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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

2/9/22 : Position Player Depth - Center Field

Fifth 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 likely play all of the three positions as they are developed. The fellas listed on this article seem the most probable to play the brunt of their time in center field but they will also play the other outfield positions.

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 :

Adam Haseley - will be 26 years old in April - 2017 1st round draft selection - University of Virginia. Temporarily walked away from the baseball profession early in the 2021 season due to personal reasons, he returned on June 3rd as a member of the Iron Pigs but suffered a groin injury in mid June that disabled him till mid July. Eventually worked his way back to LHV and posted solid numbers in September hitting .272 in 81 AB’s. A genuinely nice young man, one we definitely root for. Will either earn a big league role in ST else a likely lineup regular in LHV ( won’t be in minor league camp - is on 40 man roster )

Mickey Moniak - will be 24 years old in mid May - 2016 1st round draft selection - La Costa Canyon High School , Carlsbad, CA. Got off to a slow start when the ‘21 AAA season began but had a torrid month of July ( .342 average in 79 AB’s ) - finished the year with 15 doubles, 8 triples, 15 home runs and 65 RBIs leading the minor league organization in triples and RBIs. He also played in 21 major league games. Finding consistency in offensive approach albeit with an ability to adjust is key to his full realization of talent. If big league ST commences he will be afforded an opportunity to make the big club. Either will do so or return for a second year at Lehigh Valley. ( won’t be in minor league camp - is on 40 man roster )

Scott Kingery - will be 28 years old at the end of April - 2015 2nd round draft selection - University of Arizona. It was a lost year for Scott as his play was limited, he underwent shoulder surgery after being placed on the injured list in July. We still remember “ the best player on the field “ we saw when he played at Reading in 2017. I believe that he’s healthy now and will be a non roster invite to big league spring camp if held, with a strong spring camp he might earn himself a roster position and give the team the defensive versatility like what was originally planned - it’s easy to forget that he was the front runner for the opening day center field job coming into 2021 spring camp.

AA Reading :

Simon Muzziotti - 23 years old - signed as an international free agent - 7/5/16 - Cumana, Venezuela. Missed almost the entirety of the 2021 stateside season due to work visa issues. Did get over in time to participate at season’s end and in the Arizona Fall League. Is an excellent fielder, very good at closing gaps and ball tracking with plus speed. Offensively he’s a bit of a throw back lead off type hitter, a line drive, gap to gap hitter that is aggressive to put balls in play. Speed, defense and the ability to do the little things to win games are his strengths. For those who can remember Cesar Geronimo from the Big Red Machine’s heyday in the 1970’s that’s my comp. Needs to play due to missed time, likely that opportunity is in either Reading or Lehigh Valley. ( won’t be in minor league camp - is on 40 man roster )

Matt Kroon - 25 years old - 2018 18th round draft selection - Oklahoma State University. He can swing the bat, excelled in the lead off spot for Reading in July, August and September of 2021 after returning from a two month stint on the injured list. Became the everyday center fielder for the Fightin’s upon his return. Had played primarily first and third base previously in his pro career and in college but showed the ability to man an outfield spot during minor league spring training and broke camp with the conversion in mind. With only 181 plate appearances at Reading it’s likely he returns there to start the 2022 season - where it goes from there depends on performance.

Hunter Markwardt - 24 years old- 2019 13th round draft selection - Oklahoma Christian University. Speed is a huge asset for Hunter, he’s a smart player who has plus wheels that he uses both offensively and defensively. All out hustle as well, did an Aaron Rowland like fence collision when he played at Williamsport in 2019 suffering a broken nose. He had a great month of May in 2021 between Clearwater and Jersey Shore hitting at a .320 clip in 75 AB’s. Played at three levels during the summer, FCL, Clearwater and Jersey Shore - stole 20 bases in 22 attempts. Has the ability to get on base at a high percentage, puts the ball in play. Very pleasant personality. We see him competing for a Reading roster spot in the spring.

High A Jersey Shore :

Johan Rojas - 21 years old - signed as an international free agent - 1/18/18 - San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic. 2021 was a solid season for the very talented Rojas - 18 doubles, 4 triples, 11 home runs, 52 RBIs and 34 stolen bases in 96 games ( FCL, Clearwater & Jersey Shore ) - 381 AB’s. He also came to Fall Instructs for a couple weeks where we saw him finish the season. Has all the tools to advance to the majors and excel when he gets there. Perhaps has a chance to begin the year with Reading, Jersey Shore may be more likely with an in season promotion in mind.

Jared Carr - 22 years old - 2021 13th round draft selection - Shepherd University, WV. Played in 32 games with Clearwater after signing and posted a .277 average in 123 plate appearances with 4 home runs and 17 RBIs. Is very athletic, fast and can play all three outfield positions well. We see him competing in spring training for a High A roster spot.

Low A Clearwater :

Yhoswar Garcia - 20 years old - signed as an international free agent - 3/14/20 - Guatire, Venezuela. We first saw Yhoswar play in 2021 extended spring training, has an unbridled energy and passion to perform. Very quick bat and the ability to drive the baseball into the gaps, outstanding speed and defensive skill set - easy to see why his nickname is the the “drone”. He appeared in 18 games with Clearwater before suffering a shin injury on a foul ball on the first of July and missed the balance of the summer. He participated in Fall Instructs and looks fully recovered. We think big things are in store for him. He likely will begin the season as a regular with low A Clearwater - has all the tools to excel.

Marcus Lee Sang - 21 years old - 2019 11th round draft selection - Northern High School, Owings, MD. Has very good bat speed which generates both home run power and the ability to drive the ball into gaps. He’s a good finisher, gets the barrel thru the baseball. Played in 37 2021 games ( 26 - FCL, 11 - Threshers ) and posted 121 AB’s with 7 doubles and 5 home runs. Defensively plays very well, good jumps and reads and accurate throwing arm. Good looking player. Likely will open the season as a regular in Low A ball with Clearwater.

FCL Phillies :

Gavin Tonkel - 19 years old - 2021 9th round draft selection - Heritage High School, Brentwood, CA. Played in 11 FCL games after signing and also appeared in Fall Instructs. Excellent speed both offensively and defensively - saw his ball hawking skills during instructs, also witnessed a long home run to left field during an intra-squad game. Talent is evident from brief samplings we have seen. We would expect a season in extended spring and FCL play, will be 19 years old the entire summer. Needs to gain the experience of pro game action.

Yemal Flores - 18 years old - signed as an international free agent - 2/2/21 - San Isidro, Dominican Republic. Made his pro debut appearing in 37 games in the ‘21 Dominican Summer League. Also appeared in Fall Instructs, hit a long opposite field home run in Ashburn Field game action. We’ve only seen him play for a minute. Could return to the Dominican Academy for another season but FCL play is certainly within reason.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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