The Phillies sent nine players to minor league camp in two separate rounds of cuts. In the first round, In the first round of cuts, second baseman Scott Kingery, first baseman Rhys Hoskins, outfielder Andrew Pullin and catcher Chace Numata were all reassigned to minor league camp. The next round saw pitchers Drew Anderson, Alberto Tirado, Elniery Garcia and Victor Arano, along with outfielder Dylan Cozens all sent to minor league camp.
Anderson, Cozens, Garcia and Tirado are all on the Phillies 40-man roster and were optioned to minor league camp. The rest are not on the 40-man and were simply reassigned to minor league camp. Of the four players optioned out, it was the first option used on each player. A team can option a player out as many times as they want, but only in three different seasons.
While not on the 40-man, Kingery and Hoskins probably made the biggest impact on the Phillies front office and manager Pete Mackanin. Kingery opened camp with the hottest of bats, but cooled a little recently, but still finished his time with the big league players in impressive fashion, hitting .286 (6-for-21), with two home runs and three RBI. Hoskins finished with a .278 (5-for-18) average with two home runs and three RBI. Hoskins showed good plate discipline, as well, walking six times while striking out three.
Kingery not only impressed with his bat, but showed some big defensive plays at second base. Mackanin told MLB.com's Todd Zolecki that Kingery got noticed in his first major league camp.
"He's already opened eyes. If you can hit, you can get to the big leagues. To stay, especially in the National League, you've got to play defense. He's got that out of the way," said Mackanin.
Mackanin talked primarily about Hoskins offensive abilities, but did note that his defense could use some progression. Ironically, in his final game with the big league club, Hoskins made a stunning defensive play at first base.
"Hoskins has a plan when he goes to the plate. I think he's going to be a real good hitter. He needs some work on defense and he knows it," said Mackanin. "As we told him, go down there, put up numbers and become a potential major leaguer at some point, even this year, depending on a lot of things."
Hoskins will open the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, while Kingery could either be at Lehigh Valley or at Double-A Reading, where he played 37 games last season after being promoted from High-A Clearwater.
While Cozens hit just .190 (4-for-21), the Phillies - and Mackanin - believe he has big offensive potential and like what they see of him defensively. Cozens set a Reading franchise record and led all minor league hitters with 40 home runs last season, and will open the year at Lehigh Valley. While he didn't have an official home run in spring training, he did hit a blast in the Phillies game against the University of Tampa.
"He's going to be a real good hitter for power," Mackanin told Zolecki. "He's a good defensive player. We want him to be a two-way player, and he's a guy that can do it."
Numata had just two at-bats this spring, getting a base-hit in one and striking out in the other. He will likely begin the season at Reading.
Anderson, Garcia and Tirado all struggled this spring, but also had flashes of why they're considered prospects. Anderson had a 5.40 ERA in two outings, but struck out seven, while walking one in five innings of work. Garcia pitched in three games and posted a 9.64 ERA, struggling with his control, which is unusual for the 22-year old, who may have been pressing a little in his time with the big league club. Tirado had a 6.00 ERA in two appearances with the Phillies.
Arano is battling a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and hasn't pitched. Pullin went 1-for-5 (.200) with an RBI in three games before suffering a strained oblique that has kept him sidelined for two weeks.
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