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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

2/10/22 : Position Player Depth - Corner Outfield

Final in a series on minor league position player depth - please keep in mind that the Phillies develop most players at multiple positions - in this series you will likely see names repeated at positions - versatility is a good thing - doesn’t mean that each club “has five first basemen” 🥴.

Outfielders will play each of the three positions as they are developed. In the Centerfielder article I listed fellas that will also play the corner spots. The fellas listed on this article seem the most probable to play the brunt of their time in the corner spots.

By mid month there will be multiple selected/invited minor league players at the Complex either participating in a continuation of what has been an annual formalized minor league spring mini camp ( we first observed it in 2018 ) or on rehab assignments. The full Minor league spring training is slated to begin the first week of March with pitchers and catchers initially reporting followed by position players a few days later.

Who knows when the big leaguers get their start - that’s on ongoing lockdown.

AAA Lehigh Valley :

Josh Stephen - 24 years old - 2016 11th round draft selection - Mater Dei High School , Santa Ana, CA. Broke 2021 spring camp with Lehigh Valley, was transferred to Reading in early May and finished season there. Played in 100 games ( 325 AB’s - 15 doubles, 2 triples, 8 home runs and 44 RBIs ). Good bat to ball skills from the left side of the plate. Should compete in spring training for a Lehigh Valley roster spot.

AA Reading :

Jhailyn Ortiz - 23 years old - Has easy power that drives the baseball long distances. Vision issues early in his career hindered pitch recognition, that’s seemingly been resolved. Outstanding thrower and good speed for a big fella, generally gets decent reads on balls to the outfield and has played all three positions. Is a great teammate, well regarded and respected. Smile lights up the room. Just a young man you want to root for. Likely begins the year at Reading and with success moves to LHV putting himself on the verge of the big leagues. Can’t teach the power this young man possesses. ( won’t be in minor league camp - is on 40 man roster )

Ben Pelletier - 23 years old - 2015 34th round draft selection - De Mortagne, Boucherville, QC. Began the year with Clearwater but went on the IL in early June with a shoulder injury and didn’t return until mid July. In total he played in 50 games ( FCL, Clearwater & Jersey Shore ) accumulating 157 AB’s ( about half of what he achieved in 2019 ). He has a powerful swing and has shown the ability to drive the baseball out of the yard. Inconsistent contact and strikeouts have been an issue. In spring camp should compete for a AA level role with the fallback being a return to Jersey Shore.

High A Jersey Shore :

Carlos De La Cruz - 22 years old - signed 8/23/17 as an un-drafted free agent - Yonkers, New York. We first saw Carlos on the backfields in 2018 GCL play, he’s got the ability to hit the baseball a very long way. 2021 was a struggle, played at three levels ( FCL,Clearwater & Jersey Shore ) in 63 games ( 204 AB’s ). Finished the season strong however by hitting .346 in September with Jersey Shore. Defensively he plays all three outfield positions. A high A assignment out of Spring Training seems logical.

Baron Radcliff - 23 years old - 2020 5th round draft selection - Georgia Tech University. Power is very evident - 13 home runs and 42 RBIs in 87 games ( 257 AB’s ) with the FCL Phillies and Clearwater. Has a great eye - 71 walks led the minor league organization and .371 OBP was third. Displayed good defensive skills, robbed a home run with a leaping catch against the left field fence in a game at Clearwater. The strikeouts are high, swing gets long - albeit typical of long ball hitters. Works hard and is coachable, both assets to further development. Likely breaks spring camp headed to Jersey Shore but Reading is within site.

Ethan Wilson - 22 years old - 2021 2nd round draft selection - South Alabama. Played in 30 games ( 107 AB’s ) with Clearwater, also appeared in Fall Instructs. In limited Fall Instructs observations we saw a power swing with decent bat to ball skills. Consistently drove pitches on outer half the other way. Defensively we’ve seen him in all three outfield spots, good reads and strong arm, he’s not a burner but seemingly can handle all three spots. Likely High A assignment with Jersey Shore out of spring camp.

Low A Clearwater :

Jadiel Sanchez - will be 21 in May - 2019 12th round draft selection - Natividad Rodriguez Gonzalez High School , Arroyo, PR. Hit .278 in 28 games ( 97 AB’s ) for the FCL Phillies and Clearwater Threshers in 2021. We saw him in both the FCL and Fall Instructs. Quick hands and good bat to ball skills - he hit .297 with a .373 OBP in 74 AB’s with the Threshers and hit both of his season home runs with Clearwater. Played winter ball in Puerto Rico. Outstanding arm, moves well with good reads and jumps. We see him as a regular with the Threshers out of spring camp.

Jordan Viars - 18 years old, turns 19 in July - 2021 3rd round draft selection - Reedy High School , Frisco, TX. Well built young man with quick bat, solid approach and easy power. Attacks the baseball. We saw him in both FCL play and Fall Instructs. Accumulated 47 AB’s in 22 FCL games - run producer, 3 home runs and 18 RBIs - also has good speed. Defensively seems most comfortable in the outfield although will get time at first base as well, seems to be a willing learner and student of the game, wants to get better. We think there’s a very bright future. Has the talent and ability to play full season ball out of spring camp but may also go to extended spring first and another turn in FCL play.

Felix Reyes - will be 21 years old near the end of March - signed as an international free agent - 2/22/20 - Bani, Dominican Republic. We were in the stands on July 15th, 2021 when Felix hit his first professional home run at Carpenter Complex in a FCL contest. The ball was smoked and got out of the massive backfield in a hurry. The skill set is raw but the talent is evident. He’s a big fella at 6’4” - shows athleticism and ability, to date plays primarily corner outfielder. He took reps at first base - footwork coaching is needed to continue to progress. Like what we’ve seen in small samples, hands seem quick, bat speed evident and desire high to succeed, sounds like a formula for success. A full season assignment out of the gate to Clearwater is a very real possibility.

FCL Phillies :

Jefferson Encarnacion - 20 years old - signed as an international free agent 9/12/17 - Bajos de Haina, Dominican Republic. Promising looking player who unfortunately suffered a season ending knee injury during 2021 extended spring training. We saw him in 2019 Fall Instructs and 2021 XST. Angular build, good defensive mechanics and arm strength. Hopefully returns to action during the spring - likely plays in the FCL.

Leandro Pineda - 19 years old - signed as an international free agent - 7/6/18 - Valencia, Venezuela . Played in 33 FCL games in 2021 and while the numbers don’t show great success there were glimpses of what might be, in particular a two hit game against the Tigers in July. Left handed hitter and thrower. Areturn engagement in extended spring and FCL seems in order.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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