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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

8/25/23 : Threshers Reinforcements & Reyes bumped up too 🤓

Fourteen players prior to today who were on the early season roster of the Low A level Clearwater Threshers (Crawford, Rincon,Fergus, Rincones Jr, Kemp, Brito, Ricketts, Walling, Moore, Dallas, Pan, Henriquez, Moore and Aldegheri) have been promoted to the High A level Jersey Shore BlueClaws over the season which is in itself a normal process as is replenishing the Clearwater roster at this time of year with recently signed draft picks and un-drafted free agents.  That process continues.

1B/3B Felix Reyes - promoted to Jersey Shore BlueClaws from Clearwater 8/25/23 - 22 years old - Birthdate : 3/26/01 - signed as an international free agent - 2/22/20 - Bani, Dominican Republic.  Felix is a right handed hitter with enormous strength and power, when he connects the ball goes a very long way.  We’ve seen him play now three seasons after he first arrived at Carpenter Complex in 2021.  This year with the Threshers he posted his best numbers to date - a .264 batting average in 250 AB’s  with nine doubles, a triple, nine home runs and 62 RBIs in 67 games (277 plate appearances).   He’s a big fella at 6’4” and before this spring he played defensively at either first base or in an outfield corner.  Foot speed is a challenge however in extended spring training this year we saw him make multiple athletic plays at shortstop.  It would be a mistake to label him as a “DH type” because of that and he’s transitioned to third base nicely this summer for the Threshers, has a decent arm and quick instincts.  It’s that sound when a powerful hitter squares the ball up that gets ya off your feet to see how far it went that remains the intrigue, Felix has that capability, it’s something we noted the past two years in backfield FCL play and it came to light more this summer at the low A level with the Threshers. The key challenge ahead is maintaining consistency, can’t teach the power and strength he possesses.  He’s also a favorite amongst his teammates, upbeat and a great attitude.

SS Aidan Miller - promoted from FCL Phillies to Clearwater 8/24/23 - 19 years old - 2023 1st round draft selection - Mitchell HS, New Port Richey, FL - Aidan played in 10 FCL games (36 PA’s) and posted a .414/.528/.483 slash line for an OPS of 1.011.  He hit two doubles, drove in a couple runs and walked six times.  He’s a well built young man who can drive the baseball to all fields, we saw him take pitches on the outside part of the plate to the right side of the diamond repeatedly.  He’s also capable of turning on pitches as well as driving the ball to the gaps.  We saw a slight drop to his hands in his initial setup but he quickly adjusts to his swing path and gets thru the baseball.  Defensively we saw a strong arm at shortstop and good instincts, he’s a big body so it will be interesting to see how long the organization stays with him as a middle infielder or if he’s moved to a corner (my guess is he will see training at both as that’s the standard practice), he’s got the bat to succeed wherever he plays.  It’s a small sample size thus far but one can’t help but like what we’ve seen, looks like a big leaguer in the making.

RHP Paxton Thompson - promoted from FCL Phillies to Clearwater 8/24/23 - 23 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 8/4/23 - University of North Carolina at Charlotte - made his pro debut on 8/22/23 vs Blue Jays with a perfect inning, two strikeouts.  He features a fastball (91 to 94 mph), slider and changeup.  He was a reliever during his two years at Charlotte appearing in 30 games (5 starts) posting 73 strikeouts in 70 IP but also 30 walks. Before pitching for Charlotte he pitched a year at the University of Mary (North Dakota) and a year at Bradley University.

RHP Hunter Loyd - promoted from FCL Phillies to Clearwater 8/24/23 - 23 years old - signed as an un-drafted free agent 7/18/23 - Campbell University - made two appearances with the FCL Phillies - one inning pitched in total - no runs, two hits, one strikeout.  I’ve seen him throw three times - windup reminds me a lot of Konnor Ash (Jersey Shore) in the way he delivers the baseball, hides it well, tough to pick it up out of the hand.  In the one game outing we saw a hard slider that was a swing and miss type pitch.   He’s been a starter throughout his collegiate career, pitched for East Tennessee State for three seasons before transferring to Campbell.

