Sunday, June 25, 2017

PhoulBallz Interview: Phillies RHP Prospect Will Hibbs

Will Hibbs, image- Jay Floyd
This past week, Class A Lakewood All-Star reliever Will Hibbs was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater after a stellar first half in the Sally League.

In 21 games with the BlueClaws, the 23-year-old right-hander posted a 5-1 record with seven saves, a 0.98 ERA with a .092 batting average against and a 9.3 K/9 mark.

Through his first 17 outings for Lakewood this year, Hibbs put together 31 straight scoreless innings to open the season and he was honored by the South Atlantic League as its relief pitcher of the month for May.

Selected in the 19th round of the 2016 draft out of Lamar University, the six-foot-seven 245-pounder debuted as a pro with the short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters last summer.  In 19 relief outings with the Crosscutters, Hibbs posted a 3-4 record with four saves and a 1.44 ERA.

Recently I spoke to Will about his All-Star nod, his pitch repertoire, adapting to the minors and more.  Read ahead for that interview.

-You were named late, not among the initial roster, to the Sally League All-Star team.  Very deserving.  I know some fans and media types saw it as a snub at first.  Did you feel that same way?

Not really.  That's not anything in my control, so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.  I was joking with one of the other guys that asked me, like, me going to the All-Star Game isn't going to magically help us win (the division).  So, all in all, it's an honor to go, but it's nothing that was life and death, but that being said, I'm very grateful to be going. 

-When you got the news that you were going, how was the news given to you?

It was funny.  We were having a team meeting about a series against Hagerstown, going over the pros and cons of that whole series and just in passing (our manager) Marty (Malloy) just threw me the packet and said, "By the way, you're going."  It was cool because no one made a big deal about it, which is how I prefer it.  Just a quick little note about it and then we went out for BP and had our usual day.  I was able to stay in the same routine as normal and have a good little start to the day.

-Have you ever had a streak similar to how you started the season here, with all the consecutive scoreless innings?

Not really.  I think I had a decent little streak in high school, but it's kind of hard to credit that.  You know, honestly, you didn't really think about it too much as it was going on.  (If I was) a starter someone could look at it a little heavier that way, being that they can throw seven innings at a time sometimes.  Whenever I'm going out for anywhere from one to four or five outs at a time, all you're trying to do is accomplish the task before you each time.  You don't have time to reflect on it, because you could be called the next night.  So, I didn't really think much about it.  I was just going out each time my name was called  

-What is the full menu of pitch offerings for you right now and what is the biggest weapon at this stage?

I throw fastball, slider, curve ball, change up.  Curve ball's always a go-to for me, but obviously you want to pitch off your fastball.  But, a lot of it's dependent on the batter that you're facing, the situation of the game, the strengths of my pitches that day in accordance with the batters I am facing at the time.  So, it depends.  But I'm really starting to feel more comfortable with my slider, so it's something to build off of.

-Was that something that you added as a pro or have you always thrown that?

Yeah, I messed with it in college, but I couldn't get very consistent with it.  We worked on it a little bit last year in Williamsport and felt pretty good with it.  Then coming into spring training and getting comfortable with throwing it more and more, now I feel like I can throw it on any count and feel comfortable with how it's going to react to the pitch selection.

-What is the feedback you've been getting from the coaching staff as you've progressed this year?

Oh, it's a lot of the same every day, just a pat on the butt, saying keep it going, good job.  The bullpen as a whole, our bullpen has been outstanding and we feel comfortable giving the ball to anybody in our staff.  We go out and do our job, then we have our little 30 minutes after the game- good job, you did the job set before you and then as soon as you wake up the next day, it's a new day and you've got to get ready for the next situation.

-What are the biggest differences in levels of the pros?  You talked about being with the 'Cutters last year, or even from the jump to the minors from collegiate ball?

Are you talking about the biggest differences in the pros?

-Yeah.  What do you notice as the things that present the most challenges or things you have to adapt to the most?

I think getting sleep is a huge thing, where you have these crazy sleep schedules.  But, it does-- as much fun as it is, and this is the most fun I've ever had in my life playing baseball.  I've been playing a long time-- this is the time, not to be cliche', that it's the most business like.  

You're getting to field at a certain time because have exercises with the athletic trainer and then tissue prep with the strength and conditioning coach and then BP and then the game and that happens every day.  And in college, you might have your cake senior schedule where you sleep in till 11, have your one class and then go to the field for three hours.  Here, we've already been at the field for five hours, getting everything going, and that's before anyone every sees us out on the field.  And it's stuff like that that makes you appreciate the term "the grind" or it's the "long season" and stuff.  We've figured out how to get into a good routine and take care of our bodies and really attack the season as opposed to surviving the season. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws Manager Marty Malloy speaks on Hall, Moniak, Sanchez & more

The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws missed clinching the first half division title in the Sally League by mere percentage points in the Northern Division standings.  Team skipper Marty Malloy took time last week to sit down with me and chat about his team's success and commented on several of the Claws' key players, including first baseman Darick Hall, last year's top overall draft pick Mickey Moniak, outstanding reliever Will Hibbs, who was promoted to Clearwater since this interview, well regarded righty pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and others. 

Read ahead for that full interview...


Darick Hall, image- Jay Floyd
-Darick Hall missed a few weeks early in the season with an ankle injury and leads the league in RBI despite missing so many games.  What sort of difference has he made for the team?

I mean he's had a big impact.  Obviously, hitting in the four hole every day, it doesn't matter right-handed pitching, left-handed pitching, he gives us a big presence in the middle of the order behind Moniak driving in runs.  He lengthens our lineup, so he's been a big impact.

