Sunday, November 23, 2014

Off-season League Updates: Franco slumps, Martin deals with injury

It's time once again for another weekly review of Phillies players' performances and progress in off-season leagues around the globe.

Dominican Winter League-

MaikelFranco
Maikel Franco, image- Jay Floyd
Third baseman Maikel Franco has been in a slump lately, going 3-for-27 (.111 avg) over his last seven games. One positive out of that is that two of his three hits during that time are home runs. Overall in 22 games for the Gigantes, the 22-year-old is batting .239 with six homers and 21 RBI. This year in 133 contests with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the righty hitting Franco posted a .257 batting average with 16 home runs and 78 RBI.

Right-handed reliever Hector Neris has made 11 scoreless appearances for the Toros while striking out five and walking four in 8 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old appeared in one game with the Phils this year, earning a win in his big league debut.

Australian Baseball League-

Power hitting outfielder Dylan Cozens has a .205 average with three homers and six RBI in 11 contests with Melbourne. This year, with Class A Lakewood, the 20-year-old sported a .248 average with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 132 games. The six-foot-six 235-pounder was the Phillies' 2nd round draft selection in 2012.

Catcher Chace Numata has tallied a .295 average with three doubles and four RBI in 12 games, also with Melbourne. Numata missed much of the 2014 season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hamate bone prior to the season. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 14th round draft pick in 2010.

After opening his season 1-for-12, outfielder Brian Pointer has gone 11-for-34 (.324 avg). Overall, Pointer has a .261 average with a home run and five RBI in 12 games with Perth. In 123 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, Pointer posted a .246 average with 15 homers, 53 RBI and 16 steals. The 22-year-old lefty batter was the Phils' 28th round pick in 2010.

Third baseman Mitch Walding is batting .220 with three doubles and eight RBI in 11 contests for Canberra. Walding sported a .237 average with seven home runs and 55 RBI in 108 games for Class A Lakewood this year. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 5th round draft choice in 2011.

Mexican Winter League-

Victor Arano has allowed seven earned runs in 10 1/3 innings (6.10 ERA) while striking out eight and walking one in eight appearances for Obregon. The 19-year-old right-hander was acquired was the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers trade this year. With Class A Great Lakes this year, Arano tallied a 4-7 record with three saves and a 4.08 ERA and an 8.69 K/9 mark in 22 games.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League-

Righty pitcher Yacksel Rios has a 0-1 record after allowing two earned runs in three innings of work for Santurce. The 21-year-old posted a 6-2 record with one save and a 3.69 ERA in 33 games (13 starts) for Lakewood this year. Rios was the Phillies' 12th round draft pick in 2011.

In 12 games for Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin is batting .294 with no extra-base hits and two RBI. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Venezuelan Winter League-

EthanMartin3
Ethan Martin, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Ethan Martin has not pitched since making his VWL debut for La Guaira with two scoreless innings on November 4th. The 25-year-old righty has been sidelined with a back ailment but is expected to return to action this week after pitching some live batting practice as recently as Wednesday. Martin, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 Shane Victorino trade, appeared in two games with the Phillies this year, allowing two earned runs in four innings.

For La Guaira, righty Mike Nesseth made his VWL debut this week, tossing a scoreless appearance in his first outing, then allowing four earned runs in 1/3 inning in his second appearance. The 26-year-old posted a 2-7 record with a save and a 5.60 ERA in 42 combined outings at Double- Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. The six-foot-five 210-pound Nesseth was the Phils' 17th round pick in 2010.

Also, Cam Perkins has remained inactive for La Guaira since returning to the United States for a reported Phillies-ordered reason early this month.

Outfielder Aaron Altherr is batting .286 with four home runs, 27 RBI and a stolen base in 31 games for Zulia. The 23-year-old righty hitter played in two games with the big league Phillies this year. In 127 minor league games in 2014, the Phillies' 9th round pick in 2009 posted a .237 average with 14 HR, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

In 26 games with Zulia, shortstop Freddy Galvis sports a .257 average with seven doubles, a homer and seven RBI. In 43 big league contests this year, the 25-year-old switch-hitting infielder batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

Recent free agent acquisition Elvis Araujo sports a 2-0 record with a 1.00 ERA in eight relief outings for Zulia. The 23-year-old left-hander posted a 2-1 record with 11 saves, a 3.42 ERA and a 9.00 K/9 mark in 43 combined games with Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron this year.

Infielder Cesar Hernandez has been playing third base for Lara. In 15 games, the 24-year-old is batting .310 with four doubles, eight RBI and a stolen base. In 66 games with the Phillies this year, the 24-year-old switch-hitter batted .237 with a homer, four RBI and a stolen base.

Catcher Gabriel Lino is batting .308 with four doubles and three RBI in 12 games for Lara. The 21-year-old, who was acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade, played in 90 combined games with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, posting a combined .215 average with five home runs and 34 RBI.

In nine appearances with Lara, lefty hurler Cesar Jimenez has a 2-4 record with a 3.42 ERA while having struck out 27 and walked six in 26 1/3 innings of work. The 29-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games with the Phillies this year.

Infielder Andres Blanco is batting .367 with three doubles, six RBI and a stolen base in eight games for Magallanes. The 30-year-old recently re-signed with the Phillies after batting .277 with a homer and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club in 2014.

