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  • Writer's pictureSteve Potter

9/18/2020 : Shout out to Player Development

It’s rare that you see rookie players excel as a group like the Phillies had on display last evening. While it’s just one game it provides the forum for this long time observer of the minor league development group to give a shout out to the crew.

Alec Bohm, Connor Brogdon, Rafael Marchan and Mickey Moniak all came up huge last evening ...

Bohm continues to show his “professional hitter” approach that we saw develop during his brief minor league stint and his ongoing education as a third baseman as well is very encouraging. Brogdon has the goods to excel as an impact reliever, he got squeezed a bit in his first inning last night but bounced back with a scoreless frame thereafter, the determination and grit and talent is something we saw last season when he pushed up three levels ... an ongoing jolt of confidence and finding consistent command is all that keeps him from being really really good. Moniak is a glider in the outfield, he makes plays seem easy and I doubt any of the balls in the wind last evening were routine ... his approach at the plate has been much more consistent since the second half of 2018, he doesn’t usually get himself out ... there will be an adjustment to big league breaking pitches but he’s a good learner, the second game last evening showed that ... major league talent that will only get better. And then there’s Rafael ... I saw his “first” ( albeit unofficial ) home run in instructs a couple years back ... the bat speed has always been evident ... it was during that camp that he first stood out to me at least, dominated the play with his defensive prowess and instincts , Coach Whitt I’m sure was very proud last evening ... Marchan is a player, to me the homer was big but the knock in the sixth inning was just as special. To think he has only played a handful of games at Advanced A ... and that there are others like O’Hoppe, Gutierrez and Duran along with Nava and Aparicio that also stand out in their own way at the catching position ...

How about Roman ... can’t teach speed like he possesses ... to watch him track fly balls last evening was a pleasure but we’ve seen it all along in the minors ... great speed but also smart reads and angles ... that were taught to him by ongoing repetition by coaches like minor league outfield coordinator Andy Abad and the countless others who worked with him each time he came back to Clearwater on injury rehabs ... he struggled at the plate but the defense last evening was stellar.

Of the players listed on the 40 man roster 21 are from the system, another 9 are training at the Alternate Camp. I think that’s a testament to the scouting, development and support staff in the minor leagues. While every team looks for the “Superstar” to evolve from their system the value of developing good fundamentally sound players in quantity is also a true key to consistent winning. The St. Louis Cardinals are a role model organization in that regards.

The other thing I think that often goes unhighlighted is winning attitude ... just an example ... did ya know that the four years that Moniak has been in the minors the teams he has played for have a cumulative 274-199 record which equates to a .579 winning percentage 😳... there’s value in learning how to win as part of developing individual skills ... just sayin 🤷‍♂️

I long for the chance to again be on the backfields watching the baseball drills most folks find boring and inconsequential ... the banter between the players and coaches ... the teaching and learning ... It’s how winning organizations are built and remain consistent. For me ... the opportunity to also chat with players, coaches and management ... I truly enjoy all of that.

In these difficult times I truly hope the Phillies don’t discount the importance of player development ... I hope they find a way to continue the ongoing education that I witness most every day at the Complex and Minor League stadiums ... It’s definitely all part of it ... a huge part. I hope that I get the chance once again to observe and can continue my small part of encouraging and supporting the folks I’ve come to know.

And by the way I cringe when folks state this system doesn’t or hasn’t had stars develop... I’d say Aaron Nola is pretty darned good, that Alec Bohm just might be one of the best to come out of the group, that Neris when he’s commanding the zone is as good a reliever as there is, that Hoskins is very capable of being a top run producer, that Sixto has arrived ( and we have the best catcher in baseball because of him ) .... that kids like Rojas and Stott and Morales and Gowdy and Miller are ones to watch in that realm and others ...

Just taking the moment to give the PD team a shout out for all their hard work ... good people who indeed make a difference. To me they’re the backbone of the organization. To me they are essential employees ... just sayin 🤓⚾️

Happy Day, Happy Baseball ⚾️

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