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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

2/8/22 : Position Player Depth - Third Base

Perhaps my enthusiasm for Baseball and in particular providing a spotlight on Phillies minor leaguers comes off as overbearing. I’ve always been an all out effort type person in any endeavor chosen. I do not know any other way other than going full bore, with diligence, eagerness for the task at hand and an unbridled desire to serve. The drive comes from a passion to share, conservatism in doing so has never been a strong suit for me.

The Covid pandemic we’ve encountered the past couple of years has been significant for all of us … devastating to many in the losses of family lives and loved ones. With my small contribution in writing about baseball I hope to bring a bit of diversion, contentment, energy and optimism to those who read what’s written not only in trying times like we continue to encounter but in our “normal” daily lives. If I overstep my bounds in doing so that’s never my intent.

My enthusiasm for baseball hasn’t and likely never will wane … but perhaps the output should be less frequent. Enthusiasm sometimes can be considered annoyance - I’ll try to be better at separating the two as best I can.

Three more parts and this series of articles will be complete.

The Fourth 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” as some have previously commented 🥴.

Third Base is a position in particular that figures to be shared at each affiliate by multiple players.

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 :

Madison Stokes - 25 years old - 2018 10th round draft selection - University of South Carolina - had a very solid ‘21 season with Reading. Strong defender who played all four infield spots plus the two outfield corners during the season. Offensively had 20 doubles, 2 triples, 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 94 games ( 342 AB’s ). An all around player who’s intelligent and team oriented, winning demeanor who won’t back away from challenges. Should be in the mix for a role with Lehigh Valley in spring camp.

Dalton Guthrie - 26 years old - 2017 6th round draft selection - University of Florida - 2017 6th round draft selection - heady ball player who can play every infield position and added the outfield to his repertoire last season. He’s a very good defender, was the starting shortstop in his college days for a national championship team at Florida. Is a fundamentally sound player - well schooled and baseball smart. Dalton can fill a utility role at the big league level if afforded the opportunity and has shown an offensive skill set that’s capable of delivering when needed. He’s likely gonna begin play with the Iron Pigs once spring camp breaks and is a viable call up option for the big club if needed.

Ali Castillo - 32 years old - signed 12/8/21 as a minor league free agent. He played last season in the Washington Nationals organization ( 77 games between AA & AAA ). A veteran minor leaguer who was with the Phillies organization in 2019 at Reading and Lehigh Valley. He’s a great teammate and clubhouse presence providing leadership and direction on how to be a pro’s pro. A career .278 hitter in 13 minor league seasons, has played every position except catcher in his career.

AA Reading :

DJ Stewart - 22 years old - 2017 39th round draft selection - Westminster Christian Academy, St. Louis, MO. DJ had a strong year during 2021 in regards to power numbers, playing time and run production. He appeared in 94 games with Clearwater and Jersey Shore compiling 358 AB’s and hit 13 doubles, 3 triples and 14 home runs. Defensively can play 1B,3B and LF. He is a very strong young man who generates high velocity bat speed, can hit the ball a ton. Generally puts the ball in play. We think he should be headed to AA level Reading as a lineup regular out of spring camp.

McCarthy Tatum - 25 years old - 2019 10th round draft selection - Fresno State - began the ‘21 season with Reading and was transferred to Jersey Shore in July in his first full season of play. He played 3B primarily defensively but also saw time at 1B, RF and LF. Good defender at every position, strong fundamentals. A return engagement with AA Reading out of spring camp seems the likely target.

Chris Cornelius - 24 years old - 2019 16th round draft selection - University of Missouri. Versatile defender - ended the ‘21 season with Reading after being promoted in August ain August nd played primarily third base. Played at three levels during the summer ( FCL/Jersey Shore/Reading ). Was a shortstop in college. Will compete for an infield role in Spring Training with a Reading or Jersey Shore assignment a likely placeholder.