In three appearances with Aragua, righty Manny Martinez has pitched two scoreless frames. Combined with Class A short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood this year, the 22-year-old posted a 1-4 record with a 5.01 ERA while striking out 34 and walking 17 in 32 1/3 innings over 26 contests.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Phils add three pitching prospects to 40-man roster

JesseBiddle5
Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd
It was announced on Thursday that the Phillies added three young hurlers to the big league 40-man roster. Lefties Jesse Biddle and Adam Morgan along with righty Nefi Ogando were that trio.

Biddle has been among the Phillies' top prospects since he was selected by them with the 27th overall pick in 2010. This news is a rare positive nugget about the 23-year-old, who had a terribly difficult 2014 after missing a lengthy stretch with a a concussion, sitting out his final start of the regular season with a separate ailment and being shut down with elbow soreness after making two appearance this autumn in off-season ball in Puerto Rico.

Since debuting at the Double-A level to begin last year, Biddle hasn't looked too sharp, posting a 10-24 record along with a 4.02 ERA in 46 appearances over the last two seasons. Additionally, his 9.52 K/9 mark is very exciting, but the 5.14 BB/9 average (evidence of control concerns) that goes along with it is far from appealing.

Morgan, the Phillies' 3rd round draft choice in 2011, missed the 2014 regular season after shoulder surgery last winter. The 24-year-old has tallied a 12-22 record along with a 3.25 ERA in 56 minor league games (55 starts). After making a few appearances at the Florida Instructional League in September, Morgan posted a 1-2 record along with a 6.61 ERA in six games in the Arizona Fall League this off-season.

Ogando, who was acquired from Boston for John McDonald last year, was also among the Phils' representatives in the AFL and had a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.07 ERA in 12 outings for Scottsdale. The 25-year-old posted a 5-1 record with seven saves, a 6.27 ERA and a 9.16 K/9 mark in 48 relief appearances for Double-A Reading this year.

The Phillies' 40-man roster stands at 38 players.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Phillies announce 2015 minor league coaches

On Tuesday, the Phillies released their planned 2015 coaching staffs for their minor league affiliates.

The Triple-A level will maintain the same group with Dave Brundage staying on as manager, Ray Burris and Sal Rende returning as pitching coach and hitting coach respectively along with Mickey Morandini coming back as bench coach.

Dusty Wathan, image- Jay Floyd
Reading skipper Dusty Wathan will return for his fourth year with the team. Pitching coach Dave Lundquist will also be back at the Double-A level, while hitting coach Frank Cacciatore, who previously worked with the Reading team from 2008-2013 and with Clearwater in 2014, will make his return to Reading.

Class A Advanced Clearwater will have a new manager, as Greg Legg has been promoted after holding the same position with Class A Lakewood last season. 2014 Reading hitting coach Rob Ducey will work with the Threshers next year, while Steve Schrenk, who previously coached in Clearwater in 2007-2008, will be back as pitching coach after working in the Gulf Coast League last year.

Lakewood's skipper will be Shawn Williams, who has one season as a pro manager under his belt after being hired for that gig with short-season A level Williamsport last season. Williams is the son of former big league skipper Jimy Williams. Former Phillies hurler Aaron Fultz will return to Lakewood as pitching coach after previously holding that position in 2013 and working in Williamsport last season. Nelson Prada, who managed Clearwater last season, will fill the spot of hitting coach with the BlueClaws next year.

Williamsport will have 1992 World Series MVP Pat Borders leading the way as new manager. Eddie Dennis will take on hitting coach duties while Les Lancaster will be the club's pitching coach.

With the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, Roly de Armas will return as manager. Rafael DeLima will serve as hitting coach with former big league hurler Brian Sweeney joining the organization as pitching coach.

The developmental roving positions will mostly remain untouched with Doug Mansolino (field), Chris Truby (infield), Andy Tracy (hitting), Andy Abad (outfield/base running) and Ernie Whitt (catching) all returning. Carlos Arroyo is slated to be back in his previous role of roving pitching coach after filling the Phils' pitching coordinator spot last season. Former big league pitcher Rafael Chaves was hired last month as the Phillies' new minor league pitching coordinator after holding the same position with the Dodgers in recent years.

Phillies Arizona Fall League Rundown

The Arizona Fall League wrapped up play last week, with the team that Phillies’ players were assigned to, the Scottsdale Scorpions, finishing with a league-worst 12-20 record. The team was also made up of representatives from the Yankees, Pirates, Mets and Giants.

Seven Phillies players took part and spent time battling against other organizations’ best young prospects. Below is a rundown of each of those Phils competitors’ AFL efforts with details on what to expect from each individual going forward.

Centerfielder Roman Quinn posted a .250 batting average with two triples, two home runs, nine RBI and a league leading 14 stolen bases in 24 games. His .720 OPS was just a bit higher than the .713 mark he posted in 88 games with Class A Advanced Clearwater this year. The 21-year-old was the Phillies’ 2nd round draft choice in 2011. He underwent surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon last off-season but returned to action this year without any negative impact to his highly regarded speed. Expect Quinn to continue to rise through the developmental ranks at a steady pace. Already proving that he can compete with AFL competition, which includes loads of Double-A level (and beyond) talent, the five-foot-ten 170-pounder should see action with Reading next season.

Adam Morgan with Reading in 2012, image- Jay Floyd
Lefty pitcher Adam Morgan posted a 1-2 record along with a 6.61 ERA in six games (five starts). In 16 1/3 innings with the Scorpions, the 24-year-old struck out 11 and walked three. Morgan spent the 2014 regular season recovering from shoulder surgery he underwent last winter. He was rising quickly through the minors before he was sidelined, posting a 4.04 ERA in 16 starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2013 just two years after being the Phils’ 3rd round draft pick. The six-foot-one 195-pounder should return to the IronPigs’ rotation to start next season.

