Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Off-season check in: RHP Tyler Viza

Tyler Viza 1
Tyler Viza, image- Jay Floyd
Righty hurler Tyler Viza had a noteworthy season in his first full year in the pro ranks in 2014. After being the Phillies' 32nd round draft choice in 2013 and posting a 1-0 record with a 1.41 ERA in 12 games with the rookie level Gulf Coast League team, the Arizona native dealt with considerable struggles this year. Notching Class A Lakewood's all-time record for losses, with his 3-17 record, the six-foot-three 170-pounder held tough, sticking in the BlueClaws' rotation for the full campaign, sporting a 5.29 ERA with 80 strike outs and 24 walks issued in 126 innings pitched over 24 starts.

Not discouraged by the infamous achievement, the 20-year-old is looking forward to a fresh start in the upcoming season and has been focused to stay in shape and improve during the fall and winter months.

This week, I spoke with Viza about how he's maintaining his conditioning, how he feels about last season in retrospect and more. Read ahead for the full interview.

-Off the top, I'm just wondering what your current workout routine is. Any gym training, cardio, that sort thing you're doing to keep in shape?

As of right now my off season routine consists of throwing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each of those are followed by an upper body workout. On the rest of the days, those are my leg and core workout days.

-Is the fitness routine provided by the Phillies, or something you put together yourself?

My workouts consist of lifts that the Phillies provide for us and a little bit of lifts that I did throughout the season that I benefited from.

-What is the most different about this off-season compared to ones in the past?

This off-season is different from last because I am trying to get my body and mind to a place where I can come into spring training ready to go. I feel as though I am in the best shape of my life so far and I am very antsy to get back on the mound this (upcoming) season.

-Are you holding down an off-season job at all? Any sort of coaching or clinics you're helping with?

I am doing little lessons here and there for younger ball players, trying to give back to the community.

-Retrospect point of view...months later, what is your level of satisfaction with your first full pro season?

Looking back on the season, I feel as though I learned a lot about myself and the pitcher that I want to become. I had some difficult times, as any player does in their career, and I was determined not to let the game beat me up and to learn from my mistakes moving forward. I am very happy that I got to learn and experience this earlier in my career.

I am very excited once again to get back at it this year.

Friday, December 12, 2014

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 73: Matt Imhof Interview

On the 73rd edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast Tug and Jay are joined by lefty pitching prospect Matt Imhof, who was the Phillies' 2nd round draft choice this year. Additionally, the guys talk about the Phils' rebuild mode kicked off by the team trading former National League MVP Jimmy Rollins and what Rollins', as well as other core team members', places in team history should be. Wondering if Cole Hamels is next to go and the organization's cranky fan base are also a topics of discussion.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.

You can also check out previous episodes and subscribe on iTunes.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Phillies nab two minor league hurlers in return for Rollins

At long last, it was announced on Thursday what the Phillies would obtain in return for franchise all-time hits leader Jimmy Rollins. Righty pitcher Zach Eflin and lefty Tom Windle are the players headed east.

On Wednesday, news leaked that the Phillies and Dodgers agreed on a deal for the three-time All-Star and 2007 National League most valuable player, Rollins, but it wasn't know what the Phils would get in the swap for close to 24 hours.

The 20-year-old Eflin was the Padres' first round draft choice (33rd overall) in 2012 and had just been acquired from San Diego in the deal for Matt Kemp. With Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore this year, Eflin, who stands six-foot-four and weighs 200 pounds, tallied a 10-7 record along with a 3.80 ERA and a 6.5 K/9 mark in 24 starts.

Scouts like Eflin's excellent change up and his fastball sits in the low 90's with potential to increase. His pitch menu also includes a slider.

Windle, a six-foot-four 215-pounder, was the Dodgers' 2nd round draft choice in 2013. In 26 games (25 starts) with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga last season, the 22-year-old University of Minnesota product posted a 12-8 record with a 4.26 ERA and a 7.2 K/9 mark.

His fastball velocity can reach the mid-90's. Windle's repertoire also features a solid slider and a change up that is said to need improvement.

It's likely that both of these pitchers will make their way into Phillies Nation's top prospect rankings that begin their annual countdown roughly four weeks from now.

Phils add two, lose three in Rule 5 draft

Herrera
Odubel Herrera
In the major league portion of the yearly Rule 5 draft that took place this morning at the MLB Winter Meetings, the Phillies selected 2B/SS Odubel Herrera from the Texas Rangers and lefty hurler Andy Oliver from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Each player must remain on the Phillies' big league roster for the entire 2015 season or would have to be offered back to the team they were selected from.

