Phillies Minor League Spring Training: Week One

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Phillies GM Amaro and others watch newcomer prospect Eflin deliver a pitch at the Phillies minor league camp.

The first week of Spring Training for the Philadelphia Phillies minor league teams is now in the books. It’s hard to say much descriptively about batting practice and PFP drills. From a fan perspective, you see the same things over and over until your brain becomes numb with the repetition.

Of course for the players, that is the point. The coaching staff is trying to turn that boring repetitiveness into habit, into skills that the players will perform as 2nd nature when under game pressure.

Below was the Phillies initial minor league camp ‘Work Group’ listing. This was the first edition of the list in which minor league players will be grouped as they workout for the coaches.

The lists get revised every time players are sent down from Major League camp, such as when Maikel Franco and others were sent over from their stay with the big leaguers a couple of days ago.

Group 1 represents players expected to eventually become members of the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Group 2 should become members of the AA Reading Fightin Phils. Group 3 is slated for the High A Clearwater Threshers. Group 4 should end up with the A-level Lakewood BlueClaws.

By the time Spring Training is over, we will have what I have always called “Elevator Day”, the day when all players shake down into the final lists for the teams for which they will begin the season playing.

It’s a tough day for anyone who has followed these players for any length of time. There are always a few who end up either being assigned lower than expected, or even given their outright release. There are also always one or two who, through their outstanding performance, get placed higher; this is why I call it “Elevator Day”…the players can move up or down in the organizational pecking order.

The 2015 MiLB Group List
AAA is Group 1
AA is Group 2
A+ is Group 3
A- is Group 4

During the early games for the minor leagues, keeping score, let alone having any concern for the final score, is rather pointless. Why? Because coaches can call to the umpire to “roll the inning” meaning to just end things where they are at that moment, ignoring however many outs have been recorded.

Another problem is that if a pitcher is working on something specific, such as a particular pitch or something involving their pitching motion, a coach can call for extra innings, provided the opposing team consents.

I’ve seen a game with a score of 9-3 at the end of 9 innings go on for at least another inning after that ‘normal’ game has been completed. That is why I’ve concentrated more on pictures of some of the action, rather than providing results.

So without further ado, here in the following slideshow are a handful of the images from the first week of Phillies minor league spring training:

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