Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Sneak Peak at Phillies Future in Today's Grapefruit League Game

The Philadelphia Phillies will take on the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon in Dunedin, Florida.

Manager Pete Mackanin‘s announced starting lineup for the second Grapefruit League game could give Phillies fans an exciting peak at the team’s highly acclaimed rebuilding program.
Unfortunately for those fans, the vast majority will not get a chance to see that lineup. The game is not being televised, and the only radio broadcast that is available will come from the MLB.com website.
So in order to see that exciting glimpse of the future, you would pretty much have to be there on Florida’s Gulf Coast. 
For fans of the team who have made the trip down for the first week of games, it’s a short trip. Dunedin is only about a 15 minute drive north of Bright House Field, the Phils’ own spring training home.
That exciting lineup begins with the trio of center fielder Roman Quinn, shortstop J.P. Crawford, and 3rd baseman Maikel Franco
In a perfect Phillies world, that is the team’s first three at some point late in the 2016 season, and for years to come.

For those still not in the know, Quinn is the speed-burner who was named as the Phillies #9 prospect at TBOH a month ago. 
In that piece, Ryan Gerstel called him “an exciting talent with top-notch speed both on the base paths and in the outfield.” 
As recently as January of 2015, MLB.com’s Jim Callis called him “the fastest legitimate prospect in the game.”
All educated Phillies fans are well aware that Crawford is not only the all-around top Phillies prospect, as named at TBOH back in February, but also one of the top handful in the entire game.
Crawford is an exciting prospect in every way. A true shortstop who will stay at the position through his career, he is a rangy defender with an extremely strong arm who simply needs more coaching and experience to stay under control. 
At the plate, Crawford has some power potential and is an intelligent baserunner. He is also well-known for having a good eye at the plate, with pitch selection well beyond his years.
As he told Andrew Astleford with The News Journal and Delaware Online, he is excited at his first big league camp. 
It’s really cool,” Crawford said. “You get to be with some of the veterans and just pick their brains a little bit. It’s a great experience.
Of course, Franco is already known to Phillies fans. He had been one of the team’s top prospects for a few years before finally being called up to the big leagues for good last May. 
Franco has legitimate 25-30 home run power, and should bat in the middle of the lineup for years to come.
Franco is also becoming better defensively at the hot corner, so much so that Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, whom many consider along with Brooks Robinson as one of the two greatest defensive 3rd basemen in history, said that Franco is now “probably a better defensive player than I was.
Quinn, Crawford, Franco. 1-2-3 in the Phillies batting order. That is exactly the way that all of us who dream of a return to winning baseball within the next 2-3 seasons envision things. 
Today, we get a first glimpse of what they might accomplish. Whatever today’s specific results, the sneak peek is exciting for all fans of the team.

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