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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

9/12/22 : Fall Instructs

Some players have arrived and others continue to arrive for the opening of 2022 Fall Instructs Camp at Carpenter Complex tomorrow.  Camp will run until 10/17/22 and there will be a few games on the schedule against other organizations.

Traditionally the camp includes players in their initial or early years in the organization, those recovering from injuries and those coming up for the first time from the Dominican Academy.

Rehab Work Continues :

When the Florida Complex League season ended on August 23rd backfield games concluded but the work continued for players coming back from injuries.  During the summer we saw multiple players return to game action at various intervals after their rehab efforts were completed at the complex.  Pitchers Taylor Lehman, Brett Schulze, Albertus Barber all have made their way to AA Reading with promising performances upon leaving camp.  Trevor Bettencourt is now with AAA Lehigh Valley after initially being activated with Reading.  Keylan Killgore & Joel Cesar pitched for the Jersey Shore staff and Starlyn Castillo & Nicoly Pina the Threshers.  All of these pitchers returned after undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the 2021 season.  Hans Crouse pitched for the Iron Pigs on Saturday and Damon Jones will hopefully see game action this coming week with Lehigh Valley.

We anticipate seeing Spencer Van Scoyoc, Tyler Phillips & Eduar Segovia on the mound during Fall Instructs as they continue their progression from their own TJ surgeries.  News has been promising to date in regards to their comeback trail.   Others who continue their rehab work include Tommy McCollum, Jhordany Mezquita, Blake Brown, Chase Antle, Micah Ottenbreit, Andrew Brown, Buddy Hayward and Christian McGowan - while they aren’t quite ready for game action their training and in some cases throwing progressions continue.

Outfielders Gavin Tonkel and Jefferson Encarnacion will hopefully be able to participate in on field practices as they continue their efforts to return from prior injuries.  Yhoswar Garcia had returned to game action in August with the FCL club but suffered a set back, we hope to see his smile and style back in action soon, he likely won’t be at Fall Instructs though.  Matt Kroon & Simon Muzziotti may be in camp but for ongoing recovery from knee surgeries with a spring return the goal.

Infielder Alexeis Azuaje continues to work back from a hand/wrist injury and Daniel Brito will return to to his inspiring comeback efforts at the complex during Fall Camp.

Fall Instructs Roster :

The official roster has not been released yet however it’s highly probable that it will consist of all thirty-two of the 2022 signed draft picks and un-drafted signees, even those who are already on rehab assignments.  In addition there will be a handful of the younger players who worked in the Florida Complex League this summer and some players from the Dominican Summer League.  While I can speculate and actually already know quite a few of the fellas who will be in camp I’ll wait till the camp list is made available to the public to post.

We stopped over to the complex today and the fields are soggy.  Over the past few weeks we’ve had quite a bit of downpour type pop up storms ( which is a normal occurrence here in FLA ) but we’ve also had what seems like more than our share of elongated rain storms which isn’t quite as normal.  Long story short is the ball fields at the complex are over saturated and initial camp workouts may be more restricted than per usual with perhaps some of the outdoor on field work being allocated instead to indoor activities and class room lectures.  There’s always a mixture of both regardless over the five and half week camp - they make due on the daily schedules for the weather conditions.

With Reading and Lehigh Valley still playing the coaching group will consist of the coordinators and some members of the Jersey Shore and Clearwater staffs alongside a few coaches and support personnel who will come up from the Dominican Academy.  I believe that Blue Claws Manager Keith Werman will be running this year’s camp.   

There’s already been a few changes to the player development coaching staff, that’s also become a normal occurrence during this time of year as contract renewal decisions are made.  Baseball is a demanding profession with a short memory that’s all tied to the most recent perception - it’s a job where one seemingly accepts coaching employment with the knowledge that a long term tenure with the team you’ve signed with is not likely, is what it is.  Some fans love to speculate and feel empowered to state whether folks are successful coaches or not based on stats  - what I’ve come to know over the past few years is those opinions are more often erroneous than not.  It’s more a matter of fit and structure that’s driving the conclusions - an ever evolving process.  I remember a few years back a scout told me that the Phillies would be an ideal employer as they seemed to provide better job security than the industry standard - that’s certainly no longer true and perhaps never was.

My Plans :

We intend to cover Fall Instructs just like we have the past seven years - will be there for practices we’re allowed to watch, games that are availed and will chat with folks that are willing to engage albeit my voice is down to generally a whisper nowadays due to ongoing vocal chord issues - it’s frustrating that folks have to struggle to hear me in conversation - again is what it is - we will make due.  If there’s stories of interest I will write them as best I can.

Just to share my perspective on how I view the player development process I’ll share a note with ya all that I recently sent to players that I knew had concluded their season this past weekend - I consider myself primarily as a minor league player development advocate/fan in this regard.

I wrote the following :

“As the season winds down just wanted to send a note thanking you for your efforts.  I truly appreciate the game, organization and yourself, my only hope in doing what I do is to publicize players like you in a positive light so that folks know the efforts.  

Each year has ups and downs - the mantra of “it’s a grind” is certainly true.  The test of endurance in self belief and knowing your skills is often difficult but also at times very exuberant.

Just know that you are appreciated by baseball fans like myself ( I even am sometimes called a “writer” 🤓) and that your baseball skill is exemplary to those of us who love the game.  Keep working hard during the upcoming off season whether that extends to a winter league assignment or not and hopefully we will see ya next spring if not before.  Am always in your corner - baseball is just a part of life but life is certainly found in baseball - Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️”

I think that too often we disengage from the human elements of things - it’s never a bad thing to be kind and supportive - just saying 🤓.

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

Carlton Field this morning - awaiting Fall Instructs Camp

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