12/18/2020 : Australian Baseball League (ABL ) - Part Three
The 2020/2021 Australian Baseball League ( ABL ) has opened play. The Phillies minor league system is 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 all began this week.
I detailed the four Phillies players on the Melbourne and Sydney rosters here ... https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/12-12-2020-winter-league-roundup
Part Two of the series is here ... team skipper Chris Adamson and Phillies pitchers on the Adelaide Giants ... https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/12-16-2020-australian-baseball-league-abl-part-two
This is the final part of my ABL preview ... the Phillies - Adelaide Giants position players.
C Mitchell Edwards : 21 years old ... signed 6/8/18 as an amateur free agent ... played at both the Gulf Coast League and Williamsport in 2019 ... he was born in Melbourne, Australia and both his dad ( John ) and grandfather ( Russell ) are legendary Australian baseball players. Russell is a hall of fame member of the Essendon baseball club and John played in the minor league systems of the Minnesota Twins and Colorado Rockies.
Mitchell and John are one of the few Australian father/son duos to play professionally in the U.S. We’ve seen Mitchell perform both in person and on video, he’s a take charge receiver with solid mechanics and skills. Offensively he’s a switch hitter with good bat to ball skills from both sides of the plate. Skipper Chris Adamson said he expects Edwards to split time behind the dish with fellow Phillie Colby Fitch and that he will also see time at the DH position. The Australian season should prepare him to make a push for a full season slot this coming spring training in Clearwater.
C Colby Fitch : 25 years old ... was the Phillies 13th round draft selection in the 2017 draft out of the University of Louisville. Colby is from the Sacramento, California area.
He suffered a season ending knee injury after playing just 27 games for advanced A Clearwater in 2019 which required surgery. We often had a chance to chat with him on his way in and out of the complex during his rehab treatments ... very pleasant young man. Colby is also a take charge receiver with good defensive skills, he’s a left handed hitter with pop. The Australian experience will be his first game action since the knee injury. He’s slated to see time behind the dish for the Giants as well as at DH and has experience as well at first base.
INF Jamari Baylor : 20 years old ... was the Phillies 3rd round draft choice in the 2019 draft out of Benedictine High School in Richmond, VA. Jamari has had very limited game action thus far in his brief professional career as he suffered thru some hamstring issues his first summer and only got into four Gulf Coast League games. We saw him at Fall Instructs in both 2019 and this year ... it’s evident he’s gonna be a very good hitter, strong hands and a quick bat. Defensively he’s a hard worker, has the skills to excel ... is working on strengthening fielding mechanics.
Jamari was a later addition to the Adelaide roster ... unfortunately there is some doubt in securing his travel exemptions ( work visa ) in order to arrive in time to allow for the required quarantine period to elapse before the Giants season starts in early January ... hopefully it gets secured. He’s an exciting young talent, we are equally excited to see him play.
INF Kendall Simmons : 20 years old ... was the Phillies 6th round draft choice in the 2018 draft out of Tattnal Square Academy in Macon, Georgia. Kendall played for Williamsport in 2019 and led the club with 12 home runs in 51 games ( 205 plate appearances). We saw him in his first pro action in 2018 GCL play and at Fall Instructs. He was in Fall Instructs camp again this year but was hampered by a hamstring tweak. The bat speed and power are evident, this young man has the potential to be a strong middle of the order run producer. He’s also got a tremendous personality and great family support ... another one of our favorites ( getting to know the kids and their families a bit is part of our biggest enjoyments ).
Giants Skipper Adamson envisions Kendall seeing action at both shortstop and second base and looks forward to having him in the lineup. He’s another young player who will gain valuable game experience as a lead in to 2021 spring training where we fully expect him to break camp on a full season roster for the coming season.
OF Cornelius Randolph : 23 years old ... was the Phillies 1st round draft choice in the 2015 draft out of Griffin High School in Griffin, Georgia. Spent the 2019 season with AA level Reading ... his second consecutive season with the Fightin’s.
“C” had a classic lefty swing when we first saw him play ... a Tony Gwynn like short to the ball line drive approach ... that has changed over the years to a more elongated upper cut. He’s talented and has shown flashes over the past four years we’ve seen him but has also been hampered by nagging injuries during his past two seasons of play ... he seemingly would have been slated for AAA level Lehigh Valley in 2020 and was in good spirits working towards that goal in Spring Camp before the season halted. For Adelaide he will be a lineup regular, primarily in left field but according to Manager Adamson could also see time in RF depending on who else is in the lineup ... some may have given up on the young player ( just 23 ) ... we are not amongst those folks ... if he can re-find that short swing approach the talent is there to reach his goals.
UTL Luke Williams : 24 years old ... was the Phillies 3rd round draft choice in the 2015 draft out of Dana Hill High School in Dana Point, California. Spent the 2019 season with AA level Reading and had a very solid season with 11 home runs and 51 RBIs while playing as a lineup regular and appearing at seven different defensive positions.
It’s every Managers dream to have versatile players on their roster and Skipper Adamson is no different ... he’s excited to utilize Williams ability to play all over but sees most of his time initially in the infield. He said there’s quite a bit of versatility on this year’s Giants roster and that Luke definitely fits into that mix.
Luke had a very strong 2020 big league Spring Camp and was also a participant in Alternate Camp training ... he looks to springboard his Australian campaign into spring 2021 camp and push for a potential roster spot with the big club ... at the least he should be a key component of the 2021 AAA level Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs contingent.
1B Rixon Wingrove : 20 years old ... was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent on 4/20/18 ... he’s from NewCastle, New South Wales, Australia. Played the 2019 season with Phillies West in the Gulf Coast League ( GCL ) where he put up strong numbers ( 17 Doubles, 2 Triples, 5 HR, 37 RBIs ... .298 average in 178 AB’s ).
Rixon has a very engaging personality and plays the game with tremendous passion. For a big man ( 6’5” 260 ) he’s got uncanny bat control ( he’s a left handed hitter ) ... we’ve seen him square up hits to the opposite field with Freddy Freeman like precision.
He’s playing in the South Australian Baseball League prior to the Adelaide season to in his words “warm up” and has had great success in the state league thus far. Rixon will be the regular first baseman for the Giants and a fixture in the middle of the order. Look for him to earn a full season roster assignment in 2021 Clearwater spring camp ... he’s an energetic and fun young man ... as he advances up the ladder I got a feeling he’s gonna become a fan favorite ... is already one of ours 🤓.
This concludes my Australian Baseball League preview ... hope you enjoyed it 👍.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️