Three players acquired in trades over the past 5 1/2 months are among the nine players coming to Clearwater for Phillies camp this spring. Right-handers Mark Appel and Jake Thompson, and outfielder Nick Williams will all come into camp hoping to perhaps impress the Phillies enough that they'll earn a spot on the big league roster. Appel was acquired in the deal that sent Ken Giles to Houston, while Thompson and Williams were acquired for Cole Hamels. Joining the three newcomers will be top prospect J.P. Crawford, right-hander Zach Eflin, catchers Andrew Knapp, Gabriel Lino and Logan Moore. First baseman Brock Stassi will also be among the contingent.
Thompson, Williams, Eflin, Knapp, Crawford and Stassi spent most or all of the 2015 season with the Reading Fightin Phils. Thompson and Williams were impressive after coming over from the Texas Rangers organization in the Cole Hamels deal. Knapp and Stassi had breakout seasons with Reading, with Stassi being named the Eastern League MVP and Knapp helping to drive the Fightin Phils on a playoff run into the league finals. Knapp started the season with Clearwater, while Stassi spent the entire season with Reading. Crawford is the concensus top prospect in the organization and split last season between Clearwater and Reading.
It's not likely that any of the players will head north with the Phillies, but they could have a shot at making their major league debut during the 2016 season. Lino and Moore both played at the Triple-A level in 2015, but neither figures to win a spot with the big league club, with only a trade or injury likely to increase their chances. The Phillies also have veteran catcher J.P. Arencibia, who is signed to a minor league deal as a potential back-up should something happen to Carlos Ruiz or Cameron Rupp, who figure to share the catching duties in Philadelphia.
The three pitchers are all considered longshots to make the club, as are Williams and Stassi. Crawford may stand the best shot at opening the year on the Phillies roster, but the team is committed to moving him slowly rather than rushing him into the majors.