Friday, February 21, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #9 RHP Connor Seabold

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Connor Seabold, image- Jay Floyd
Selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2017 draft, right-hander Connor Seabold made an immediate impact upon debuting as a pro and has continued to impress as he has moved upward in the developmental ranks at a swift pace.

In his college career at Cal State Fullerton, the California native tallied a 23-15 record with a save, three complete games, a 2.96 ERA and a 9.5 K/9 mark in 56 appearances (42 starts) overall.

After signing with the Phillies, Seabold posted a 2-0 record with a 0.90 ERA and a .143 batting average against while striking out 13 batters and walking two in 10 innings of work as a reliever for the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters.

He followed that up in 2018 by skipping the full season Class A level completely.  Seabold took quite a jump, opening the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater. In 12 games there as a starter, he notched a 4-4 record with a 3.77 ERA, a .213 batting average against as well as an 8.5 K/9 mark.

The six-foot-three 190-pounder earned a promotion to Double-A Reading in late June. With the Fightin Phils, Seabold would post a 1-4 record with a 4.91 ERA, a .241 BAA and a 9.8 K/9 mark in 11 starts.



In 2019, Seabold was set to be Reading's opening day starter, but was sidelined with an oblique strain late in spring training.  He began making rehab appearances in the Gulf Coast League in June and followed those up with two outings for Clearwater before returning to Reading for seven regular season starts and their postseason run.

Overall, in 12 regular season games Seabold notched a 4-2 record with a 2.24 ERA, a .224 batting average against along with a 9.3 K/9 mark.


To make up for some of the lost time last year, the Phils sent Seabold to the prestigious Arizona Fall League, where he dominated.  In four starts, Seabold posted a 1-0 record with a 1.06 ERA.  He struck out 22 batters while walking three in 17 total innings. 

Command is a big positive for Seabold, who features fastball velocity that generally resides in the low 90's, a very good change up and a serviceable curveball.  He can throw all three offerings for strikes and his walk rate is not a concern for the young hurler.  Said to have a great feel for pitching, Seabold mixes his offerings well and keeps the opposition guessing.

The ceiling for Seabold is a member of a big league starting rotation, which would be a valuable addition for an inconsistent club like the Phillies.  Look for the 24-year-old to open the 2020 season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.


You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #10 LHP Erik Miller

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 Left-handed pitcher Erik Miller was a 4th round draft selection by the Phillies last year and was immediately held in regard as one of the organization's most promising up-and-coming prospects.

A starter in college, Miller struggled the previous summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League, posting a 7.71 ERA.  The Stanford product was reportedly signed for $428,300 following the draft.

Once signed, he promptly debuted in the minors and moved up two more levels.

Initially, with the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies West team, Miller allowed an earned run in three innings over two appearances.  He was then promoted to Class A short-season Williamsport.  In six games (four starts) as a member of the Crosscutters, the 22-year-old tallied a 0.90 ERA, a .176 batting average against with no decisions while striking out 29 and walking seven in 20 innings.

Miller, a Missouri native, was then promoted once more, moving up to Class A Lakewood, where he would make his final three appearances of the season.  He'd post a 1-0 record with a 2.08 ERA, and a .208 batting average against  while striking out 17 and walking six in 13 total innings.

With a sizable frame at six-feet-five, 240 pounds, Miller is an impressive figure on the mound.  His repertoire features a fastball that typically reaches the mid-90's, a change up that features a nice variance of speed and a strong slider with plus potential.  He's a guy that can add velocity as the season rolls on.

The main critique on Miller around draft time, based on his college efforts, was that he needed to become more consistent with his mechanics.  He walked 4.7 batters per nine innings over his last two college seasons. The Phillies' developmental staff would generally find that sort of concern to be a simple fix for a bright, teachable hurler such as Miller.  Evidence of that: his BB/9 was down to 3.7 as a professional.
The ceiling for the big lefty is pretty high, as some think he could develop into a number two or a number three starter in the big leagues.  

His future role may ultimately be determined by how confident the Phillies coaches are in how Miller's change up will play at higher levels.  If he is reduced to a two-pitch menu, then the most ideal path for the talented youngster would be as a reliever. 

Look for Miller to kick off his 2020 season in the Class A Advanced Florida State League with Clearwater. 

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Interview Excerpts: Phillies RHP prospect Luke Leftwich

Luke Leftwich, image- Jay Floyd

Recently, I wrote a feature on Phillies pitching prospect Luke Leftwich and his recovery from a shoulder ailment that he experienced last season.  That piece can be found by clicking this link

Beyond his physical situation and his delayed start to in-game action this spring, the 25-year-old also talked with me about who has helped him stay positive, if he feels undervalued, a huge life event this off-season, some considerable coach turnover in the Phils system and more. 

Read ahead for exclusive interview excerpts with Leftwich.



-(I had asked about his shoulder injury and recovering from that.  Luke offered some feedback in addition to what appears in the article.)

That brings us to now.  With the time I took to do all the physical therapy to work out all the kinks in my shoulder, I got pushed back with the start of my throwing progression.  So, I would consider myself healthy, but I'm about a month behind where I normally would be going into spring training.  I'm on my normal throwing progression, I'm just a little bit behind everyone else that's in camp, so they wanted me to come down here early and technically be in the rehab group so they can monitor my time throwing and coming back because a third occurrence of this kind of injury is really not good.  So, that's where we're at now.

-You sound like you've got a positive tone as you explain it, so you would seem to understand and accept everything and you're good with it, so that's great.  Can you share some thoughts on who has made an impact for you during all this down time?  Is there a coach, a teammate, anyone that's been key in helping you maintain a positive outlook through all of this?

Yeah, it's kind of been a couple people.  Aaron Fultz has checked in on me every few weeks in the off-season and he was always a good person to talk to about basically just, "You're fine.  I know you're behind"- 'cause I was a little bit worried at first about being behind and he put my mind at ease.  And then getting here and being around these other guys, like Trevor Bettencourt, Ben Brown, those guys that had to get Tommy John (surgery) last year.  They've been down here for so long, really grinding their butts off, trying to get back to being healthy.  Honestly, those guys kind of set a good example of getting in, getting your stuff done, because it is such a day-by-day, step-by-step process.

-The Phils' minor league coaching staff announcements came out and some of these we knew about after last season wrapped up, and typically there will be some turnover with the coaching staffs each year, but this time it seems a bit heavier, with maybe more names than normal getting let go.  As a player, do you notice that it seems that way or is the turnover just part of the business, 'cause you'll see that happen with so many players that parting ways is just the nature of the business?

