This was originally going to be B.J. Rosenberg’s turn on the “13 Non-roster Spring Training Invitees”-go-round, but with all the talk about Jayson Werth’s peacing out and Shane Victorino sticking around for a bit longer, it sort of felt more natural to lapse into a discussion of future outfield candidates. Of which there are two in this group. Seriously, there’s like five catchers, which I didn’t realize until yesterday. Either the Phils plan on being the flea market of back stops in the future or the source of Roy Halladay’s powers is that he must consume the soul of a young catcher every 3-4 days.
Yes, we’ve been blessed with talented outfielders in recent years, offensively and defensively. Even Pat Burrell had his moments. Not including the ones where the middle-aged woman next to me at CBP would defend him from an onslaught of “$11 million pretty boy” insults by bringing up the argument of how attractive she found his ass. Not relevant, lady.
And fortunately, if there was some solace to gain out of Cliff Lee’s departure (other than, you know, ROY FREAKING HALLDAY) its that the Phillies outfield of the future could possibly see a multi-talented speed freak turning the base paths into dust. And yes, this time I am saying “Phillies,” “outfield,” and “prospect,” without referring to Dominic Brown.
OF Tyson Gillies joined Phillippe Aumont on the trip from the High Desert of the west coast to the pissy climates of the east. The Mariners were kind enough to throw in what at the time felt like consolation prizes for handing over our ace to make room for another one, but one look at this footage on Balls, Sticks, and Stuff will show you that Tyson Gillies is no man to shake a stick at.
Because by the time you’d found a stick, he’d be three states away.
He’s 21, so there’s still some molding left to do, but hey, that’s why you get a non-roster invite to Clearwater like he did. Apparently, High Desert of Seattle’s farm system is just a dessert buffet for hitters, and Tyson’s numbers are at the head of the line, licking their chops: .341/.430/.486. But the really funny part is his speed.
And when I say “funny,” I mean, “otherwordly.”
If Tyson puts the bat on the ball, the message to opposing infields is simple: May god have mercy on your soul. The dude had 44 SB in 63 attempts and was easily branded with the “wow, fastest man ever” label in the Mariners’ farm system for 2009. And get this: he’s also a sniper when it comes to getting the ball from the outfield to the infield.
So, what’s happened here is that the Phillies have cloned Shane Victorino, lost the clone, found him playing in the Mariners farm system, and traded Cliff Lee just to cover their tracks in experimental sciences.
All of this talent has also stepped over the fact that Tyson Gillies is partially deaf, with 30% hearing in his left ear and 60% in his right. So not only does he maintain his high level of skill in a similar fashion of current Phillies all-stars, but he does it while reading lips effectively (he also wears hearing aids):
“On the field I depend on knowing every situation, cutoff plays, where baserunners are, because I can’t always hear people yelling. I rely on what I see and what I know about the game. I study it. I think my vision is probably phenomenal, I know I see things other people don’t. I think the lack of one sense forced me to use another more, so I see everything going on around me.”
“I have to.”
Tyson Gillies literally sees everything.
This will be a man to watch in the future. Just don’t blink.