-Third baseman Luke Williams had a troublesome start to the season, batting .123 in April, but now he's batting well over .300 in June.  Can you talk about his turnaround?

I think, you know, it can be a confidence thing.  He got off to a slow start.  Whether it was pitch selection or sometimes he hit balls hard right at people, things may just not have went his way.  But, he's been hot of late.  I think a lot of that has to do with confidence and staying the course and understanding that it is a process and just staying positive everyday. 

-You mentioned Moniak earlier.  Have you seen improvements in his game this season?

Absolutely.  You know, I've said it all along, for a kid that just turned 19 a few weeks ago, coming out of high school, being in a full season for the first time, facing-- the majority of pitchers that he's facing are college guys, to hit in the three hole every day and see things he hasn't seen before, he's really held his own.  He's been the same guy everyday, comes to play everyday and his defense has been really good.  And nothing but good things to come.

-Another guy in the outfield that's been performing well lately is David Martinelli.  What have you seen from him?

I think he's similar to Luke Williams.  Got off to a slow start.  May not have played everyday, but stayed positive through the good and the bad and, you know, thing started going his way.  He started barrelling some balls and, you know, his power numbers have increased as well.  So, I think he's another one that just confidence and playing games, getting better everyday and just understanding how to go about it. 

-Is there anyone else that you can see a lot of development in his game over the past couple months here?

I think (second baseman Daniel) Brito.  He got off to a really, really hot start and he's been having to learn to make some adjustments.  His numbers don't indicate what he's met to this team and how far he's come.  He's hitting lead-off everyday.  He's learning how to be a lead-off hitter and we're giving him things to think about as far as once the first at bat of the game's over, how to do different things like see pitches, get in counts and what not.  But he's gonna be fine.  He's had a couple weeks where it's been a little tough on him and (there's been) adversity on a young kid, but he's fine.  

-Brito seems like a good guy for the team.  Having a lot of fun, keeping things loose in the dugout and everything.  Do you see that from him and is there anybody else on the team like that?

He's the loose guy.  He's the class clown, if you want to say it.  But, he keeps loose and has a smile on his face and keeps guys upbeat, so he's really good in the clubhouse.

Sixto Sanchez, image- Jay Floy
-Sixto Sanchez returned from injury after missing a month.  What does he mean to the club.

The energy means a lot.  He's another guy, a loose guy-- he's a business guy, but always has a smile on his face.  He brings electricity.  Everybody knows what kind of stuff he has and the sky is the limit for him.  When he takes the mound all these kids know what we're going to get that night and it's good for everybody. 

-Will Hibbs has been really great out of the bullpen for this team.  Can you share some insight on him?

I think some of it has to do with he's been through some things before.  He's a little older, but he knows how to pitch.  He knows how to expose hitters.  You know, he has meetings with (pitching coach Brian) Sweeney as well as these other pitchers and he's really taken into that on these opposing players and learning how to get them out and set them up or whatever it may be.  Except for one outing-- he went 32 scoreless (consecutive innings), so it's been really nice.
Malloy also talked to me about left-handed starting pitcher Nick Fanti...read those quotes in the feature located at this link.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dominant BlueClaws All-Star Nick Fanti has focused, humble approach

Nick Fanti, image- Jay Floyd
Lefty hurler Nick Fanti will represent the Phillies organization as the Northern Division's starting pitcher in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday night. 

Through 11 games with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws this year, the 20-year-old has tallied a 5-0 record and a 2.25 ERA with a .182 batting average against while striking out 65 and walking 16 in 64 innings of work. 

Fanti, who pitched with Team Italy in this year's World Baseball Classic, grabbed headlines in May when he tossed 8 2/3 hitless innings for Lakewood on the road at Columbia.  His room mate Trevor Bettencourt would log the final out to seal the no-hitter. 

The six-foot-two 185-pound Fanti will return to the Spirit Communication Park mound in Columbia for the Sally League All-Star Game. 

Last year in the rookie level Gulf Coast League, he garnered plenty of attention, sporting a 7-0 record with a 1.57 ERA and a .191 batting average against in 11 appearances.

His skipper, former big leaguer Marty Malloy, feels Fanti is deserving of all the accolades he has gotten.

"He's been unbelievable," Malloy stated in the Lakewood home dugout last week.  "The command of the strike zone has been very good.  Mixed his pitches well and he has an idea.  He's another young kid that, probably pitching wise, he's above his years and how he handles hitters in certain situations, so he's done a really nice job."

Fanti doesn't overpower hitters, slinging a fastball that regularly ranges 87-89 MPH with a change up that features a fair variance in velocity from the heater (around 80).  But, his curveball is described as nasty and leaves the opposition looking foolish, as it's difficult to pick up, looking much like his fastball to batters out of his hand.

Brazen and fearless, the Long Island native virtually dares batters to hit his pitches whenever he takes the mound.

"I want to make the guys behind me work," Fanti explained, describing his desire for the opposition to try and hit what he offers.  "I prefer them to hit earlier in the count than later, but that's why I attack the zone, because I have trust in the people behind me and I'll be able to go deeper in the games if they make contact earlier, so getting ahead with early strikes is definitely very important to me."

The youngster dishes out credit to the team surrounding him for his success, including the no-hitter, asserting that the defense and some luck helped things go his way.

With a relaxed and focused approach, Fanti is self-driven.  His 31st round draft position from 2015 is not a factor when looking for motivators on the diamond.

"Regardless of where you got picked, you've still got to come in here and play.  Not that I feel like I have anything to prove or anything-- I do, but I feel like anybody should, no matter where you were drafted," Fanti stated.

