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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

7/21/21 : Surveying the System 🧐- Part One - LHV

With the trade deadline fast approaching I thought it would be a good time to make a quick round about of the system from the perspective of one who watches every affiliate on a nightly basis and also spends days observing the complex league. It’s an ability to do so I don’t take for granted and while most won’t care or likely want to hear what I write or say here’s some notations for those that do 😳.

I don’t take part in the “Prospect vs Non-Prospect” discussions, I just look for good ballplayers with projectable skills that might someday help at the MLB level. Relying on statistics alone is misleading, this year in particular … after a year’s layoff and shortened spring camps it’s more prudent to look for trends or recent consistency, at least that’s my opinion. It’s also my opinion that it is most important to actually watch players play, still no better way to gage ability than actually seeing performance. I think we will see that also born out in trades that clubs make in the next few days, wouldn’t get caught up in the season stats for any minor leaguer.

So with that said here’s part one of five … the AAA level … if I were a scout with another team these are fellas I’d have interest in. 😎

Triple A : Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs :

The club has been in a constant disarray of roster shuffles but hey that’s what the AAA level is primed for … to support the big club. To date 30 different position players and 30 pitchers have appeared for the team, Austin Listi & Jack Conley have even pitched in games albeit they are position players.

The Long View :

While the club has certainly stocked up on veteran players to fill gaps there still are younger men on the roster looking to finish strong and push for big league promotions. Those considerations aren’t just for the Phillies, there’s a known fact in the minors that you’re not playing for just one organization but also for 29 others to see what you can do.

Rafael Marchan has shown his defensive skillset is at the major league level but for those of us who have watched him “grow up” through the organization we know there’s an very competitive offensive ability also. The 22 year old is going to be a solid catcher in the major leagues.

The 2016 Phillies draft class takes a lot of knocks from multiple folks … two of the players chosen that year are Iron Pigs regulars … OF Mickey Moniak & 1B Darick Hall. Each had very sluggish first halves this year but both are now having the skills we’ve seen over the years produce more legitimate numbers. I’ve said from the beginning that both young men will be big league contributors … won’t waver from that now.

I’m not ready to throw in the towel on outfielders Adam Haseley or Cornelius Randolph either. We saw both young men at the complex this past week in different stages of injury rehab. Adam has solid all around skills, he will contribute to a major league roster again. Cornelius was on the best run of his career when he was sidelined by an elbow injury, when he’s short and compact with his swing that success can continue. I’ve not wavered in my belief that he can reach the major leagues, won’t do so now. Faith and persistence bring reward …

On the pitching side I think it was prudent to let Spencer Howard come back to LHV and just pitch. We’ve said all along that his curve ball was one of the better secondary offerings we’ve seen on the back fields … the belief and mindset to use it along with his other secondaries will only make the fastball which can be elite at times that much better. Mental stamina comes into play more often that not in baseball … when Spencer is able to combine all aspects of his game along with developing a bulldog approach he will return to the major leagues and have success. We need to just let him get there.

Versatility is the Ticket :

Nick Maton & Luke Williams used their abilities to play multiple positions along with strong offensive showings to climb onto the 40 man roster and make contributions to the big club this year. Players with those skill sets may not get the hoopla of the stars but they’re essential to building winning clubs. In the past five years the Phillies have emphasized defensive versatility in their development plans for all position players , from my perspective it’s a great approach. Dalton Guthrie has had a very solid season to date and is another who might just punch the versatility ticket to the show, we’ve seen him in the past handle the infield positions without flaw and this year he’s added center field to his repertoire. He’s also had a recent extended breakout offensively … Matt Vierling came to fall instructs last year and saw action at both corner infield spots, that’s in addition to being able to cover all three outfield positions … he’s shown a big league bat as well. Don’t forget about Austin Listi … he can play both outfield corners along with 1B and 3B. While the numbers haven’t been there this season to date those of us who’ve watched him know that he’s capable of hitting top level pitching.

Arms :

LH Damon Jones, RH Mauricio Llovera & RH Mike Adams are all capable of pitching consistently in the mid to upper nineties with their fastball. It’s just a matter of harnessing command and pitching off the heater with secondaries. We’ve seen all three in action and can envision each as a big league contributor. Each young man is now pitching out of the bullpen which is the quickest path to the show for a pitcher.

RH Adonis Medina shows a big league skill set in flashes, we’ve seen that from him over the years. Finding a consistency in delivery and approach are the only things holding him back … talent is there.

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