Last season combined at Class A Advanced and Double-A in the minors, the 22-year-old posted a .315/.383/.388 slash line with 21 steals in 125 games. He has played 135 of his 574 pro games at the position that is of most concern with the reported trade of Jimmy Rollins, shortstop. Defensively, it is said that Herrera has some progress to make with the glove, but with 10 games played in the outfield last year, he touts the versatility that enhances his value as a bench player, if the Phils are to keep him on their roster next year.

Currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, 5-foot-11 lefty batter sports a league-best .374 batting average with a .986 OPS in 42 games with La Guaira, the same team that Phils pitching prospects Ethan Martin and Mike Nesseth play for.

Oliver, who touts questionable control (7.6 BB/9 in 77 games the past two seasons at Triple-A Indianapolis), fills a void in a collection of lefties competing for a big league spot in spring traning next year after the dealing of Antonio Bastardo.

As a reliever last year, the 27-year-old, who has big league experience with the Tigers, tallied a 3-4 record with 13 saves and a 2.53 ERA and a .157 BAA.

In the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, the Phillies elected not to make any selections, but had a trio of players plucked from their organization.

Righty hurler Kyle Simon was taken by Colorado. He had been acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade. In 36 games with Double-A Reading last year, the 24-year-old posted a 5-2 record with three saves and a 2.64 ERA.  He also appeared in 10 games at the Triple-A level, posted a 9.42 ERA while striking out eight and walking 10 in 14 1/3 innings.

Delvi Francisco, a right-handed reliever, had been converted to the mound after spending two seasons in the outfield. The 22-year-old sported an 8.29 ERA in 22 games with Class A Lakewood last year.

Outfielder Peter Lavin was taken by the Dodgers. The 26-year-old was a 20th round draft choice in 2011. He posted a .287/332/.441 slash line in 128 combined games with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading last season.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 Phillies Rule 5 Draft Primer

Rule5The MLB Winter Meetings haven't resulted in much excitement for Phillies fans thus far, but Thursday's Rule 5 draft could have some bearing on the team's near future, if the Phils have their way.

Phillies Rule 5 selections in recent years that ended up being returned to their original teams include Ender Inciarte (2012) and Kevin Munson (2013). Players that remained with the Phils for the entire following season in recent years include Michael Martinez (2010) and David Herndon (2009).

Righty hurler Seth Rosin was taken from the Phillies in last December's Rule 5 draft and was returned to the organization after officially being property of three different teams in the interim time.

Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft when they are not on their major league organization's 40 man roster and 1) were signed to a contract at age 19 or older and have been in that organization for four years, OR 2) were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in that organization for five years.

Three minor league pitchers were recently added to the Phils' 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Those hurlers were lefties Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan and right-hander Nefi Ogando.

Players that could draw interest from other teams this week...

OF Zach Collier- The Phils' first round (34th overall) selection from 2008 hasn't shown a great amount of consistency, but a torrid stretch in August for Double-A Reading this year kept him afloat in the eyes of some. Overall in 86 games for the Fightins last season, the 23-year-old sported a .240 average with a career high nine homers and 29 RBI. In 552 career games, Collier has a .241/.313/.359 slash line. A solid defender, Collier's ceiling may be a big league reserve, but isn't going to be ready for that assignment next season, based on what he showed in 2014.

RHP Colton Murray- The Phils' 13th round draft choice from 2011 had a bit of a breakout year in 2013, posting a 3-7 record with eight saves, a 2.23 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 mark in 47 outings combined for Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Murray, a reliever who regularly clocks his fastball in the mid-90's, also participated in the Arizona Fall League, where he tallied a 0-2 record with a 4.91 ERA in 11 appearances. Murray has a future on the big leagues...whether that's as a "Quadruple-A" injury filler or if he can hold a steady role depends on his progression. Regardless of that uncertainty, he's likely the individual on this list that has the best shot at holding a big league roster spot for the entire 2015 season.

1B/C/LF/3B Willians Astudillo- The Venezuelan posted a .333 average with Class A Lakewood this year, which placed second in the Sally League. The 23-year-old slammed four homers and drove in 61 in 117 games last season. Astudillo, who missed 2013 with an injury, makes great contact and is aggressive at the plate. There isn't a player out there that enjoys himself at the ballpark on a daily basis more than Astudillo and his love for the game is reflected in his output. His ceiling might not be an everyday big leaguer, but he could be a contributor at the upper levels.

Other eligible Phils players include infielder Carlos Alonso and outfielder Peter Lavin, who coaches have told me should see big league time in their futures. In an organization with upper level minor league infield and outfield depth, perhaps another team's front office giving one of these guys a break is what they need.

More eligible names: RHP Kyle Simon, RHP Perci Garner, 1B/3B Harold Martinez, RHP Mike Nesseth, RHP Tyler Knigge and LHP Ethan Stewart. Rosin is also available once more.

