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Not Everyone in camp will be in camp for long

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Detroit Tigers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The uncertainties around MLB and the MLBPA agreeing on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement caused the Phillies to load up their 40 man roster with prospects to avoid a Rule 5 plundering. This means that this year’s camp will be full of prospects, as the Phillies just don’t have room to add a lot of veterans to their major league or AAA roster. That does not mean that every player in camp is going to get a long look at a major league job. There are 3 pitchers in particular who won’t be in camp for long and are extreme long shots to reach the majors for the Phillies in 2017. We will only get a small flash of their potential before they disappear to a back field.

The only one of the trio with any chance at the majors is left handed pitcher Elniery Garcia. Garcia has a long history of being a pitchability guy with feel for a three pitch mix and a fringe average fastball. In 2016 his fastball ticked up to the mid 90s and his curveball started to show above average to plus potential. Garcia’s big breakthrough came in the AA playoffs where he sat 92-94 and touched up 97. This offseason he has added a slider to his pitch mix. Under normal circumstances Garcia would have an outside chance of making the Phillies at some point in the 2017 season due to his polish. However, with the logjam of starters in front of him it is unlikely that Garcia will leap to the majors at any point. The big question for him this year is where will his velocity sit this year, and while we won’t see 97s this spring it will be interesting to see where his velocity starts.

Likely joining Garcia in the Reading rotation this year will be right handed pitcher Drew Anderson. Anderson missed most of the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to injuries, including Tommy John surgery. Back fully healthy, Anderson showed much better stuff than he had pre-injury. The combination of surgery rehab and a strengthened lower half had Anderson sitting 91-95 touching 96-97 late in the season. His curveball has grown into a weapon, but he still lacks the changeup to complete the starter’s arsenal. Anderson showed signs of rust at times last year, but he has advanced command when on. The big thing for Anderson will be turning in another healthy season and so just seeing him on a mound this spring will be a good start.

There is a debate worth having about who has the most electric stuff in camp for the Phillies between Alberto Tirado and Vincent Velasquez. What is not up for debate is who is the hardest thrower in camp. After having difficulties as a reliever last year, Tirado found a home in the Lakewood rotation. Over his final 10 regular season starts he pitched 50.1 innings with a 1.97 ERA, with a dominating 80 strikeouts, and an encouraging 21 walks. As a starting pitcher, Tirado’s electric fastball will sit 94-98 and will routinely touch 100. Evaluators debate how good his slider is, but when on it is a plus or better pitch with explosive late two plane movement. Despite the success as a starter, Tirado’s lack of changeup and still fringy control make his likely future in a bullpen, but the Phillies are going to stick with him in the rotation for now. His time in camp will be brief because he needs the time in minor league camp to work on his weaknesses. If all we get is an inning with an upper 90s fastball to stoke our imagination, it will be a successful time in major league spring training for Tirado.

It should be a fun time in Florida this spring, and while we won’t see some of the players for very long it is nice to get that hint of the future. Maybe one of them breaks out and proves this all wrong, or maybe this is just an appetizer for them being one of the featured prospects a year from now. Either way enjoy their time while it lasts.