I mean, you do build bonds with coaches and I love a lot of the guys that we had last year that aren't coming back this year.  And it is like you said, I don't want to say you get numb to it after a while, because it sucks every time you lose a teammate, a friend or a coach.  But it is like part of the game, part of the sport, part of the business where you know you're not guaranteed tomorrow, so you kind of have to roll with the punches.  And sometimes you lose somebody that you really like and you gotta show up tomorrow and be the best you that you can be.  You feel for the guys that you lose, but a lot of those guys, especially these coaches, have had such good careers and have worked with so many good players and have done so much that those guys are all gonna land on their feet.  They're all good.


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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Pitching prospect Leftwich ready for 2020

Luke Leftwich, image- Jay Floyd
A tell and an injury raised concern for pitching prospect Luke Leftwich last summer, but the right-hander has a positive outlook and is confident he'll return to form in 2020.

Leftwich entered last year with a 3.18 ERA in four professional seasons including a solid campaign with Double-A Reading in 2018 in which he posted a 3-4 record with three saves, a 3.73 ERA and a .234 batting average against.  It was a scorching hot start with Reading in 2019 that opened plenty of eyes for the talented reliever.  He tallied a 2-0 record with a 1.02 ERA, a .073 batting average against and a 14.3 K/9 mark in 12 total relief appearances with the Fightin Phils.  His remarkable efforts against Eastern League competition earned him a promotion.

With Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Leftwich, who was the Phillies' 7th round draft selection out of Wofford College in 2015, appeared to experience difficulties on the mound from the start.  In 16 total appearances there, the six-foot-three 205-pounder sported a 0-1 record with an 8.28 ERA.  Fans, media members, those within the organization and Leftwich himself took notice and most would wonder if he could really handle competition at the highest levels of the sport.

The struggles at Triple-A caught nearly as much attention as the immense success Leftwich had at the Double-A level, but the 25-year-old got it all figured.

As Leftwich tells it, he was tipping his pitches and every other team knew it.  He points out that the inability to get outs upon his arrival at the Triple-A level left him feeling down and defeated.  The keen eye of roving outfield coach Andy Abad had the remedy.

"(He) told me that I had been tipping pitches for the past month or so and that was a complete eye opener for me because I had no idea," Leftwich stated.

"Once I figured that out, it gave me a confidence boost of like, 'I'm not as bad as I look right now.  I just need to fix this one thing and then I'm good again.'  And as soon as I fixed that I went on a little roll there for a few weeks, threw really well."

Once Abad took time to review video with Leftwich and offered insight on what do stop doing and what actions to implement instead, the statistics saw considerable improvement.

Through his first eight appearances with the IronPigs, Leftwich notched a 15.75 ERA.  After the huddle with Abad, in his next eight outings Leftwich recorded a 1.38 ERA.  

His season then took another downturn as shoulder discomfort set in and Leftwich was placed on the injured list for approximately a month as a result of bicep tendinitis.  He'd ramp things up in late July for a few more games, but the pain reemerged and more time on the shelf was to come. 

"With only like a month left in the season, they didn't take any chances with anything major happening, making sure I didn't have to get surgery or anything like that," Leftwich explained.  "So, I went to see a doctor to check it out.  (I was diagnosed with a) shoulder impingement, no structural damage.  Just inflammation getting in the way of things moving the right way."

Leftwich is behind in his throwing program compared to where he might normally be at this point in the pre-season.  Delayed start to his exhibition season aside, the excitement level is still at a high degree for Leftwich, as many of his friends and teammates have been invited to big league camp this year.

"Since I'm not going to be playing, it gives me an opportunity to go watch those guys and get to see my close friends basically pitch in the big league games," Leftwich said.  "That's exciting for me.  That's exciting for all of us."

It's fair to expect Leftwich, whose father Phil Leftwich and grandfather Tom Timmermann both pitched in the Major Leagues, to get another go at Triple-A this year.  Should he reach the big leagues, he'll be just the second third-generation pitcher in MLB history.  The Phillies hope he'll take strides toward making that happen this year.
Always an optimist, Leftwich took plenty of positives from his 2019 campaign despite the considerable ups and downs.

"The improvements that I made and the mentality shift more than anything, I really knew those last few weeks that I was good enough, confident enough, every bit deserving to be there and get hitters out."

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #11 LHP Damon Jones

Damon Jones, image- Jay Floyd
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Left-handed pitcher Damon Jones used an exceptional 2019 season to catapult himself toward the top of the list of names being discussed as top options to help the Phillies' pitching pitching staff.

An 18th round draft selection in 2017, out of Washington State, Jones began his professional career as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters.  In 13 appearances, all in relief, that season, the six-foot-five 238-pounder notched a 2-3 record with three saves, a 4.85 ERA, a .240 batting average against and a 13.2 K/9 mark.

The following year Jones had a strong campaign with Class A Lakewood.  In 23 games (22 starts), Jones tallied a 10-7 record with a 3.41 ERA, a .247 batting average against as well as a 9.8 K/9 mark.

In 2019, Jones opened the year with a stretch that earned him a promotion and loads of regard as a true up-and-comer for the Phils organization.  With Class A Advanced Clearwater, Jones would post a 4-3 record with a 1.54 ERA and a .188 batting average against in 11 starts.  He moved up Double-A Reading and made a splash in that rotation as well.  In four starts, Jones sported a 1-0 record, a 0.82 ERA and a .129 batting average against.

He would move upward a second time in mid-July, making his final eight starts of the regular season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  The statistical production came back down to Earth a bit there, as it took longer for Jones to adjust to the highest level of the minor leagues.  He would notch a 0-1 record with a 6.62 ERA, a 1.56 WHIP and a .214 batting average against as a member of the IronPigs.

Jones continued to deliver strong strike out numbers throughout the full season in 2019, as he posted a 12.0 K/9 mark.

Despite looking like a power pitcher with considerable K numbers, Jones uses his fastball that gets up to 96 and 97 MPH to induce plenty of ground ball outs.  His strong curve ball is the out pitch that garners most of the strike outs for the big man.  He also offers a slider that has good, horizontal movement and a change up that remains a work in progress, as he tries to refine it.

In May last year, Jones described to me how working his fastball to the inside and the outside against opposing batters was changing the look they were getting and helped him keep hitters off of his breaking pitches and his change up.

Command is a big positive for Jones.  It's a part of his game that impresses his coaches the most.

Jones has been invited to big league spring training, as a non-roster player.  He'll have the opportunity to work with the big league coaches and learn from the staff there, which is a major plus for the 25-year-old.

The ceiling for Jones is expected to be a big league starter.  He could make a splash with the Phils this coming season, when an opportunity opens up, but I would expect him to open 2020 back with the IronPigs. 

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #12 OF Simon Muzziotti

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Simon Muzziotti, image- Jay Floyd
Since joining the organization Simon Muzziotti has emerged as one of the Phillies' most promising outfield prospects. 

Signing infractions by his former organization, the Red Sox, lead the talented youngster to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball approximately a year after he signed with Boston at the age of 16.  Muzziotti was subsequently inked by the Phillies and has been an attention grabber as he has moved up the developmental ranks with quickness.

