Friday, April 7, 2017

IronPigs Quotables: Wathan on Quinn, Alfaro, Crawford; Plus Hayes Interview Excerpts

Wathan, image- Jay Floyd
This week Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager Dusty Wathan spoke with the media and shared his thoughts on many topics including top prospects Roman Quinn, Jorge Alfaro and J.P. Crawford.  Additionally, I spoke with new Phillies minor league coach Charlie Hayes (feature at this link) about his playing days in Philadelphia.

Read ahead for quotes from both coaches.

-Dusty on how important staying healthy is for OF Roman Quinn to have a big year...

I mean, well I think that's the biggest thing with Roman.  I mean, we've seen when Roman's on the field, it's a special thing and he can do special things.  He can impact the game in so many ways, you know with his speed, his power, his defense, his arm.  It's a big year for him, just to stay healthy and get him back to Philadelphia and let him contribute at that level.

-Dusty on where Quinn will play in the Lehigh Valley outfield...

Roman, he'll play a majority of center, but he'll also play left and right.  As we saw last September, he's going to need to be able to play left and right.  We have a center fielder signed to a long-term contract right now, so he's going to have to have the ability to play left and right.  He's a tremendous center fielder, so selfishly I like him there every night, but the guy in Philadelphia's darn good, so we have to make sure he's comfortable in left and right too.  And (Cam Perkins) is going to play some center and Dylan (Cozens) might even play some center.  He played a little bit for (Reading) last year, so it's just the natural progression of everything to let these guys be comfortable at all three positions.

-Dusty on Quinn and backstop Jorge Alfaro being better off for getting called up to the big leagues last year...

I think it helps anybody that can get a little bit of time in the big leagues.  A lot of things are going up there.  There's more media, there's more preparation, there's more advance scouting.  You're being pulled from a few more directions than normal than in the minor leagues.  So, I think it's good to go up and get your feet wet.  And I think the organization did a good job of getting the right guys up there.  They earned it and I think it helped them out a lot.  I think they realized what it is to be a big leaguer and what they need to do here to continue to improve and get back to the big leagues and stay in the big leagues.

-Dusty on where Alfaro has improved the most in his eyes since joining the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade...

Defensively he's improved a lot.  He's quieted himself down behind the plate.  Um, he's thrown better, more accurate.  A higher percentage of throwing (runners out), I think.  I mean, I don't know how the percentages were (while he was with the Rangers), but from when I saw him to where he is now, he's better.  So, I think the defensive side.  And I think he's done a tremendous job at working at the physical defensive side of it.  He got a taste of what we need to do mentally in September last year and we're going to try to continue that here with advanced scouting stuff as much as we can get them, so he's comfortable in that situation. 

As a catcher, and as a pitcher, you get up there and there's a lot of information that needs to be brought to your attention, to the pitcher's attention, with scouting and stuff like that and I think it was a little bit of a shock for him last year.  We tried to get him as much information as we could on that stuff, but obviously it's still the minor leagues and we don't have all of it, so this year, it's another step for him and we have more information for him than we had last year so I think that'll be a big advantage for him.

-Dusty on what J.P. Crawford has to do to get ready for the next level...

Just be more consistent.  We know that his defense has gotten better.  It was good at the beginning when he first signed, but it keeps getting better.  His backhand is a lot better than it was when I first saw him.  I think consistency is a big key for him.  It is for all these guys.  On the offensive side of it, I think obviously controlling the strike zone.  We talk about it all the time.  He does such a good job of it, but I think he's probably at the point now where he's now at the point where he's probably going to have to take some shots.  You know, he gets ahead in the count, try to drive the ball in the gap.  Without getting too big and trying to do too much.  Um, you know, he's going to hit some home runs.  I think he's going to hit some home runs eventually in the big leagues.  But for now, to be patient like he is and take those opportunities when he gets ahead in the count and drive the ball.

-Dusty on what Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins could expect in the International League this season...

I think any time you go up to the next level, there's going to be more scouting reports, they're going to have more information on our guys, we're going to have more information on their guys.  So, I think they'll probably be pitched differently at times, but do you really want to get to Nick Williams?  Do you want to pitch around Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins to get to Nick Williams?  I wouldn't want to.  They're gonna have to figure out how to get one of these guys out.  So, I think it's gonna help them to be in a lineup that's so deep.  I think it'll help them control the strike zone and give them the ability to swing at strikes more and not have to do too much.

-Wathan also cited second baseman Scott Kingery and hurler Drew Anderson as a pair of players currently at the Double-A level that impressed this year during spring training.

Hayes, image- Jay Floyd
-Hayes spoke about who from his Phillies playing days he still keeps in touch with...


Ricky Jordan is a great friend of mine.  I see Kim Batiste from time to time.  With social media it gives us another outlet to stay in touch with each other.  But I am sure as the days go forward and me being back out here with the Phillies, I’ll be able to reconnect with a lot of the guys.  I saw Dave Hollins in spring training and Mickey Morandini and that was great.  I hadn’t really saw those guys or talked to those guys, but seeing those guys in spring training and swapping numbers again hopefully we can stay in touch a lot more than in the past.  

-Hayes on his two famous final out catches...the final out of Terry Mulholland's no-hitter for the Phils and the last out of the 1996 World Series clincher for the Yankees...

Well, I remember the one I caught in Terry Mulholland’s no-hitter.  I think I made the error to mess up the perfect game, so that turned out great.  Then, being on the ’96 team with the Yankees.  Great group of guys.  Everyone made sacrifices to win, which is the ultimate goal.  And a lot of people know me more from being on the Yankees, and I think that catch has a lot to do with it, but I actually played more for the Phillies than any team that I played for in the major leagues. 

-Hayes on his memories from his time with the Phillies...

Yeah, we had a good group of guys. Mulholland, Von Hayes, I remember Tommy Herr, John Kruk, outfielders, uh, Dykstra- you can never forget Dykstra. We had good group. I learned a lot. I was kind of young when I was coming up the very first time. I made the most of it. You look back at it as a player at some of the things that you’ve done that were good and bad and you always wish that things could have been different, but I had a great time in Philadelphia. I love the fans there. They were the first ones to give me the opportunity to play in the big leagues after the Mike Schmidt retirement. You know, the more and more I think about it, the more and more I appreciate it.
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