Righty reliever Nefi Ogando had a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.07 ERA in 12 AFL appearances. Ogando, who was acquired from Boston in a trade for John McDonald last year, struck out 15 and walked four in 14 2/3 innings with the Scorpions. The 25-year-old put together a 5-1 record with seven saves, a 6.27 ERA and a 9.16 K/9 mark in 48 games with Reading this year. Ogando has the potential to see some big league time next year, as his fastball can reach triple-digits and misses plenty of bats. His coaches like the flashes of dominance he was able to show in the Eastern League last year.

Right-handed reliever Colton Murray was 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA while striking out 13 and walking two in 14 2/3 innings in 11 games. The six-foot 195-pounder struck out more than a batter per inning and tallied a 2.29 ERA in 47 combined outings with Clearwater and Reading this year. The 24-year-old was the Phils’ 13th round draft selection in 2011. With a fastball that steadily sits in the mid-90’s, two breaking pitches and a terminator attitude, Murray could be a big league contributor out of the bullpen. At worst, I can see him as an “AAAA” void filler for when injuries arise with the big club…think B.J. Rosenberg with better upside.

Left-hander Ethan Stewart sported a 7.56 ERA with no decisions while striking out 12 and walking 10 in 8 1/3 innings pitched for Scottsdale. The six-foot-seven 235-pounder went 5-7 with a 4.82 ERA in 28 games (16 starts) this year with Clearwater. The 23-year-old Canadian was a 47th round pick in 2010. Stewart is not held in high regard among minor league hurlers at this stage and I would expect him to get roughed up quite a bit when he moves beyond A ball. He’s a smart pitcher, though, that could thrive similarly to another lefty, Mario Hollands, if he can add velocity.

Backstop Logan Moore tallied a .146 average with a double and three RBI in 12 contests. The 24-year-old batted .227 with four homers and 28 RBI in 91 combined games with Clearwater and Double-A Reading this year. Moore, who is often praised for his excellent work behind the dish, was the Phillies’ 9th round pick in 2011. Moore’s ceiling is not as a big league catcher, due to his lack of offense, but perhaps could be in the coaching ranks.

Right-hander Ryan O’Sullivan posted a 1-2 record along with a troubling 9.39 ERA in 10 games, striking out seven and walking five in 14 2/3 innings of work. The 24-year-old sported a 7-8 record with a 3.91 ERA in 37 games (12 starts) for Reading this year. O’Sullivan, who was acquired in the 2012 Joe Blanton trade, presents himself as minor league depth, plain and simple.

Keep it locked here for more off-season league updates from around the globe throughout the autumn and winter months.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Phils sign free agent Araujo thanks to Amaro’s sibling sponsor

Late last week the Phillies signed minor league free agent Elvis Araujo to a big league contract and it was partly a relationship in the team's front office that helped get the deal rolling.

Araujo, a six-foot-six 215 pound lefty has previously pitched in the Cleveland organization, tallying a 22-14 record with 11 saves and a 3.87 ERA in 102 games (57 starts) in his five-year professional career.

Last year, the 23-year-old, who regularly reaches the upper 90's with his fastball, split his season between Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron, posting a 3.42 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 mark in his first season working exclusively as a reliever.

Pitching for Zulia in the Venezuela Winter League, where his teammates include 2014 Phillies contributors Freddy Galvis and Aaron Altherr, Araujo has a 2-0 record with 11 strike outs, three walks and no runs allowed in 8 1/3 innings over seven appearances.

Another Phillies tie with the Zulia club is the team's assistance general manager Luis Amaro, the brother of Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. According to Luis, who played in the Phils' developmental ranks, he advised his sibling to keep an eye on the talented young pitcher.

"I told my brother Ruben some names to look out for and one of them was Araujo," Amaro stated via e-mail. "The Phillies did their due diligence in sending scouts to evaluate him."

Offering insight on Araujo's abilities, Amaro expressed confidence that he'll compete for a big league roster spot in the near future based on heavy impressions the native Venezuelan has made.

"I think the Phillies signed a great arm," Amaro said. "Elvis is a 6'6" left-handed pitcher who's throwing 92 to 97 (MPH) and throwing a lot of strikes with a plus breaking pitch. He has all the ability a Major League pitcher has and I don't see how he won't be a big leaguer in the near future. I think he will be one to watch in spring training."

Reports state that several organizations were interested in Araujo, but it seems the Phils' offer of a big league contract helped them finalize the deal. The addition leaves the team's 40-man roster at 34 players.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Phillies sign OF Francoeur, more to minor league deals

It was announced on Thursday that the Phillies and outfielder Jeff Francoeur have agreed to terms on a minor league contract. The agreement includes an invitation to spring training.

Last season for Triple-A El Paso in the Padres organization, Francoeur tallied a .289 batting average with 15 homers and 69 RBI in 115 games. In 10 big league games with San Diego in 2014, the six-foot-four 220-pounder went 2-for-24 (.083 avg). Francoeur, who has also played with Atlanta, Kansas City, Texas, San Francisco and the Mets, possesses a .262/.305/.417 slash line in parts of 10 seasons in the majors.

Francoeur grabbed headlines early last season after he was the target of a lengthy prank by his El Paso teammates, who convinced the 30-year-old that a member of the roster, hurler Jorge Reyes, was deaf.

