The WBC is in full swing and MLB teams are starting to make their moves of players to their MiLB camps, so we lead off with Sunday’s first cuts, a late move by the Phillies, and some WBC news involving Phils players.
Phillies First Cuts:
The Phillies made their first moves of players to MiLB camps after Sunday’s game, IFs Rhys Hoskins & Scott Kingery (see more on him below), C Chace Numata and OF Andrew Pullin.
“I’d Give my Right Arm to be Ambidextrous” Yogi Berra
Phillies have acquired Switch Pitching, yes you read right, Switch Pitching reliever Pat Venditte from the Seattle Mariners for OF Joey Curletta. Venditte is representing Italy in the WBC. The tweet below from one of my favorite Phillies beat writers put a fun spin on this move:
In the game VP and GM Matt Klentak referred to, Venditte, struck out Miguel Cabrerra right handed, then switched hands to pick off Martin Prado. Starting the next inning left handed he struck out Carlos Gonzalez. The rest of his outing was not so good as he left after 1.2 IN., 2 H, 2 R – both earned – 3 K, 1 HR.
According to his MLB Bio page he uses a six-finger glove with two thumb holes. Venditte is a natural right-hander, but has thrown with both arms since the age of three. His proclivities caused the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation (PBUC) to create a new rule regarding ambidextrous pitchers on July 2, 2008, that stated that a “pitcher must visually indicate to the umpire, batter and runner(s) which way he will begin pitching to the batter.” He has also played for the Okaland A’s and the Toronto Blue Jays combining for a 4.97 career ERA in 41 games.
He will be another non-roster invitee when Italy is done.
More Phillies in the WBC News:
British Columbia native RHP Nick Pivetta, acquired in the Jonathan Papelbon trade with the Washington Nationals, got the start for Canada on Saturday against Columbia. Pivetta went four innings allowing 5 H, 1 R, and 1 K in the no decision.
In that same game Jorge Alfaro was behind the dish for Columbia throwing out two attempted base stealers w/ 85.5 and 84.6 MPH throws per Statcast™ . This article on Phillies.Com highlights other Alfaro stats from the game. On Sunday he hit a HR to tie the game against the DR in the bottom of the 8th.
RHP reliever Hector Neris was perfect in his 1.1 innings of work, with one K, in the Domincan Republic W over the United States team on Saturday.
RHP reliever Pat Neshek, the first Phillie to pitch for the US in the WBC, was right in the middle of the US walk off win over Columbia on Friday. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, finishing the 8th and the full 9th, giving up 1H and got 1K. giving the US the chance to win a competitive game.
As for the US team they advanced to Pool F in the second round robin on Wednesday, easily beating Canada on Sunday, 8-0.
NON-ROSTER INVITEES IF PART TWO:
Featherston, 27, brought over from the Los Angeles Angels in February of 2016, played 19 games for the Phillies last season. In 26 ABs he only had two hits, scoring twice and knocking in 1, 1 2B, and 11 Ks. He did walk seven times.
Most of his season was at the AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs where he divided his time on the left side of the IF, 94 starts, 50 at 3B, 27 at 2B, 17 at SS. At the plate he showed a bit more power than while in Philly; .254 23 2B, 4 3B, 13 HR and 37 RBI in 99 games.
Prediction: While defensively Featherston offers the versatility needed in the IF as a bench player, offensively he is just not what they need as a PH. If not let go, he will most likely go to AAA.
Florimon, 30, another utility IF, has been on three different teams since his debut in 2011, Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last season mostly at the Pirates AAA Indianapolis Indians, he batted .255, 12 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR. 36 RBI, 33 BB, 36 R. During that time he showcased his versatility playing 6 different positions, the top three being 33 games in LF, 29 at SS, 26 at 3B. He was brought up by the Pirates in Mid September when he had 24 mediocre AB’s
Prediction: He is pretty much in the same boat as Florimon and even less so offensively. He could easily be out-righted or given a chance back in AA to prove his worth.
Gomez, 28, who came back to MLB after spending 2016 in the Korean Baseball Organization, appeared in 83 MLB games with the Colorado Rockies (2011) and Milwaukee Brewers (2014-15). He has a .526 OPS in 162 plate appearances.
He has made the most of his limited ST AB’s, 15, .467, 7 H, 3 RBI, 3R.
Prediction: There is not a lot of room in the Phillies org for another 3B, so like Florimon he could be released or start back in AA.
The #11 Phillies prospect, #7 overall at 2B per MLB Pipeline, the 22 yr old Kingery is still a raw but exciting looking up and comer. As his twitter handle that hints at his nickname, shows, he can use his speed to make some spectacular plays, as well as helping him to steal 30 bases last season as he made it all the way up to AA Reading Fightins in just his 1st year of Pro ball. He was selected in the second round out of Arizona State in 2015. He had the most hits, 149, of any Phillies Milb player hitting .286, 36 2B, 3 3B 5 HR, 46 RBI, and 76 runs in 131 games. No matter the level he seemed to carry over his 2015 Pac-12 batting title, .392, tools.
Prediction: Unless something drastic happens, he will most likely start in AAA.
Next Ups: Cuts begin this week, some as early as late Sunday and early today, so there may be a short piece in the middle of the week – especially if the Nor’Easter heading our way, is as bad as forecast. We will also note some of the latest WBC news as we did today, and start on the Non-Roster OF, if time and cuts permit.