Ender Inciarte has never played one game above the Single-A level. But, this 22-year-old has played five years of professional baseball and his 2013 spring performance has earned him a spot on this Philadelphia Phillies‘ team.
Michael Young, shown above, gave Inciarte a high-five this week because he and his other red pinstriped teammates appreciate this young man’s strong defensive skills and the passion that he brings to the field.
I’ll dispense from sifting through every recent Phillies’ Rule 5 Draft selection, though Shane Victorino’s name is one that deserves to be mentioned. The “Flyin’ Hawaiian” was 24 when former general manager Ed Wade’s regime plucked him from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hardcore fans don’t need to be reminded that fate’s fortune caused the Dodgers to reject that fleet outfielder when he was offered back to them, which caused the Phillies to send him down to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. After a brilliant 126 Triple-A games, Victorino was called up late in the 2005 season and never looked back. His deep glove work and productive bat proved to be vital components to Philadelphia’s five-year (2007-2011) playoff run and their 2008 World Series Championship season.
We don’t know if Philadelphia’s current front office boss Ruben Amaro, Jr. will decide to keep Inciarte. If he does offer the diminutive outfielder back to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Charlie Manuel will be praying that the “D-Backs” follow the Dodgers’ 2005 example.
Beyond Ben Revere, Manuel’s starting outfield plan doesn’t contain a sound defensive scheme. That deficiency can be partially covered if Inciarte makes the team, as his presence would allow for late-inning defensive replacements in either left field, or right field.
Designating a spot on the 25-man major league roster for someone who hasn’t played beyond a low minor league level is a gamble, with thoughts of Michael Martinez coming to mind. However, that Washington Nationals‘ minor leaguer was 28 when the Phillies took him in the 2010 Rule 5 Draft.
Why not give Inciarte a chance to play for a few more months this spring? A larger sample size would allow for deeper consideration and possibly for another promising outfielder to be fully secured.