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.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 72: Jake Fox Interview

On the 72nd edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast, Tug and Jay are joined by cerebral slugger Jake Fox, who talks about his time in the Phillies' organization this year, his transition to playing with the Somerset Patriots this year, his possible future destination, having a plan at the plate and plenty more. The guys also discuss the postseason success of the Kansas City Royals as well as Phillies playing in off-season leagues.

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.




Sunday, October 12, 2014

Off-season Leagues Underway in Arizona and Venezuela

The big league postseason is still in full swing, but many Phillies prospects have begun to get extra playing time in off-season leagues. As the weeks roll on, more players will debut as more leagues get going.

Throughout the fall and winter months we'll be providing updates and reviews of how those players and others are performing around the globe. Read ahead for all the latest from the Arizona Fall League, the Venezuelan Winter League and beyond.

Playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the AFL...

RomanQuinn
Roman Quinn, image- Jay Floyd
OF Roman Quinn is 2-for-15 (.133 avg) with three runs, three walks and three stolen bases in four games. The switch-hitting Quinn was the Phils' second round draft selection in 2011. The 21-year-old bounced back from surgery to repair a ruptures Achilles tendon this year, posting a .257/.343/.370 line in 88 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater.

Catcher Logan Moore is 1-for-6 (.167 avg) in two games thus far. The 24-year-old was a ninth round draft choice by the Phillies in 2011.

Lefty hurler Adam Morgan returned to official action after missing the entire 2014 regular season following shoulder surgery. In one appearance, Morgan threw a scoreless frame, striking out one while allowing no hits or walks. The 24-year-old was the Phillies' third round draft pick in 2011.

Right-hander Colton Murray has pitched four innings, allowing two earned runs while striking out four and walking one. 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 Double A 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 allowed six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings in one start thus far. 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 earned a win in his third appearance on Saturday. In his three outings, the 25-year-old, who sports a high-90's fastball, has fanned three and walked one in four innings. The Dominican Republic native was acquired from Boston for John McDonald in 2013.

In the VWL...

With La Guaira OF Cam Perkins has gone 2-for-8 in two games. The 24-year-old was drafted by the Phillies in the sixth round in 2012 out of Purdue. In 126 combined games at Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, Perkins posted a .271/.326/.384 line.

In three games with Zulia, OF Aaron Altherr is 4-for-9 (.444 avg) with two doubles, a home run, five RBI and two walks. 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 2-for-7 with a walk. 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 thrown 2 1/3 innings while allowing no runs in one appearance for Aragua. 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 appeared in one game on defense, but did not record a plate appearance for Aragua. Cuicas posted a .310 average with an .864 OPS in 42 GCL games this year.

Additionally, Jesse Biddle got his off-season underway in the Fall Instructional League's final contest, throwing two innings in a tune up outing on Friday. The lefty prospect, who turns 23-years-old later this month, is expected to pitch for Mayaguez in Puerto Rico when the Roberto Clemente League gets underway on October 30th.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Quinn excited for Arizona Fall League assignment

RomanQuinn-TugHaines
Roman Quinn, image- Tug Haines
Less than a year removed from suffering a significant injury, Roman Quinn is fresh off a solid half season in the minors and is set to see action as the Phillies' premiere name in the Arizona Fall League.

Originally forecast to miss the majority of the 2014 season, Quinn was back on the field by mid-May and impressed many with the strides that he took to improve his offensive game.

Playing in 88 contests, the most he's played in any of his three pro seasons, for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Quinn returned from surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon that he suffered last off-season to post a .257 batting average along with seven home runs, 36 RBI and 32 stolen bases.

Selected in the second round of the 2011 amateur draft, Quinn, who was mainly an outfielder in high school, was switched to shortstop by the Phillies after signing his first professional contract. The quick rise of top 2013 draft choice J.P. Crawford, a natural shortstop, did away with the need for Quinn to continue manning an infield spot. He was repositioned back to center field, a change that boosted his comfort level on the field.

