4/2/2021 : Spring Exit Reviews - Part One
Now that Major League Spring Camp has concluded I thought I’d take a look at the players who took part but didn’t make the 26 man opening day roster and review/project on their behalf. The 26 players who made the opening roster will be talked about at length by others however it takes far more than the initial 26 to complete a marathon 162 game schedule. The “auxiliary” always comes into play.
I’ll do it in three parts ... first the starting pitchers, then the relievers and finally the position players.
Starting Pitchers :
LH Bailey Falter : Bailey ( 23 yrs old ) turned some heads in camp. His overhand long armed delivery is classic and the way he hides the baseball is an added boost to his success. Folks have fallen in love with velocity and he’s increased his fastball capacity to at least touch the mid nineties however ball movement and a put away secondary pitch ( curve ) remain Bailey’s strength ... that and the ability to throw quality strikes. We’ve always seen a big league skill set ... just needs to gain the confidence and belief in himself to get there. He’s part of the Allentown Alternate Camp and likely is a lock for a spot in the Iron Pigs rotation, has a real chance of being a big league starter.
LH Damon Jones : Damon ( 26 yrs old ) is a cerebral pitcher who has quality stuff to match. He’s capable of popping the mitt consistently in the mid nineties and has a swing and miss slider that can be overpowering. The development needs are to gain consistency in both control and command, release point and repetition of delivery along with strengthening a softer additional pitch. He’s capable of both starting with an added pitch but also being a power reliever with the ones he already possesses ... a path needs to be chosen and harnessed in Alternate Camp and in the upcoming AAA season. Talent is big league worthy as is the demeanor and person. One of our favorites.
RH Spencer Howard : Spencer ( 24 years old ) has outstanding talent and hopes are that he eventually becomes a fixture in the big league starting rotation. For now his innings will be limited and he will serve in a hybrid reliever/opener role both at Lehigh Valley and in the big leagues should he return to the show this summer. A lot of upside with this young man, just a matter of gaining the needed experience and working thru the associated pains of throwing a baseball on a daily basis.
RH Mauricio Llovera : Mauricio ( 24 years old ) got a late start to camp as his arrival was delayed due to visa issues. We heard he threw very well in his final live bullpen sessions on the backfields. When we first saw him pitch he was pure power, triple digits capable but very inconsistent with control. Over the years he’s scaled back the velocity as he was stretched out as a starter and focused on developing secondary pitches. There’s still a power arm persona and ability and often I’ve surmised a reliever role might be better suited to play that up. He’s missed a lot of time due to a forearm strain in 2019 and of course all of 2020 ... I think the vision is still as a starter ... he will continue his work for now at the Alternate Camp.
RH Adonis Medina : Adonis ( 24 years old ) has the talent to be a big league starter, it’s been inconsistency in performance that continues to be the development focus. He’s very self critical and needs to trust his stuff more in my opinion even when he’s not at his best. The fast ball can be rushed up in the mid nineties but generally sits a few ticks below which is ok when he’s got the secondary mix of a very good change up and slider going, both quality deliveries when commanded. He’s in Allentown as part of the mini camp and will be in the Iron Pigs rotation.
RH Francisco Morales : Tons of talent possessed by this young 21 year old. He’s capable of sitting in the mid to upper nineties, has even touched triple digits with the heater and has wipeout secondary offerings in his repertoire including a sharp slider with both side to side and downward action. We first saw him on the backfields as a teenager and while the stuff was evident the control lacked ... we believe that’s been rectified simply by gaining experience and confidence. This is a fella that can be top of the rotation good, there’s that type of talent in our opinion. He’s training with the Alternate Camp group ... I think slated as part of the Reading rotation in May.
RH Ramon Rosso : Ramon ( 24 years old ) is at his best when he lets his personality shine and has fun on the mound. He’s got a power arsenal of pitches, the capability of pushing the FB in the mid to upper nineties with consistency. The ability to throw his secondary offerings for strikes and with similar consistency is the ongoing development need. He’s another with a big league skill set, wants the baseball everyday and loves to play. Another young hurler who can either start or relieve ... in our opinion a definition of his role will strengthen his development. He’s in Alternate Camp and is one of the ready reserves that will very likely see major league action again in 2021.
LH Christopher Sanchez : When the Phillies acquired him from Tampa the 24 year old was touted as having the capability of bringing the FB in the upper nineties. To date I haven’t witnessed that type of velocity personally with the high water mark being 95 ... generally sitting a few ticks below that. Christopher was erratic with control in his two grapefruit outings this spring and when we saw him from afar on live BP’s on the backfields this spring. I believe he’s projected as a starter ... that could be either at Lehigh Valley or Reading. Is now training at the Alternate Camp site.
LH Ranger Suarez : his camp was delayed by visa issues and then interrupted by an injury. In the past couple weeks he’s been back on the hill and is being stretched out as a starter. Ranger is at the alternate camp and is seemingly destined to begin in the Iron Pigs rotation. He’s definitely got the skills and moxy to pitch in the show, won’t be intimidated by any situation. Needs to strengthen his conditioning and push to get back to the big leagues, he’s shown that he can get hitters out at that level. Just 25 years old he’s entering his 10th pro season 😳 as he began as a 16 year old in Venezuela.
RH Julian Garcia : Julian appeared in three Grapefruit League games this year, each time to close out an elongated inning. He’s a strike thrower who’s been a starter most of his minor league career. We see that continuing for the 25 year old, likely as part of the Reading rotation. Julian has a four pitch mix with the FB sitting in the low nineties, he knows how to pitch and certainly has a chance to get to the big leagues. He continues in Clearwater as part of minor league camp.
LH Erik Miller : the 23 year old participated in mini camp but did not appear in a Grapefruit League game. He’s very talented with the ability to push the FB into the mid to upper nineties however his focus as a starting pitcher is movement and command thus is willing to give up velocity in exchange, smart young man who knows how to get hitters out. We think he’s a strong candidate for the Reading rotation to begin the season and one to keep an eye on as a potential quick riser. For now he’s continuing his training in minor league camp here in Clearwater.
LH David Parkinson : the 25 year old is a student of pitching, he’s very receptive to tinkering with new pitches and concepts. He appeared in two Grapefruit League games but only in brief appearances ( 2 IP ). David is a strike thrower who generally doesn’t beat himself. He’s added velocity to his FB and has included a split finger pitch into his arsenal. The key with his success is still pinpoint control/command, mix and movement ... hey that’s the key with every pitcher 🤦♂️. David is with the Alternate Camp group and should begin this season as a member of the Iron Pigs starting rotation.
Tomorrow I’ll chat a bit about the relievers ... it’s what I do ... hopefully is worth hearing 😂
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️