GCL Season a Success For The Youngest Phillies

Those damn Yankees! A rainout that the GCL Yankees didn't have to make up might have cost the GCL Phillies a post-season spot. The Phils finished ½ game behind the Yankees, but had the Yankees had to make up a rained out game and lost, the division would have finished in a dead heat. Instead, the young Phils go home with just some heroic last week bragging rights that almost got them a title. They also leave with some pretty good numbers.

The Gulf Coast League Phillies picked up some key wins in the last week of the GCL season that pulled them close to a share of the division title. The Phils won six straight, only to come up ½ game short in the end. Still, with a final record of 36-24, it was a good season and a number of players put up decent stats and showed some true signs of potential.

Let's face it, the GCL Phillies start with Greg Golson. The Phillies first round pick in last June's draft, Golson didn't disappoint. He's got a lot of good tools and the Phillies believe that even though he's young, he can develop quickly. Golson hit 1-22-.295 for the GCL Phillies and stole 12 bases. The Phillies will look to get him to develop more plate discipline (10 walks/54 strikeouts), but that comes with maturity.

The other player to spark the GCL Phillies was pitcher Scott Mitchinson. Why the Phillies didn't give the young right-hander a shot at Batavia is tough to understand. Mitchinson went 7-0, 1.75 in ten starts in the GCL and struck out 60 in 61 2/3 innings, while walking just one. That's right, one. Mitchinson isn't the hardest thrower (upper eighties) but he has excellent command and knows how to mix pitches to keep hitters off stride. As he continues to develop, the Phillies believe that he will add a little velocity.

First baseman Buck Shaw showed some power, hitting eight homeruns in 159 at bats and hit .258 with 30 RBI. His numbers made him the team leader in homeruns and RBI and he showed decent plate discipline, walking 17 times and striking out 25 times. Somehow, the Phillies always find left-handed hitting first basemen who can hit the ball hard and long and Shaw fits that mold perfectly.

While the GCL Phillies didn't feature a player with an average over .300 this season, outfielder Richard Plumsky came close, finishing at .295. Plumsky was second on the team in homeruns (6) and RBI (25) and like Shaw, showed that he has an idea of the strike zone, walking 17 times and striking out 28 times in 112 at bats. Plumsky and Shaw provided the Phils with a nice righty/lefty power combination.

Highly touted catching prospect Louis Marson didn't put up quite the numbers that the Phillies had hoped, but he showed good leadership skills and seems to have a good knowledge of how to work with pitchers. Marson hit 4-8-.257 in the GCL.

Julian Williams joined the GCL Phillies late in the season and got just 24 at bats, but showed signs of promise. Williams hit .292 in his short GCL audition.

While Mitchinson paced the pitching staff, others weren't too far behind. Kelvin Pichardo (5-5, 2.79) started 11 games and struck out 62 in 58 innings. Pichardo is a harder thrower than Mitchinson, but went into some streaks of wildness. The Phillies are working with Pichardo to simply get better and believe that as he matures, the lapses in concentration that they believe led to any problems that he may have had will lessen greatly. He has pure stuff and will do well for himself.

Maximo Delacruz (4-3, 2.11) also showed a lot of potential. Delacruz struck out 54 in 59 2/3 innings and works hard to keep the ball down in the zone. Some scouts believe that Delacruz could eventually move to the bullpen and might be a candidate to close some games before all is said and done. He's got good control and good movement on his pitches.

Andy Barb (2-2, 2.57) worked primarily out of the bullpen for the GCL Phillies. Barb may be the most advanced of the pitchers on the Phillies GCL roster. He had an amazing number of strikeouts – 56 in 35 innings – and walked just seven. He occasionally worked too high in the zone and was touched for four homeruns, but he has good enough stuff that he can usually get away with some mistakes, at least at the lower levels.

Clemente Doble led the team with five saves and finished 1-0, 2.45 in 14 appearances. The Phillies are undecided as to how to best use Doble. For now, they'll likely keep him in the bullpen, but stretching him out for a starting rotation spot somewhere down the road wouldn't be out of the question.

Carlos Carrasco (5-4, 3.56), Nick Evangelista (2-0, 3.67, 3 SV) and Robert Mendoza (2-2, 2.51) all deserve mention and are worth watching for next season.

If there was a shortcoming on the GCL pitching staff, it was the absence of left-handers. Jose Rosario (0-0, 14.29) was the only left-hander on the staff and worked in only six games. Many of the left-handers drafted by the Phillies this past June were advanced enough to send to Batavia, leaving the GCL team short on southpaws.

All things considered, the GCL season was a success. While it started somewhat slowly, the team rallied and started to come together by the mid-point in the season. Finishing 12 games over .500 is a solid statement and the Phillies are also well pleased with the level of talent and progress that they saw out of their youngest of players.

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