"It was good news to me, because outfield had been my primary position. It's like being at home and it felt real good to go back out there. It just took a lot of pressure off me and I can go out there and relax rather than worrying about so much," Quinn explained during a phone interview this week.

According to the five-foot-10 170-pound Quinn, he knew for much of this year that the Phillies wanted him to see some extra game action over the off-season to make up for time missed due to his injury.

"We definitely had plans for off-season ball after I missed the first couple months of the season," Quinn stated. "We were definitely going to do something in the off-season, that's what my outfield coordinator Andy Abad was telling me."

The 21-year-old Florida native will take the field with some specific goals in mind, recognizing areas of his game that need improvement.

"I just want to improve my at bats from the left side and work on my routes out there (in the outfield). I think I can get better jumps. It's just the little things like that. I would love to cut down on my strike outs and improve my walk-to-strike out ratio. I think I need to play in more games since I missed quite a bit of time," Quinn asserted.

A natural right-handed hitter, Quinn, who began switch-hitting at the behest of the Phils after turning pro, struggled somewhat from the left side this past season, posting a .227/.323/.349 line as a lefty batter compared to 327/.391/.418 as a righty. He struck out 80 times while walking 36 times this season.

The news that he'd be seeing his playing time in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, which features many top prospects each year, was something that excited Quinn. Recent graduates of the AFL include Jedd Gyorko, Nolan Arenado, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, who were all there in 2011. Quinn sees the pace at which the league's top performers can reach the big leagues and looks forward to his opportunity to shine.

"It's definitely an honor, man. Just to be playing with guys at such a high level and (who are) considered the top prospects in their organization, you know, I've been looking forward to it, so I was very happy when I was told I was coming out here," Quinn said.

Joining Quinn on the Scottsdale Scorpions roster from the Phillies will be catcher Logan Moore along with pitchers Adam Morgan, Colton Murray, Ryan O'Sullivan, Ethan Stewart and Nefi Ogando. Lehigh Valley pitching coach Ray Burris is also working with the team.

The league's schedule gets underway Tuesday afternoon with Scottsdale's opening contest taking place in the evening against Salt River.

Friday, October 3, 2014

One of the greatest poker hands ever?

High-stakes poker master Benny Spindler plays with the utmost confidence and boasts a great collection of achievements at professional tables across the world.

His style of play has garnered criticism from opponents, but it hasn't changed the manner in which Spindler operates at the table.

Fans of aggressive and exciting poker play will thoroughly enjoy the video posted below in which the German born high roller, Spindler, takes out some formidable foes and appears to defy any and all written or unwritten roles in the great game of poker.

In the clip, the shaggy haired Spindler faces off with top table talent Paul Foltyn, who bows out with the better hand with no way of knowing that the brazen wunderkind was bluffing his way to a dominant showing.  When the typical guidelines dictate that Spindler should be playing more conservatively and likely should have not proceeded beyond the early stages of the hand, he would go on to stun viewers and his opponents by prevailing.

Commentators James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton can be heard expressing their shock regarding the path that the hand takes, but neither broadcaster seems surprised that Spindler, who has built a reputation for going against the grain, continues onward beyond the initial bet.  In fact, early in the video, Hartigan refers to Spindler as a "raising machine".  That moniker proves accurate.

Spindler proves victorious by going all-in with a weak hand, forcing his last remaining opponent to fold.

In the end, a victorious Spindler is the only one that does not express some type of boggled response.  He's a force at the tables and this video proves why he is considered a remarkable player.



This post is sponsored by Spreaditfast.

Monday, September 29, 2014

PhoulBallz Interview: 3rd round draft pick Aaron Brown

AaronBrownMiLB
Aaron Brown, image- MiLB.com
Prior to being selected as the Phillies' 3rd round draft pick this year, Aaron Brown was a dominant college pitcher. In 17 starts for Pepperdine in 2014, he posted a 13-1 record along with a 1.95 ERA. Brown's efforts at the plate were just as impressive, as he sported a .314 average with 13 homers, 49 RBI and a .908 OPS.