On the Northern Division All-Star roster, he'll be joined by five BlueClaws teammates with Bettencourt earning a nod along with battery mate Edgar Cabral and pitchers Will Hibbs, JoJo Romero and Ranger Suarez also being honored.

Fanti values the opportunity to show what BlueClaws and the Phillies are all about.

"It's really cool.  It's a real honor to be able to pitch with the best guys in this league and, hopefully, I'll he throwing to Cabral in the beginning of the game and I'm just excited for the experience."

Saturday, June 17, 2017

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws 3B Luke Williams

Luke Williams, image- Jay Floyd
After a troubling start to his 2017 season, third baseman Luke Williams has turned on the offense for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws of late.  In 13 June games, the 20-year-old righty batter has posted a .333 batting average with four doubles, a home run and six RBI.

Through the end of May, Williams sported just a .173 average.  With the first half division title on the line, there's been no better time for the Phillies' 3rd round draft pick from 2015 to turn things around.

Following Lakewood's third straight victory on Thursday, I talked with Luke about his offensive improvements, the team's chances at clinching an early playoff berth and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-It was a difficult start to the season for you, but things have been going in the opposite direction in recent weeks.  What has helped you make the improvements?

You know, I'd say my confidence is a lot higher than it was at the beginning.  Slow start.  Nothing I can do about it now.  It's baseball.  So, now I'm just taking it day by day.  Me and (hitting coach Nelson Prada) have been hitting the cage and making some minor adjustments and I'm just rolling with it right now.  I'm just trying to keep it going.

-Is there anything you can speak on as far as those adjustments that you mentioned?

Yeah, you know, mainly it was just being on time.  Being on time for every pitch and if I'm not on time, being early rather than later.  So, I think that was the main thing.  Just a little adjustment with my hands, moving them a little closer, just so I can get shorter and quicker to the ball.  Those were just adjustments that I made.

-At times I might ask guys how they feel taking the step up to a higher level and now that you've turned the corner I would imagine you feel better about it.  Do you feel that it was tough to get a handle on this league or this level?

Um, yeah, obviously, the higher you go the better pitching there is, so you've got to make a little adjustments.  It's not too big, but I think it's more just me sticking to my plan, making sure I have the same approach and stuff like that and you just gotta be consistent.  That's the main thing in this game, just be consistent. 

-I saw you before the game and right now you have the same expressions...pleased, satisfaction, smiles.  If I were to look at you earlier in the season, maybe I wouldn't notice those expressions.  You talked about confidence being a factor and with that can come positivity with the results on the field.  Do you feel that translating that way?

Yeah, absolutely.  And when I think about it now, I've always tried to play this game with a lot of fun and a lot of excitement and maybe I wasn't doing that at the beginning of the season.  You know, I was kind of too worried about, maybe, my struggles.  But, I had a lot of teammates-- my teammates are awesome-- they supported me throughout the whole time.  My manager, my coaches- they all had my back and I think one thing that helped me was Cord (Sandberg)'s saying, It's All Part of It.  You know, it really does help.  That's how you've got to take life.  I mean, just take it day by day.  It's all part of it.

-I wrote about it.  Do you wear the shirts and everything?

Yeah!  I've got two shirts.  Cord was actually my roommate when he was here (before a promotion to Clearwater), so I've got two shirts and Cord wore it all the time.  He wore it everyday to bed, so it's a lifestyle.  

-Closing out the first half here this weekend, the BlueClaws are in the midst of a division title and I playoff berth before the All-Star Break.  I know the team is really into this chase.  Did you guys come in and check out the league scoreboard after the game and see how everyone else was doing?

Yeah!  We've kept our eyes on them and I think Hagerstown was losing today, so yeah, we're paying attention.  We want to get that championship.  Definitely.

-It could be a nice weight off your shoulders too, to lock in a playoff berth and not have to worry about it and maybe relax in the second half.

Yeah, you know, we're not going to relax in the second half.  We're still going to play hard and play our game. But it would be nice to have it the first half, absolutely.

Friday, June 16, 2017

For BlueClaws, first-half division race coming down to the wire

Will Hibbs, image- Jay Floyd
LAKEWOOD, NJ-- The Class A South Atlantic League's Northern Division enters the final weekend of the season's first half with four teams within one game of each other chasing one playoff spot. The Lakewood BlueClaws are among three teams sitting one game behind the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox affiliate) for a playoff berth.

In full-season A levels, leagues crown first-half and second-half division champions, with both clubs reaching the playoffs, following the conclusion of the regular season on Labor Day weekend.

Just a couple days ago, the Hagerstown Suns (Nationals affiliate) led the division, but they were swept in double headers on back-to-back days on Wednesday and Thursday, allowing the Intimidators to leapfrog the group and take charge in the chase for a postseason spot.

The BlueClaws put themselves behind the eight-ball, so to speak, with a recent road series in Hagerstown, with the visitors dropping three or four contests last weekend.

BlueClaws players are fully aware of what's on the line and are taking each day as a challenge, hoping to reach the playoffs for the second straight season.

"This is the most important part of our season right now, with four teams separated by a total of one or one-and-a-half games right now. These games are paramount," All-Star reliever Will Hibbs shared prior to the BlueClaws' third straight win on Thursday.

With the team steadily checking the league's scoreboard to see what the other title chasers are up to, the 23-year-old righty asserts that there's a great amount of excitement within the Lakewood locker room of late.

