2/1/2021 : Similar But Different - Part Two
I’ve been a baseball fan and observer for a very long time now so have developed a relatively large memory bank of baseball references. I think that most baseball players have at one point in time emulated players that have come before them even if not by direct intent.
I thought I’d take a light hearted look of some of the current Phillies minor leaguers and write a bit about similar styles from players of yesterday that come to mind. Each comparative is intended as a flattering one and includes those of personality, mechanics or skillset, that’s not to say or meant to infer they are equivalent, at least not yet 😎 ...
If you missed part one of this two part article here’s a link ... https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/1-31-2021-similar-but-different
Here goes a few more 🤓
Carlos De La Cruz - Vlad Guerrero Sr
Long angular outfielders with multiple skills are relatively few and far between. The athleticism needed in baseball to be a good defender, hitter and runner coupled with the eye/hand coordination required are often what I marvel at. When you see those things in an athlete with a larger body it’s even more incredulous.
Vlad Guerrero Sr was a tremendous player, he had a canon for an arm, the ability to move quickly and generated bat speed that was exemplary ... hall of fame worthy which of course he was honored as. At 6’3” 235 he was also a standout during his 16 year major league career in regards to comparative size.
Carlos De La Cruz was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent by the Phillies in August of 2017. We first saw the young man hit on the backfields that fall during instructs. He generates excellent bat speed and the baseball sails into the distant sky off the bat. Carlos played full season baseball for Lakewood in 2019 at the age of 19 and albeit the statistical numbers didn’t jump out the progress the young man made certainly encourages the folks who watch for such things. At 6’8” 215 he’s a much taller man than Vlad Sr however the athleticism is akin, Carlos played a good amount of center field at Lakewood and is very capable of doing so. He’s quick footed, has plus throwing skills and the bat to ball ability projects very well. It was fun to watch Vlad Sr during his day ... when I watch Carlos I see similar traits 🤓.
Micah Yonamine - AJ Pierzynski
Micah Yonamine was drafted in the 29th round of the 2019 draft by the Phillies out of Honolulu, Hawaii. We first saw him play during the 2019 GCL season, he’s a catcher but saw an equal amount of time as a first baseman during his initial pro experience. As an 18 year old we saw glimpses of what he might become, good bat speed and sound mechanics but in general he struggled with consistency as most young players do in their first endeavors.
This past fall Micah was back in Clearwater as part of the Fall Instructs camp, he was noticeably bigger in regards to physical appearance, heavier and more muscular. He’s a big fella at 6’3” 200 and put me in mind of 19 year major leaguer AJ Pierzynski in appearance ... Pierzynski played most of his career a bit heavier at around 250 but also is 6’3”. The catching mechanics are very similar and while Pierzynski was a left handed hitter and Micah bats from the right side the projections of offensive ability is also favorable in comparison. We met Micah’s parents as well during the summer of 2019, very nice folks ... Micah has a pleasant personality, as he continues to grow both physically and as a ball player the Pierzynski comparison might become even more clear 🤔🤓.
Rixon Wingrove - Sean Casey
Fun personalities draw folks to them as well as usually lifting spirit. First base is a position where conversations can take place on a baseball field more often than others. Sean Casey was nicknamed “The Mayor” during his 12 year major league career, the personable first baseman was seemingly one of those guys that everyone knew and liked. It comes thru the TV screen as well each time he’s on the MLB network chatting baseball.
Now 20 year old Rixon Wingrove already has a Sean Casey like persona ... we first met him on the backfields of Carpenter Complex shortly after he signed with the Phillies in April of 2018. The young Aussie has an engaging personality and exudes a love of life and for baseball. His teammates are drawn to him and like Casey he’s been known to carry on a conversation or two when holding runners on at first base. 🤓
There are a few Rixon stories I’ve heard in just the two short years of his career but one I distinctly remember is a game on Ashburn Field where his team was winning a multi pitcher no hitter ... when a new pitcher came in to throw the ninth inning in typical Rixon style he went to the mound, smiled and greeted him with a message to break the tension ... “ Don’t F this up mate” he told the new hurler ... after which three consecutive outs were recorded and the no hitter was in the books 😄.