Citing his power and bat speed, the Phils see Brown's highest ceiling as an offensive player. After playing roughly two months with short-season Class A Williamsport, Brown was promoted to full season A level Lakewood to close out the season with a couple weeks remaining on the schedule. Lakewood manager Greg Legg, a baseball lifer, praised Brown's intensity and asserted that three of the hardest hits balls he saw all season were off the bat of Brown during the short time he was with the club.

In 61 games in the minors, after making his pro debut, Brown tallied a .268 average while slugging four home runs and driving in 21 runs.

Earlier this month, prior to the end of the minor league season, I spoke with Brown, who sees his own future as an outfielder, about his draft experience, how college prepared him for the pro ranks and plenty more. Read ahead for the full interview.

-What was your draft experience like this year?

It was a great experience. Just getting picked by the Phillies in the third round was pretty awesome. And then, you know, I just wanted to come out here and started learning, kind of developing as a person and as a player and so far, that's been the experience. So, it's been a lot of fun learning from the guys, playing with these guys as well and it's just been a great time so far.

-Were the Phillies among teams you expected could pick you or were they a surprise?

Yeah, they were definitely on the radar. And through my advisers, I had heard a couple things from the Phillies early on and they were always one of the teams that I knew were pretty interested in me and it turned out they called my name and it worked out pretty well.

-How did you celebrate when you got the news you were selected?

Well, for me, it was practicing at TCU before super regionals. And it was a lot of fun. I heard the news, was feeling really excited for the opportunity and just went out there and spent the rest of the day with my teammates and coaches and enjoyed that last part of the college career.

-How did playing at Pepperdine prepare you for a career in the pro ranks?

It prepared me very well. That's a great program out of southern California. The coaching staff there did a very good job of allowing me to develop as a player and, you know, just teaching me the game, the ins and outs, and I felt very prepared to come out here and compete.

-What thoughts can you share about your half season playing in Williamsport and Lakewood?

Williamsport was a great place, honestly. Just going out there and having that fan base to start, they get between 2,000 and 3,000 a game, that was a great atmosphere. I had fun there in my first couple months of pro ball, and had the opportunity to come up (to Lakewood) and play in front of 5,000 people every night is pretty sweet as well. Playing (in Lakewood) is just another step up and is part of the journey. It's been a great experience thus far.

-You mentioned your coaches in college helping you. What can you share about the coaches you've encountered with the Phillies thus far?

They've been awesome. Just very open and honest with me, allowing me to work on some things and giving me a couple tips here and there and a lot of it is the mental side of the game. Everyone here has the physical ability and the talent. But, you've got to understand the mental side of the game and that's where I've been growing the most.

-When was the first time you thought to yourself that you could possibly have a career as a professional baseball player?

Out of high school, when I was being talked to by some of the pro teams, I thought, 'Okay, this is an opportunity in front of me', so I knew that if I put my time towards it and really focused on it that I would have an opportunity. And the dream has always been to play pro ball and now, I'm here and I'm working towards it and it's been a very really experience.

-If you were asked to scout yourself, what would you say?

Very aggressive player. Loves to try to make plays. You know, just 110% all the time. Goes out, plays hard every day, loves the game, has a passion for it. That's what I would tell you.

-What players did you admire before turning pro and were they pitchers or offensive guys?

I've always been a fan of Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and just recently Mike Trout, as he's been proving what he can do at the big league level. Those are guys I admire and I try to model my game after and try to watch them and learn from them too. Those are definitely some of the guys.

I do watch Mike Trout a lot, his swing and the way he plays the outfield and I pick up things here and there and kind of make it a part of my own game. Watching him has allowed me to be a better player.

Friday, September 26, 2014

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 71: Phillies Lefty Mario Hollands Interview

The PhoulBallz Podcast is back with episode 71. On the latest edition of the show, Tug and Jay are joined by Phillies rookie hurler Mario Hollands, who discusses his first season in the big leagues, his days in the minors, Jonathan Papelbon as a leader and plenty more. The guys also discuss the rookie campaigns of David Buchanan and Kenny Giles as well as Cole Hamels' remarkable year.