"There's nothing anybody wants more than to win the first half, because once you win the first half and secure that playoff spot, you can take a deep breath and go out with a relaxed focus in the second half and not feel like your back's against the wall, knowing you have a playoff spot at the end of the season," Hibbs added.

Marty Malloy, image- Jay Floyd
Lakewood skipper Marty Malloy feels the importance of taking the BlueClaws to the postseason.

"Obviously, we're here to develop these players, but at the same token, we're here to develop winning players.  So, I'm never going to look at one and say it's okay we lose a game. We're all about winning, while we're developing," Malloy stated.

"It's energy right now...guys understand it. They know what's at stake and the energy- they're upbeat. They know every night that we go out that there's something to play for."

Malloy is in his first year coaching in the Phillies organization after spending the previous three years in player development with the Astros. The 45-year-old reached the big leagues with the Braves and Marlins and was part of the 1998 Atlanta team that won the National League East and lost in the league championship series to the Padres.

With such focus on continuing to win, Malloy and the team seemed a bit superstitious this week when they opted to wear the team's current home white uniform instead of the pinstriped throwback duds they've been sporting for Throwback Thursdays this season.

With a three-game series at home against last place Hickory (Rangers affiliate) from Friday through Sunday this weekend at FirstEnergy Park, Lakewood will need to fully pass each of the other teams in the standings, with Greensboro (Marlins affiliate) also in the mix for the division race. Tie-breakers will not fall in the 'Claws' favor.

From the team, what the BlueClaws need: The BlueClaws cannot break a tie with any of the other contenders (Hagerstown has the head to head tiebreaker and Lakewood's head to head advantage over Greensboro and Kannapolis would be moot as those teams will play 68 games instead of 70 and would have a better winning percentage - for example, 39-29 defeats 40-30 on winning percentage)...Therefore, should the BlueClaws sweep Hickory, they would need two Kannapolis losses, one Greensboro loss, and one Hagerstown loss over the weekend...should the BlueClaws win two of three from Hickory, they would need three Kannapolis losses, two Greensboro losses, and two Hagerstown losses.

Last year's top overall draft selection outfielder Mickey Moniak, fresh off the first four-hit game of his professional career on Wednesday and adding two more safeties on Thursday, realizes that there's still hope even if this weekend doesn't work out for the local nine.

"All we can do right now is do what we're doing and focus on winning ball games and letting the rest play out and if it works out, great! If it doesn't, then we have another half to make a run for it," the 19-year-old said.

Tickets for the BlueClaws' weekend series are available at BlueClaws.com, at the BlueClaws box office or on the phone by calling 732-901-7000.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Phillies Draft 2017: Day 2 Notes

Following their selections in the first and second rounds on Monday night, the Phillies had a busy day in rounds three through 10 on Tuesday.  Below is a list of the team's Day 2 selections and notes on each player...

3rd round- RHP Connor Seabold was selected with the 83rd overall pick out of Cal State Fullerton. This year, in his junior season, the six-foot-three 190-pounder posted an 11-5 record with a 3.01 ERA and an 8.8 K/9 mark in 17 starts. The California native could be a key factor as the Titans enter their College World Series match up against Oregon State next Saturday. How the team performs in Omaha, could delay Seabold signing with the Phillies by a week or two. According to MLB.com Seabold’s arsenal features a solid changeup and a usable, albeit fringy, breaking ball. His fastball commonly tops out around 90 MPH.

4th round- Third baseman Jake Scheiner was chosen by the Phils with the 113th pick in the draft out of the University of Houston. With the Cougars in his junior season, Scheiner posted a .346 batting average with 18 doubles, three triples, 18 home runs, 64 RBI and eight steals in 63 contests. The 21-year-old righty batter stands six-foot-one, weighing 200 pounds. He was honored as a third-team All-American this year.

5th round- Lefty hurler Ethan Lindow was drafted out of Locust Grove HS with the 143rd pick. As a senior this year, he was dominant, tallying a 0.97 ERA and had a 97-to-18 strike out-to-walk ratio in 57 2/3 innings of work. The six-foot-four 185-pounder is said to sport a low-90’s fastball along with a good curve and fair change up.

6th round- Shortstop Dalton Guthrie was chosen with the 173rd overall selection out of Florida by the Phils. The 21-year-old batted .272 with four homers, 22 RBI and 10 steals in 59 games as the Gators’ lead-off hitter this year in his junior season. Guthrie is said to have an advanced approach at the plate and sports gleaming defense. He is the son of former big leaguer Mark Guthrie. The righty batter is hoping to lead his club to success in the College World Series.

7th round- Another shortstop Nick Malton was chosen with the 203rd pick. The Lincoln Land Community College product is a speedster, having swiped 33 bags for the Loggers this year in his sophomore season. Additionally, in 49 games the 20-year-old tallied a .408 batting average with eight homers and 46 RBI. Malton was also a pitcher in his collegiate career, but is not expected to continue doing so as a pro.

8th round- Left-handed pitcher Jhordany Mezquita out of the Dominican Republic was the Phils pick at 233rd overall. Apparently, the organization tried to sign the 19-year-old as an international free agent, but he had moved to the United States, making him draft eligible, so the team selected him here.

9th round- Third baseman Jack Zoellner was the Phils’ pick at 263rd overall out of the University of New Mexico. The 22-year-old stands six-foot-two and weighs 205 pounds. This season as a senior with the Lobos, the righty batter posted a .368 average with 12 home runs and 56 RBI in 50 games.

10th round- Connor Brogdon, a righty pitcher out of Lewis-Clark State College, was the 293rd choice in the draft by the Phillies.  In 15 games this year as a senior, the six-foot-six 185-pounder sported an 8-1 record with a 2.91 ERA and an 11.1 K/9 mark.  Lewis-Clark State produced former Phils righty pitching prospect Tyler Knigge (12th round, 2010).  

