Sunday, January 13, 2019

Eight non-roster invitees announced for Phillies Spring Training

This weekend, the Phillies announced news of eight players that will be included in big league camp during this year's upcoming Spring Training workouts.  The list includes mostly familiar names including the top overall pick from the 2016 MLB draft.

Left-handed pitchers Tyler Gilbert, JoJo Romero and Cole Irvin will join the team from the start as will outfielder Austin Listi, the organization's offensive Paul Owens Award winner from last season.  Backstop Deivi Grullon, infielder Malquin Canelo as well as outfielders Adam Haseley and Mickey Moniak are also set to take part in sessions with the big league team.

Romero and Irvin, both starters, are steadily ranked among the Phillies top pitching prospects.  Gilbert, a reliever, has flown under the radar a bit, but took advantage of his 2018 campaign and made a name for himself.  The Southern California product sported a combined 7-2 record with five saves a 3.25 ERA and a .211 batting average against in 48 total outings for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year.  The 25-year-old was a 6th round draft choice in 2015. 

Tyler Gilbert, image- Jay Floyd
Speaking specifically on the possibility of getting an invitation to big league spring training in an interview with me last month, Gilbert stated, "That's my main goal right now, even though I can't control it, but that's something that I think I deserve and I believe in myself that I can compete in big league camp next year, so I really want that to happen."

The 22-year-old Romero was a 4th round draft selection in 2016.   With Double-A Reading last year, the Yavapai Jr. College product sported a 7-6 record with a 3.80 ERA with an 8.4 K/9 mark over 18 starts. 

Irvin, who was his division's All-Star starting pitcher notched a 14-4 record with a 2.57 ERA and a 7.3 K/9 mark in 26 games in the Triple-A International League for Lehigh Valley.  Irvin, 24, was the Phils' 5th round draft pick in 2016 out of Oregon. 

Listi, a 25-year-old, was the Phillies' 17th round draft pick in 2017 out of Dallas Baptist.  Last season, splitting time at Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading, Listi posted a .312 average with 18 home runs and 84 RBI.

Grullon, a 22-year-old Dominican native, was a Double-A All-Star and won the Eastern League Home Derby last July.  In 90 games with Reading last year, Grullon, a righty-handed batter, tallied a .273 average with 21 homers and 59 RBI. 

Canelo, a 24-year-old righty hitter, batted .251 with nine homers, 32 RBI and 24 steals in 128 games with Reading last season. 

Haseley, the Phils' 1st round pick (8th overall) in 2017, had a great season last year, split between Clearwater and Reading.  Combined in 118 games the 22-year-old lefty batter posted a .305 average with 11 home runs, 55 RBI and seven stolen bases.

Moniak, the number one overall pick from 2016, has struggled to fully show his stuff offensively as a pro and spent last season with Clearwater where the lefty hitting 20-year-old batted .270 while launching five home runs and driving in 55 runs in 114 games. 

The group overall is a talented bunch, but outside of the hurlers, I am not sure if any of them could genuinely make a big enough splash to actually compete for an opening day roster spot.  That isn't to say that time in the big leagues isn't in each of these guys' futures, but it simply may not come as soon as opening day on March 28th.
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