Phillies Announce Nine Spring Training Non-Roster Invitees
Before we know it, pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Clearwater, FL. for spring training. Phillies baseball is almost here, while expectations are not high, there is some reason for excitement. New GM Matt Klentak has shifted the focus to looking at younger players and we should get a glimpse of many of them this spring.
We are almost there.
The Phillies have invited the following nine players to major league spring training as non-roster invitees:
- Mark Appel, RHP: The No. 1 overall pick out of Stanford University in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, Appel went 10-3 with a 4.37 ERA in 25 starts last season between double-A Corpus Christi and triple-A Fresno. A 6-foot 5, 220 pound right-hander, Appel struck out 110 batters in 131.2 innings and was named to Team USA in the 2015 MLB Futures Game. The 24-year-old also led the Grizzlies to their first Pacific Coast League championship in franchise history, striking out 10 in a decisive Game 5 victory over Round Rock. Entering the 2015 season, Appel was ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the Houston Astros organization and 31st in all of baseball by Baseball America. He was acquired by the Phillies in a trade for closer Ken Giles in December. In 54 career minor league games (53 starts), the Houston, Texas, native is 16-11 with a 5.12 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 253.0 innings.
- J.P. Crawford, SS: Crawford, the top prospect in the Phillies minor league system according toBaseball America, combined to hit .288 with a .380 on-base percentage and .414 slugging percentage in 107 games last season split between single-A Clearwater and double-A Reading. Selected as an Eastern League All-Star, Crawford, 20, was the youngest player in the EL at the time of his promotion from Clearwater on May 30. Originally selected 16th overall by the Phillies in the June 2013 draft, Crawford has played for Team USA in each of the last two Futures Games.
- Zach Eflin, RHP: In his first year in the Phillies organization, Eflin went 8-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts for double-A Reading. The 21-year-old was named a 2015 Eastern League midseason All-Star and finished tied for ninth among all EL pitchers with a 1.21 WHIP (23 BB/136 H in 131.2 IP). He also won both of his postseason starts for Reading, as he posted a 1.38 ERA in 13.0 innings pitched. Over his four-year minor league career, Eflin is 25-20 with a 3.50 ERA in 73 games (72 starts). He was originally selected by the San Diego Padres between the first and second rounds of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft before being traded to Philadelphia in the Jimmy Rollins deal in December 2014.
- Andrew Knapp, C: The switch-hitting Knapp batted .308 with 35 doubles, 13 home runs, 84 RBI and 77 runs scored between single-A Clearwater and double-A Reading in 2015, setting professional highs in each of those categories. Following a late-June promotion to Reading, he hit .360 with 11 home runs, 56 RBI and a 1.050 OPS over 55 games, while recording separate hitting streaks of 16 and 17 games. The 24-year-old was a 2015 recipient of the Paul Owens Award, given annually to the best player and pitcher in the Phillies minor league system. Knapp is a career .280 hitter over his first three minor league seasons.
- Gabriel Lino, C: Lino, 22, played for both double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2015, combining to hit .234 with 20 doubles. In what were his first ever stints at both levels, he threw out 41 percent of potential base stealers (31 of 75). A native of Venezuela, Lino was acquired in the 2012 trade that sent Jim Thome to Baltimore.
- Logan Moore, C: A native of Scranton, PA, Moore split time last season between double-A Reading and triple-A Lehigh Valley. He batted .324 over his final 21 games, bringing his season average to .253 between the two levels. In 62 games behind the plate, the 25-year-old made only five errors in 428 total chances. Moore was originally a ninth-round selection by the Phillies in the June 2011 draft.
- Brock Stassi, 1B: The reigning Eastern League MVP, Stassi spent last season with double-A Reading and hit .300 with 32 doubles, one triple, 15 home runs and 90 RBI. He drew 77 walks and struck out only 63 times as he posted a .394 on-base percentage and a league-best .863 OPS. Stassi is one of only seven Reading players to take home league MVP honors, joining Darin Ruf (2012), Ryan Howard (2004), Marlon Byrd (2001), Jeff Stone (1983), Mark Davis (1980) and Greg Luzinski (1970).
- Jake Thompson, RHP: After being acquired by the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade with the Texas Rangers last July, Thompson went 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in seven starts for Reading. He held Eastern League batters to a .217 average and posted a 1.00 WHIP (12 BB, 33 H) in 45.0 innings pitched. The 21-year-old allowed only one earned run in the EL playoffs, going 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in two starts, which included a three-hit, complete-game shutout over Binghamton in the divisional series. Prior to the midseason trade, Thompson was selected as a Texas League All-Star and participated in the Pan-Am Games for Team USA. Overall, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound right-hander is 25-17 with a 3.25 ERA in 73 career minor league games (71 starts). He was originally a second-round selection by the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 draft.
- Nick Williams, OF: Acquired from the Texas Rangers this past July in the Cole Hamels trade, Williams, 22, was named the second-best prospect in the Phillies minor league system by Baseball America. In 119 combined games last season split between double-A Frisco and double-A Reading, Williams hit .303 with a .354 on-base percentage and .491 slugging percentage. A member of Team USA in the 2015 Futures Game, Williams was originally selected in the second round of the June 2012 draft by Texas.