4/7/2021 : Spring Exit Reviews - Part Three
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 four parts ... here are links to the first two articles in case you missed them ...
Today’s focus is on the catchers and infielders .... lastly I’ll review the outfielders.
Rafael Marchan : Rafael ( 22 years old ) was injured early in spring camp with a hamstring issue and was limited to just appearing in three Grapefruit League games, all within the last week of camp. He’s long been on our radar as an excellent defensive catcher since we first saw him years back in Fall Instructs. We expect that the offensive side of the equation will continue to progress as well ... He’s posted a solid .285 batting average in 765 minor league AB’s to date, some folks worry about his ability to drive the ball but we’ve seen plenty of evidence in backfield BP that he can pop the ball over the fences. He’s likely the starting catcher for the Iron Pigs in May, for now he’s training at the Alternate Camp.
Edgar Cabral : Edgar ( 25 years old ) had Tommy John surgery in May of 2019 and has worked diligently to make his return. He appeared in eleven Grapefruit League games this spring and had three hits in eleven AB’s. Before the injury Edgar was an outstanding preventer of stolen bases ... he threw out 48 percent of would be base stealers. This spring he showed that the arm strength is still there, he threw out a runner against Detroit. Edgar’s got a compact swing as a hitter but can drive the baseball, has home run pop. Training now at the Alternate site in Allentown, we can envision him as a member of the Iron Pigs this summer.
Rodolfo Duran : Rodolfo ( 23 years old ) is another catcher coming back from a significant injury. He underwent major knee surgery in 2019 after getting hurt while swinging at a pitch in Clearwater in a Florida State League game. The prior season he had belted 17 doubles and 18 home runs in a breakout offensive season for Lakewood. Rodolfo can certainly swing the bat ... he had five hits in thirteen AB’s this spring in Grapefruit League play and made a lot of hard contact. He also played a few innings at first base. We see him absorbing the majority of the catching duties for Reading this summer while also seeing some time at first base. Presently he’s part of the Alternate Camp crew containing his training.
Logan O’Hoppe : The 21 year old homered in his last Grapefruit League AB against the Yankees on March 25th ... the team he grew up cheering for. Logan has all the tools to be a major league catcher and in the past year has gained a great deal of experience and exposure to the highest levels of play as a participant in both 2020 alternate camp and this years big league ST. It bodes well for what we see as a very bright future, having yet to play full season baseball we’d project him to at least begin the upcoming league season in Clearwater with the Threshers after minor league camp concludes.
Scott Kingery : Scotty ( 26 years old ) struggled mightily in spring training as he worked on re-tooling his offensive approach. He was assigned to Alternate Camp and so far has been productive there with two multi hit games including posting a couple of doubles. He’s played shortstop, second base and center field in Allentown thus far. We remember the player we saw at Reading who often times was the “best player on the field”. That fella is still in there and once he’s past this “mixup” we believe that will shine thru. Still believe he best serves the team with his defensive versatility as an everyday “floater”, a manager’s dream piece on the roster.
Nick Maton : Nick ( 24 years old ) had a very solid big league camp with eight hits in twenty five AB’s including four doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. He showed his defensive versatility by playing 2B,SS and 3B in Grapefruit League games. Nick is now training in Alternate Camp and seems destined to open the league season in May as part of the Iron Pigs middle infield. He’s got a very quick bat, short swing akin to Chase Utley’s approach. We believe it’s just a matter of time till he’s a major league contributor.
Darick Hall : Darick ( 25 years old ) had an excellent spring camp with eleven hits in forty AB’s including seven doubles ( team leader ), a triple and a home run. He drove in nine runs. He was third on the team in Total Bases ( 23 ). Darick has always been a run producer throughout his minor league career, he’s an aggressive hitter who seemingly always makes “loud” and hard contact when he hits the baseball. We’ve long touted him as having a big league toolset including being a very good defensive first baseman. I think others were put on notice of the same this spring. He’s continuing his training at Alternate Camp and has already homered in a game there ( 4/5 vs the Mets). Should be a regular in the middle of the Iron Pigs lineup this coming season.
Luis Garcia : Luis ( 20 years old ) flashed the leather on more than one occasion in Grapefruit League play, he’s perhaps the most gifted defensive middle infielder in the entire Phillies minor league system ... ok I’ll say it ... he is the most gifted defensive middle infielder in the system. He’s just smooth as a fielder and has a very accurate and strong arm, also has tremendous range,quick feet and gets excellent reads and first steps. Luis struggled at the plate against the more advanced pitching this spring but finished strong with a hard hit double down the right field line versus the Yankees in his last AB. He’s a switch hitter, the bat speed is there to climb the ladder which coupled with his elite defense the path to the show is evident. The young man with the engaging smile and personality will likely start the upcoming season at either Lakewood or Clearwater ... for now he continues to work at Minor League camp.
Bryson Stott : Bryson ( age 23 ) also struggled against the advanced pitching he encountered in Grapefruit League play but he too finished on an upbeat note as he homered in his last AB of the spring against the Blue Jays on 3/29. We’ve witnessed his ability to hit so don’t have ongoing concerns in that regard, for example we were there and have video of his first pro AB - a HR 🤓. The bat speed and the hands are quick, pitch recognition is the area to focus on but we believe that will come. Defensively he played both second base and shortstop and albeit there may have been some prior concerns about arm strength he put that to rest a bit when we witnessed a very strong cross body throw from short center field behind the second base bag to nail a runner at first in one of the contests. He’s also in minor league camp continuing his work ... could open the upcoming season at either Lakewood or Reading dependent upon how camp progresses.
Luke Williams : Luke ( 24 years old ) became a very versatile player during the 2018 season in Clearwater when he transformed from being primarily a third baseman. That process continued the following year in Reading when he played every defensive position other than pitcher or catcher. In Grapefruit League play this spring he continued that role and also showed offensive pop with two taters and eight RBIs. He’s a potential choice for the big club should a need arise, for now he will continue his training at the Alternate Camp and will open the season giving skipper Gary Jones in Lehigh Valley a daily option to move around the Diamond.
CJ Chatham : He recently re-signed with the Phillies on a minor league contract after being released. The 26 year old injured his oblique after appearing in ten Grapefruit League games this spring. He’s shown that he is capable of playing second, short and third base which seems likely his role for the Iron Pigs this coming season. Upon re-signing I’m assuming he will join the Alternate Training Camp group in Allentown to resume work.
Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️