafted in 14th round of the 2016 draft from Dallas Baptist University
2023 Stats : posted really good numbers at Lehigh Valley - a .311/.395/.545 slash line in 334 plate appearances marking the first time in his pro career he hit .300 or better in a season. He had 12 doubles, a triple, 18 home runs and 57 RBIs with 42 walks. His OPS was .940. Had a strong second half of the season - in his last 56 games played slashed .312/.393/.560 with an OPS of .953 with 16 home runs and 46 RBIs. He led the minor league organization in slugging percentage and OPS for those who had more than 300 plate appearances. Darick also made 56 plate appearances in the major leagues posting a home run and three RBIs. Defensively at LHV he recorded a .994 fielding percentage in 522 chances.
2023 Notes : powerful left handed hitter who concluded big league spring training with a .316 batting average (18 for 57) and a 1.041 OPS making the big club as the starting first baseman. Suffered a broken thumb early in the regular season and was placed on the 60 day IL on 4/6/23. Came to the complex and worked diligently to return which he did on May 30th with rehab assignments at Clearwater and Lehigh Valley. Was activated on 6/19/23 with the IronPigs, recalled to the Phillies on 7/2/23 and optioned back to LHV on 7/21/23 where he finished the season. Didn’t regain full control and confidence in his swing till after being optioned back, he told me that he had to re-adjust as the grip felt differently, had more flexibility than before but it altered the swing path. Once he found the right approach was back to the production he has always delivered. His 144 career minor league home runs by my unofficial count rank 2nd highest since 1960 for long balls hit while a member of a Phillies minor league affiliate behind only Joe Lis (164) and ahead of Pancho Herrera (141), Dan Held (135) and Dylan Cozens (132). Darick has earned the patent on the nickname “Long Ball Hall”. Is generally a good fielder at first base as well, that too required some adjustments after surgery with his throwing hand.
Darick’s reflections : “This year was full of adversity. It was hard on me mentally and physically but what I liked about this year is that I persevered and really finished the year well. My goal for the off-season is to regain my strength in my hand and focus on consistency. I want to be in good shape, return to the strength that I’m used to having come time for spring training.”
2024 Projection : will compete for a big league role in spring training. He’s a big league hitter, just needs another opportunity.
1B - Lou Helmig - 20 years old - signed as an international free agent - 1/16/22 - Paderborn, Germany
2023 Stats : rough season statistically - .149/.293/.298 in 60 FCL Phillies plate appearances. Hit his first stateside home run on June 29th against the Tigers. Played in just 16 games, was placed on the 60 day IL on 8/18/23.
2023 Notes : a left handed batter with raw power - pitch recognition, getter shorter and quicker thru the ball and making consistent contact are developmental areas. Is a intuitive young man who is very friendly and open to chat about most any subject, popular with his teammates - has shown good bat to ball skills in drills that require hitting the ball to a specified area, won most of those competitions.
2024 Projection : a return to FCL play if healthy.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️
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