In 2005, as a member of the Braves, Francoeur finished third in National League rookie of the year voting behind Phils first baseman Ryan Howard and Houston outfielder Willy Taveras.

Additionally, the Phils will bring back infielders Andres Blanco and Russ Canzler. The 30-year-old Blanco split time with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the Phils last year, posting a .277 average with a home run and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club. Canzler, 28, spent time last season with Double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley, sporting a combined .275 average with 13 homers and 58 RBI in 112 games.

Backstop John Hester, outfielder Xavier Paul as well as utility man Chase d'Arnaud, brother of former Phillies first round draft choice Travis d'Arnaud, were also inked by the Phillies.

With the addition of a veteran outfielder like Francoeur, along with the previously announced acquisitions of outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Darin Mastroianni, fans may wonder what the Phils intend to do with names like former top pick Zach Collier and longtime on-the-verge-of-a-breakout prospect Leandro Castro. Both youngsters have failed to prove themselves worthy of a big league call up in recent years, showing inconsistency at the plate while other outfield prospects like Cameron Perkins and Kelly Dugan have displayed more promise.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Biddle headed home from PR with elbow soreness

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced to reporters on Tuesday that top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle had experienced elbow soreness and would be headed to Philadelphia for evaluation.

The six-foot-five 220-pound lefty allowed seven earned runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings in his most recent outing for Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican/Roberto Clemente League on Saturday. In his only other outing in the fall/winter league, Biddle was charged with two earned runs in three innings of work on October 31st.

Biddle, a Philadelphia native, missed considerable time during the regular season this year, as he was sidelined with a concussion while pitching for Double-A Reading. This year Biddle sported a 5-10 record along with a 4.58 ERA and an 8.75 K/9 mark in 19 minor league starts (16 with Reading). He struck out seven and walked four in 5 1/2 total innings.

The concern surrounding Biddle's progress shouldn't be too high, while the injuries have piled up. Recent projections did not have had Biddle as a big league contributor next year and, at age 23, there is still plenty of time to get the youngster healthy and back in form.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Phillies public address announcer Dan Baker surprises groom

Over the weekend, my great friend Chris married his lady Brie.  Leading up to the big day, the other groomsmen, Brie and I teamed up to bring long-time Phillies and Eagles PA announcer Dan Baker aboard the wedding train to announce the parents and full bridal party at the reception as a surprise for the groom.

Below is a video clip of the look on Chris's face when the man in charge of entertainment for the evening, Darnell Smith of the Sixers, disclosed details about the special guest announcer to everyone in attendance, including Chris.  It's a cool moment.  There's also a clip of Baker's actual introduction of the lovely couple.  Check them out.



A video posted by Jay Floyd (@revjayfloyd) on

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Off-season league updates: Biddle falters; Martin, Hernandez, Cozens debut

This week's rundown includes details on some Phillies players making their off-season league debuts including Ethan Martin, Cesar Hernandez as well as outfield prospect Dylan Cozens along with updates on key names such as Jesse Biddle, Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr. Read ahead for all your fall/winter league updates from around the globe.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League

Lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle had an alarming outing with Mayaguez on Saturday, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings while striking out four and walking two. The 23-year-old sports a 15.19 ERA in two outings in Puerto Rico. Biddle, the Phils' top draft pick in 2010, posted a 5-10 record with a 4.58 ERA in 19 starts in the minors this year.

Also with Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin, who was acquired from the Dodgers by the Phils in the Roberto Hernandez trade this year, is 2-for-7 with an RBI in five games. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Emmanuel Marrero is 0-for-1 in two games for Santurce. The 21-year-old switch-hitting infielder posted a .214/.272/.279 slash like in 60 games with short-season Class A Williamsport this year.

Venezuelan Winter League-

Righty hurler Ethan Martin made his VWL debut this week, throwing two scoreless frames while allowing one hit and striking out one for La Guaira. The 25-year-old allowed two earned runs in four innings with the big league club and sported a 3.93 ERA in 32 games in the minors this year. Martin was acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade in 2012.

Outfielder Cam Perkins, through eight games with La Guaira, posted a .292 average with a triple and an RBI. Perkins last played on October 29th and was slated to be on the restricted list for a minimum of 14 days as he reportedly returned to the United States for some time. In 126 combined games at Double-A and Triple-A this year, the 6th round draft pick from 2012 posted a .271 average with five homers and 51 RBI while swiping eight bags.

Outfielder Aaron Altherr is batting .270 with three home runs, 21 RBI and a steal in 22 games played with Zulia. The 23-year-old righty batter played in two games with the big league Phillies this year. In 127 minor league games in 2014, Altherr, the Phillies' 9th round pick in 2009, posted a .237 average with 14 HR, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

Freddy Galvis is batting .305 with a homer and seven RBI through 14 games also with Zulia. In 43 big league contests this year, the switch-hitting infielder, who turns 26 years old this month, batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

With Zulia, first baseman/outfielder Wilmer Oberto is batting .219 with an RBI in 15 games played. Oberto, 22, split time this season between Class A full season Lakewood and short-season A level Williamsport, posting a .226/.301/.355 slash line in 75 total games.

Lino Martinez has allowed two earned runs in 4 1/3 innings (4.15 ERA) while striking out three and walking one for Zulia. The 22-year-old left-hander posted a 0-6 record with a 5.32 ERA in 37 appearances with Class A Advanced Clearwater this past season.