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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall Instructional League is underway, roster listed within

Fall instructional league got underway over the weekend. Instructs, as it's commonly referred to, is a month-long off-season league, generally consisting of recently drafted players and foreign signees, players that missed time due to injury, or those that participated in short-season leagues, allowing those individuals to refine their skills or add innings/at bats to their season. It also serves as an opportunity for a greater number of developmental coaches to see newly signed players and those they've not been exposed to in action.

Here's the Phillies' complete roster of players listed in attendance is listed below.

PITCHERS
Victor Arano
Kyle Bogese
Ismael Cabrera
Austin Davis
Yan De La Cruz
Elniery Garcia
Scott Harris
Matt Imhof
Carlos Indriago
Tanner Kiest
Franklyn Kilome
Brandon Leibrandt
Sam McWilliams
Adonis Medina
Aaron Nola
Chris Oliver
Felix Paulino
Ricardo Pinto
Edubray Ramos
Calvin Rayburn
Nick Rodesky
Carlos Salazar
Ranger Suarez
Jose Taveras
Josh Taylor
David Whitehead
Jason Zgardowski

CATCHERS
Joel Fisher
Deivi Grullon
Andrew Knapp
Gregori Rivero
Lenin Rodriguez

INFIELDERS
Jonathan Arauz
Willians Astudillo
Daniel Brito
Derek Campbell
J.P. Crawford
Grenny Cumana
Luis Encarnacion
Arquimedes Gamboa
Jan Hernandez
Rhys Hoskins
Emmanuel Marrero
Andrew Pullin
Drew Stankiewicz
Damek Tomscha
Jesmuel Valentin

OUTFIELDERS
Jesus Alastre
Venn Biter
Aaron Brown
Carlos Duran
Bryan Martelo
Cristian Palacios
Cord Sandberg
Jake Sweaney

The Phillies also expect to have lefty Adam Morgan see some action on the mound. The Phils' 3rd round draft choice from 2011 has been out of action since last winter after undergoing shoulder surgery. The 24-year-old sports a 13-22 record with a 3.25 ERA and an 8.33 K/9 mark in 56 professional games.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

LHP Loewen is a candidate for Phils rotation next season

Adam Loewen, image- Jay Floyd
With a considerable level of anticipation that the Phillies will experience some turnover with their pitching staff leading to next season, it feels as though fans and media alike have begun to say goodbye to certain hurlers. Who replaces those arms promises to be the focus of the team's offseason.

A candidate to fill a void in the Phillies' rotation next is former big leaguer Adam Loewen, who the Phillies acquired earlier this season as a free agent.

Loewen, a left-hander, has been to the majors twice. His initial ascension to the big leagues was as a pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles after he was selected as the fourth overall draft pick in 2002, two places before Zack Greinke and three spots prior to Prince Fielder.

He last pitched in the majors in 2008 as a 24-year-old. After suffering a stress fracture in his throwing elbow, having a four-and-a-half inch long titanium screw surgically inserted into the joint and dealing with lasting complications from the ailment, it became apparent, at the time, that Loewen's pitching career was finished.

The British Columbia native would spend that following off-season working on his offense and showed enough to the Toronto Blue Jays that they offered him a contract to begin a new path to the big leagues, as a position player.

As an outfielder, Loewen again reached the top level of the sport, playing in 14 games with the Blue Jays in 2011, batting .188 with a home run and four RBI. After a couple more years in the minors trying to climb the developmental ladder with in the Mets' and Blue Jays' systems, he was told his time was up as a hitter. Last winter, however, Loewen got the itch to pitch and his career was reborn once again.

"I wanted to continue at the time, but the decision was made for me," Loewen stated. "But, I'm not bitter about it anymore. I love pitching and maybe it'll work out for the better."

Back on the mound, Loewen got some exposure in front of multiple teams. The Phillies offered him a minor league contract after the 2014 campaign began.

Loewen's return to the mound was assisted by his best friend former pro backstop and current coach Cole Armstrong, who helped with bullpen sessions and long toss programs.

The six-foot-six 235-pounder also offered credit to Double-A Reading's pitching coach for helping him get his groove back.

