3/5/2021 : Five Guys - One Job
Some folks may say that I’ve gotten one of the better perspectives on the Phillies minor leaguers since we get to know many of the players and their families early on in their careers and follow them throughout.
When watching minor league baseball getting a good perspective isn’t about focusing on any one particular thing ... for example the stats don’t often tell the entire story nor do the team performances as measured in wins and losses. Those elements are certainly part of the equation but observing the experiences of the minor league grind, the ups and downs and how challenges are handled are the human elements of the process that often bring as much if not more focus on whether a player will reach the ultimate level of play. A phrase we learned early on when observing “It’s All Part of It” is definitely applicable.
That being said the Phillies center field job is an open competition amongst five players we’ve had the opportunity to observe and get to know a bit over the past five years ...
Odubel Herrera has always been one of the most interactive players with fans at the complex since his arrival from the Rangers in the rule five draft. Albeit his smile was infectious there have were springs when we noticed the commitment to success “wavered” ... for example in years past conditioning has been “inconsistent”. He was more reliant on natural talent and it held him back quite frankly.
Then the incident happened. Anyone who believes they know the full extent as to what occurred based upon what’s been said and reported publicly and forms a conclusive opinion solely on that is not formulating a fair assessment. That’s not to say that a condemnation in regards to abuse isn’t warranted, it certainly is. After the incident I messaged Odubel ... we’ve exchanged texts back and forth periodically since. I believe that he’s truly remorseful, has made a concerted effort to learn and seek counsel and has truly reconciled with Melany. They continue as a couple in a very respectful, loving and meaningful relationship. I believe it’s a heartfelt reconciliation and realization.
The Odubel we’ve seen in ST this year is reminiscent of the young fella who first arrived with one very noticeable difference ... maturity and a commitment to not take the rewards of his baseball talent for granted. No one who’s watched him over the years disputes the hand eye coordination and bat quickness. If he continues to approach the game as he’s done this spring thus far success will come ... just a matter of where 🧐.
Adam Haseley is one of the most pleasant people we’ve had the opportunities to meet. Our interactions have been brief, to be truthful I’ve corresponded with his dad more than I have with Adam, that’s often the case with my family interactions though 🤓. There’s a profound strength in believing in his skill sets that has stood out since day one ... the first ABs on the back fields. Adam is dedicated to his craft, he’s got a solid all around game and works consistently to improve it. He’s well liked by his teammates and the staff, just a good person that you can’t help but root for. Given his faith and family values there’s no doubt in my mind the young man will be successful in all regards of his life.
We haven’t gotten to know Scott Kingery as well as we would have liked but the observances of his play over the years has definitely been on our radar. I’ve never bought into the idea that he’s limited to one position and is inhibited from developing further because he’s been asked to play multiple spots. I can attest that his glove to hand exchanges at second base on double plays are amongst the best we’ve seen in minor league play but that’s not a absolute definition that second base is his “natural” position. We see Scotty as a baseball player ... period.
He’s a young man who can adapt ... terrific attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes to win ballgames for his team. The skill set was noticed to be a big leaguer even when he struggled somewhat when at Clearwater ... when he got to Reading it exploded. We observed a short quick thru the baseball swing that generated hard knocks consistently and power numbers as a result. The athletic abilities often made him the “best player on the field” as old friend Joe Jordan used to say. Scotty is a baseball player ... and a winner. Those are the types of fellas every team needs.
We have gotten to see Roman Quinn in person more often than we should have. That’s not to say we don’t enjoy watching him or occasionally chatting but our interactions the past few years have predominantly been when he’s returned in season to the Complex on rehab assignments. We’ve watched Roman grow over the years from a young fella out of high school to a family man and father. He’s always been well received by teammates, the playful interactions with his big buddy Dylan Cozens we witnessed at the Complex came to mind when we saw similar “skirmishes” with Bryce Harper this spring.
It’s obvious that Roman’s biggest asset is his speed ... perhaps what’s not as obvious to some is that his best way to utilize it is aggressiveness. Over the years where we’ve witnessed Roman at his best it’s when he plays with abandon. He’s gonna make some mistakes by doing so but by possessing game changing speed the benefits in our view outweigh them. Folks clamor about wanting him to bunt more, sure that’s an obvious observance but to me it’s not just “bunting more” it’s using the bunt as a weapon of aggression. We’ve seen Roman also drive the baseball, he’s not just restricted to being a slap hitter nor should he take that approach. Health issues aside he’s a weapon to be deployed ... not constrained ... just sayin 🤷♂️.
Similarly we’ve watched Mickey Moniak grow up over the years from a teenager to a young man. The maturation process hasn’t been just physical, baseball has been Mickey’s collegiate life like experience. His teammates have become his fraternity brothers and they’ve collectively grown. We know his family a bit, there’s plenty of support and understanding, a close knit group. The baseball skill set has always been evident, debates over the years as to what he might become have dominated fan message boards ... that comes with being 1-1 in the draft.
In times past his swing has gotten long and out of sync but there’s not a baseball hitter in the game who’s not experienced that, at least not one who’s being truthful 🤦♂️. The spotlight on the young man has shown brightly yet I remember observing the fella who’s always stopped for every fan wanting a autograph at the complex and has patiently interacted ... that fella still does so.
We’ve never wavered that Mickey will be a major leaguer and are happy to see his success thus far in ST ... perhaps it’s this year that he breaks thru, perhaps it’s not. Patience is still the key, something we fans don’t often possess. In any regards we’ve witnessed an overall growth process that has put hIm in a position to succeed ... that’s certainly something that the baseball development folks should be most proud of 👍.
Five guys ... one job. We like em all and always will. No doubt someone will claim the position, whomever does will have our full support but so will the others ... it’s what we do 🤓.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️