Based on the youth of their Major League roster and all of their 40-man additions, we knew that this Spring Training was going to be an exciting one for the Phillies. Wednesday, the Phillies augmented the list of players already in camp, announcing an additional 16 players that would be receiving non-roster invites to Major League camp. The list is headlined by top prospect J.P. Crawford, but he won’t be the only notable name heading to camp.
Before jumping into the list of those invited, a quick recap of those already in camp. The Phillies had already signed and invited OF Daniel Nava, IF Pedro Florimon, IF Hector Gomez, and LHP Sean Burnett to camp on minor league deals. Additionally, the following prospects are on the 40-man roster and received an invite to Major League spring training automatically: RHP Drew Anderson, RHP Mark Appel, LHP Elniery Garcia, RHP Ben Lively, RHP Ricardo Pinto, RHP Nick Pivetta, LHP Joely Rodriguez, RHP Alberto Tirado, C Jorge Alfaro, C Andrew Knapp, 2B Jesmuel Valentin, OF Dylan Cozens, OF Roman Quinn, and OF Nick Williams.
The notable prospects who were invited to camp were SS J.P. Crawford, 1B Rhys Hoskins, OF Andrew Pullin, 2B Scott Kingery, and RHP Victor Arano. It will be Crawford’s second invite to camp, and he is widely expected to take over as the Phillies’ everyday SS at some point in 2017. Pullin, Hoskins, and Kingery all need more time in the minors and are blocked by Major or other minor leaguers at their positions. All performed well at the high levels and could see time if things break right. Relievers are rarely blocked, and while the Phillies bullpen is much stronger to start this season than last, there won’t be much standing in Arano’s way if he builds on his 2016 season. Arano was up to 97 with a plus breaking ball, and he showed good command for a reliever. He is only 22 and could ascend quickly to the Phillies bullpen.
Triple-A veterans Cam Perkins, Brock Stassi, and Logan Moore also will be in camp. It appears that Stassi will get a shot to be a platoon partner of Tommy Joseph’s, but even if he does not accomplish that goal, he might be the go-to first baseman if Joseph goes down with injury. Perkins is a corner outfielder who can really hit, but has an archetypal center fielder’s power. He is an older version of Tyler Goeddel, essentially. Moore is a good defensive catcher who will be in camp because there are never enough catchers. Joining Moore behind the plate will be Chace Numata, who has grown into a good defender and had a breakout year at the plate in Clearwater. He doesn’t profile as an everyday backstop in the upper levels, but he should be the everyday catcher in Reading and could make it as a backup eventually.
Cesar Ramos, Pedro Beato, and Bryan Holaday are in camp as veteran bodies. Ramos had a bad year last year, but was a competent left-handed reliever for a while and will be one of only three left-handed relievers in camp. Beato is a former first round pick of Baltimore (Joe Jordan was the scouting director at the time) who was then taken by the Mets in the 2010 Rule 5 draft. He has bounced up and down between the Majors and minors for 93.1 innings of 4.34 ERA ball, with 67 of them coming in 2010. He is 30 and put up a 2.65 ERA in AAA last year. Holaday is a replacement level catcher who will compete with Andrew Knapp for the distinction of who gets to back up Rupp or Alfaro.
Rounding out the invites are the players you forgot were still in the org. Dalier Hinojosa, Colton Murray, and Michael Mariot all flashed potential to be competent relievers in week long chunks, but couldn’t sustain it. They are likely to just be camp bodies, given the Phillies’ 40-man roster crunch. Taylor Featherston will be a fine utility player or third baseman for the IronPigs.
The Phillies might add a player or two (and possibly an everyday outfielder), but we are inching closer to the start what should really be an intriguing Spring Training for the Phillies.