Right-handed pitcher Alexis Rivero has a 7.71 ERA in three appearances for Araguas. Rivero last pitched on October 20th. The 20-year-old native Venezuelan tallied a 2-0 record with one save and a 2.62 ERA in 12 games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies this year.

Infielder William Cuicas has had one at bat without a hit in two games played for Aragua. The 19-year-old posted a .310/.433/.431 slash line this year for the GCL Phillies.

Also with Aragua, outfielder Herlis Rodriguez has no hits in two at bats in four games played. The 20-year-old lefty batter posted a .260 average with five RBI in 28 combined games at three lower levels this past season.

Infielder Cesar Hernandez made his VWL debut this week, going 4-for-11 with two RBI in three games for Lara. In 66 games with the Phillies this year, the 24-year-old batted .237 with a homer, four RBI and a stolen base.

Catcher Gabriel Lino is batting .278 with two doubles, a walk and three RBI in nine games for Lara. The 21-year-old, who was acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade, played in 90 combined games with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, posting a combined .215 average with five home runs and 34 RBI.

In four games started, lefty pitcher Cesar Jimenez has a 1-2 record with a 3.93 ERA in five starts for Lara. Jimenez has struck out 18 while walking four in 18 1/3 innings. The 29-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games with the Phillies this year.

Dominican Winter League-
Third baseman Maikel Franco is batting .333 with two home runs and 11 RBI in 10 games with Cibao. The 22-year-old made his big league debut this year, tallying a .179 batting average with five RBI in 16 games for the Phillies.

Outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf was released by Licey after batting .167 with a home run and two RBI in 11 games. The 28-year-old posted a .235 average with three home runs and eight RBI in 52 big league games this year.

Righty pitcher Hector Neris has tossed seven scoreless appearances (5 2/3 total innings) for Este. The 25-year-old earned a win in his big league debut, his lone MLB appearance, with the Phils this year.

Arizona Fall League-

Outfielder Roman Quinn is batting .250 with two triples, a home run, seven RBI and 14 stolen bases in 21 games played. The 21-year-old bounced back from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon this year, posting a .257/.343/.370 line in 88 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater. Quinn was the Phils' 2nd round draft pick in 2011.

Catcher Logan Moore is batting .147 with a double and three RBI for the Scorpions. In 91 games combined between Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading, Moore posted a .227 average with four homers and 28 RBI this season. The 24-year-old was a ninth round draft choice by the Phillies in 2011.

Lefty pitcher Adam Morgan has a 1-2 record and a 6.61 ERA with 11 strike outs and three walks in six appearance. The 24-year-old returned to official action in the AFL after missing the entire 2014 regular season following shoulder surgery. Morgan was the Phils' 3rd round pick in 2011.

Righty reliever Colton Murray sports a 0-2 record with 3.39 ERA while striking out 11 and walking one in 13 2/3 innings in 10 appearances. The 24-year-old was selected by the Phillies in the 13th round of the 2011 draft. Murray had a 2.23 ERA and a 9.04 K/9 mark in 47 combined games between Clearwater and Reading this past season.

Lefty Ethan Stewart has an 8.59 ERA in six games while striking out 11 and walking 10 over 7 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old, who was a 47th round draft pick in 2010, posted a 5-7 record with a 4.82 ERA in 28 games for Clearwater this year.

In nine appearances, righty reliever Nefi Ogando has a 1-0 record with three saves, a 3.55 ERA while striking out 12 and walking four in 12 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old, who the Phillies acquired from Boston for John McDonald last year posted a 5-1 record with seven saves and a 6.27 ERA in 48 relief appearances for Reading in 2014.

Right-handed pitcher Ryan O'Sullivan is 0-2 with an 11.08 ERA in eight appearances for the Scorpions. The 24-year-old was acquired as the player to be named later from the Dodgers for Joe Blanton in 2012.

Mexican Winter League-

Catcher Sebastian Valle is batting .189 with a homer and four RBI in 14 games for Los Mochis. In 75 combined games between Reading and Lehigh Valley this year, the 24-year-old sported a .238/.262/.346 slash line.

Victor Arano, who the Phils acquired from the Dodgers as the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez deal this year, has a 6.35 ERA with four strike outs and no walks issued in 5 2/3 innings for Obregon. In 22 games for Great Lakes of the Class A Midwest League this past season, the 19-year-old posted a 4-7 record with three saves, a 4.08 ERA and an 8.69 K/9 mark.

Australian Baseball League-

Chace Numata is 4-for-13 (.308 avg) with a double and an RBI in three games for Melbourne. The 22-year-old catcher missed much of 2014 after having surgery to repair triangular fibrocartilage in his left wrist.

Outfielder Dylan Cozens had a rough games on Saturday for Melbourne, going 0-for-5 with five strike outs. Overall, the 20-year-old 3-for-15 with a home run and two RBI in three games. With Lakewood this year, the Phillies' 2nd round pick from 2012 posted a .248 average with 16 home runs and 62 RBI.

Outfielder Brian Pointer, playing with Perth, is 3-for-17 (.176 average) with a double, a triple and an RBI through four games. The 22-year-old lefty hitter batted .246 with 15 home runs, 53 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 123 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year. Pointer was the Phils' 28th round pick from 2010.