Phillies minor league leaders, 6/13/17


Friend of the site Steve Potter, also known as @JpoppaCool on Twitter, took time this week to provide some lists of top performers throughout the Phillies' minor league ranks.

Steve is the author of the book The 2016 Phillies Minor Leagues: A Fan's View.  It's a great paperback offering that is available at Citizens Bank Park and online from multiple outlets.


With just Lakewood in action on Monday, out of the four full-season teams, most of the listings are accurate, with stats accurate through Sunday.  Take a look at the organization leader boards in various offensive and pitching categories below...


Phillies Minor League Leaders - Pitching - ( thru 6/11/17 games ) - excluding guys now on Major League Roster 

Top 10 - Wins 

Tom Eshelman - 7 - ( Lehigh - 4, Reading - 3)
Jose Taveras - 5 - Clearwater 
Drew Anderson - 5 - Reading 
Brandon Leibrandt - 5 - Reading
10 tied with 4 

Top 10 (ERA - minimum 50 IP) - Starting Pitchers 

Ranger Suarez - 1.72 (57 2/3 IP) - Lakewood 
Tom Eshelman - 2.11  ( 81 IP) - Lehigh/Reading 
Jose Taveras - 2.17 (70 2/3 IP) - Clearwater 
Jo Jo Romero - 2.26 (63 2/3 IP) - Lakewood
Nick Fanti - 2.31 (58 1/3 IP) - Lakewood 
Franklyn Kilome - 2.60 ( 52 IP) - Clearwater 
Cole Irvin  - 2.84 (57 IP) - Lakewood
Bailey Falter  - 3.50 (54 IP) - Lakewood
Adonis Medina - 3.54 ( 53 1/3 IP) - Lakewood
Brandon Leibrandt - 3.56 ( 60 2/3 IP) - Reading 


Top 10 ( ERA - minimum 25 IP) - Relief Pitchers - included are pitchers recently converted to starters 

Will Hibbs - 1.10 ( 32 2/3 IP) - Lakewood
Jessen Therrien - 1.26 ( 33 2/3 IP) - Reading/Lehigh 
Austin Davis - 1.69 ( 39 1/3 IP) - Clearwater/Reading
Harold Arauz - 2.06 (39 1/3 IP) - Lakewood/Clearwater
Yacksel Rios - 2.18 ( 33 IP) - Reading 
Mauricio Llovera - 2.40 (30 IP) - Lakewood
Pat Venditte - 2.41 (33 2/3 IP) - Lehigh 
Colton Murray - 2.49 (25 1/3 IP) - Reading/Lehigh
Jacob Waguespack - 2.55 ( 35 1/3 IP) - Clearwater/Lehigh
Cesar Ramos - 2.56 ( 38 2/3 IP) - Lehigh

Top 10 - Games 

Pedro Beatto - 26 -  Lehigh
Jessen Therrien - 24 - Reading/Lehigh
Jeff Singer - 23 - Clearwater 
Pat Venditte - 22 - Lehigh 
Hoby Milner - 20 - Lehigh
Yacksel Rios - 20 - Reading 
Miguel Nunez - 20 - Reading 
Alexis Rivero - 20 - Reading 
Luke Leftwich - 19 - Clearwater 
Will Hibbs  - 19 - Lakewood 


Top 10 - Saves 


Pedro Beatto - 19 - Lehigh 
Jeff Singer - 12 - Clearwater 
Will Hibbs - 8 - Lakewood 
Jessen Therrien - 7 - Reading/Lehigh
Luke Leftwich -5 - Clearwater 
Trevor Bettencourt - 4 - Lakewood
Miguel Nunez - 3 - Reading 
Colton Murray  - 3 - Lehigh/Reading
Jonathan Hennigan - 2 - Lakewood 
Michael Mariot - 2 - Lehigh 
Tyler Gilbert - Clearwater 

Top 10 - Innings Pitched 

Tom Eshelman - 81 -  Lehigh/Reading
Jose Taveras - 70 2/3 - Clearwater 
JoJo Romero - 63 2/3 - Lakewood
Drew Anderson - 62 - Reading
Brandon Leibrandt - 60 2/3 - Reading 
Nick Fanti - 58 1/3 - Lakewood 
Ranger Suarez - 57 2/3 Lakewood
Mark Appel - 57 1/3 - Lehigh
Cole Irvin - 57 - Clearwater 
Bailey Falter - 54 - Lakewood

Top 10 - Strikeouts - Starting Pitchers 

Ranger Suarez - 69 - Lakewood 
Jo Jo Romero - 66 - Lakewood
Jose Taveras - 65 - Clearwater 
Adonis Medina - 63 - Lakewood
Nick Fanti - 60 - Lakewood 
Thomas Eshelman - 59 - Reading/Lehigh 
Drew Anderson - 51 - Reading 
Brandon Leibrandt - 48 - Reading 
Franklyn Kilome - 47 - Clearwater 
Alberto Tirado  - 46 - Clearwater


