Zach Cooper throws a pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies in a minor league spring training game on March 15, 2014 in Dunedin Florida. Mandatory Credit: Jay Blue
Once again, I saw the Philadelphia Phillies’ A-Ball teams and once again, I was running around trying to pay attention to everything and everyone I could see. Including a intrasquad game at the back diamond, there were three diamonds going at once and so, I likely missed a fair bit. The Phillies didn’t have many premium prospects in these games and none of them were pitchers (which would have gotten me to stay in one place a little longer).
The younger team had a great start to their game, scoring early and chasing Blue Jays’ prospect Chase DeJong early. While DeJong had an excellent season in 2013, he clearly wasn’t on today, leaving his pitches up and getting hit hard.
Andrew Pullin, a 20-year-old who has played both infield and outfield has shown some pop in his two years of pro ball and took DeJong deep in the first inning. Light-hitting shortstop Malquin Canelo also hit a double off DeJong (and followed it up with single to shallow center later).
The offense was slower against lefties Tim Mayza and Chad Girodo. Girodo is more polished and was wowing his teammates with his sinking and tailing fastball as well as a very sharp breaking ball and was able to minimize damage despite throwing in the 85-87 mph range.
Art Charles takes a swing for the Philadelphia Phillies in a minor league spring training game on March 15, 2014 in Dunedin, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Jay Blue
On the other diamond, there were also some big hits early. Outfielder Dylan Cozens, who hit nine home runs in Short-Season-A Williamsport last year hit a triple off of that game’s starter Jesse Hernandez. Art Charles, originally drafted by the Blue Jays and traded to the Phillies last offseason, hit a big double that one-hopped the center field wall, just to the right-field side. Charles is a big, strong hitter who had a very solid season with 34 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs in Class-A Lakewood last year.
I know everyone’s looking for a report on J.P. Crawford. Unfortunately, he didn’t stand out today either, taking a walk and striking out in the at bats that I saw. I didn’t see him take any balls in the field either.
On the pitching side of things, Yacksel Rios was throwing a 90-91 mph fastball and a 79 mph changeup that was getting hit when he left it up. 22-year-old Mark Meadors impressed me with an 88-89 mph fastball with good sink as well as a very nice power curve at about 79 mph. It appeared that Zach Cooper threw nothing but fastballs to the Blue Jays hitters. The side-armer had some nice movement on the 87-89 mph offering and broke Carlos Ramirez‘s bat with one pitch. Manaure Martinez is another side-arm throwing righty who doesn’t quite touch 90 mph but has some very nice movement.
It’s hard work ladies and gentlemen. If only I had an assistant to help out covering the multiple diamonds (I’m taking applications if you’re in the Tampa-St. Pete area), I’d be able to spend more time at each diamond. If you’re looking for Blue Jays coverage, head over to my personal blog, Blue Jays from Away for in depth coverage of the Jays’ minor league camp. Tomorrow, it’s the Yankees A-ball teams.