Monday, August 3, 2015

Utley solid at plate with Lehigh Valley, rehab to continue with Reading

utleyIn his first game action since June 22nd, Phillies second baseman Chase Utley went 2-for-3 with a walk for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Sunday.

In the 4-0 loss to Norfolk at home in Allentown, Utley acted as the team's designated hitter.

The 36-year-old has been sidelined in recent weeks with a right ankle injury.

In 65 games at the big league level this season, the veteran has tallied a .179 average with four home runs and 25 RBI. In his 13-year big league career, Utley, who was the Phils' first round draft choice in 2000, has a .281 batting average with 232 homers and 911 RBI.

With the IronPigs slated to hit the road this week, the Phillies will keep Utley close to home and have him continue his rehab with Double-A Reading when they make the short road trip to Trenton beginning on Tuesday. The plan is for Utley to see some action in the field and play with the Fightins for two days. He will be reevaluated after that.

Outfielder Nick Williams and hurler Jake Thompson, acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels/Jake Diekman trade last week, are expected to be added to the Reading roster in time for the team's series opener in Trenton.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

OF Dugan promoted to AAA

KellyDugan4
Kelly Dugan, image- Jay Floyd
The Phillies have promoted outfielder Kelly Dugan to Triple-A Lehigh Valley from Double-A Reading.

This season with the Fightins, Dugan tallied a .315/.391/.393 slash line in 44 games.

Coaches love Dugan's offensive development in recent seasons, but the youngster has suffered repeated injury concerns throughout his career, most recently a foot fracture, which was originally diagnosed as a "stress reaction", that kept him out of action from spring training until June this year.

In 2013, Dugan posted a career high 20 home runs and drove in 59 runs while batting .291 in 112 combined games with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Reading. He looked primed to bust out in 2014, but missed considerable time with an oblique strain. In 76 games with Reading last year, he sported a .296 average with five homers and 34 RBI.

The 24-year-old lefty batter was the Phillies' top draft pick (2nd round) in 2009.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Revere traded to Toronto for two pitchers, Danks called up

On Friday, in the midst of the official announcement of the Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to Texas news, another deal was made by the Phillies.  OF Ben Revere will be swapped to Toronto for two minor leaguers. 

Revere, 27, was batting .292 and had a homer along with 26 RBI and 24 steals in 96 games this season.

To fill the void on the big league roster, veteran OF Jordan Danks has been promoted to the Phils. The 28-year-old lefty batter is a career .227 hitter in 180 major league contests.

CSN's Jim Salisbury reported that the two players coming to the Phils organization are righty hurlers Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado.

Cordero, a 23-year-old Dominican, tallied a save and a 2.92 ERA along with 22 strike outs and 14 walks over 24 2/3 innings in 17 games for Double-A New Hampshire. Prior to his promotion to the Eastern League, Cordero notched a 0-1 record a save and a 2.49 ERA while striking out 24 and walking six over 25 1/3 innings in 15 relief outing for Class A Advanced Dunedin this season. The six-foot-three 215-pounder sports an impressive fastball that reaches triple digits on the radar gun.

Tirado, a 20-year-old Dominican, had a 4-3 record with three saves, a 3.23 ERA and an 8.95 K/9 mark in 31 relief appearances for Dunedin. At six-feet, 180-pounds, he has potential for a steady plus fastball, already clocking in the 95-96 MPH range regularly in his young career with upside into the triple digits as well. Tirado was ranked as the number 76 prospect in the sport headed into the 2014 season.

With this duo of power arms, the Phils may have landed a couple of key bullpen contributors for the future. Fans who were excited about the prospect depth the Phils have built since the end of last season with previous trades, should be even more pumped up with the return for Revere from the Blue Jays.

PNTV episode 17: Trade deadline deals, Phils prospects and youth baseball

On this week's edition of Phillies Nation Ian Riccaboni joined hosts Rachel Micali and Corey Seidman to talk about the Phillies dealing ace hurler Cole Hamels and All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon. Minor league insider Jay Floyd also joins the panel to talk about the organization's rising prospects like Aaron Altherr, Andrew Knapp and Roman Quinn as well as members of this year's draft class such as Cornelius Randolph and Kyle Martin. Also, Timothy Parker joins the show with a profile piece on the local youth baseball RBI program.