Top 10 - Strikeouts - Relief Pitchers 

Jesen Therrien - 44 ( 35 2/3 IP) - Reading/Lehigh 
Luke Leftwich - 43 (34 IP) - Clearwater 
Austin Davis - 42 ( 37 1/3 IP) - Clearwater/Reading 
Yacksel Rios - 40 ( 33 IP) - Reading 
Jeff Singer - 39 (33 IP) - Clearwater 
Jacob Waguespack - 38 ( 35 1/3 IP) - Clearwater/Lehigh 
Colton Murray - 38 - ( 25 1/3 IP) - Reading/Lehigh 
Harold Arauz - 35 - ( 39 1/3 IP) - Lakewood/Clearwater 
Will Hibbs - 35 - ( 32 2/3 IP) - Lakewood
Jonathan Hennigan - 35 - (27 2/3 IP) - Lakewood 
Trevor Bettencourt - 35 - ( 21 1/3 IP) - Lakewood

Top 10 - WHIP ( minimum 25 IP) 

Jessen Therrien - 0.59 ( 33 IP) - Reading/Lehigh
Will Hibbs - 0.70 (32 2/3 IP) - Lakewood
Sixto Sanchez - 0.78 ( 29 1/3 IP) - Lakewood 
Nick Fanti - 0.89 (58 1/3 IP) - Lakewood 
Harold Arauz - 0.89 (39 1/3 IP) - Lakewood/Clearwater
Cesar Ramos - 0.93 (38 2/3 IP) - Lehigh
Thomas Eshelman - 0.94 ( 81 IP) - Lehigh 
Ranger Suarez - 0.95 (57 2/3 IP) - Lakewood
Jose Taveras - 1.00 ( 70 2/3 IP) - Clearwater 
Seranthony Dominguez - 1.01 ( 35 2/3 IP) - Clearwater

Top 10 - Games Finished 

Pedro Beatto - 25 -  Lehigh 
Jeff Singer - 20 - Clearwater 
Will Hibbs - 17 - Lakewood 
Miguel Nunez - 15 - Reading 
Jessen Therrien - 15 -  Reading/Lehigh
Jacob Waguespack - 11 - Clearwater/Lehigh
Jonathan Hennigan - 8 - Lakewood
5 tied  - 7 


6/12/17 :  Phillies Minor League Offense Leaders  thru 6/11/17 games played :

Home Runs :

Scott Kingery - 18 - Reading
Rhys Hoskins - 14 - Lehigh
Dylan Cozens - 14 - Lehigh
Nick Williams - 13 - Lehigh
Mitch Walding - 13 - Reading
Andrew Pullin - 12 - Reading
Kyle Martin - 11 - Reading
Darick Hall - 8 - Lakewood
Damek Tomscha - 7 - Clearwater
Herlis Rodriquez - 7 - Clearwater

RBI's :

Rhys Hoskins - 49 - Lehigh
Dylan Cozens - 46 - Lehigh
Nick Williams - 39 - Lehigh
Andrew Pullin - 39 - Reading
Darick Hall - 39 - Lakewood
Scott Kingery - 35 - Reading
Mitch Walding - 31 - Reading
Kyle Martin - 31 - Reading
Damek Tomscha - 30 - Clearwater
Cornelius Randolph - 28 - Clearwater

Hits :

Scott Kingery - 71 - Reading
Andrew Pullin - 70 - Reading
Rhys Hoskins - 64 - Lehigh
Nick Williams - 62 - Lehigh
Zach Coppola - 61 - Clearwater/Reading
Carlos Tocci - 59 - Reading
Cord Sandberg - 59 - Lakewood/Clearwater
Mickey Moniak - 57 - Lakewood
Cameron Perkins - 56 - Lehigh
Dylan Cozens - 55 - Lehigh

Stolen Bases :

Scott Kingery - 14 - Reading
Lucas Williams - 12 - Lakewood
Zach Coppola - 12 - Clearwater/Reading
Roman Quinn - 10 - Lehigh
Grenny Cumana - 10 - Clearwater
Daniel Brito - 7 - Lakewood
Malquin Canelo - 7 - Reading
Mark Laird - 7 - Clearwater
Herlis Rodriquez - 6 - Clearwater
Raul Rivas - 6 - Lakewood

Total Bases :

Scott Kingery - 145 - Reading
Andrew Pullin - 128 - Reading
Rhys Hoskins - 127 - Lehigh
Nick Williams - 115 - Lehigh
Dylan Cozens - 109 - Lehigh
Cord Sandberg - 90 - Lakewood/Clearwater
Cameron Perkins - 87 - Lehigh
Mitch Walding - 86 - Reading
Damek Tomscha - 85 - Clearwater
Mickey Moniak - 85 - Lakewood

Walks :

JP Crawford - 36 - Lehigh
Rhys Hoskins - 34 - Lehigh
Cameron Perkins - 27 - Lehigh
Mitch Walding - 26 - Reading
Damek Tomscha - 25 - Clearwater
Scott Kingery - 25 - Reading
Cornelius Randolph - 23 - Clearwater
Malquin Canelo - 23 - Clearwater
Zachary Coppola - 22 - Clearwater/Reading
Andrew Pullin - 21 - Reading

Runs :

Scott Kingery - 55 - Reading
Rhys Hoskins - 44 - Lehigh
Nick Williams - 35 - Lehigh
Dylan Cozens - 34 - Lehigh
Mickey Moniak - 33 - Lakewood
Daniel Brito - 33 - Lakewood
Andrew Pullin - 32 - Reading
Cameron Perkins - 31 - Lehigh
JP Crawford - 30 - Lehigh
Mitch Walding - 29 - Reading

Doubles :

Andrew Pullin - 20 - Reading
Cord Sandberg - 18 - Lakewood/Clearwater
Rhys Hoskins - 15 - Lehigh
Mickey Moniak - 14 - Lakewood
Wilson Garcia - 14 - Clearwater
Jiandido Tromp - 14 - Reading
Cameron Perkins - 14 - Lehigh
Henri Lartigue - 12 - Lakewood
Scott Kingery - 12 - Reading
Nick Williams - 10 - Lehigh