In 2016, he played in the Dominican Summer League, tallying a .256 average with six doubles, two triples and eight steals in his combined time with the Sox and Phils teams there.

The following year, at the age of 18, the left-handed hitter notched a .269 batting average with four doubles, six triples and eight stolen bases in 33 games in the Gulf Coast League.  He also recorded two hits in seven at bats as a fill-in with Class A Advanced Clearwater.

In 2018, Muzziotti missed a couple of months with a broken finger, when he was hit by a pitch in April.  Despite the physical set back, the Venezuela native made outstanding impressions and began to stand out.  In 74 games, including a rehab stint in the GCL, Muzziotti posted a .250 average with with 12 doubles, two triples, a home run, 22 RBI and 19 steals, primarily as a lead-off batter.

Last year, Muzziotti spent the regular season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, continuing to hone his craft. In 110 games, he tallied a .287 batting average with 21 doubles, three triples, three homers, 28 RBI and 21 steals.  The efforts earned him the honor of being a Florida State League All-Star. 

He was called up to Double-A Reading for their postseason run last year after Clearwater's season ended, in case his talents were needed.  Ultimately, he was never officially added to their roster at any point during the playoffs.

The hit tool for Muzziotti is what prospect reviewers tout the most.  He is said to be among the best hitters in the minors for the Phillies.  With an ability to spray the ball to all fields, the six-foot-one 175 pounder has a knack for making contact and great hand-eye coordination.  However, he will likely not ever be considered a big power threat.

Last year, his left/right splits at the plate showed plenty of room for improvement.  Against righty pitchers, Muzziotti posted a .772 OPS while he sported a lowly .434 mark against lefty hurlers.

Defensively, Muzziotti boasts remarkable range and has a strong arm.  He is a plus contributor on that side of the ball and should be able to stick in centerfield as he moves upward in the system, though he does have some time in both right field and left field during his career in the minors.

On the bases, Muzziotti possesses excellent speed.  He's got some good instincts as well and is already a stolen base threat.

The ceiling for the 21-year-old may be questionable, but I would feel comfortable asserting he has a high floor, which would see him as a big league contributor in the coming years.

Look for the exciting speedster to see action with Reading this year and fully put on display what he can do at the higher levels of the minors.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Phillies 2020 Player Development Field Staff Announced


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At long last, Phillies minor league coaching staffs began to trickle out via each team's news feed on Friday with a few notable additions to the organization's developmental field staffs.  Here is a complete rundown of each team's coaching staff.

The Class A Short-season Williamsport Crosscutters will be headed by Milver Reyes.  The 37-year-old Venezuelan played as high as the Triple-A level during his playing career before turning to coaching.  Reyes played with the CrossCutters in 2003 and 2004 as a member of the Pirates organization, before Williamsport was affiliated with the Phillies.

The Cutters' pitching coach is set to be a returning Hector Berrios while hitting coach duties will go to Joel McKeithan.  Berrios, a Puerto Rico native, is an eight-year minor league veteran hurler with a coaching career that dates back to 1998, including the most recent four seasons with Williamsport. McKeithan, an infielder during his playing days, McKeithan played collegiate ball with Vanderbilt and NC State before moving on to play professionally in the independent Frontier League.  The 28-year-old spent his first season as a pro coach, last year, with Williamsport as well.

Chris Adamson joins the Phillies organization to take the reigns as manager of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  He'll be joined by a pair of returnees as well, in pitching coach Matt Hockenberry and hitting coach Christian Marrero.  Additionally, coach Geoff Jimenez will join the group as well.

Adamson is currently the skipper for the Adelaide Giants in the Australian Baseball League, where he manages a few Phils minor leaguers including catcher Logan O'Hoppe, outfielder Ben Aklinski and others.  Adelaide is currently playing in the ABL championship series.

The 31-year-old Adamson was mainly a catcher in his playing days and has professional experience as a player in the ABL.  Hockenberry and Marrero will each be entering their third season coaching in the system and their second year with Lakewood.  

At Class A Advanced Clearwater, Pat Borders will make the jump from Williamsport to take over as manager while Hector Mercado will be pitching coach and Chris Heintz takes on the hitting coach duties.  Mycal Jones is in place as the team's extra coach.

Borders, a former World Series MVP with Toronto, had managed Williamsport for the previous five seasons.  Jones, a former 4th round pick of Atlanta, played seven seasons in the minors and independent ball and previously coached in the minors with Houston.  Mercado has big league pitching experience with the Phillies and Cincinnati.  Heintz played parts of three season in the majors with Minnesota as a catcher. 

For Double-A Reading, Shawn Williams will return as the manager while Tyler Henson and Nelson Prada are back as hitting coach and assistant coach respectively.  Brad Bergesen moves up from Clearwater to join Reading as the pitching coach.

Prada has been coaching with the Phillies organization dating back to 2013.  Henson, previously a player in the Phils system, has coached with the Phils since 2016.  Bergensen has big league pitching experience with Arizona and Baltimore.  

At Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Gary Jones will be back as the team's manager.  Former Phils bullpen arm Aaron Fultz joins the IronPigs as pitching coach following a year with Reading.  Darryl Robinson, who played professionally for 12 seasons, joins the club as hitting coach.  Greg Legg returns as a coach as well.

For Jones it's his third season in that role and his 30th as a coach or manager.  Legg's tenure as a Phils developmental coach dates back to 1994.  Fultz has coached at A ball, Advanced A, Double-A and now Triple-A in the Phillies system.

Other minor league team staffs are as follows...

Gulf Coast League East:
Manager- Roly de Armas
Pitching coach- Pat Robles
Hitting coach- Rafael DeLima
Coach- Adan Ordonez
Coach- Mac Seibert

Gulf Coast Leage West:
Manager- Bobby Wernes
Pitching coach- Bruce Billings
Hitting coach- Zack Jones
Coach- Angel Peguero
Coach- Ray Ricker 

Dominican Summer League Phillies Red: 
Manager- Waner Santana
Pitching coach- Alex Concepcion
Asst pitching coach- Feliberto Sanchez
Hitting coach- Samuel Hiciano
Coach- Cristino Henriquez
Coach- Jesus Tiamo

Dominican Summer League Phillies White:
Manager- Orlando Munoz
Pitching coach- Les Straker
Hitting coach- Homy Ovalles
Coach- Felix Castillo
Coach- Silverio Navas

Other roving staff and instructors:
Field coordinator- Chris Truby
Director pitching development- Rafael Chaves
Asst pitching coordinator- Travis Hergert
Hitting coordinator- Jason Ochart
Asst hitting coordinator- Rob Segedin
OF coordinator- Andy Abad
Infield coordinator- Marty Malloy
Catching coordinator- Ernie Whitt

In other news, Reading announced on Friday that former Phillies backstop and 2008 World Series champion Carlos Ruiz will return to Baseballtown on May 30th to be present for a ceremony in while the team will induct him into the Reading Baseball Hall of Fame.  Tickets, which are sure to be a hot item, are already available to purchase at the following link.