Expect the Phillies to be in the market for help on the mound. Statistically, nearly two-thirds of picks made in recent years have been hurlers and you know the way the saying goes...a team can never have too much pitching.

Names worth considering...

RHP Mychal Givens. The 24-year-old was a 2nd round pick in 2009. He has plus velocity and mixes his offerings very well with a deceiving delivery. In 36 games combined with Class A Advanced and Double-A this year, Givens posted a 1-2 record with three saves, a 3.53 ERA, a .189 BAA and an 8.43 K/9 mark.

RHP Greg Infante. The 24-year-old, who stands six-foot-eight, has clocked triple digits with his fastball. As a starter in Class A Advanced this year, Infante posted a 7-9 record with a 3.30 ERA, a .230 BAA and a 5.89 K/9 mark.. He would project as a reliever in the upper levels.

LHP Patrick Schuster. The 24-year-old was the top pick in last year's Rule 5 draft and is eligible again. Combined in 57 games at Double-A and Triple-A this year, Schuster, who was a 13th round draft choice in 2009, sported a 3-2 record with a 3.02 ERA, a .213 BAA and a 7.86 K/9 mark. He is touted as a lefty specialist.

RHP Jandel Gustave. A 22-year-old, the Dominican native hasn't pitched above Class A, but with a high-90's fastball, he might be worth the risk for a team that's not a contender next year. In 23 games (14 starts) in the A level Midwest League last year, Gustave tallied a 5-5 record along with a 5.01 ERA, a .289 BAA and a 9.34 K/9 mark.

Keep it locked here on Thursday for updates on any additions and subtractions resulting from this year's Rule 5 draft.

*An earlier version of this post with details on an extra pick awarded from the Cubs, referenced those details in error.  That grievance was in fact decided last year.  The Phillies elected not to use that pick at that time.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Off-season league updates: Hernandez heats up

Once again, we're back with another weekly rundown of how Phillies players are performing in fall and winter leagues around the globe. Read ahead for all the latest stats and updates.

Venezuelan Winter League-

CesarHernandez
Cesar Hernandez, image- Jay Floyd
After going 17-for-37 (.459 avg) in his last nine games, infielder Cesar Hernandez is batting .356 with five doubles, 13 RBI and three stolen bases for Lara. 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 .265 with five doubles, four RBI in 19 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 13 appearances (six starts) with Lara, lefty hurler Cesar Jimenez has a 2-4 record with a 3.48 ERA while striking out 29 and walking eight in 31 innings of work. The 30-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games with the Phillies this year.

After a 0-for-4 day on Sunday, shortstop Freddy Galvis is batting .246 with seven doubles, a triple, a homer and nine RBI. In 43 big league contests this year, the 25-year-old switch-hitter batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

Elvis Araujo sports a 4-0 record with a 0.61 ERA in 12 relief outings for Zulia. The 23-year-old left-hander, who was signed as a free agent this off-season, 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.

Righty pitcher Ethan Martin has a 0-1 record with a 4.50 ERA in three outings with five strike outs and four walks over six innings for La Guaira. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 Shane Victorino trade. Martin appeared in two games with the Phillies this year, allowing two earned runs in four innings.

Also for La Guaira, righty Mike Nesseth has allowed seven earned runs in two innings. 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.

Infielder Andres Blanco is batting .308 with five doubles, a triple, 10 RBI and a stolen base in 20 games for Magallanes. The 30-year-old batted .277 with a homer and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club in 2014.

With Aragua, righty Manny Martinez has thrown six scoreless relief appearances. 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.

Corner infielder/backstop Willians Astudillo is 1-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in one game for Anzoategui after making his season debut this past week. The 23-year-old was the catalyst for the Class A Lakewood team this year, where he finished second in the South Atlantic League with a .333 average.

Dominican Winter League-

Third baseman Maikel Franco is batting .269 with five doubles, seven home runs and 26 RBI through 30 games with the Gigantes. 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, then made his major league debut in September and tallied a .179 average with two doubles and five RBI in 16 games.

Right-handed reliever Hector Neris extended his scoreless appearance streak to open the DR season to 15 this weekend. In 12 innings for the Toros, Neris has struck out seven and walked four. The 25-year-old appeared in one game with the Phils this year, earning a win in his big league debut and posted a 3.61 ERA in 48 minor league contests this year.

With the Aguilas, righty pitcher Nefi Ogando has tossed two scoreless appearances. In 2 2/3 innings, Ogando has a strike out and has not allowed a walk. Earlier this off-season in the Arizona Fall League, the 25-year-old sported a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.07 ERA while striking out 15 and walking four in 14 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Luis Garcia has allowed an unearned run in two innings of work for the Estrellas. In 13 big league games this year, the 27-year-old posted a 6.43 ERA while striking out 12 and walking 13 in 14 innings.