Third baseman Mitch Walding is 2-for-14 (.143 avg) with two walks through four games with Canberra. The 22-year-old batted .237 with seven home runs and 55 RBI in 108 games for Lakewood this year. Walding was the Phillies' 5th round draft choice in 2011.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Burnett declines option, becomes free agent

Reflect on how far the Phillies have fallen. As if three straight seasons without a postseason weren't enough to have the dismal state of the team sink in, they just had a not-quite-average veteran turn down $12.75 million in order to have a chance to pitch for a team that will actually compete next year.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Phillies off-season league notes: Biddle debuts, Quinn shines

Throughout the autumn and winter months, we'll be bringing you weekly roundups of how various Phillies players are performing in off-season leagues around the globe. This edition includes details on top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle's Puerto Rico debut, OF Roman Quinn, who shined in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game on Saturday as well as plenty more. Read ahead for all the details.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League-

JesseBiddle5
Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd
Lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle allowed two earned runs, striking out three and walking two in three innings of work in a start for Mayaguez in his season debut on Friday. The 23-year-old was the Phils' top draft choice in 2010. Biddle posted a 5-10 record with a 4.58 ERA in 19 starts in the minors this year.

Also with Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin, who was acquired from the Dodgers by the Phils in the Roberto Hernandez trade this year, is hitless with a walk in two at bats in two games. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Venezuelan Winter League-

With Zulia, outfielder Aaron Altherr is batting .250 with three home runs, 12 RBI  and an .865 OPS through 17 contests. The 23-year-old righty hitter played in two games with the big league Phillies this year. In 127 minor league games in 2014, Altherr, who was the Phillies' 9th round pick in 2009, posted a .237 average with 14 HR, 59 RBI and 13 steals.

Freddy Galvis is batting .263 with a home run and three RBI through nine games also with Zulia. In 43 big league games this year, the switch-hitting infielder, who turns 26 years old this month, batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

First baseman/outfielder Wilmer Oberto is batting .219 with an RBI while being caught stealing twice in two attempts. Oberto, who turns 22 years old on Sunday, split time this season between Class A full season Lakewood and short-season A level Williamsport, posting a .226/.301/.355 slash line in 75 total games.

Lefty hurler Lino Martinez has allowed two earned runs in 3 1/3 innings (5.40 ERA) while striking out two and walking one for Zulia. The 22-year-old posted a 0-6 record with a 5.32 ERA in 37 appearances with Clearwater this season.

Right-handed pitcher Alexis Rivero has a 7.71 ERA in three appearances for Araguas. The 20-year-old native Venezuelan tallied a 2-0 record with one save and a 2.62 ERA in 12 games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies this year.

Infielder William Cuicas has had one at bat without a hit in two games played for Aragua. The 19-year-old posted a .310/.433/.431 slash line this year for the GCL Phillies.

Also with Aragua, outfielder Herlis Rodriguez has no hits in two at bats in four games played. The 20-year-old lefty batter sported a .260 average with five RBI in 28 combined games at three lower levels this past season.

Catcher Gabriel Lino is 2-for-8 (.250 avg) with a double and a walk in six games played for Lara. The 21-year-old, who was acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade, played in 90 combined games with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, posting a combined .215 average with five homers and 34 RBI.

In four games started, lefty pitcher Cesar Jimenez has a 0-2 record with a 5.40 ERA. Jimenez has struck out 13 and walked three in 13 1/3 innings. The 29-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games for the Phillies this year.

Infielder Tyler Henson is batting .263 with a home run and two RBI through five games with La Guaira. The 26-year-old righty hitter sported a .272 average with nine homers and 45 RBI with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this past season.

Outfielder Cameron Perkins, through eight games with La Guaira, is batting .292 with a triple and an RBI.  In 126 combined games at Double-A and Triple-A this year, the 6th round draft pick from 2012 posted a .271 average with five homers and 51 RBI while swiping eight bags.

Dominican Winter League-

Third baseman Maikel Franco is batting .318 with two doubles, a homer and six RBI in five games played for Cibao. The 22-year-old made his big league debut this year, tallying a .179 batting average with five RBI in 16 games for the Phillies.

In 11 games for Licey, outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf is batting .167 with a home run and two RBI. The 28-year-old posted a .235 average with three home runs and eight RBI in 52 big league games this year.

Righty pitcher Hector Neris has tossed five scoreless appearances (four total innings) for Este. The 25-year-old earned a win in his big league debut, his lone MLB appearance, with the Phils this year.

Arizona Fall League (all Phillies play for Scottsdale)-

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Roman Quinn, image- Jay Floyd
Outfielder Roman Quinn is batting .258 with two triples, a homer, seven RBI and 13 SB in 17 games played. The 21-year-old bounced back from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon this year, posting a .257/.343/.370 line in 88 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater. In the AFL Fall Stars Game this weekend, the speedster went 2-for-2 with two RBI and a stolen base, playing left field and helping the East Division lock down a victory. Quinn was the Phils' 2nd round pick in 2011.

Catcher Logan Moore sports a .154 average with a double and three RBI in eight games for the Scorpions. The 24-year-old was a ninth round draft choice by the Phillies in 2011. In 91 games combined between Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading, Moore posted a .227 average with four homers and 28 RBI this season.

Left-handed pitcher Adam Morgan has a 1-0 record with a 5.79 ERA while striking out eight batters and walking one in 9 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old returned to official action in the AFL after missing the entire 2014 regular season following shoulder surgery. Morgan was the Phils' 3rd round pick in 2011.

Righty reliever Colton Murray sports a 0-2 record with 4.66 ERA while striking out 10 and walking one in 9 2/3 innings in eight appearances. The 24-year-old was selected by the Phils in the 13th round of the 2011 draft. Murray had a 2.23 ERA and a 9.04 K/9 mark in 47 combined games between Clearwater and Reading this season.

