There is truly nothing more enjoyable than overreacting to Spring Training results and storylines.
Happy “Best Shape of Their Life” season everybody!
The Phillies being back on WIP this week brought some warmth to what has been a cold and snowy winter.
Let’s get into some early season takeaways.
Alec Bohm looks the same at the dish, which is good, but much improved in the field
We are so blessed to be able to watch 150+ games, hopefully, of Alec Bohm this year.
So far this spring, Bohm looks the same as he did last year at the dish, which is a good thing. Showing off his advanced eye, making pitchers work until they give him a pitch to do damage on, hitting Bohmers over the centerfield wall like this:
At the dish, Bohm looks the same, in the field he looks much better.
He simply wasn’t making this play last year.
Or making this one routinely.
It’s never going to be easy for a 6’6 third baseman to stick at third but the early returns on the work he’s put in at the position are positive.
Matt Moore looks comfortable
Matt Moore looked great today and looks like an early front-runner to land one of the open 4-5 spots in the Phillies rotation.
Moore’s career has been crazy. From being ranked ahead of Harper and Trout on prospect ranking lists, to dominating AL East opponents, to getting injured and losing velocity, to becoming one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball for two straight seasons, to going over to Japan and finding himself, to finally returning to the states to pitch for the Phillies. Moore’s journey here has been crazy, but today was a step in the right direction for the 31 year old left-hander.
My biggest takeaway from Moore’s outing today was how free and easy everything looked. He was easily dotting 91-93 MPH on both sides of the plate, flashed a change-up that can be a weapon against righties and showed off his knuckle-curve that is an elite weapon against left-handed hitters.
I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, but the Phillies might have found something here with Matt Moore.
Rhys Hoskins is still thinking opposite field
It may have been his first action of the spring but it’s pretty significant that in his first game back from injury Rhys Hoskins was still driving balls to center and right-centerfield.
What plagued Hoskins in the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2020 was him trying to pull everything and yanking balls down the third base-line. It wasn’t until the last 20 games of the 2020 season where we finally saw Hoskins get back to thinking right-centerfield. That carried over to today.
Hoskins drove a ball to the wall in centerfield and had a base knock in the right-centerfield gap, if he can continues this way, we should see a productive season from the Phils first baseman.
The Phillies finally have guys that throw hard
In the Phillies first 4 games of the Spring Training season they have had 12 guys register pitches at 94+ MPH. Theoretically, this should only get harder as the season wears on. Point-being, the Phillies finally have guys that throw hard and thank god they do.
For the longest time, under the direction of Matt Klentak, the Phillies seemingly didn’t value velocity like they should. Now under Dave Dombrowski, the Phillies have craved it.
Almost all of their signings and trades this offseason, on the pitching side of things, was predicated around the idea of throwing the ball hard. The early results suggest they brought in the right guys. Those 12 guys who have thrown 94+ MPH didn’t even factor in: Hector Neris, Sam Coonrod, Archie Bradley or Jose Alvarado, who all easily throw harder than 94 MPH.
This is a good sign early in Spring Training.
Bryson Stott is going to be a solid major leaguer for a long time
I know, I know, you don’t want to be bored by prospect talk but early in Spring Training is, frankly, when most of the prospects get to play.
Some guys like Mickey Moniak, Nick Maton and C.J Chatham have shown flashes at the plate, but I’ve been most intrigued by Bryson Stott, the Phillies first round draft pick in 2019.
In the two games I’ve seen him, I’ve been very impressed with the quality of at-bats he’s put together. He’s laid off pitches he knows he can’t do damage on, he’s attempted to jump on pitches he knows he can drive and, overall, he’s shown a consistent ability to put the barrel on the baseball. One can’t help but imagine how his game is going to progress as he gets older and he becomes even more disciplined at the dish.
Bryce Harper threw out the comp of J.J Hardy and Brandon Crawford in the field and Garret Anderson at the dish, and while the combination of those two players would put Stott in the Hall of Fame, through two games I can see where Bryce is coming from.
It’s going to be exciting to continue watching this kid progress.