RHP Cam Brown - promoted from FCL Phillies to Clearwater 8/25/23 - 21 years old - 2023 10th round draft selection - Texas Christian University - appeared in one FCL game and had difficulty finding the strike zone.  We saw him in a couple live BP sessions before that and were impressed with the stuff.  He’s got more than enough velo to succeed and a slider (we’ve only seen it a few times) that looks like an out maker with its action and spiral.  The key is going to be command and control as it is with any pitcher, Cam will get the next few weeks to make more initial impressions before the season concludes.

RHP Brandon Beckel - promoted from FCL Phillies to Clearwater 8/25/23 - 21 years old - 2023 12th round draft selection - Texas Tech University - made his pro debut on 8/22/23 pitching a scoreless inning (one hit and one strikeout) versus the FCL Blue Jays.  He’s got a sharp breaking ball that he keeps down in the zone, looks like a slurve that’s heavy and is a ground ball maker.  Decent fastball as well, was a multi inning reliever in college, a likely role to at least finish the year out with the Threshers as well.

RHP Casey Steward - promoted from FCL Phillies to Clearwater 8/25/23 - 21 years old - 2023 19th round draft selection - Washburn University - appeared in two FCL games - two innings pitched, no runs or hits, one walk and two strikeouts.  He was a starting pitcher in college and has a three pitch mix with a vertical break secondary and a change up, generally pops the mitt in the 92 to 94 mph range.  We saw him against the Tigers on 8/19/23, his pro debut and he made quick work of the inning he pitched facing just four batters.  He threw a perfect frame three days later against the Blue Jays.

Returning from the Injured List 8/25/23  : RHP Alex Rao - 23 years old - 2022 8th round draft selection - Notre Dame - began the year with the Threshers in the starting rotation but went on the Injured List on June 2nd.  He returned to action on 8/22/23 pitching a perfect inning in the FCL against the Blue Jays.  Alex features a plus fastball that can reach high nineties, pairs it with a split finger off speed pitch that tumbles. His fastball generally sits in a range of 93 to 96 mph, secondaries are a slider and splitter.

Complex Notes :

While most players at the complex returned home after the conclusion of the FCL season those who are on rehab assignment remained to continue their work as did a few others who may eventually make debuts with the Threshers before the season ends.

We watched a few side bullpen sessions today at the complex as well as three live BP’s - RH George Klassen, RH Ethan Chanault and RH Trey Dillard each threw a live BP session on Ashburn Field.  Klassen is really quick (upper nineties) and from my perspective has an easy repeatable motion, generates raw power with his arm speed, ball gets on the plate with a lot of steam.  Chanault showed a big breaking curve but also a slider with a lot of spin, he’s gonna do well with those deliveries.  Dillard’s motion reminds me of former Phillies minor leaguer Grant Dyer (he’s now a firefighter in California btw) who had a big arm to couple with a 12 to 6 hook.  We saw similar action with Dillard’s pitches today and mechanics - jumps at the hitter.

In the side bullpen sessions we got our first look at 20 year old RH Marty Gair - big time velocity and movement, stood behind the catcher (and screen) to watch, ball really gets there quick and also had run, he was down in the zone with quite a few deliveries which at the velo he’s bringing (upper nineties) it’s gonna be hard for batters to hit.  Threw a few changeups also and they also ran, looked more like cutters.  Very good first impression in this old fan’s view - another big arm from a small Florida school (Florida Southwestern State College) - good stuff!   Hans Crouse threw the ball well also today and we saw a few familiar sliders from lefty Damon Jones - both are on rehab assignment.

The Fall Season Plan - Player Development :

There will be no Phillies Fall Instructs Camp in Clearwater this year.  Fall Instructs will be held at the Dominican Academy during the first three weeks of September with mostly DSL players although some lower level U.S. based players may attend.  There will be two teams with about four games per week against other organizations.

The first off-season camp at Clearwater will be in October and will run thru mid November, it will be an invitation “High Performance Camp" with strength, conditioning, speed and agility as the priorities.  Limited baseball activity - no scheduled games.  Concurrent to that camp a “High Performance Camp” will be held at the Dominican Academy.  A second “High Performance Camp” will be held in Clearwater from January thru mid February.   Last year’s HP camps were very successful getting players conditioned for the long grind of the baseball season.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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