When the mysterious van with no license plate or driver pulled up at each of the individual homes of the seven Phillies prospects headed to the Arizona Fall League, I'm sure they all thought they'd be home in two months. It seemed, however, that when that same van once again was to appear out of the thick Arizona fog for the return journey, it would only allow pitcher Edubray Ramos to come home.
The righty was, for a few days, listed as the sole Phillies representative on the West squad of the AFL Fall Stars Game. But catcher Andrew Knapp has too proven himself worthy of a ride home. The rest will be left behind, forced to become nomadic desert people, mating with the cacti and wearing sleeping rattlesnakes as hats.
The timing could not have been better for Ramos, who had put together a few solid outings before Wednesday.
Good and not-so-good in #Phillies winter league play: Roman Quinn 2-4 w/ HR & 3 SB in Dominican; Edubray Ramos 0.2 IP 7 H 6 ER in AFL.— Brian (@dochammy) November 5, 2015
You don't often see a man with a 9.45 ERA being honored for his dominance in the sport, but that is largely due to his one bad outing. Prior to allowing six earned runs on November 4 against the Surprise Saccaros, Ramos had allowed only one, as well as a mere three hits zero walks, in 6.2 innings of relief work.
That six-runner, though; that was a doozy. Ramos came into the game in the ninth inning with the Desert Dogs up 8-3 and allowed five consecutive singles, a sac fly, and two additional singles before the manager could look up from his newspaper. Fellow Phillies prospect Tom Windle came in to try and get out of the inning, only to immediately allow a walk-off single.
Knapp will be replacing the Astros' A.J. Reed, whose fate in the desert has now become a horrifying mystery (It seems as though Houston has reeled him in because he wouldn't stop bashing everything he saw for a home run). The Phillies' catching prospect exploded in 2015, getting everyone hot and bothered for his near future. His AFL numbers, a .214 BA with a .683 OPS, 3 2B, and 0 HR, don't reek of "all-star," but I am not the one who makes these decisions. Chances are he saved some desert mystic's life, and will be forever blessed with good fortunes.
I know what you're thinking. "Justin you keep forgetting the players' names who the Phillies sent to the AFL." "Justin that story about the mysterious van sounds highly suspect." Look, we're all reeling. We thought the future was here, and instead we get one measly prospect in the all-star game of a league that lasts two months. The best thing we can do now is be patient, back our boy Ramos, who deserves this honor, and unquestionably get into any unmarked vans that approach us, regardless of suspicion.