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #13 RHP Connor Brogdon

Connor Brogdon, image- Jay Floyd
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Relief pitcher Connor Brogdon propelled himself into discussions about the Phillies' tops prospects with another strong campaign in 2019 and could be on the verge of reaching the top level of the sport. 

A Lewis-Clark State product, Brogdon was drafted by the Phils in 2017 as a 10th rounder.  That year, the right-hander began his professional career as a member of the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.  

In 16 relief appearances for the 'Cutters that year, Brogdon would post a 3-1 record with three saves, a 2.34 ERA, and a .177 batting average against while recording an 11.7 K/9 mark.

In 2018, his first full professional season, the six-foot-six 192-pounder tallied a 5-3 record with five saves, a 2.47 ERA, a .228 batting average against and a 10.3 K/9 mark in 31 games (seven starts) with Class A Lakewood.  Since moving to the bullpen and working in that role exclusively after May that year, Brogdon has truly thrived in the relief role.

Last year, Brogdon opened the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, where he posted a 2-0 record, a 1.80 ERA, a .164 batting average against and a 10.4 K/9 mark in 10 contests. 

He was soon promoted to Double-A Reading, where the stellar numbers continued.  Brogdon would post a 1-1 record with a pair of saves, a 2.65 ERA, a .150 batting average against along with a 14.8 K/9 mark in 15 appearances.  

Before July, Brogdon earned his second promotion of the year, joining the pitching staff of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  In 26 outings in the International League, the California native tallied a 3-1 record with two saves, a .193 batting average against and a 12.2 K/9 mark.   

Time with the IronPigs didn't go smoothly from the start.  Having posted a 7.71 ERA through his first six outings, Brogdon breezed through his next 20 appearances, as he notched a 1.78 ERA the rest of the way.

Brogdon, a slugging catcher and third baseman in his little league and youth baseball days, grew up as a fan of Barry Bonds, so he's got a great appreciation for the minds and bats of his opposition.
Described as a power pitcher, Brogdon can bring the heat and miss a ton of bats.  With a fastball that tops out around 97 MPH, a slider with good movement, a terrific change up and a spike curve ball which was a pitch with a refined grip that he learned from teammate Zach Warren in 2018.  

The approach for Brogdon is a simple one...come into the game, attack the strike zone and get outs.  With his long-armed, lean build, Brogdon gets a lot of extension and releases the ball closer to home plate than many pitchers, which is advantageous, as the offering appears harder to the hitter. 

He possesses very good control and has walked just 2.9 batters per nine innings in his minor league career.

Invited to big league spring training as a non-roster player, the 25-year-old has a true shot at making an impact with the Phillies this year, possibly to open the season if his Grapefruit League season goes well.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #14 RHP Mauricio Llovera

I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.  


Mauricio Llovera, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Mauricio Llovera was signed by the Phillies in 2014 as an 18-year-old for a reported $7500.  Since then, Llovera has ascended at a steady pace through the developmental ranks and could prove to be a hell of a bargain at that price.

The Venezuela native began his professional career in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2015, recording a 2-3 record with a 3.23 ERA and a .209 batting average against in 11 games (10 starts).

The following year, the five-foot-11 216-pounder was outstanding in the Gulf Coast League, sporting a 7-1 record with a 1.87 ERA, a .205 batting average against and a 9.5 K/9 mark in 11 games (10 starts). The win total was tops in the league. Additionally that season, Llovera allowed one or no runs in eight of his 10 starts.

Moving to Class A Lakewood in 2017, the man that coaches call “MoYo” would tally a 2-4 record with a save, a 3.35 ERA, a .250 BAA and a 9.8 K/9 mark, splitting time as a starter and as a reliever in 30 appearances (10 starts). The move into relief seemed quite successful, as his ERA splits favored his shorter outings (4.31 ERA as a starter/2.13 ERA in relief).

In 2018 with Class A Advanced Clearwater, Llovera moved back to a full time starting role, posting an 8-7 record with a 3.72 ERA, a .221 BAA and a 10.2 K/9 mark through 23 games (22 starts).

He wrapped up his 2018 campaign with a string of six outstanding starts in which he notched a 5-0 record with a 0.96 ERA while striking out 48 batters in 37 2/3 innings.

Last season, Llovera opened the season with Double-A Reading.  The 23-year-old would notch a 3-4 record with a 4.55 ERA, a .243 BAA, a 1.35 WHIP along with a 9.9 K/9 mark in 14 games (12 starts).  His season was cut short in mid-July, as Llovera suffered an injury.

Llovera possesses a repertoire that features a fastball which typically resides in the mid 90's and can get up to 97 MPH. His fastball features some movement that can tail up and in to right-handed hitters. He also touts a very good slider, a nice change up and a curve ball to keep the opposition guessing.

Control is not a concern for Llovera, who keeps his offerings around the strike zone. The talented hurler averages 2.9 BB/9 in his minor league career to date.

Added to the Phils' 40-man roster over this off-season in order to protect him from December's Rule 5 draft, Llovera will be among the team's collection of hurlers in big league spring training this year.  He is, in fact, already in Clearwater getting in work and has been throwing bullpen sessions in recent weeks.

It's possible that Llovera could open the season in Triple-A with Lehigh Valley.  Some say his path to the majors is likely to be quicker as a reliever, but the Phillies may still want to give him a shot at proving himself in a starting role. 

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link

Monday, February 3, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #15 LHP Cristopher Sanchez

I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.  

Cristopher Sanchez, image- MiLB.com
Acquired in an off-season trade, lefty pitching prospect Cristopher Sanchez looks to be a possible contributor for the big league team in the near future.

The Phils sent infielder Curtis Mead to the Rays in a November trade in exchange for the promising native of the Dominican Republic.

Signed for a reported $65,000 by Tampa Bay in 2013 at age of 16, Sanchez would go on to make his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League the following year.  In 13 outings that season, he notched a 7.77 ERA.  The Rays would have him repeat the league twice.  In 41 total appearances there, Sanchez collected an 8-7 record with a 4.15 ERA, 6.1 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. 

In 2017 Sanchez split time between starting and relieving in the Rookie level Appalachian League.  With Princeton, he sported a 1-6 record with a 10.01 ERA and a .353 batting average against.

The following year, he opened the year back in extended spring training and went the short-season route with Princeton once more.  Pitching exclusively as a starter at this point, as a 21-year-old, Sanchez looked better, tallying a 3-2 record with a 4.60 ERA over 10 outings.  The Rays would promote him to wrap up there season and he joined Hudson Valley of the New York-Penn League.  In two regular season starts, he went 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA.  Overall that season, Sanchez collected a .302 BAA, a 7.8 K/9 mark and a 4.7 BB/9.