"Dave Lundquist and I have really been on the same page this whole time. I feel like he's really helped me with my development and getting the feel back for my pitches," Loewen explained.

Lundquist asserted that he saw loads of progress in the 30-year-old's efforts during his time with the Fightins this year.

"When he first got here, the biggest thing he needed was reps off the mound, as many as we could get him. Then he slowly but surely began getting into his natural rhythm with his release point and arm speed and spin on the baseball," Lundquist stated. "He finally started getting comfortable with everything and we saw a lot of development. He put together a lot of quality starts for us".

This season, Loewen posted a 5-5 record with a 3.25 ERA along with a 6.65 K/9 mark in 19 combined starts for Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading. He wrapped up a stretch in which he tossed nine consecutive quality starts for Reading on August 9th. Loewen tallied 2.52 ERA over his final 12 starts of the season.

While the results where what Loewen says he expected of himself, the durability of his formerly troubled arm came as a surprise. He seemed to anticipate fatigue or discomfort, but those never came. In their place were added arm strength and stamina.

Loewen is equipped with a fastball that, in the low 90's, registers a bit lower on the velocity scale than it did when he was a rising prospect that held MLB All-Stars Chipper Jones, Mark Teixeira and Derrek Lee hitless in the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.

His secondary pitches are also just slightly varied from his initial run as a hurler.

"My two-seamer actually tails now rather than cuts. Everything used to cut. Now, I have a four-seamer that naturally cuts and the two-seamer I can kind of put where I want to with the fastballs going both ways," Loewen said, mentioning that he also mixes in change ups, sliders and an occasional curve ball to keep the opposition guessing.

Expect the tenacious trouper to get a solid look in front of Phillies coaches and brass next preseason with a true shot at making the starting rotation. Loewen is confident that he'll be able to contribute on the mound at the top level.

"I've gone from Double-A to the big leagues before and that was my first jump to the big leagues," Loewen said, when asked if he felt like he was ready to compete at the big league level again. "I feel like I'm ready. I feel like I did when I last got on the mound when I was 24-years-old."

Ailing Watson suspended 50 games for drug violation

ShaneWatson
Shane Watson, image- Jay Floyd
On Friday, it was announced that injured Phillies pitching prospect Shane Watson would miss the opening 50 games of the 2015 season, after being served with a suspension as a result of testing positive for a banned substance.

Reports stated that the illegal substance was not a performance enhancer, but instead was a drug of abuse.

The 21-year-old right-hander, who recently announced his engagement to be married via his Twitter account, missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair an enlarged capsule last winter. Watson rehabbed this summer, but experienced a setback which was going to keep him out of action till next spring.

Watson's injured status will not impact his suspension. In fact, the required time off could force the young hurler to proceed at a much slower pace and could be good for his physical health in the long run.

Watson was chosen with the 40th overall pick by the Phillies in 2012. He sports a 4-7 record with a 4.44 ERA and a .227 batting average against in 21 professional games.

Prior to the 2014 season, Watson was ranked as the Phils' number 14 prospects by PhilliesNation.com.

Update: Watson responded to a request for comment via text message late Saturday morning.  He did not wish to comment on the circumstances surrounding his suspension, but offered the following thoughts on his rehab process, which he is conducting under the Phillies' supervision in Florida:

"Nothing but good news (regarding my throwing shoulder) right now.  I just have to remember there's no rush back and to take my time, but also push myself to the limit while giving myself enough rest."

The California native has been throwing from flat ground and is up to a distance of 75 feet, doing so every other day without discomfort.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 70: Adam Loewen, Dave Lundquist & Colton Murray Interviews

It's Episode 70 and the guys are joined by pitcher Adam Loewen who participates in the inaugural edition of the new segment, "Nine Silly-ass Questions".  The episode also features exclusive interviews with Reading pitching coach Dave Lundquist and Double-A reliever Colton Murray.  Jay and Tug also chat about 2014 season highlights including Kenny Giles, Maikel Franco, Willians Astudillo and Hoby Milner while other topics include Kyle Kendrick as well as the Paul Owens Awards won by Luis Garcia and J.P. Crawford.