Check out this week's episode in the media player below. Look for new episodes each Tuesday at 6PM on The Comcast Network with replays throughout the week on TCN and Comcast Sportsnet.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

PN's Jay Floyd discusses Hamels trade on KYW News Radio

This afternoon Phillies Nation's minor league insider Jay Floyd joined Matt Leon on KYW 1060 AM to speak about the widely reported trade of Cole Hamels to Texas as well as the crop of guys the Phillies are slated to receive in return, mainly OF Nick Williams and catcher Jorge Alfaro. Also discussed is the current state of the Phils' minor league system and how the organization has bounced back in regards to possessing a collection of great young talents.

Check out the media player below to listen to the segment.

A Look at the Return for Hamels

phils logoThe Cole Hamels to Texas trade is a six-for-two (plus money) deal with lefty reliever Jake Diekman joining the Phillies' former ace on his way to the Rangers in return for big league starting pitcher Matt Harrison as well as the following prospects- pitchers Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher and Jake Thompson, outfielder Nick Williams and catcher Jorge Alfaro.

Eickhoff, a 25-year-old righty, tallied a 1-0 record with a 2.70 ERA in two starts at the Triple-A level this year and had a 4.25 ERA and an 8.24 K/9 mark in 18 games at Double-A this season. The six-foot-four 240-pounder was a 15th round draft pick in 2011. Eickhoff throws a mid-90's fastball as well as a curve ball and a change up. It's possible his future is out of the bullpen.

Asher, a righty, tallied a 3-6 record with a 4.73 ERA in 12 games at Triple-A after posting a 1-4 record with a 3.98 ERA in eight Double-A games this season. The six-foot-four 230-pounder was a 4th round draft selection in 2012. With a (low-90's) fastball/slider/change up repertoire, the durable Floridian has a promising future.

The next three prospects were all rated among the Rangers' top five prospects, starting with Thompson, a six-foot-four 235-pounder, who posted a 6-6 record with a 4.72 ERA while striking out 78 and walking 30 in 87 2/3 innings in 17 starts at the Double-A level this year. The 21-year-old right-hander was a 2nd round draft selection in 2012. He is equipped with a pitching arsenal that features a low-90's fastball, along with a nice slider and a change up that he's working to refine. He was part of a trade that brought him from the Tigers to the Rangers for Joakim Soria last summer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Phils acquire pitching prospect Pivetta for Papelbon

The Phillies got into the action approaching the non-waiver trading deadline on Tuesday, dealing closer Jonathan Papelbon and cash considerations to the Washington Nationals for righty pitching prospect Nick Pivetta.

Pivetta was the Nats' 4th round draft selection in 2013 out of New Mexico Junior College. The British Columbia native stands 6'5" and is listed at 220 pounds.  He is described as an innings eater and has clean arm action.

This season, the 22-year-old tallied a 7-6 record with a 3.02 ERA and a 6.9 K/9 mark in 18 games (17 starts) at Class A Advanced and Double-A.

The youngster's repertoire features a sinking fastball that ranges from 92 to 95 MPH, a decent curve ball and a developing change up that he's building consistency with. 

The Phillies often make adjustments to their pitchers' grips and deliveries, so expect the organization's coaches to take on Pivetta's offerings and mechanics as a new challenge. 

Papelbon, who posted a 2-1 record with 17 saves and a 1.59 ERA in 37 games this season, agreed to drop his 2016 salary from $13 million to $11 million in order to have the vesting option exercised, so he's under contract for Washington through next season, according to reports.  The veteran hurler recently became the Phils' all-time saves leader and now holds that record with 123.




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hamels notches first career no-hitter in Chicago

HamelsIn what could have been a farewell by Cole Hamels to Philadelphia, the veteran lefty tossed a no-hitter on Saturday at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

En route to his first career nine-inning hitless bid, Hamels struck out 13 and walked two to move his season record to 6-7 while tossing 129 pitches to mark his first win since May 23rd.

The shutout victory could also serve as an up close audition as Hamels, who has been the subject of loads of trade talks in recent weeks, has been rumored to be of interest to the Cubs, who are 1 1/2 game out of the National League's second Wild Card spot.