Last year, Sanchez played full-season ball for the first time.  He opened the 2019 campaign with Class A Bowling Green, where he again split time as a reliever and a starter.  In 11 games (four starts), he had a 3-1 record with two saves, a 2.01 ERA, a .190 batting average against and a 0.97 WHIP.  He would earn a promotion to Class A Advanced Charlotte and posted a 1-0 record, a 1.85 ERA, a .231 batting average against, as well as a 1.21 WHIP in 12 appearances (six starts).  He ended the season with an appearance at Triple-A Durham.  Overall, in 24 games, Sanchez recorded an 8.7 K/9 mark and a 3.1 BB/9 mark.

His splits last season did not clearly favor one role over the other, as with Bowling Green he tallied a 0.83 ERA out of the bullpen and a 3.38 mark as a starter.  Then with Charlotte his ERA was just about a full run better in the rotation (1.54 ERA as a starter, 2.53 ERA in relief).

Sanchez also played this off-season in the Dominican Winter League for the Toros.  He made just five relief appearances, none of which came after he was acquired by the Phillies. 

A valued talent, Sanchez was somewhat buried in a Rays farm system that is deep with promising arms.  Tampa Bay feared Sanchez could be lost at the Winter Meetings' Rule 5 Draft, so trading him made more sense.  The hurler with the lean six-foot-five frame quickly ranked among the top prospects for his new organization.

Opponents don't generally go deep off of Sanchez, as he's notched a 0.4 HR/9 mark in his minor league career to date.

He touts an exciting skill set highlighted by fastball velocity that steadily resides in the high 90's and features remarkable movement.  He regularly clocked triple digits last summer as well.  He also has a change up and a slider in his repertoire that he is looking to refine and get to a big-league-ready level.

A member of the Phils' 40-man roster, the 23-year-old will be in camp with the big league team in spring training this year, so he'll get plenty of opportunities to impress important team personnel.  He'll have a chance to make the team, but it is more likely to see him get additional time at the Triple-A level with Lehigh Valley, to open the 2020 regular season.   

It remains uncertain what role Sanchez will move forward with, but the Phils may want to see what he can do as a starter.  If so, his path to the majors may be a bit longer than if he was pitching in relief. 

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #16 Catcher Rafael Marchan

Rafael Marchan, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.

At a valued position, backstop Rafael Marchan is one of the Phillies' most valued prospects as he builds a reputation as an intelligent and physically talented player.

Signed in the same off-season that the Phils dished out a $4 million signing bonus to outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, Marchan inked a deal for a reported bargain price of $200,000, as a 16-year-old in 2015.

He made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2016, posting a .333 average with seven doubles, a triples and 34 RBI in 44 games.

In 2017, Marchan notched a .238/.290/.298 slash line in 30 games in the short-season Rookie level Gulf Coast League.

The following year as a 19-year-old, the Venezuela native played with Class A short-season Williamsport and began making a name for himself.  In 51 games there, Marchan tallied a .301 average with eight doubles, two triples, 12 RBI and nine stolen bases.  He was named a New York-Penn League All-Star for his efforts.

Last year, Marchan played much of the season with Class A Lakewood.  In 63 games, he posted a .271 batting average with 16 doubles and 20 RBI.  He would miss a few weeks with an injury in May, but bounced back to complete the season, earning a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater at the end of July.

As a member of the Threshers, the five-foot-nine 170-pounder would tally a .231 batting average with four doubles and three RBI in 22 games.

Splits would show plenty of room to improve for the switch-hitting Marchan.  He was 0-for-8 from the right side while with Clearwater last year and OPS'd over 200 points lower (.739 as a LHB vs .535 as a RHB) from that side with Lakewood.

Generally, Marchan possesses a line-drive approach with minimal power.  He has not homered as a professional hitter.  However, his hitting coach with the BlueClaws, Christian Marrero, saw loads of improvement throughout the season last year.  He asserted to me that he noticed progress with Marchan's approach, as the youngster displayed advancements with an ability to make adjustments in the box, evidence of being smarter as a hitter. 

Defensively, Marchan is a standout.  He has a strong arm with a quick release, he blocks balls well and he displays solid footwork.  With an outstanding knack for calling games, pitchers really like throwing to Marchan.  He had been a shortstop before signing with the Phillies, though he hasn't played any position besides catcher since coming to the States.

Coaches describe him as toolsy and athletic with big upside.  He's also made fans out of developmental personnel based on standing out with his leadership qualities, especially among his fellow Latin players.

Speed won't be a featured part of Marchan's game, but I also don't think he'll be a detriment to his team on the bases either.  Plenty of catchers happen to run like catchers. 

Marchan's ceiling could very well be an everyday big league catcher, if his offensive production can continue to develop.

It should be expected for Marchan, who will turn 21 years old this month, to return to Clearwater in the Florida State League to open the 2020 campaign.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.   

Thursday, January 30, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #17 Infielder Nick Maton

Nick Maton, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.

Drafted in the 7th round out of Lincoln Land Community College in 2017, shortstop Nick Maton has proven to be among the Phillies most promising prospects.

The Illinois native was previously drafted out of high school as well, but chose not to sign.  After signing with the Phillies, he got his pro career underway with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters in 2017.  In 58 games there, Maton sported a .252 batting average with nine doubles, a triple, two homers, 13 RBI and 10 stolen bases.

He followed that up with a full-season Class A campaign in 2018.  That year he was honored as a South Atlantic League All-Star with Lakewood, where he notched a .256 average with eight home runs, 51 RBI and five steals.

Last season, Maton nabbed another All-Star nod in the Class A Advance Florida State League as a member of the Clearwater Threshers.  In 93 contests there, the six-foot-one-inch 165-pounder tallied a .276 average with 14 doubles, three triples, five homers, 45 RBI and 11 steals.

In August, Maton earned a promotion to Double-A Reading, where he joined the team for the final few weeks of the regular season and their playoff run as well.  In 21 regular season contests, he posted a .210 average with a pair of homers.

Following the regular season, Maton played in the prestigious Arizona Fall League as a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions.  He was 4-for-12 with a double and a home run during his playing time there as a second baseman.  

Nick is the younger brother of San Diego relief pitcher Phil Maton and the older brother of college pitcher Jacob Maton.  Nick and his brothers check in one each other regularly, whether things are going good or bad, and offer support in order to help each brother achieve all that he can.

Power shouldn't be an expected part of the lefty batter's game, but Maton certainly has tools that could be beneficial for the Phillies.  He has a noteworthy approach at the plate and can wear down the competition by working counts. 

Defensively, Maton has become more versatile in the past couple seasons, spending time and second base and third base, while remaining primarily a shortstop.  He boasts very good hands and a solid throwing arm.

With a calm, poised approach, Maton is always focused on learning the game, doing his work and making improvements on the diamond.

