Monday, February 29, 2016

Clearwater: Day 2 - A win, a few autographs and a good pizza joint

By now, you know the Phillies beat the Tampa University Spartans. You probably read that Andrew Knapp and Jorge Alfaro had solid days at the plate and that Jeremy Hellickson and Aaron Nola tossed strong innings.
But here are some things you might not know.
Early in the day, Nick Williams, Roman Quinn, J.P. Crawford and Brock Stassi took batting practice as a group and put on quite a show.
Quinn hit a few more pop-ups than you'd like from a big time prospect in batting practice. But he sprayed the ball all over the field.
Stassi put on a tremendous power display. We're not just talking about flyballs that carried, we're talking about balls that soared fast and far.
Crawford really does look legit.
Williams also showed how strong he was.
Again, it was batting practice and you can't tell much, but it was nice to be excited about four guys in the system.
Are they going to turn into Bobby Abreu, Brett Butler, Derek Jeter and Jim Thome? Probably not. But  I think the future looks brighter than it did before I watched that display.
I didn't get to see as much of the game as I'd have liked. I missed most of Nola's frame and all the runs Tampa scored.
In the game, I liked seeing the Phillies be aggressive on the basepaths.
But they didn't take advantage of the college kids.
At one point, the Phillies would have been safe had they taken extra bases on back-to-back hits because Tampa's throws to third and home were way off line.
But minor leaguers and Major Leaguers probably make those plays.
That point aside, Herrera got a great jump for a stolen base. Williams and Ruf (!) also were active on the base paths.
I was pleasantly surprised at how Alfaro moves. Maybe he really could be turned into an outfielder.
Greg Burke was impressive, too. It would be a nice story to see him get onto the roster.
Outside the ballpark - We stayed at the hotel after the game, enjoying the heated pool, doing a bit of reading and eating dinner in the room. We all got a little hungry later and ordered out from Jet's Pizza.
I highly recommend it.
Oh, and the kids got two more balls during practice. Michael also got J.P. Crawford's autograph. I got my Spring Training hat signed by Nola. That's going on my shelf.
I'm going to have to get a shelf for each of the kid's rooms.


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