Backfield Banter: Phillies/Blue Jays

Notes from May 5, 2018. Extended Spring Training in Dunedin, FL.

Nate Pearson had started in an XST game on May 1.  He was nowhere to be found.  Went to the Threshers/Jays game that night and he was charting pitches with today’s SP, Patrick Murphy.  I think he will start in Dunedin tomorrow.  He is still not listed on their roster.

Eric Pardinho was present but did not pitch.  Not sure what his schedule is.  From the looks, he isn’t a big kid.  Probably 5’10 170 lbs.  I could be wrong though.  While I do have a few jobs and have worn a few hats in my life, Weight Guesser Guy at the fair hasn’t been one of them.  However, I can’t wait to see premium velo coming from such a small package.

So who did I see?  Quite a few young guys to get excited about.

Kyle Young, LHP Phillies

Standing at 7 foot, this guy is a sight to behold on the mound.  The FB sat 88-89 while the SL was 76-77.  The slider flashed plus at times and he buried that on the back foot of more than one RHH.

Elixon Caballero, RHP Jays

Standing at only 5’9 160lbs., the 17 year old from Venezuela was straight nasty.  Didn’t get video but he was painting a 93 mph FB with run.  His mechanics are smooth and repeatable.  He adds a bit of a pause to his leg kick to throw off timing.

Alejandro Melean, RHP Jays

One of the top international prospects in the 2017 class, Melean is a but undersized but has a fast, loose arm.  FB sits low 90’s and with a mid 80’s slider.  He is a max effort kid that has a cross body 3/4 release In the two times I have seen him, he has really struggled with command and release point.  Ton of projection with this kid and it will be interesting to follow his development.


Luis Garcia and Miguel Hiraldo were two of the top offensive prospects signed at the July 2 deadline.  Hiraldo is the better hitter.  He has a max effort swing.  Hiraldo tends to get to his front foot a bit too quick but has explosive bat speed.  His swing gets long at times and he has looked bad with offspeed out of the zone.  Garcia, a switch hitter, is less aggressive than Hiraldo and looks to use the entire field.  He doesn’t have the thunder than Hiraldo.  Like Hiraldo, he struggles with pitch recognition.  Garcia is a bit more patient but seems to react to pitches instead of attacking them the way Hiraldo does.

Both guys are SS and really smooth in the field.  Garcia has the reputation for the more advanced glove at this stage.  Both have the arm and quickness to stick at SS.

Simply because I don’t have too much video, here is a look at Garcia v Melean from April 14.

Miguel Hiraldo


Abrhan Gutierrez, C Phillies

Gutierrez was one of the top prospects at 2016 July 2 deadline and was signed by the Braves.  Like Maitan, he was one of the 13 players that Commissioner Rob Manfred deemed free agents at the conclusion of his investigation against former Atlanta GM and general pain in my ass, John Copollela.

Gutierrez is a big kid, moves well behind home plate, and has a cannon.  As a hitter, the bat is slow at times and like all teenagers….scratch that….most teens, he is still raw.  Apologies to Vlad, Bichette, Tatis, and Sanchez.  The bat path is a bit linear and the pitch recognition is more reactionary.  There is a lot of power in the bat but it will take some time to develop.

Sticking behind the plate….

Hagen Danner, C Jays

Danner, the Jays 2nd round pick, was completely overmatched in the GCL last season.  So far in extended, he looks much more relaxed and patient.  He is attacking the ball instead of reacting to the ball.  Pitch recognition is still a work in progress.  I got him swinging at a high FB out of the zone only to take a SL for strike 3 against Morales. (Video below)


Francisco Morales, RHP Phillies

Any tweet I’ve posted about Morales has received a lot of love.  Morales has a tall, athletic frame.  Sets up on the 1st base rubber.  Mechanics are clean and easy.  He stays tall and has a fast arm with a 3/4 slot.  The FB sits 94 with a tight 2 plane SL at 83.  The SL is the better of the two pitches.  Like most young guys, he will loose his release point a bit and struggle with command.  When he’s on though, he is pretty nasty.  The stuff is really good though and he has a lot of projection left.


Keep a weather eye on these guys

  • Carlos de la Cruz is 6’8, tall and lanky, but generates a lot of leverage with his swing.  He gets long at times but he has some pop in his bat.
  • Jonathan Guzman, Phillies, is an 18 year old SS.  Wiry and athletic build. He has a quick bat and short path to the ball.  Smoked a single to CF off 24 year old RHP Connor Law
  • Luis Matos, Phillies, is a switch hitter.  Athletic.  Fast out of the box.  Slap, oppo approach as a lefty.

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