Batting Average :  ( at least 150 at bats )

Zachary Coppola - .335 ( 61-182) - Clearwater/Reading
Cameron Perkins - .308 ( 56-182) - Lehigh
Scott Kingery - .306 ( 71-232) - Reading
Andrew Pullin - .304 ( 70-230) - Reading
Rhys Hoskins - .298 ( 64-215) - Lehigh
Damek Tomscha - .294 ( 55-187) - Clearwater
Nick Williams - .282 ( 62 - 220) - Lehigh
Cord Sandberg - .274 ( 59-215) - Lakewood/Clearwater
Drew Stankiewicz - .274 (45-164) - Clearwater
Roman Quinn - .274 ( 48-175) - Lehigh

On Base Percentage : (minimum 120 plate appearances )

Cameron Perkins - .408 - Lehigh
Zachary Coppola - .408 - Clearwater/Reading
Rhys Hoskins - .395 - Lehigh
Damek Tomscha - .389 - Clearwater
Pedro Florimon - .383 - Lehigh
Scott Kingery - .382 - Reading
Andrew Pullin - .370 - Reading
Carlos Tocci - .352 - Reading
Angelo Mora - .349 - Reading
Herlis Rodriquez - .346 - Clearwater

OPS ( minimum 120 plate appearances)

Scott Kingery - 1.007 - Reading
Rhys Hoskins - .986 - Lehigh
Andrew Pullin - .926 - Reading
Cameron Perkins - .886 - Lehigh
Angelo Mora - .861 - Reading
Damek Tomscha - .843 - Clearwater
Mitch Walding - .842 - Reading
Nick Williams - .839 - Lehigh
Dylan Cozens - .813 - Lehigh
Zachary Coppola - .798 - Clearwater/Reading

Jay Floyd talking prospects on the Felske Files Podcast

Last week I was happy to join John Stolnis on his Felske Files Podcast to talk about many promising young players in the Phillies' developmental ranks. Included in the discussion were oft-injured Roman Quinn, slugging outfielder Nick Williams, talented hurler Franklyn Kilome and plenty more.

Also on this episode, John talked with my old pal, from the Shore Sports Report days, Joe Giglio about many key Phillies related topics.

Check out the show in the embedded media player below.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Phillies draft pitcher Spencer Howard in second round

In the second round with the 45th overall selection in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, the Phillies chose righty pitcher Spencer Howard out of Cal Poly.

This season, the 20-year-old sophomore sported an 8-1 record with a 1.95 ERA and a 10 K/9 mark over 17 appearances (12 starts) with the Mustangs.

In his freshman year, 19 of Howard's 21 appearances were as a reliever when he tallied a 2.95 overall ERA.

Howard, who stands six-foot-three and weighs 225 pounds, features a solid four-pitch mix, including key offerings of a fastball, slider and a cutter that project to be average or better pitches.

The Phillies chose another hurler in the second round out of Cal Poly back in 2014, a left-hander named Matt Imhof.  Imhof retired from playing baseball following a workout accident last year that cost the youngster an eye.

The draft will continue for the Phils on Tuesday, when the third round gets going at 1pm Eastern time.

Phillies draft Virginia CF Adam Haseley in first round

With the 8th overall draft pick the Phillies selected first-team All-American outfielder Adam Haseley out of Virginia on Monday evening.

The 21-year-old sported a .390/.491/.659 slash line in 58 games.  His batting average led the Atlantic Coast Conference.  The lefty batter drilled 16 doubles, a triple, 14 homers and 10 steals with the Cavs this year, in his junior season.

Proving to be an offensive catalyst, Haseley reached base safely in 57 of his 58 games this year.

Haseley is described by MLB.com's Jim Callis as one of the best pure hitters available in the MLB draft.

Additionally in his college career, Haseley was a pitcher, helping his squad lock down the 2015 College World Series.  This season, he tallied a 7-1 record with a 3.58 ERA and a 10.1 K/9 mark in 11 starts. He is expected, howver, to move forward as a centerfielder.

Projected higher on several mock drafts from reputable outlets, Haseley may have been a surprise to the Phillies to still be available when their turn came.

At Virginia, Haseley played for head coach Brian O'Connor, who previously helped develop former Phillies All-Star Brad Lidge, another first round draft pick (1998), when he mentored the hurler as a coach at Notre Dame.

Video footage of Haseley in action offensively can be seen in the embedded media players below.

Haseley has been compared to a Jacoby Ellsbury type of player; a guy that can hit for a very good average, but may not have the most power.  Looking around the system, the Phils may be deep with that kind of guy in centerfield.  See last year's top draft selection Mickey Moniak and Double-A Reading's Carlos Tocci. 



Friday, June 9, 2017

PhoulBallz Interview: Reading 1B Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin, image- Jay Floyd
Saturday's home game in Reading is being billed as Super Hero Night, with the home club slated to wear Captain America inspired jerseys, but first baseman Kyle Martin kicked things off early, as he became the hero of Thursday night's contest.  The 24-year-old lefty batter blasted a two-run walk-off home run that helped the Fightin Phils knock off the visiting Bowie Bay Sox by a score of 4-3.

For Martin, the round-tripper was his 11th of the season.  Through 49 games in the Double-A Eastern League, the Phillies' 4th round draft pick from 2015 is batting .191 with 31 RBI.

I recently spoke with Martin, who grew up as a Philadelphia sports fan, about his ups and downs this season, working to improve and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-I wanted to get your thoughts on Eastern League competition and how you're performing in the league so far this year.