Lefty Ethan Stewart has a 6.75 ERA in four games while striking out nine and walking eight over 5 1/3 innings. The 23-year-old, who was a 47th round draft selection in 2010, posted a 5-7 record with a 4.82 ERA in 28 games for Clearwater this year.

In nine appearances, righty reliever Nefi Ogando has a 1-0 record with a 2.53 ERA while striking out nine and walking four in 10 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old, who the Phillies acquired from Boston for John McDonald last year, was also named to the Eastern Division's Fall Stars roster, but did not pitch in the contest.

Right-handed pitcher Ryan O'Sullivan is 0-2 with an 11.57 ERA in seven appearances for the Scorpions. The 24-year-old was acquired as the player to be named later from the Dodgers for Joe Blanton in 2012.

Mexican Winter League-

Catcher Sebastian Valle is batting .167 with a homer and two RBI in 12 games. In 75 combined games between Reading and Lehigh Valley this year, the 24-year-old sported a .238/.262/.346 slash line.

Victor Arano, who the Phils acquired from the Dodgers as the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez deal this year, has allowed four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings (7.71 ERA) in three appearances for Obregon. In 22 games for Great Lakes of the Class A Midwest League this past season, the 19-year-old posted a 4-7 record with three saves, a 4.08 ERA and an 8.69 K/9 mark.

Australian Baseball League-
Outfielder Brian Pointer, playing with Perth, is 3-for-17 (.176 average) with a double, a triple and an RBI through four games.  The 22-year-old lefty hitter batted .246 with 15 home runs, 53 RBI and 16 stolen bases in 123 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year.  Pointer was the Phils' 28th round pick from 2010.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rosenberg outrighted off Phillies' 40-man roster

Rosenberg, image- MiLB.com
The Phillies continued to trim their 40-man roster on Monday, announcing that B.J. Rosenberg cleared waivers and had been outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Rosenberg, who was a 13th round draft pick by the Phillies in 2008, appeared in 13 big league games this past season, sporting a 6.75 ERA with the Phils. Overall, in 57 big league contests during his career, the 29-year-old has a 4-2 record with one save and a 5.72 ERA.

In 20 minor league games this year, Rosenberg posted a 2-1 record with a save and a 5.73 ERA.

Rosenberg can elect to become a free agent as a result of the move.

Following the recent move involving Andres Blanco, the team's roster now stands at 38 players.

Ogando, Quinn to represent Phils in AFL Fall Stars Game

Nefi Ogando, image- Tug Haines
The Arizona Fall League announced rosters for it's annual "Fall Stars Game" to be held on Saturday, November 1st. In the showcase the Phillies will be represented on the East division squad by two players, righty reliever Nefi Ogando as well as outfielder Roman Quinn.

Ogando, 25, was acquired from Boston last year for veteran John McDonald. Thus far in seven appearances for Scottsdale in the AFL, the six-foot-two 185 pound Dominican sports a 1-0 record with two saves and a 2.08 ERA while striking out eight and walking three in 8 2/3 innings. With Double-A Reading this past season, Ogando, whose fastball regularly resides in the mid-90's, posted a 5-1 record with seven saves, a 6.27 ERA and a 9.16 K/9 mark.

The 21-year Quinn, who was the Phils' 2nd round pick in 2011, is batting .245 with a triple and 10 stolen bases in 13 games for Scottsdale. The Florida native bounced back nicely from Achilles tendon surgery this year, posting a .257/.343/.370 slash line with 32 steals in 88 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater. Quinn switched to the outfield from shortstop this season.

Other rising stars set to see action in the AFL's Fall Stars Game include top Twins prospect Byron Buxton, the Pirates' Josh Bell and Cubs hurler C.J. Edwards.

The game is slated to take place at 7pm EST and will be broadcast live on MLB Network.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Off-season league updates: Ruf, Perkins, Quinn, Altherr

Here's another weekly roundup of how various Phillies players are performing in off-season leagues around the globe.

In the Venezuelan Winter League-

CameronPerkins
Cam Perkins, image- Jay Floyd
With La Guaira, OF Cam Perkins has gone 2-for-12 (.167 avg) with an RBI in four contests. The 24-year-old was drafted by the Phillies in the sixth round in 2012 out of Purdue. In 126 combined games at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, Perkins posted a .271/.326/.384 slash line.

In nine games with Zulia, OF Aaron Altherr is 8-for-25 (.320 avg) with two doubles, two HR and six RBI. Altherr served as a big league roster filler at times this year, going 0-for-5 in two games. The 23-year-old was a ninth round pick in 2009.

Also with Zulia, OF Wilmer Oberto is batting .269 with an RBI in nine games. The 21-year-old Venezuelan split time this season between Class A full season Lakewood and short-season A level Williamsport, posting a .226/.301/.355 slash line in 75 total games.

Lefty hurler Lino Martinez allowed an earned run in two innings of work in a lone outing for Zulia thus far. The 22-year-old posted a 0-6 record with a 5.32 ERA in 37 appearances with Clearwater this season.

Alexis Rivero, a right-hander, has allowed two earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of work for Aragua while striking out three and walking three in a trio of appearances. The 19-year-old sported a 2-0 record with one save and a 2.62 ERA in 12 games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies this year.

19-year-old infielder William Cuicas is 0-for-1 in two games played for Aragua. Cuicas posted a .310 average with an .864 OPS in 42 GCL games this year.

