12/12/2020 : Australian Baseball League (ABL ) - Part One
Updated: Dec 13, 2020
The 2020/2021 Australian Baseball League ( ABL ) is set to open play on 12/16 ... the teams presently are in their practice sessions. The Phillies minor league system will be well represented in the ABL this season with players on the Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney rosters. The other clubs in the loop are Brisbane, Canberra and Perth.
Adelaide and Brisbane won’t open the schedule till January 5th while the other four teams will begin this coming week.
The Phillies players slated to perform for the Adelaide Giants will depart for Australia soon, they’ll have to quarantine in their hotels for a bit before being able to practice with the team.
Here’s a look at the Phillies contingent who are slated to perform for Melbourne and Sydney. Since Adelaide isn’t slated to open the season till early January I’ll make that part two of this article series and chat about the fellas going there to play at a later date.
Melbourne Aces :
LHP Josh Tols : 31 years old - pitched primarily for Lehigh Valley in 2019. Signed by the Phillies on 2/9/18 as a free agent. Josh is from Adelaide, South Australia and has pitched in the ABL since the 2010 season initially with Adelaide then switching to Melbourne in 2016. He features an incredibly high spin rate curve ball ( 3,000 RPM ) that has tremendous bite and drop to it. The pitch is an old fashioned knee buckler 😳. We’ve gotten to know Josh a bit over the past couple years, very smart young man who’s positive outlook bodes well for him in any venture. He spent the 2020 lost season working on strength and conditioning including a six week stint at Cressey Sports Performance in Florida.
RHP Luke Leftwich : 26 years old - pitched at both Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2019. Drafted by the Phillies in the 7th round of the 2015 draft from Wofford College in South Carolina. Luke was shut down near the end of the 2019 season with shoulder issues, he had reported early to 2020 Spring Camp and was working towards full recovery. During the lost season he continued to work on strength and conditioning and looks forward to pitching in the ABL, he’s been in Australia since mid November. As a reliever he features a fastball that generally sits in the 91-93 range but can flash at 94-95 and a slurve as a secondary pitch with decent break. He was a starter earlier in his pro career and also has a change up in his arsenal. Luke graduated college with an Accounting degree akin to myself ... a smart cookie 🤓.
C Chris Burke : 19 years old - has yet to appear in a minor league game but has played in parts of three seasons in the ABL with Melbourne. Signed by the Phillies in July of 2019 to a futures contract, he’s from Melbourne, Australia . Chris is very athletic and could perhaps even move to an infield position once his development plan comes to fruition with the Phillies. We chatted with him briefly at the Clearwater Complex a short time after he signed. He caught 20 games for the Aces in 2019 and has played in World Cup tournaments representing his country.
Also on the Melbourne roster are former Phillies RHP Drew Anderson , 1B/3B/OF Damek Tomscha and DH Delmon Young.
Sydney Blue Sox :
RHP Josh Gessner : 20 years old - appeared in six games ( three starts ) with the 2019 Gulf Coast League ( GCL ) Phillies West team. Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent on 6/12/19. Josh is originally from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Josh spent part of his youth in Japan where his mother is from before the family moved back to Australia, it’s in Japan where he first developed his passion for baseball. He had a scholarship offer from Tulane University but decided to sign with the Phillies after pitching summer ball for the Victoria Harbour Cats in Canada. We saw him pitch a couple times in the GCL, fastball generally sat in the 90-92 range with a big breaking hook in the low 80’s. Word is however that the young hurler has been previously clocked in the mid 90’s ... he’s also noted for his work ethic and cerebral approach to pitching. With a big projectable frame he could potentially become a formidable power pitcher. We chatted with him briefly when he was in Clearwater, pleasant chap, hope to see more of the young man this coming summer.
Part Two to come :
Phillies on the Adelaide Giants : Will chat these fellas up in part two of the series 🤓 ... gives ya something to look forward to eh 😜
Manager Chris Adamson :
LHP Jonathan Hennigan :
RHP Austin Ross :
RHP Kyle Glogoski :
LHP Taylor Lehman :
RHP Tyler Burch :
C Mitchell Edwards :
C Colby Fitch :
INF Jamari Baylor :
INF Kendall Simmons :
OF Cornelius Randolph :
UTL Luke Williams :
1B Rixon Wingrove :
Also on the Adelaide roster is former Phillie IF Curtis Mead ( now with Tampa Rays ) and RHP Jason Lott and UTL Jordan McCardle who were both set to join 2020 Phillies minor league camp in Clearwater before the Pandemic shut things down.
Former Phillies LHP Aaron Brown and UTL Gift Ngoepe are on the Brisbane Bandits roster.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️