The fifth season of St. Petersburg International baseball features a 10 game series in March with Team Canada and the Puerto Rican National Team playing against MLB prospect teams from the Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays. The game involving prospects from the Phillies was played at Walter Fuller Baseball Complex. St. Pete is the former home of Al Lang, the transplanted Philadelphian who is considered the father of Spring Training Baseball.
Most of the Phillies prospects who played vs. Team Canada were non-descript, and are still near the low A level – principally for the Williamsport Crosscutters of the short season New York Penn League. These are the players whose game worn spring jerseys will soon be on sale in the laundry bin inside The Mad Hatter. The only player whose name I recall is Cord Sandberg, and at that only because he is not related to manager Ryne Sandberg.
Colin Kleven was the starting pitcher for the Phillies prospects, and as sharp as he looked warming up and on the mound, it’s a sobering reminder looking at his stats at high A Clearwater how challenging it is to excel at this game.
A special thank you to my assistant and spotter today, my good sport mate Miriam.
Here are Ernie Whitt on your left and Rob Ducey on your right. Both have deep Canadian ties and played for the Blue Jays, but are coaches in the Phillies minor league system.
Kleven was one of nine Phillies prospects to pitch, each going one inning. He got the Phils off to a good start, and by mid-game the Phils’ pithing look dominant as they got out to a 5-0 lead.
Baseball America seemed impressed with two Phillies right-handed pitching prospects, Ricardo Pinto and Edubray Ramos, as you can see here.
Scouts were our in force this afternoon, radar guns in hand. Some in particular from the Boston Red Sox organization might give speculation that they’re still entertaining providing a high level prospect or two for Cole Hamels if they can spot a hidden gem through games such as this.
All in all a very pretty area to watch a baseball game, and almost the feel of an Arizona Fall League game in the Spring.