It’s looking more and more like the Lehigh Valley IronPigs will be loaded with a bunch of minor league veterans – especially among position players – with some prospects sprinkled in here and there.
The latest addition is outfielder Shane Robinson, who has over 800 plate appearances in the majors, but holds just a .221/.288/.292 slash line in his time in the majors. The 34-year old has had some success at Triple-A where he is a career .279/.336/.382 hitter with good baserunning skills and a plus defensive resume.
Robinson joins a list of elder type veterans who have signed minor league deals with the Phillies hoping to catch on with the big league club out of spring training or spend the summer at Lehigh Valley hoping for a call to the majors.
One player familiar to fans in the Lehigh Valley is catcher/first baseman Matt McBride, who spent last season with the IronPigs and played both high school ball (Liberty HS) and college ball (Lehigh University) in the Lehigh Valley. The 33-year old was a fan favorite because of his Lehigh Valley roots and hit .242 in 60 games last summer with the IronPigs.
The veteran newcomers include catcher Rob Brantly and infielders Phil Gosselin and Gregorio Petit. Pitchers signing with the Phillies include Jeremy Bleich and Josh Martin.
Brantly, 29, is a catcher who played with International League teams in Columbus and Gwinnett last season, playing in 72 games and hitting a combined 2-21-.210/.252/.284 with the Clippers and Stripers. Brantly has played in the majors with Miami and the Chicago White Sox and holds a .230/.294/.333 line in 125 MLB games.
Phil Gosselin, 30, played in 20 games with the Reds last season, hitting 1-2-.125/.250/.250 in just 28 plate appearances. Overall he has played in the majors with Atlanta, Arizona, Pittsburgh and Texas prior to playing with the Reds in 2018. He’s played in 276 MLB games and is a career .263 hitter capable of playing all four infield positions and has also played sparingly in the corner outfield spots. Primarily he has played at second, third and short.
34-year old Gregorio Petit has 197 MLB games under his belt with a line of 4-35-.249/.294/.343 with Oakland, Houston, the Yankees, Angels and Minnesota. He played in 26 games with the Twins last season and played in a career-high 89 games with the Angels in 2016 when he hit .245/.299/.348. The majority of Petit’s playing time has come as a shortstop, but he also has extensive game time at third and second.
Jeremy Bleich made his major league debut last July at the age of 31 with Oakland, but played in just two games, getting 1/3 of an inning on the mound and giving up two earned runs for an ERA of 54.00 as a major leaguer. The left-hander had a productive season at Nashville last summer where he appeared in 38 games with a 1-2 record and a 2.63 ERA, striking out 48 batters in 51 1/3 innings of work. He has made 69 starts in the minors, but all of them were earlier in his career. Overall, he’s pitched in 250 minor league games and is 32-34, 3.88 with 12 saves.
Josh Martin, 28, has yet to make his MLB debut, pitching in the Indians organization since being drafted by Cleveland in the 10th round of the 2012 Draft. The right-handed reliever has a 27-21 mark with a 3.33 minor league ERA and 395 strikeouts in 386 2/3 innings of work.
Meanwhile, the Phillies have lost minor league free agents such as Ryan Goins, Joey Meneses and Dean Anna.