• Steve Potter

4/5/2021 : Spring Exit Reviews - Part Two


Now that the Major League regular season has begun I thought I’d take a look at the players who took part in Spring Training 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 ... on April 2nd I published the starting pitchers ... here’s the link in case you missed it ... https://www.philliesbaseballfan.com/post/4-2-2021-spring-exit-reviews-part-one


Today’s focus is on the relievers and lastly I’ll do the position players.


Relief Pitchers :


LH Jo Jo Romero : the 24 year old had an outstanding camp and is primed to be one of the first call ups when the need arises. Since moving to the bullpen he’s found confidence and a true uptick in velocity ... posting a 99 mph fastball in his last spring appearance. The development needed is strengthening his economy of pitches per outing, as has been the case in his minor league days control has wavered at times. The stuff is top drawer and he can become a dominate lefty reliever. He’s at the alternate camp, we’re confident he refocuses after the disappointment of not making the opening day roster and we think earns his way back to the show in short order. In most seasons he would have made the opening day roster, it says a lot about the talent in the bullpen this year that he did not.


RH Neftali Feliz : plenty of folks who saw him pitch in the Dominican Winter League were excited that he had re-found elements of the slider that made him a dominant closer for the Texas Rangers in 2010 and 2011. He’s not as quick with the heater now ( generally sits 93-95 ) and was another fella delayed by visa issues which cost him any chance of making a run at a big league bullpen spot. He performed well his first grapefruit outing but couldn’t find his control the second time. He chose to go to the alternate camp to continue working and perhaps joins the Iron Pigs bullpen crew, at 32 years of age he’s a veteran that might prove to be valuable down the road.


RH Bryan Mitchell : the 29 year old impressed early this spring with an electric fast ball ( 94-97 range ) which often was put away stuff. He made seven Grapefruit League appearances and struggled in three of the last four with both control and command. Similar to Feliz he provides a veteran option in Alternate Camp and perhaps in the Iron Pigs pen.


RH Tyler Carr : Tyler made four Grapefruit League appearances and was quite efficient in the first three allowing no runs while striking out three batters. He’s capable of pushing the mid nineties with his fastball but generally sits a few ticks below, he’s a strike thrower with all of his pitches. Tyler earned a spot with the Alternate Camp group in Allentown which indicates that joining the Iron Pigs in May is very feasible .... at the least we see the 24 year old begin as part of the Reading bullpen.


RH Enyel De Los Santos : Enyel ( 25 years old ) was fully healthy for the first time in a bit this spring as indicated with the velocity shown in his fastball which sat mid to upper nineties. He struck out 12 batters in 7 appearances ( six innings ) and allowed only one hit and one walk over a five game stretch, his only blemish was a bad outing against Toronto to end camp ... it happens. We believe he’s destined to be the closer for the Iron Pigs, if he continues to throw strikes and maintain velocity a ticket to the show can be regained.

RH JD Hammer : JD ( 26 years old ) showed a consistent uptick in velocity this spring with multiple outings where his fastball sat in the 94-97 range ... the key has always been the ability to throw strikes and to increase movement with both the fastball and his slider, has been somewhat flat and straight in times past. He will likely be a part of the Lehigh Valley backend of the bullpen, if he can harness the control/command and increase movement he could push his way back to the big leagues.


LH Jonathan Hennigan : Jonathan ( 26 years old ) appeared in three Grapefruit League games this year ... the consistency in throwing quality strikes is the development need. He possesses very good secondary offerings and high spin rates ( movement ) to go with a FB that generally sits 92-93 but can flash upwards of 94-95. It’s likely he begins 2021 at Reading or Lehigh Valley but if history repeats itself Jonathan will push his way to the next level at least before the season concludes. He’s now continuing his training at minor league camp in Clearwater.


LH Jakob Hernandez : Jakob ( 24 years old ) appeared in two spring training games and struggled mightily in one ... was unable to find the strike zone and make quality pitches during that outing. That’s not normally his MO ... he possesses a unique almost straight overhand delivery with a big breaking slider which is his out pitch. Beginning the year back at Reading would seem likely. Jakob is continuing his training in minor league camp in Clearwater.


LH Zach Warren : Zach is now 24 years old, he appeared in four Grapefruit League games and did well till his last appearance when he couldn’t find the strike zone against Detroit. He’s got a big breaking slider/curve as his out pitch and when fully ramped up the FB generally sits in the 93-95 range with flashes above. In his minor league career he’s been a big strikeout producer out of the back end of the pen. I think he’s capable of doing quite well with an assignment to Reading as part of their opening day bullpen contingent. He’s also in Clearwater continuing in minor league camp.


RH David Paulino : we didn’t see much of the 27 year old this spring, appeared in just three Grapefruit League games and had a rough couple of outings in his last two. Once regarded as a top prospect with both Houston and Toronto he’s noted as having big arm capabilities ... we only saw flashes of that this spring. Can both start or come out of the pen. David is part of the Alternate Training camp group in Allentown.


LH Kyle Dohy : Kyle was injured most of the camp with a groin issue. We saw him just once, stretching on Ashburn Field. The 24 year old has strikeout stuff, in particular an outstanding changeup. The only thing that’s held him back is finding how to consistently throw his pitches over the plate and beyond that command them. The stuff plays, it’s truly a matter of harnessing it. He’s with the Alternate Camp group in Allentown.


Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️


(Steve Potter is the co-author with Larry Shenk of “Life In The Minors, 5th annual Phillies Minor League Digest” now available on amazon.com. He can be followed on www.PhilliesBaseballFan.com).



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