Rixon has a chance to be a Philly favorite when he gets to the show ... the talent is there to do so and the personality is even brighter 😎.
Simon Muzziotti - Cesar Geronimo
For those of us who remember the Big Red Machine teams of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970’s the club consisted of multiple hall of famers including catcher Johny Bench and second baseman Joe Morgan. They were stellar middle of the field defenders and when coupled with shortstop Dave Concepcion and center fielder Cesar Geronimo the Reds were as sound up the middle of the diamond as any team in their era. Geronimo played fifteen seasons in the big leagues including nine with Cincinnati. He was an elite defender who could track down balls with relative ease. He was also a solid left handed hitter finishing his career with a .258 batting average in 3,780 AB’s.
Simon Muzziotti was signed by the Phillies in July of 2016 after being granted his release by MLB from a contract he had signed with the Red Sox. Boston had been discovered doing some misguided things in their pursuit of international talent and were forced to terminate contracts. Simon is a glider in centerfield, he’s smooth and is excellent at tracking, great first step off the bat and very good routes. He’s a steady left handed hitter, top of the order type or a fella who could be just as comfortable hitting at the bottom of a stacked lineup like Geronimo did with the Reds. He’s now 22 years old and has earned a 40 man roster spot, we are eager to see him perform at the upper levels of the system.
Mark Potter - Rob Dibble
I’m on a Cincinatti Reds comparison theme it seems 🤣. Remember the “Nasty Boys” bullpen of the early 1990’s ? They had three guys in particular that owned the latter innings of games with gas 🔥 and intimidation. Rob Dibble was the key cog in the equation from 1990 to 1993 ... he came in firing bullets and was an imposing figure at 6’4” 230.
Mark Potter was drafted by the Phillies in the 19th round of the 2018 draft out of Melbourne, Florida. Besides having a great last name 👏 he’s an imposing fella standing 6’6” 284. Mark attacks the hitters when he comes out of the pen, at Lakewood in 2019 he converted all nine saves he was asked to deliver and recorded a 2.50 ERA in 27 games ( 36 IP ) with 33 K’s and 14 BB. He possesses a big fastball that shows in the mid to upper nineties and isn’t afraid to pitch inside to back hitters off the plate. He reminds me of Dibble in that regard. Maybe in a couple years we might just have our own version of the “Nasty Boys” coming out of the bullpen at CBP 🧐.
David Parkinson -Ethan Lindow - Tom Glavine
Precise pinpoint command were key elements of the pitching dominance of both Greg Maddux and and Tom Glavine. They both became hall of famers ... Glavine pitched in 22 big league seasons and amassed 305 wins ... I’m convinced that he could pick a fly off the umpires ear if he wanted to as I, along with every other Phillies fan witnessed his pitching prowess far too often 🥴.
David Parkinson and Ethan Lindow are cut out that same mold as precision command lefties. Parkinson was drafted in the 12th round of the 2017 draft out of the University of Mississippi while Lindow was selected in the 5th round of the same draft class from Locust Grove High School in Georgia.
Parkinson won the Paul Owens Award in 2018 when he went 11-1 with a 1.45 ERA in 22 games ( 124.1 IP ) between Lakewood and Clearwater. He struck out 141 batters and issued just 35 free passes. I’ve watched him now for three seasons ... David is an intense competitor and I truly believe he could also pick said fly off an umpires ear with his exceptional command ... he just doesn’t miss on location all that often 😎.
Lindow won the Paul Owens Award in 2019 when he recorded a 2.52 ERA in 26 games ( 110.2 IP ) between Lakewood and Clearwater. Ethan struck out 119 batters and was also very stingy with free passes ... only issuing 22. He’s a consummate strike thrower, goes right at em with the same precision command and control akin to Parkinson and the hall of famer Glavine.
Two lefty starters from the 2017 draft that command the zone ... bodes well for both of their futures 👍.
It’s a blustery day here in the Clearwater area but there’s no snow ⛄️ ...
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️