2/25/22 : Today at the Complex - Mini Camp Day Nine
Full contingent infield and outfield drills this morning on both Ashburn and Carlton Fields with multiple coaches and front office folks looking on including big league staff members. Balls were initially hit to each of the outfield positions - ( Wilson, Rojas, Kroon - left to right on Ashburn & Viars, Garcia, Y.Flores on Carlton ). Johan Rojas stood out by showing off his arm from center field making multiple strong throws as each outfielder fielded balls and threw to second, third and home.
Catchers then threw to each bag in their drills ( O’Hoppe, Pertuz & Matera on Ashburn - Perez, Iser, and Yonamine on Carlton ). Nineteen year old Jackie Pertuz stood out to me. The Phillies have good depth at the backstop position.
Infielders were 1B Hall, 2B Azuaje/Torres, SS Stott/Guzman and 3B Simmons on Ashburn with 1B Friscia, 2B Baylor/W.Flores, SS Martin/E.Brito and 3B Vasquez on Carlton. Jonathan Guzman is silky smooth with the glove, Bryson Stott also impressed as did Alexeis Azuaje. Both Casey Martin and Erick Brito continued to shine with hands, footwork and arm strength. Randy Vasquez made a couple nice throws from deep third base.
Both Darick Hall and Matt Kroon took extra infield later in the day, hard workers. Kroon took grounders at third, he’s a potential big league camp sleeper to watch, can swing the bat and play multiple spots.
We watched BP on Roberts Field - outfielder Ethan Wilson put on a power show in today’s session - multiple baseballs driven into the tree line beyond the right field fences.
Blake Brown, Jose Pena Jr, Gunner Mayer, Andrew Painter and Mick Abel were amongst the hurlers who threw bullpen sessions on the mounds in front of the David Montgomery Training Center. We could hear the mitts popping but couldn’t see them.
I made a goofy faux paus today - introduced myself to a coach whom I thought was and called him Bob Stumpo but was actually Anthony Contreras - he was nice about it and made my embarrassment more bearable 🤪.
This is usually the time of year when the Clearwater area is filled with Phillies baseball fans. While many have still come to enjoy the warm weather the full impact of spring training baseball has been heavily squashed. Multiple folks have written to me that are ST regulars and have either stayed home due to the lockout and/or COVID concerns else are here but have such a new found disdain for pro baseball that even though minor league mini camp is ongoing they’ve shown little or no interest in coming to watch a practice. I can’t even get folks to buy my latest Phillies minor league digest 😏.
It’s also a fact that most fans come to ST to see the major leaguers, there have been plenty of stories on local TV stations here discussing the financial impact of the MLB lockout - an estimated $60 million in economic impact for the Clearwater area alone during the Grapefruit League which was originally slated to begin tomorrow for the Phillies. Statewide it’s been estimated that ST generates upwards of $700 million in economic impact. For a state heavily dependent on tourism that’s a huge hit.
There were initially 16 home games on the Phillies Grapefruit League schedule, that’s already been reduced by four with likely more to be cancelled. In any work stoppage the end customer always also suffers, it remains to be seen how bitter the fan’s support pill tastes when and if a labor settlement is reached. From what I’ve heard it’s already turned quite a few off for perhaps longer than MLB and the players union care to realize.
For those interested the full scale Phillies Minor League Spring Training begins at the end of next week with Pitchers and Catchers reporting on Thursday - physicals are on the 4th. On the 6th position players report, physicals are scheduled for the 7th with the first full squad minor league camp workouts slated to begin on the 8th.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️