Australian Baseball League-

Outfielder Dylan Cozens has a .239 average with five doubles, four homers and eight RBI 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 is batting .250 with five doubles and seven RBI in 19 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 going hitless in his most recent six games, outfielder Brian Pointer has a .169 average with three doubles, two triples, a homer and five RBI for 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 .226 with a home run and 17 RBI in 16 games with 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.

Fans can vote for Numata and Pointer to be the final entrant on the World team for the ABL's upcoming All-Star Game by visiting this link.

Mexican Winter League-

Victor Arano has a 5.79 ERA with 11 strike outs and three walks issued in 14 innings for Obregon. The 19-year-old right-hander was acquired as the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers trade this year. In 22 games 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.

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 16 games for Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin is batting .333 with two doubles and four RBI. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Catcher Rene Garcia has a .265 average with a home run and six RBI in 10 games with Carolina. The 24-year-old righty hitter was signed by the Phillies recently as a minor league free agent.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Phillies off-season league updates: Altherr, Araujo, Franco, Hernandez, more

Baseball never stops and neither does Phillies Nation. It's another weekly edition of the Phillies off-season league rundown featuring updates on players from around the globe. Read ahead for all the info with activity through Saturday.

Venezuelan Winter League-

Aaron Altherr
Aaron Altherr, image- Jay Floyd
Aaron Altherr is done with his time in Venezuela. The righty batting outfielder hit .286 with four home runs, 27 RBI and a stolen base in 31 games for Zulia. The 23-year-old 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 31 games with Zulia, shortstop Freddy Galvis is batting .254 with seven doubles, a triple, a homer and eight RBI. In 43 big league contests this year, the 25-year-old switch-hitter batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

Elvis Araujo sports a 2-0 record with a 0.66 ERA in 11 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.

Righty pitcher Ethan Martin returned from a back injury and pitched twice in the past week for La Guaira, allowing three earned runs while striking out four and walking four in four innings of work. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 Shane Victorino trade. Martin appeared in two games with the Phillies this year, allowing two earned runs in four innings.

Also for La Guaira, righty Mike Nesseth has allowed seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. 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.

In 21 games, infielder Cesar Hernandez is batting .317 with five doubles, 12 RBI and three stolen bases. Hot of late, Hernandez is batting .379 with eight runs scored in his last seven games. 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 .317 with five doubles, four RBI in 16 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 3.56 ERA while striking out 29 and walking eight in 30 1/3 innings of work in 12 appearances. The 30-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games with the Phillies this year.

Infielder Andres Blanco is batting .367 with five doubles, a triple, eight RBI and a stolen base in eight games for Magallanes. The 30-year-old batted .277 with a homer and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club in 2014.

With Aragua, righty Manny Martinez has pitched three scoreless innings in four appearances. 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.

Corner infielder/backstop Willians Astudillo is 1-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in one game for Anzoategui after making his season debut this past week. The 23-year-old was the catalyst for the Class A Lakewood team, where he finished second in the South Atlantic League with a .333 average.

Dominican Winter League-

Third baseman Maikel Franco is 5-for-34 (.147 avg) in his last nine games with the Gigantes. Through 24 games, the 22-year-old sports a .242 batting average with six home runs and 23 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, then made his major league debut in September and tallied a .179 average with two doubles and five RBI in 16 games.

Right-handed reliever Hector Neris has made 13 scoreless appearances for the Toros while striking out six and walking four in 10 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old appeared in one game with the Phils this year, earning a win in his big league debut.

With the Aguilas, righty pitcher Nefi Ogando tossed a scoreless appearance in his DR League season debut this weekend. Earlier this off-season in the Arizona Fall League, the 25-year-old sported a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.07 ERA while striking out 15 and walking four in 14 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Luis Garcia also made his DR season debut this weekend, allowing an unearned run in an innings of work for the Estrellas. In 13 big league games this year, the 27-year-old posted a 6.43 ERA while striking out 12 and walking 13 in 14 innings.

Australian Baseball League-

Outfielder Dylan Cozens has a .204 batting average with five doubles, three home runs, six RBI and two steals in four tried through 15 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 is batting .271 with four doubles and five RBI in 16 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.

Outfielder Brian Pointer has a .207 average with three doubles, two triples, a homer and five RBI in 15 games with Perth after going 0-for-12 this weekend. 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 .218 with a home run and 15 RBI in 14 games with 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 a 5.84 ERA and no decisions while striking out nine and walking two over 12 1/3 innings in 10 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. In 22 games 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.

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 14 games for Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin is batting .273 with a double and two RBI. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Catcher Rene Garcia has a .286 average with a home run and five RBI in eight games with Carolina. The 24-year-old righty hitter was signed by the Phillies recently as a minor league free agent.


This post was originally published on PhilliesNation.com.

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.