Nate Fassnacht - 24 years old - 2019 8th round draft selection - George Washington University. Played in 69 games for Jersey Shore and 2 for Lehigh Valley in 2021 amassing 230 AB’s. Defensively played all four infield positions plus left field. Should be in the spring mix for a role with Reading.

High A Jersey Shore :

Kendall Simmons - will be 22 years old in mid April - 2018 6th round draft selection - Tattnall Square High School , Macon, GA. An injury plagued summer in 2021, forearm issues in the spring, was hit in the helmet and went thru concussion protocol in July followed by being sidelined when Covid issues forced multiple players into quarantine ( contact tracing & positive tests ) in August. He has shown the ability to hit the baseball out of the yard - turns on high fastballs as well as anyone I’ve seen. Needs to get consistent reps both offensively and defensively - has played 2B, SS and 3B.

Nicolas Torres - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent - 7/2/16 - Puerto Cabello, Venezuela. Was promoted to Jersey Shore from Clearwater on 8/14/21 - took off offensively, posted a .388 batting average in 27 games with the Blue Claws including a .429 OBP. Overall he hit .286 for the season in 96 games ( 329 AB’s ). Is a very versatile defender who played every position on the field except pitcher and catcher in 2021. Was also in Fall Instructs. Great team player, keeps head down, works hard and takes on any role without hesitation, winning attitude and solid skill set. We see a similar role in spring camp as he delivered in 2021, either a return to Jersey Shore or a spot with Reading being the target.

Jose Tortolero - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent - 7/2/16 - Caracas, Venezuela. Appeared in 53 games ( 155 AB’s ) with Clearwater and Jersey Shore in 2021 - played primarily 3B but also saw action at 2B and SS. Gives an all out effort, we’ve seen some pop in the bat as well on the backfields during 2019 GCL play. Has overcome a few injuries, missed the entire 2018 season.

Low A Clearwater :

Edgar Made - 22 years old - signed as an international free agent - 7/8/16 - Bani, Dominican Republic. Edgar had a very productive 2019 season as he hit .314 in 48 GCL games ( 188 AB’s ) and was positioned for seemingly a full season assignment thereafter, the 2020 layoff hurt him as it did many players without opportunities to work. He accumulated 136 AB’s in 2021 primarily with the Threshers in a part time role. Is a switch hitter who’s capable of playing all four infield positions plus the outfield, we liked the bat in 2019 we saw on the backfields, short and quick thru the ball. Should compete for a full season role at the A level in spring camp.

Guarner Dipre - Birthdate : 21 years old - signed 5/8/18 as an international free agent - Cambita Garabitos, Dominican Republic. Was limited to 32 games ( 68 AB’s ) in 2021 with the FCL and Clearwater. He had a strong 2019 season in the GCL hitting .301 in 103 AB’s which is where we saw him play initially. Is capable of playing multiple infield positions. If in good health should be a regular for the Clearwater Threshers coming out of spring camp.

Kervin Pichardo - 20 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 6/24/19 - Bronx, New York - played in 35 games ( FCL, Clearwater and Jersey Shore ) in 2021 - 6 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs in 105 PA’s with a .476 OBP as he drew 28 walks. We saw an ability to barrel the ball and drive it with authority along with a plate discipline to not get himself out. As a fielder he played 1B, 2B and 3B, also played SS in the DSL. We saw him also take reps in the outfield during extended spring. Angular build, quick and athletic. Envision a full season roster assignment out of spring camp with Clearwater - good skills, could blossom.

FCL Phillies :

Erick Brito - 19 years old - signed as an international free agent 11/29/18 - Ciudad Guayana, Venezuela - had an outstanding 2021 DSL season posting a .327 batting average in 153 AB’s - earned him a spot in Fall Instructs camp where we saw him play. Erick is a slender young man who bats exclusively from the right side, decent bat to ball skills shown in Fall Camp - we saw a small sample size but plays multiple defensive positions - should see some continued time at 3B as one of them. He will turn 20 near end of May, we’d expect that he will be in extended spring camp with an eye towards Florida Complex League play. Erick is fellow Phillie Daniel Brito’s cousin.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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