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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/14/21 : Mid-Season Thoughts and Matters

Updated: Jul 15, 2021

Twenty three of the thirty major league teams have reached the 85 % threshold mandated by MLB in order to lessen Covid Protocol restrictions. The Phillies are amongst the seven clubs that will not likely reach the threshold. They had four players put on the Covid IL before the all-star break due to a positive test and contact tracing. While I agree that getting vaccinated is entirely a personal choice such choice should be an educated one based on medical advice and evidence and not on hearsay heard otherwise. That’s all I will say on the matter. Under the MLB guidelines the 23 clubs who did meet the threshold certainly can operate in a more “normal” manner.

According to my tallies the Phillies minor league system has seven open slots under the 180 stateside player limitation, players on the 60 day IL don’t count towards the limitation. They drafted twenty players and have signed at least four un-drafted free agents so roster adjustments will be needed eventually. There’s a grace period I believe to get at or under the 180 player limit after the draftees begin to sign … likely aligned to the 8/1/21 deadline for signing the drafted players. Initial workouts for those who sign this week are expected to take place at Carpenter Complex on Monday. In years past we’ve had the privilege of watching parts of those workouts, this year the complex remains closed to the public ( part of the MLB unvaccinated restrictions ). I’ll venture over in the AM on Monday to see what I can from beyond the fences.

The second half of the minor league season includes some updates. At the AA level teams will be restricted regarding shifts. Two infielders must be on each side of the second base bag and no player can be beyond more than a step behind the infield dirt. At the AAA level the season has been extended till 10/3 … an additional 10 games added for each team, both a five game home and road series. The 10 games are entitled the “Triple A Final Stretch” For both the Triple-A East and Triple-A West, a 2021 Regular Season Champion will be named based on overall winning percentage through the originally scheduled championship season (concluding Sept. 19 and Sept. 21, respectively). Among the 30 clubs, a single 2021 Triple-A Final Stretch Winner will also be crowned based on the highest overall winning percentage during this 10-game stretch. The winning club will be awarded a prize from Major League Baseball. “

I don’t often write about the big club, my focus during the season is the minor league part of the organization. That being said I think the organization doesn’t get it’s just due on players they’ve sent to the major leagues. Just this season Bailey Falter, Luke Williams, Nick Maton, Christopher Sanchez and Matt Vierling have made big league debuts and contributed in positive ways. Add to that Ranger Suarez, Connor Brogdon, Alec Bohm, Andrew Knapp, Hector Neris, Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Rafael Marchan and Zach Eflin and you get 14 contributors who spent their developmental years in the Phillies minor league system. There are maybe five other MLB teams that match or exceed that number. Just saying.

I’d expect that the club will be active in the trade market before the deadline comes and passes. I’ve heard some rumblings but at this point they are just that. Things could become very interesting 🧐

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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