This afternoon at 1:05pm in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, the Phillies will send 22-year old righthander Severino Gonzalez to the mound against the Atlanta Braves in Grapefruit League action at Champion Stadium. The facility is located at Disney World, in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Gonzalez was signed by the Phils as an amateur free agent out of his native Panama back in April of 2011. He roared through his first few years in the minor league system, dominating with the club’s team in the Venezuelan Summer League in both 2011 and 2012.
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In 2013, Gonzalez shot through the Phils more advanced minor league teams, making appearances at Lakewood, Clearwater, and Reading. He finally hit a bump in AA with Reading, where his command deserted him against more advanced hitters in the bigger ballpark. Following that 2013 season, Gonzalez was named a Paul Owens Award winner as the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Pitching the full 2014 season back with Reading, Gonzalez made 27 starts and got himself settled in there. He allowed 169 hits in 158.1 innings, with an outstanding 115-34 K:BB ratio. His ERA of 4.60 and WHIP of 1.282 left something to be desired.
According to the scouts at Baseball America, Gonzalez possesses “above-average command of four pitches”, and the Phils had him specifically work all of last season at further developing his changeup. He is expected to pitch in the AAA-Lehigh Valley IronPigs rotation in the coming 2015 season.
Phillies Minors Thoughts evaluator Matt Winkelman did “A Quick Primer on Severino Gonzalez” for his site today, and feels that there is not alot to get excited about with the pitcher, stating “His stuff just doesn’t miss bats, and due to his height and low delivery he is fly ball and homer prone.” Winkelman sees Gonzalez as a future 5th-starter type, possibly one that bounces back and forth between the majors and minors.
Getting from the Phillies spring training home in Clearwater to the Braves facilities at Lake Buena Vista is a bus ride of some 94 miles that takes over an hour and a half in good conditions. In other words, the Phils aren’t going to expose many of their established veterans to the trip.
This is one of the main reasons that Gonzalez will be making the start. Also making the trip for the team will be 1st baseman Ryan Howard, catcher Cameron Rupp, infielder Cord Phelps, and outfielders Jordan Danks and Brian Bogusevic, all of whom will either be on the final roster or have a real shot at making the team.
Today’s game will be televised nationally by ESPN, so fans of the Phillies can take a look at a pitcher who they may see in red pinstripes at some point later in the season. However, a better reason to peek in will be the performances of Phelps at 3rd base and Andres Blanco at shortstop. Those two may be battling for a backup infield spot on the Opening Day roster.