Maton has been invited to big league spring training as a non-roster player.  Getting time to take reps beside big league veterans like Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius for a few weeks or more could certainly have a positive impact on a player approaching the top levels of the sport.

The ceiling for this youngster could be a utility player in the big leagues, should his offense continue to improve.  Look for Maton to get some more seasoning at the Double-A level to open this season, as he looks to earn a shot at bigger things.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.  

Sunday, January 26, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #18 1B Darick Hall

Darick Hall, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.

Building on a breakout initial full season that saw him honored as the Class A South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player, first baseman Darick Hall continued to prove himself worthy of regard as one of the Phillies' most promising young power hitters.

A 14th round draft selection in 2016, the Dallas Baptist product made his professional debut with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters that same year. In 57 games there, Hall tallied a .282 batting average with nine home runs and 29 RBI.  His .890 OPS led the New York-Penn League.

Hall, a left-handed hitter, moved up to full-season Class A in 2017 and with Lakewood, sporting a .272 average with 28 doubles, a triple, 27 home runs (team record) and 96 RBI (another team record) in 114 games.  For his remarkable output, Hall was honored as the South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player.

He would close out his 2017 campaign with a week in the Class A Advanced Florida State League playing for Clearwater. In seven games with the Threshers, the six-foot-four 236-pounder posted a .231 batting average with a pair of homers and five RBI. 

The clean-up hitter's presence in the lineup for a Lakewood club that had several teenagers that were learning what minor league life was like, playing everyday, traveling up and down the east coast, was crucial. Hall, who played three seasons of college ball helped his teammates learn what the professional athlete life is all about. Hall is an individual that can lead by example and he did just that all year long.

In 2018, Hall continued his top offensive efforts, torching the FSL for two months. In 48 games, he batted .277 with 12 doubles, 11 home runs and 35 RBI.

Promoted to Double-A Reading on June 1st, Hall would see his batting average dip in the Eastern League, but the power numbers did not fall off. In 80 games for the Fightins, Hall tallied a .224 average with 10 doubles, a triple, 15 homers and 52 RBI.

Last off-season, Hall competed in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. There with the Scorpions he batted .234 while launching four round-trippers and driving in 12 runs through 18 games.

Hall shared with me last off-season that he picked up a timing tip from Mets star Pete Alonso that he hoped would help him going forward.

He returned to the Double-A level in 2019 and saw improvement with his production.  In 132 games for Reading, he notched a .235 average with a league leading 38 doubles, a triple, 20 home runs (2nd in the league) and 67 RBI.  Additionally, along with helping Reading reach the postseason last year, a highlight of 2019 for Hall was taking two-time All-Star Luis Severino deep for a homer in the Eastern League playoffs while the right-hander was rehabbing with the Yankees' affiliate Trenton.  Another big moment from last season was winning the Eastern League Home Run Derby at the All-Star break in Richmond, VA.

Aside from his missile-like long balls, the 24-year-old's daily work and preparation are the things that impress Phillies developmental coaches the most. 

From a family where two of his uncles (Ladd Hall and Shane Hall) were drafted by big league teams, Hall feels structure is important to his game. Everything from diet and practice to making a game plan and following through have been critical to his success.

Hall preaches "confidence is key" and knows which parts of his game he needs to improve. While recording triple digits in strike outs each of the past three seasons, the promising slugger has worked plenty on refining his approach at the plate.

He saw a considerable increase in his walk rate last year, as his 11.2% mark was a big jump from his 6.1% effort in 2018 and his 7.5% career mark heading into the 2019 campaign. 
 
On defense, Hall is solid and dependable.  He is an accurate thrower with a .992 career fielding percentage.

Not a speedster, the Arizona native has collected just seven stolen bases in his minor league career. 

The Phillies have invited Hall to big league spring training, so he'll certainly get some valuable exposure there, however, expect him to see action at the Triple-A level to open the regular season this year.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.  

Friday, January 24, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #19 LHP Zach Warren

Warren w/ Lakewood in '18, image- Jay Floyd
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Back to back outstanding full-season campaigns have propelled left-hander Zach Warren right into the discussion of young pitching prospects that could be able to help the big league club sooner than later.

A 14th round draft selection out of the University of Tennessee in 2017, Warren, a Vineland, NJ native, grew up as a Phillies fan.

He opened his professional career as a reliever with Class-A Williamsport, posting a 0-3 record with a 3.00 ERA, a .236 batting average against and a 10.9 K/9 mark in 13 appearances.

The following year, he spent his 2018 campaign with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, where he was a force out of their bullpen, posting a 3-2 record with 15 saves, a 1.91 ERA along with a 15.9 K/9 mark. 

In 40 relief appearance in 2019 with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Warren tallied a 1-3 record with seven saves, a 3.30 ERA and a 12.0 K/9 mark. 

This off-season Warren pitched in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.  He appeared in five games, all in relief, recording a .063 batting average against and a 3.86 ERA while striking out seven and walking four in 4 2/3 innings.

The arsenal that Warren brings to the table includes a fastball that resides in the mid-90's, an often plus breaking pitch that he describes as a combo of a slider and a curve ball, and a change up that has some plus potential.  A cutter was added to Warren's repertoire early last season, but some difficulty with command led to its regular season removal after April.  He hinted to me in September that the cutter might make a return for his AFL menu.  So, of course, if work over the fall and winter months helped Warren improve that offering, it could return to the mix.

His tall, six-foot-five, 200-pound frame allows Warren to pitch on a down hill plane, which is advantageous for the youngster. 

Coaches point to Warren's preparation and his work ethic as qualities that help him stand out.

Warren grew up in the Phillies heyday of a decade ago, or so.  His favorite player during those days was lefty pitcher Cole Hamels. 

A non-roster invitee to Phils spring training this year, the 23-year-old should get tons of exposure with big league coaches and personnel.  However, he projects to open the season at Double-A Reading as a key part of that team's pitching staff.  An arrival in the big leagues could come next year, if not sooner. 

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Patreon Exclusive: Interview with LHP David Parkinson

Parkinson with Lakewood in 2018, image- Jay Floyd
Last week I was in touch with Phillies pitching prospect David Parkinson, who was in Philadelphia in order to attend the organization's annual prospect symposium.

The 24-year-old lefty led the minor leagues in ERA with his 1.45 mark in 2018 and was honored with the Paul Owens Award that same year.  In 2019 with the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils, Parkinson notched a 10-9 record with a 4.09 ERA, a .247 batting average against and an 8.9 K/9 mark in 22 starts.

In the interview, Parkinson shares some thoughts about what he's up to this off-season, what addition he's focusing on making to his pitch repertoire, being in Philadelphia as part of the team's prospect event and more.  This complete piece is available exclusively for Patreon members.  I invite you to visit the page Patreon.com/PhoulBallz to support my work and gain access to content that is unavailable any place else. 