It's good.  Obviously, as you move up the pitchers get better, the hitters get better, all of it gets a litte bit better.  It's been tough, but I'm coming around as well and I'm getting used to things.

-I think your production was slow to start, which is what you were just getting at there, but the power's definitely been there of late.  Are you happy with your progress right now?

Yeah.  I'm really happy with the progress.  I started out a little slow, but that tends to happen. Some people take a little longer to get out of the gate, so it's coming around and everything's starting to feel good.

-There are a couple guys that have helped the lineup all year that may not have seemed to need that time to warm up.  Andrew Pullin and Scott Kingery have been hot throughout the year and they're a lot of fun to watch-- not indicating that you aren't fun to watch, but how is it as a teammate to be watching these guys do their thing and being a part of the lineup with those two?

Those are great hitters.  They both really know how to hit and they both have some experience up here a little bit, so of course you're going to be a little more used to it.  Um, I mean they know how to hit and get on base and that's important to be at the top of the lineup.

-How do you feel about playing in front of that true Phillies fan base, people that gew up as Phillies fans, in Reading?

I've really enjoyed it so far.  Like you said, they're Phillies fans in and out and it's been a great experience so far.  Being a Phillies fan, I'm one of them, so it's definitely been a lot more enjoyable.

-You and I have talked about the Phillies fandom before, but are you a Philadelphia guy all the way through?  Eagles, Sixers, everything?

Everything!  Yup.  Through and through, since day one.

-Are you following the drafts for these other leagues?

A little bit.  I'll definitely be watching the draft for the Eagles.  That's mainly the other sport that I follow.  The Sixers a little bit, here and there, the Flyers (too) especially when they make the playoffs.

-Back to you, is there any feedback that you've gotten from the coaches that have helped you focus or target where to improve?

There's always stuff to work on and we've talked a good bit.  Getting better pitches is one thing.  That's a good start.  And anticipating pitches in certain counts and just being ready, honestly.

-What was your off-season routine like last year, to step it up or to help you make improvements?

I took a month off just to kind of rest mentally and physically.  Then started getting back in the groove, trying to get bigger, stronger, faster, the usual.  Then I was back in Greenville, hitting with a buddy of mine most of the time and we kind of worked on a few things, kind of picking pitches out, trying to be ready for certain pitches in certain counts.

-Who were you working with?

His name is Jeff Young.  He coached me back in high school in summer ball and stuff and we became really close.

-Is there anybody else in your area that are in the pros that you work with?

Yeah, Bradley Jones...worked out with him a good bit.  A couple other ones.  Ramon Osuna.  He's with the Braves.  Bradley's with the Blue Jays.

Monday, June 5, 2017

PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Shane Watson talks about weak output

Shane Watson, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Shane Watson, a supplemental 1st round draft pick of the Phillies back in 2012, is having a lackluster season thus far for the Double-A Reading Fightins.  Through 10 starts, the 23-year-old has posted a 2-4 record along with a 5.52 ERA while striking out 24 and walking 26 in 44 innings pitched. 

I recently spoke with Watson about his feelings on his output, what needs to change to improve, the possibility of consulting the Phillies mental skills staff and more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-What are your thoughts on your output, thus far this season?  I know the starting rotation likely as a group wouldn't be pleased with each of you having high ERA's.

Yeah, all of us don't want to be above five.  Even though the parks are pretty small-- every field I've been at in Double-A so far has been small-- um, working some kinks out.  All of us are competitive and want to do well, like you said, so it's just you know, trying to trust the defense and the players behind us...and try to just battle back and work some kinks out, you know?

-I talked to Drew Anderson recently and he was describing how he doesn't track his stats at all and instead only is concerned if he puts the team in a position to win and if he feels good physically the next day.  I noticed there were a few outings recently where you didn't complete four innings.  What's most important to you from start to start?  

You know, every start it's my goal to give my team the best shot.  Um, not going at least five is always tough.  I went three and then three (and and third), or I forgot what it was...I've just been getting behind in the count and letting the guys get on and mainly, like I said just getting behind on guys.  And my goal is always if I do have a bad start, which you can feel it, just try to keep my team close and give them the best shot.

-So you talk about not getting behind and, with that, getting ahead of the opposition.  What needs to change for you to get that done?

Throw more strikes.  Make it a point to get ahead early.  Get ahead and stay ahead.  You know, I've been falling behind early, you know, ball one, strike one, ball two.  Then it's two-one.  I've got to-- not really let them hit it, but kind of pitch to contact.

-I've heard from guys at times that the Phillies employ a mental skills coach....do you ever deal with him?

That's not for me.  I don't know.  I just try to stay away from that altogether.  He's a great guy, I think he has a lot of good stuff to say, but for me, that's just not for me.  I feel like that's kind of-- once you start getting involved with your mental skills, I think for me personally, that's kind of being mentally soft.  That's just, not knocking his profession, or whatever he needs to do, but you know some guys need it.  For me, I just I have to be aggressive.  That's my mental skills is be aggressive.  Be aggressive.  Be aggressive. 

-So, if you're not dealing with a guy like that, obviously, you might be dealing with (pitching coach Steve) Schrenk and the other coaches more often.  Is there anything they're sharing with you to help you along this year?

Yeah, all the coaches are great.  Schrenk's great.  Legger's great.  Um, they pretty much tell me, like I said, be aggressive.  Somebody gets get a hit off of you, don't let that get to you.  It's not your bad necessarily, it's the pitch that you threw to hit that that swing was bad.  So, it's falling on trusting Legger and Schrenk, 'cause they're good coaches.