Phillies Invite Kingery, Eshelman Six Others to Spring Training
We are less than a month away from when pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, Florida, for the start of 2018 Spring Training. While the Phillies may still add a player or two with a large number of free agents left unsigned, the club has announced several Spring Training invites. Most of them are potential pieces of the Phillies future.
Heading the list is second baseman Scott Kingery. Still not on the 40-man roster, Kingery does not automatically get an invitation though this move was very much expected. The Phillies still have Cesar Hernandez on their roster as their second baseman, but Kingery may still not be far behind. Kingery is expected to report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start the season with a promotion in 2018 very much in the cards.
Having the versatile Hernandez and Kingery, who dabbled at third base and shortstop in 2017 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, gives the Phillies options going forward. Since shortstop Freddy Galvis was traded to the San Diego Padres in December, the Phillies have room to mix and match infielders if they feel that new shortstop J.P. Crawford and third baseman Maikel Franco need some help.
Pitchers Tom Eshelman, Cole Irvin, Brandon Leibrandt, Enyel De Los Santos and J.D. Hammerwill report to Major League Spring Training. Eshelman was unofficially the ace of Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season, flanked by the dependable Leibrandt. Irvin pitched at Double-A Reading in 2017, while De Los Santos and Hammer came to the Phillies organization in recent trades (Galvis and Neshek, respectively).
Outfielder Andrew Pullin and catcher Edgar Cabral will also join the big club in February and March. Pullin spent 2017 with the Double-A Reading Fightin' Phils and Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs, while Cabral spent 2017 with the Class-A Advanced Clearwater Threshers. Neither player is on the Phillies Top 30 prospect list, but still have a shot of making the major leagues.
Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater on Wednesday, February 14. The Phillies play one scrimmage against the University of Tampa on February 22, then Grapefruit League game action opens on February 23 at Dunedin. The Clearwater home opener will be Saturday, February 24 against the Baltimore Orioles.