Parkinson, who was the Phillies' 12th round draft selection in 2017, was recently reviewed in my top prospect rankings.  You can view that post by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #20 LHP Ethan Lindow

Ethan Lindow, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work, get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.  

Lefty pitcher Ethan Lindow stood out so much among Phillies pitching prospects last year that he was honored with the Paul Owens Award, an honor bestowed annually upon the top position player and the top hurler from the organization's minor league affiliates.

Selected in the 5th round of the 2017 draft as a high schooler, Lindow would sign for a reported $500,000 and swiftly began his professional career.

In the Rookie level Gulf Coast League, the Georgie native would start eight contests, posting a 2-2 record witha 4.55 ERA and a .241 batting average against while striking out 34 and walking 12 batters in 27 2/3 innings pitched.  He would participate that year in the Florida Instructional League as well. 

The following season, Lindow opened the campaign in extended spring training, then put up exceptional numbers for the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.  In 13 starts, the six-foot-three 180-pounder tallied a 3-2 record with a 2.19 ERA, a .227 batting average against along with an 8.1 K/9 mark.  For his efforts with the 'Cutters, he was honored by Baseball America as a short-season All-Star.

Last season, Lindow really made his mark with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  In 23 appearances (13 starts), he posted a 5-2 record with a 2.66 ERA, a .208 batting average against, a 0.98 WHIP and a 9.9 K/9 mark.

By late in the season, he would be promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater.  With the Threshers, he made three starts, going winless with a 1.69 ERA, a .274 batting average against and averaging a strikeout per inning pitched.
 
He's got some intangibles that developmental personnel like to see.  Coaches admire Lindow's tendency to stand out as a leader among his peers. He also pitches like a polished, more mature hurler.  This is a quality that can be attributed to working with a well-known big leaguer, namely Tom Glavine, whose son was a travel ball teammate of Lindow.  The Hall of Famer would mentor Lindow and helped him develop insight on the game he would not have otherwise had. 

Described as a true competitor, Lindow has a great feel for the strike zone and attacks the opposition with his arsenal.  His repertoire includes a fastball that most often resides in the low-90's, a very good curve ball, a cutter and a change up.

The key quality that has people raving about the 21-year-old and calling him special is his command. 

An emerging talent, Lindow may open the 2020 campaign back with the Threshers, but he could be in line to see action at the Double-A level before long, if his success continues early on.



You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #21 middle infielder Luis Garcia

Luis Garcia, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else. 

Despite a down season in 2019, Phillies infield prospect Luis Garcia is still one of the organization's most promising prospects.

After the team signed Garcia for a reported $2.5 million (second highest international signing in Phils history) in July of 2017, Garcia participated in the Florida Instructional League as a 16-year-old later that year.

The Dominican Republic native would make his official professional debut in 2018. In the short-season Rookie level Gulf Coast League, Garcia was tops in batting average with a .369 mark.  Additionally, he posted a .433 on-base percentage with an impressive .921 OPS.

The five-foot-11 170-pounder was named to the GCL’s post-season All-Star roster and was rated by Baseball America as the best prospect in the GCL at the time he played there.

Last year Garcia would play the entire season with Class A Lakewood at the age of 18.  There, he would struggle considerably at the plate.  In 127 games he tallied a .186 batting average with 14 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 36 RBI. 

Defensively, Garcia possesses an accurate, plus arm and quick feet. A smooth fielder, he was tasked with playing both middle infield spots last season with the BlueClaws.  His fielding percentages at the positions (.948 at shortstop and .944 at second base) were similarly strong.

At the plate, the switch-hitter can display a mature approach with quick hands, but he was over-matched at Lakewood.  Offensive struggles aside, Garcia's hitting coach with the 'Claws, Christian Marrero asserted that he saw improvements with the player's at bats throughout the long season last year. 

On the bases, Garcia is quick and could become a stolen base threat as a professional.  However, thus far in his career, he has been successful in just 21 of 37 stolen base attempts.  A 56.7% success rate is definitely not outstanding, but as Garcia moves up in the minor leagues, he will have more tools at his disposal to improve on that ratio and should improve.

Phils developmental coaches have noticed that Garcia, even at a young age, stands out as a leader, mainly among his fellow Latin players. 

Headed into last season, many prospect reviewers pointed toward Garcia as a young talent that could become a blue chipper for the Phillies.  The buzz surrounding him seems to have quieted a bit following his lackluster production last year.

Placing Garcia back in Lakewood to open the 2020 season may be the most beneficial next step.  The Phillies could go a more aggressive route with the infielder and promote him up one level to start the year, but he simply has not mastered the "low" Class A level and has not proven to be ready for that move based on last season's efforts. 

The ceiling for the man known as "El Flow" is unclear, but he remains a bright, exciting youngster that Phillies fans should key their eyes on. 

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Friday, January 17, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #22 LHP Kyle Dohy

Dohy with Reading in 2018, image- Jay Floyd
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Lefty reliever Kyle Dohy has been on the fast track since joining the Phillies organization and stands out as one of the organization's most promising young prospects.

A 16th round draft selection out of Citrus Community College in 2017, Dohy was quickly signed by the Phils and began his professional career that year in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League.

In 13 appearances with Williamsport that year, as a 20-year-old, Dohy would post a 2-1 record with a 3.60 ERA and a .182 batting average against in 13 relief outings.  Additionally, he would strike out 22 and walk 20 in 20 innings.

In 2018 Dohy really stood out, pitching at three levels, and started to make a name for himself.  In 24 appearances with Class A Lakewood, Dohy looked nearly untouchable, recording a 3-3 record with seven saves, a 0.80 ERA, a .144 batting average against and an outstanding 16.8 K/9 mark while the BB/9 rate looked much better at 4.5.

Dohy would earn a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater at the Sally League's All-Star break in June.  His brief stint there was just as successful as the first half of the season had been, as he tallied a 2-1 record with a pair of saves and a 1.64 ERA, striking out 18 and walking three in 11 innings over seven appearances for the Threshers.

The Phillies then promoted the youngster once more and he looked a bit more human out of the bullpen with Double-A Reading for the remainder of the season.  In 18 games Dohy sported a 2-5 record with a save, a 5.56 ERA and a .165 batting average against.  He would strike out 30 and walk 22 in 22 2/3 innings pitched.

Last year, Dohy opened the campaign back in Double-A and appeared to have mastered that level.  In six games, he notched a 1-0 record with two saves, a 0.82 ERA, a .059 batting average against and stuck out 22 while walking five in 11 innings of work.  He'd move to Triple-A Lehigh Valley before April was through.

As a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the 22-year-old would collect a 6-5 record with a save, a 6.19 ERA, a .253 batting average against while striking out 83 and walking 54 in 56 2/3 innings over 41 appearances.

