Deivy Grullon Has Taken The Next Step
Early one morning in February, Deivy Grullon approached Jake Arrieta in the Phillies’ spring clubhouse and asked if he had a minute. The young catcher, in his first big league camp, proceeded to pepper the former Cy Young Award winner with questions.
"It was an interesting conversation,” Grullon said in his native Spanish that day. "I’m trying to learn as much as possible.”
He spoke the word esponja.
It took a little nerve for the 23-year-old Grullon to approach the veteran Arrieta, but he explained that he had been encouraged to build a bond with pitchers. The day before, Grullon had been watching video of Arrieta’s pitching. He was curious about Arrieta’s thought process in attacking righthanded hitters with his sinker and was eager to learn.
This type of commitment has helped Grullon elevate his game. At Double-A Reading last season he hit .273/.310/.515 with 21 home runs. He got off to a fast start with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, batting .349 with seven homers and 32 RBIs through 34 games.
"He’s performing at a high level and it’s been awesome to see,” director of player development Josh Bonifay said. "He brings phenomenal dedication, mentally and physically, every day.”
Grullon is powerfully built at 5-foot-10 and 235 pounds. He signed for $575,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2012. The Phillies have long liked the power in his bat and in his throwing arm. Maturity and improved commitment—shown in that moment of inquisitiveness with Arrieta—are helping Grullon put it all together on both sides of the ball.
"He’s blocking well, he’s got a bazooka behind the plate, and he’s building relationships with his pitchers, helping them prepare for starts and build game plans,” Bonifay said. "Offensively, he’s going into the box with a game plan. What’s not to like?”
The Phillies rolled the dice and got Grullon through the Rule 5 draft in December. That won’t happen again this year. Grullon keeps improving, and more people are starting to believe in him.
— Power-hitting Triple-A outfielder Dylan Cozens will miss significant time after requiring surgery to remove a bone spur and repair cartilage in his left big toe.
— Relievers J.D. Hammer and Kyle Dohy both earned promotions from Double-A to Triple-A. Both are strikeout arms who could be options in Philadelphia later this season. Hammer, a righthander, had 26 strikeouts and four walks in 20.1 innings. Dohy, a lefty, had 22 strikeouts and five walks in 11 innings before moving up.
The Rockies drafted Hammer in the 24th round in 2016 out of Marshall University and traded him to the Phillies in a 2017 trade for Pat Neshek.