The Phillies won the contest 5-0, led by Ryan Howard's 17th home run of the season, a three-run blast in the third inning.

The game marked the first time the Cubs have been no-hit since the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax accomplished the feat in 1965.

Friday, July 24, 2015

BlueClaws mascot Buster and friends perform to Silento's smash hit "Watch Me"

With over 61 million views and climbing on YouTube and a top five ranking on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Silento's blazing hot single "Watch Me" is, as some might say, all the rage among young people across America.  As the song itself is virtually only a steady reminder to view the vocalist's dance moves, its catchy lyrics and party vibe, that encourage listeners to bust a move, or seventy-five moves, have made their way to the world of professional sports.

In the video player below, Class A Lakewood BlueClaws mascot Buster and several friends get in on the Silento action and party it up between innings during a recent game.  Check it out.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

BlueClaws Quotables: Shawn Williams talks Casimiro & team's success

Shawn-Williams
Shawn Williams, image- Jay Floyd
The Class A BlueClaws are 10-3 in their last 13 games and have won 13 of their last 18 contests. Currently, Lakewood sits in 2nd place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division, two games behind the first place West Virginia Power (Pirates affiliate).

Following Lakewood's 4-0 victory over the Power on Wednesday, team manager Shawn Williams spoke with Phillies Nation about a pair of the game's winning pitcher, some of the standout offensive contributors as well as the team's recent success following some roster turnover.

I asked Williams about right-handed hurler Ranfi Casimiro, who notched the win with 7 2/3 scoreless innings on three hits, while striking out six and walking two...

He was awesome. He threw the ball really well. He's been throwing like that all year, but he put together 7 2/3 (innings) and I'm really impressed with his outing. The slider was really good. His change up is always good, but his slider was what really impressed me and over all, stuff wise and challenging the zone, he was outstanding.

Williams spoke on if the wall Casimiro hit at the end of his outing, where he allowed the last three batters he faced to reach base with a hit batter and the two base on balls he issued, could be discouraging and possibly ruin the good outing overall...

I don't think so at all. I just think he ran out of gas a little bit. It just happens. He's pitched late into the game a lot this year, but I don't think, just overall, we'll look at the whole outings and I know he is and overall it was awesome and I thought he threw the ball very well.

Monday, July 20, 2015

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws infielder Damek Tomscha

Damek Tomscha, image- Jay Floyd
Corner infielder Damek Tomscha has been a solid performer of late for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Overall this season, the Phillies' 14th round draft choice from 2014 has posted .270 average with four homers and 32 RBI in 77 games.

Recently, I spoke with the six-foot-two 200-pound righty batter about his production, transitioning to the minor league from college ball at Auburn and his unique name. Read ahead for that full interview.

-You've had some solid success recently, especially after the promotions of some teammates up to Clearwater. What can you tell me about the improved output?

I mean, you just definitely have to step up. You're given the opportunity, I just feel like you need to take advantage of it and I was kind of playing here and there at the beginning of the year and then I started hitting the ball a little better and got the opportunity to start playing a little more. So, I just feel like, for the most part, I'm making the most of my opportunity and doing what I can for the team.

-I know from talking with the coaches that you've made some improvements. What's different for you that has helped out with your offensive production?

I kind of switched a few things up with my stance with (hitting coach Nelson) Prada. We worked some things out and I got a little more upright and I feel like I've been able to get to that inside pitch a bit better and I've gotten the barrel out to those inside pitches and, you know, just going up there swinging, not so much thinking about what I need to do with the fundamentals of stuff. Just mainly going up there a getting a good swing on a pitch that I can handle.

Friday, July 17, 2015

2011 top pick Larry Greene Jr. says he’s returning to baseball

Greene-tugWith news that the Phillies' first round draft choice from last year is headed to the big leagues for his next start, it's a suitable time for another of the organization's recent top draft selections to be on the tip of people's tongues. Granted, it won't be with the same levels of gusto and excitement.

With the Phillies Nation all abuzz with anticipation as righty hurler Aaron Nola is set to make his major league debut next Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park, news of the return of the Phils' top draft pick from 2011, Larry Greene Jr., might draw more eye rolls than tickets sold.

Earlier this season it was reported here that Greene had retired, while the team insisted is was simply a break.