Herlis Rodriguez, a lefty hitting outfielder, is without a hit in two at bats for Aragua. The 20-year-old batted .260 with five RBI in 28 combined games at three lower levels this past season.

In the Mexican Winter League-

Backstop Sebastian Valle is 3-for-14 (.214 avg) in four games for Los Mochis. In 75 combined games between Reading and Lehigh Valley this year, the 24-year-old sported a .238/.262/.346 slash line.

In the Dominican Winter League-

OF/1B Darin Ruf has been playing first base exclusively for Licey. The 28-year-old is 3-for-11 (.273 avg) with a double and a home run in three games. The right-handed batting Ruf was a 20th round draft pick in 2009.

Righty hurler Hector Neris has been a scoreless frame in a relief appearance for Licey. The 25-year-old Dominican native earned a win in his big league debut this past season.

In the Arizona Fall League (all Phillies players are on the Scottsdale roster)-

OF Roman Quinn is batting .267 with a triple, four RBI and a league leading eight stolen bases in 10 games. The 21-year-old bounced back from surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon this year, posting a .257/.343/.370 line in 88 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater.

Catcher Logan Moore is 2-for-14 (.143 avg) with an RBI in four games thus far. The 24-year-old was a ninth round draft choice by the Phillies in 2011. In 91 games combined between Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading, Moore posted a .227 average with four homers and 28 RBI this season.

Lefty hurler Adam Morgan returned to official action after missing the entire 2014 regular season following shoulder surgery. In two appearances, Morgan has allowed one earned run in 2 2/3 innings with three strike outs and no walks. The 24-year-old was the Phillies' third round draft choice in 2011.

Right-hander Colton Murray has taken two losses while allowing five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings with seven strike outs and one walk. Murray, a University of Kansas product, was selected by the Phils in the 13th round of the 2011 draft. The 24-year-old posted a 2.23 ERA and a 9.04 K/9 mark in 47 combined games between Clearwater and Reading this season.

Lefty Ethan Stewart has allowed one earned run in 3 1/3 innings while striking out six and walking five in two AFL appearances. The 23-year-old posted a 5-7 record with a 4.82 ERA in 28 games for Clearwater this year. Stewart was a 47th round pick in 2010.

Righty Ryan O'Sullivan has struggled, allowing 12 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings (19.06 ERA). The 24-year-old was acquired as the player to be named later from the Dodgers for Joe Blanton in 2013.

Right-hander Nefi Ogando has a win and a 2.70 ERA through five appearances while striking out six and walking two. The 25-year-old Dominican Republic native was acquired from Boston for John McDonald in 2013.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Infielder Blanco outrighted off Phillies' 40-man roster

The Phillies announced over the weekend that they've outrighted infielder Andres Blanco off their 40-man roster.

The 30-year-old switch-hitter posted a .277 average while slamming a home run and driving in three runs in 25 games at the big league level this season.

In the minors, Blanco sported a .241/.314/.285 slash line in 45 contests with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  He missed time in 2014 with an oblique issue.

Prior to this year, the Venezuela native had last appeared in the Major Leagues with Texas in 2011.  Blanco also has big league time with Kansas City and the Cubs.

Blanco was originally signed by the Phils as a minor league free agent prior to the 2012 season.

Image- Jay Floyd

PNTV: Jesse Biddle Profile Segment

Lefty pitching prospect Jesse Biddle missed considerable time this season after suffering a concussion, but the Philadelphia native returned to action late in the season and is now back to full health.

The Phillies' top draft pick from 2010 has long been a highly regarded prospect, but due to his lack of output in recent years and the portrayal of his time off this year as a mental break, rather than necessary due to his health, Biddle has slipped on some player rankings.

Biddle, who posted a 5-10 record along with a 4.58 ERA in 19 minor league games this season, took the mound for the Phillies in the closing game of the Fall Instructional League and is slated to pitch in the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico this off-season to make up for missed time.

The ailment for the youngster was a result of being pelted in the head with hail during a storm in Reading this past May.

Prior to his injury this season, along with the guys at 20/20 Visual Media, I produced a profile segment on Biddle for Phillies Nation's weekly TV program. While the 22-year-old was sidelined, the segment was shelved and did not air, but we're now bringing it to you as an online exclusive outtake from the show. Check out the media player below to view the piece.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Phillies release nine prospects

According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Phillies released nine minor league talents this week.  Among them, righty hurlers Mark Meadors and Jeb Stefan as well as infielder Trey Williams.

Meadors, 22, was a 21st round draft selection by the Phillies in 2013 out of Cowley County Community College.  The six-foot-four 200 pounder posted a 2-3 record along with two saves, a 3.76 ERA and a 7.36 K/9 mark in 37 outings in his time with the Phils.

Stefan, a six-foot-four 220 pounder, was a 22nd round draft choice in 2012 out of Louisiana Tech University. Stefan, 24, sported a 6-12 record with a 6.44 ERA in 29 games with Class A Advanced Clearwater this past season.

Third baseman Williams, a right-handed hitter, was selected by the Phils in the 7th round of the 2013 draft.  The 20-year-old posted a .197 average with five home runs, 22 RBI and one steal in 76 games in the rookie level Gulf Coast League over two seasons. 

Also trimmed by the Phils were 21-year-old right-handed pitcher Gregorio Santos, 21-year-old lefty pitcher Francibel Alejo, 24-year-old outfielder Nick Ferdinand, 24-year-old middle infielder Anthony Phillips, 20-year-old second baseman/outfielder Olvy Marte and 22-year-old right-hander Robinson Torres.