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.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

PhoulBallz Interview: Reading hitting coach Rob Ducey talks prospects

Rob Ducey, image- Tug Haines
Prior to the end of the minor league season on Monday, I spent some time with Double-A Reading hitting coach Rob Ducey about several of his players' progress this season.

Ducey, who played in the big leagues with the Phillies, Blue Jays, Rangers, Mariners, Expos and Angels, joined the Phillies organization as a coach this year.

The former outfielder spoke about the Phillies' collection of rising young outfielders including Aaron Altherr, Zach Collier, Kelly Dugan, Cameron Perkins and Peter Lavin. He also offered insight on talented infielder Carlos Alonso. Read ahead for that full interview.

-Aaron Altherr has an exciting year with time spent at the big league level. What are your thoughts on Altherr's season?

Well, he's obviously in the development part of his career and is trying to iron some things out mechanically, mentally, things that young players go through while they're trying to establish themselves as professional players. I see worlds of opportunity for him going forward. He's got tremendous athleticism, he's got a very good aptitude to work with and he's really good to be around.

-Zach Collier didn't have a great season, but got considerably hot in early August. He's a guy that people had high expectations for, based on being an early round draft pick. What can you share with me about Zach's progress?

Obviously, this being my first year here, I didn't have an opportunity to see him prior to this year, but he's come a long way with the understanding of what he needs to do to prepare to play the game and get ready and compete at this level and, hopefully, at a level higher.

-I've spoken with guys on the team and often times they'll cite Carlos Alonso as a guy that's an exemplary player who really works hard. It may be hard for you, as a coach, to judge or speak on a guy's ceiling, but what do you think about Alonso's future?

Carlos is a grinder. He goes out and plays the game the right way. He's a true professional on and off the field. He goes at it the right way and it wouldn't surprise me that he ends up playing in the big leagues for a long, long time because of the way he goes about it. You know, when you talk about tools, you don't really need to talk about tools with him. He's a baseball player and he knows how to play, he knows how to win, (has) tremendous influence as far as in the clubhouse and with his teammates. It's been really fun to be with him this year, because of all of that.

-I spoke with (Reading manager) Dusty Wathan a couple weeks ago about Kelly Dugan's progress this year, and despite his injuries this year and the power numbers being down for him, Dusty asserted that Kelly was a better and smarter hitter than he was last year. Clearly, you weren't around last year, but what progress have you seen from him from spring training to the time his season ended (with a late season foot injury)?

I think that he developed a bit more understanding of his swing and the angle and path of his bat coming through the hitting zone. He hit a lot of top spin balls and even balls, line drives he would hit, had over-spin and trying to correct that was- for me, the focus of working with him this year was trying to get his ball to have a truer flight and we accomplished that. He hit the ball the other way. He pulled the ball, with truer spin, so in his regard I think we had a very successful season.

-Cam Perkins performed great for you guys this year prior to moving up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where his numbers took a dip. Obviously, he deserved to make that jump, but do you think the lack of production there can be discouraging for him?

Well, I think it's discouraging for anyone, any athlete to go to another level and to feel like you have somewhat control of what's going on then all of a sudden it spirals downward. You know, Triple-A is a different beast. It's a different animal. Then you go, you know, obviously the major league level and it's that much harder. You know, guys know how to pitch. They add and subtract. They find a weakness and they exploit it. And he's got tremendous hand-eye coordination. He's got a really good frame. He's gonna hit for some power and, but he was able to put the bat on the ball while he was here and he reminded me of a young Dale Murphy and I just think that he was very, very good hitting ability.

-Lastly, are there any other players that came through this club this season that made a big impression as having a bright future?

Peter Lavin has had a really, really good year for us and he started in Clearwater. He's a guy, again, that wouldn't surprise me if he ended up on a big league roster as a fourth outfielder. He can run, hit, throw. He's a left-handed hitter. He's got a little bit of power. He goes about it the right way and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he ended up with some big league time.