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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

2/19/24 : Today at the Complex

Major League Camp :

I’d say between 1,000 and 2,000 people in attendance today to watch opening day of full squad spring training.  The stadium was opened up at 10 AM for folks to watch BP (in seating areas down the left field line) and the complex was full of activity from bullpens to fielding to batting practice.  First baseman Bryce Harper drew a crowd on Schmidt Field as he participated in infield drills.  Later in the day some players (including Whitt Merrified) took BP on Schmidt field while others did so in the stadium.

At around 11:30 live BP sessions began on Roberts and Ashburn fields - I stayed on Roberts to watch - hurt my back yesterday so wasn’t as limber as usual to walk from field to field - did have to walk quite a ways from the parking lot (my spot was close to Drew Street) to the complex though.  Anyways I saw Christopher Sanchez, Tyler Phillips, Matt Strahm, Michael Rucker and Jeff Hoffman throw live BP’s.   The Sanchez changeup continues to be real (as we’ve said since his minor league days) and both Strahm and Hoffman seemingly popped the mitt with their heaters in mid season form.  Rucker also had his moments of throwing the baseball by hitters - I’ll predict right now that he earns an opening day roster spot.  Phillips is one of my favorites - he had Alex Bohm way off balance against his curve ball and split finger, Alex had quite a few swing and misses on the outside deliveries - didn’t appear to be picking it up well.  JT Realmuto hit a couple hard liners against Phillips but nothing that a Marsh/Rojas outfield wouldn’t have run down.  Phillips is my under the radar choice of a pitcher who’s gonna help the big club at some point this season - the stuff can play at the highest level.

Minor League Mini Camp :

Camp actually started yesterday however a rare Florida day long rain kept workouts limited.  Today the minor leaguers who have been invited to participate in the two week jump start to minor league spring training went thru their workout paces in the afternoon hours from approximately one till four (staggered drills by work group designations).

After driving home to have lunch with the Mrs she and I came back over to the complex to watch a couple more live BP’s.  Fourteen pitchers threw side bullpen sessions on the seven mounds with two (Noah Skirrow & Tristan Garnett) throwing live BP’s.   Kendall Simmons hit the baseball well in his live BP AB’s - he smoked a couple line drives, the young man can swing the bat, we got a chance to talk with him afterwards - great personality and one I’ve always believed has big league skills since the first time I saw him play, we reminded him of that today 🤓.  Tristan Garnett had a strong session on the bump, his change up from an over the top delivery is big league quality, it’s a definite out maker - am anxious to see him perhaps face some big leaguers in Grapefruit League games.

Before and after practice we got to chat with or say hello to quite a few of our favorites (by now you should know they are all my favorites 😊) including Aidan Miller, Emaarion Boyd, Baron Radcliff, Cade Fergus, Andrew Baker, George Klassen, Christian McGowan, Taylor Lehman, Carlos Francisco, Kendall Simmons, Marcus Lee Sang, Wesley Moore, Nikau Pouaka Grego, Devin Saltiban, Robert Moore, Ethan Wilson, Andrew Walling, Cam Wynne, Mavis Graves and Gunner Mayer.  I’m not an autograph seeker - just a fan who writes a blog and wishes the fellas well, I think they appreciate it even if no one else perhaps does 🤪.

Videos :

I posted videos of all the live BP’s I watched today on X, Facebook and Instagram - just search for my accounts and you will see them.

FCL Schedule Change :

I asked those in the know if moving the schedule up a month this year has any impact on the new draft picks service time calculation.  It does not, moving the season up a month doesn’t postpone service time simply because the FCL season will likely be over before new draft picks arrive in camp.

In regards to the roster limits it’s also the same as before - as was the case last season there is a grace period of 15 days after signing a contract that a previously unsigned player does not count towards the roster limit - they must be added thereafter regardless of whether activated on a team roster or not.

Just Sayin :

Everyone’s life has at least a few disappointments, some more serious and heartfelt than others.  But it’s things like fandoms in a sport or a team that can help to overcome the grind.  I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Howard Eskin at the complex last week, I asked how he was doing and he responded with his classic line of never having a bad day in his life.  That’s certainly a hopeful and uplifting aspiration to embrace.  It’s also somewhat symbolic of what I try to project in my efforts of sharing views, whether they be written words, photos or videos about the Phillies player development process.  You can’t paint a honest picture or tell a truthful story unless you know the content you provide, in this case the baseball knowledge - that’s integrity.  From my perspective core Phillies fans have genuine passion and love for baseball, they will see thru veiled attempts to deliver content without integrity and openly and often loudly voice disappointment.  It’s my view that attempts of “ideation” fail without core knowledge of the product regardless of your age.  Just sayin - it’s my charter to not disrespect anyone - I will always make the effort to truly know the content I share.  Anything less is a disappointment.  As Mr. Eskin would say, “keeping it real” - I just do that with a positive slant 🤓.

Tomorrow's Schedule :

Minor League Mini Camp - fielding on Carlton from 12:40 to 3 PM - hitting on Ashburn and Roberts from 12:45 to 3:30 and bullpens on seven mounds from 1:25 to 2 PM - two live BPs on Roberts from 2:10 to 2:30 PM

Big leaguers in the morning on all fields from 9 to 12.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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