The pitch repertoire for Dohy, who is listed at six-feet-two, 182 pounds, features a trio of offerings with plus potential.  He features a mid-90's fastball that touched up to 97 MPH, a premier slider that has a lot of movement and a change up that could use some refinement and additional consistency.

Command has been a area of concern through Dohy's first few seasons in the minors.  It's an area that will be a big focus for coaches and instructors, as they work with the pitcher to get his mechanics and delivery in check.

A sticking point for several pitchers last year was the usage of a different baseball, the type used at the MLB level, at the Triple-A level.  It has been a learning process and the Phillies' developmental coaches feel it's something that a talented individual like Dohy will work through and emerge from with a promising future.

It was recently announced that Dohy, who is now 23 years old, will be in big league spring training as a non-roster invitee this year.  The Phillies will be watching this talented hurler closely, as he has the potential to be a big contributor out of their bullpen sooner than later.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #23 OF Jhailyn Ortiz

Jhailyn Ortiz with Lakewood in 2018, image- Jay Floyd
The Phillies signed outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, who was the top ranked international free agent, at the age of 16 in 2015 for a reported $4 million. Teams don't make that sort of investment or shell out the largest signing bonus for an international player in organization history without a boat load of high hopes.  With four years in professional baseball down, Ortiz still has a very long way to go.

The powerful Dominican Republic native made his regular season pro debut as a member of the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2016. In 47 games there, Ortiz batted .231 with eight home runs, 27 RBI and eight stolen bases.

In 2017 Ortiz was with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. He sported a .302 batting average with 15 doubles, a triple, eight homers and 30 RBI in 47 contests en route to an All-Star nod.  His .961 OPS would have been good enough to lead the league if he has notched enough plate appearances to qualify.

In 2018 with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, as a 19-year-old, Ortiz notched a .225 batting average with 18 doubles, two triples, 13 homers and 47 RBI in 110 games.

In Ortiz’s first taste of a full-season league, a sluggish second half sandbagged his overall stats, as he would post a .258/.320/.399 slash line in the 1st half and a .202/.283/.360 slash line in the 2nd half.

Coaches have expressed that the right-handed batting Ortiz is a special talent with a very bright future. Hitting coach Tyler Henson told me after watching Ortiz play for more than five months in the South Atlantic League in 2018 that, “For me, he's got more ability than anybody in this league.”




Last season in 115 games with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Ortiz posted a .200 batting average with 15 doubles, three triples, 19 home runs and 65 RBI. 

Working on plate discipline will be key for Ortiz, as he’ll need to reduce his strike outs. At roughly a 30% strike out rate while drawing walks about 8% of the time in the minors, he has a lot of work ahead. 

The Phillies expect Ortiz to develop a better understanding of how the opposition is trying to pitch to him and improve his ability to interpret the strike zone.  Should that happen, then watch out!  Ortiz reportedly underwent laser eye surgery over the 2018/2019 off-season, so the thinking was that improved vision would be evident at the plate, but his offensive numbers did not see any sort of jump start last season.


At roughly six-feet-three and 258 pounds, Ortiz is a hulking, strapping, young man that has power for days, but he'll need to take serious strides at this dish and avoid further regression in order to avoid having the "bust" label attached to him.

The energetic Ortiz, who will be 21 years old for the entirety of the 2020 season, is a quality defender with a very strong arm.  Defensively, he played some center and left last year with the Threshers after having only played right field entering the 2019 campaign. 

As a base runner, Ortiz will not be a regular stolen base threat, but he is quick-footed enough that he won't be a detriment to his club.

For me, he has not graduated out of the Florida State League, as far as development and maturity go, but I could see the Phillies pushing him to the Double-A level this season.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #24 LHP JoJo Romero

JoJo Romero, image- Jay Floyd
Despite a lackluster 2019 season, left-handed pitcher JoJo Romero remains a promising prospect that the Phillies hope can contribute at the big league level very soon.

The five-foot-11 200-pounder was the Phils’ 4th round draft selection in 2016. That year he helped Yavapai College, the same school that the Phillies drafted Kenny Giles from in 2011, clinch the JuCo World Series, leading the way with an 11-5 record, a 3.64 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 mark. He also tossed a complete game gem to earn the win in their title game.

After signing with the Phillies, Romero made his professional debut as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. There, he notched a 2-2 record with a 2.56 ERA while striking out 31 and walking 11 in 45 2/3 innings.

In 2017, he got off to a terrific start with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. In 13 starts, Romero collected a 5-1 record with a 2.11 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 mark and was honored as a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star.

Romero, who hails from the same hometown as former Phils hurler Justin De Fratus, Oxnard, CA, was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater in late June, that year. In 10 starts for the Threshers, Romero posted a 5-2 record with a 2.24 ERA, a .223 batting average against and an 8.4 K/9 mark.

Overall for his 2017 campaign, Romero led all Phillies full-season minor leaguers in ERA with a 2.16 mark (minimum 100 innings).

In 2018, Romero posted a 7-6 record with a 3.80 ERA, a .241 BAA and an 8.4 K/9 mark through 18 Double-A starts for Reading. He really bounced back following a troublesome start for the Fightin Phils. After an April that saw him Romero go 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA and a .305 BAA, the talented youngster posted a 7-3 record with a 3.01 ERA and a .225 BAA the rest of the way until an oblique injury ended his season in July.

Last year Romero struggled throughout much of the season.  After opening the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he had tallied a 9.64 ERA through his initial seven starts.  The Phillies demoted him back to Reading where he where he would post a 4.84 ERA and a .261 batting average against over 11 starts.  Two months after the move, Romero was returned to Lehigh Valley and had a 3.86 ERA over his final six appearances of the season there.

Overall in 24 starts at two levels in 2019, Romero sported a 7-9 record, a 5.82 ERA, a .286 batting average against and a 1.55 WHIP while striking out 92 and walking 47 in 111 1/3 innings pitched. 

His initial efforts in the International League did not seem promising, but 2019 IronPigs pitching coach Steve Schrenk asserted to me that he saw considerable improvements for Romero between his initial stretch in Triple-A and his second stint with the 'Pigs.  Velocity on his fastball was reportedly down early on, but returned over the course of the season, getting back into the mid-90's. 

The 23-year-old's pitch repertoire also features a curve ball, a quality slider and a change-up that certainly plays better when velocity on the fastball is up.  Romero has built a reputation of being a guy that can command the corners as well.

Romero, a member of the Phillies' 40-man roster, tends to draw a lot of ground ball outs. Also, he seems to steadily have a good plan and is confident on the mound, throwing each of his pitches in any count.

A ball of energy off-the field, Romero is a guy that teammates enjoy being around and can help the club by being a motivator of those around him, even when he’s not in the game.

The Phillies likely plan to have Romero stick as a starter, with a potential ceiling possibly as a mid-rotation guy.  Look for him to gain some opportunities to impress new big league manager Joe Girardi and his staff during spring training.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.