To clear up any confusion, the 22-year-old says that he'll be heading back to the field with the Phillies.

"I'm not done...no chance," Greene asserted on Friday.

Fans, who were frustrated with a growing list of expensive early round draft picks that had not panned out at the top level for the home team, as well as some media types, labeled the six-foot 235-pounder as a bust.

Greene, who is aware of fans' expectations of a top draft pick, feels the break from playing was necessary, due to personal concerns.

In three professional seasons the Georgia native tallied a .224 average with eight home runs and 74 RBI in 242 games. With Class A Lakewood last year, he posted a .183 average with two homers and 18 RBI through 60 games.

Signed for a reported $1 million bonus, Greene doesn't have a firm date for when he'll be back in Clearwater to relaunch his playing career, but he is excited to resume his playing days nonetheless.

"I'm not sure of a time frame, but you haven't seen the last of me. I promise you that."

This post was originally published on Phillies Nation.

Phillies announce Nola to debut in majors on Tuesday


The Phillies announced on Friday that the club's top draft pick from last year, Aaron Nola, will be called up to make his big league debit on Tuesday, July 21st against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Drafted 7th overall last year out of LSU, Nola has been on the fast track to the big league. He is the first opening round draft pick to make his major league debut with the Phillies the year after he was drafted since Pat Combs in 1989.

In 18 combined starts with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, the right-hander sported a 10-4 record with a 2.39 ERA and a .241 batting average against.

Nola's second start for Lehigh Valley on Thursday night wasn't a gleaming one. In three innings of work against the Rochester Red Wings, the 22-year-old gave up seven hits and six runs (five earned) in three innings of work en route to the taking the loss.

Twice this year, Phillies Nation's television program has profiled Nola's progress in the developmental ranks. Those features can be viewed in the media players embedded below.





Thursday, July 16, 2015

Reading's Pointer clinches Eastern League All-Star Game victory

Pointer- Tug
Pointer following a home run this year, Photo- Tug Haines
With a unique format in place to decide a regulation tie, the Eastern League's All-Star Game was decided when Reading outfielder Brian Pointer slammed a deciding home run to clinch a victory for the Eastern Division.

The Double-A league's All-Star exhibition wrapped up nine innings of play with a 4-4 tie in Wednesday's annual event held in Portland, Maine. Extra innings were not how the game would be decided and, without a way to display the method that was actually used to decide the winner, the contest's box score displays the final score as a tie.

Instead of a traditional overtime format, the league used a home run derby to determine the winning club, with the two teams taking turns with one swing each time up, to try and launch a ball over the outfield wall in fair territory. Following eleven failed attempts by the Western division All-Stars and ten missed opportunities by Pointer and his Eastern division teammates, the 23-year-old lefty batter launched a deep fly to right field that reached the stands.

For Pointer, who was the Phillies' 28th round draft selection in 2010, it was clearly a highlight to his pro career.

"That was unbelievable! Just awesome! One of my best moments that I've been a part of," Pointer excitedly said on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Phillies Nation Episode 15: Cooney, Leiter, Wilson

On this week's edition of Phillies Nation, Corey and Rachel are joined by Phillies beat writer Kevin Cooney. The trio chats about the Phils' extremely poor record though the opening half of the season, Maikel Franco being the team's bright spot and possible upcoming trades. PN's minor league insider Jay Floyd caught up with Reading hurler Mark Leiter Jr. and also joins the panel to discuss some rising prospects such as Aaron Nola, J.P. Crawford, Andrew Knapp and Rhys Hoskins.

The episode, featured in the media player below, also includes a segment with hitting instructor Kevin Wilson, fantasy baseball tips and more.

New episodes of Phillies Nation premiere each Tuesday at 6PM on The Comcast Network and replay throughout each week on TCN and Comcast Sportsnet.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Crawford impresses for US Team in All-Star Futures Game

jp craw
JP Crawford, image- Jay Floyd
In Cincinatti on Sunday afternoon, top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford contributed to the offensive barrage for the United States Team in the MLB All-Star Futures Game, going 1-for-3 with a run-scoring single while scoring a run himself.

The US Team was up 5-1 when Crawford exited the game following the 5th inning. Led by key hits from Rockies prospect Trevor Story and Mets prospect Brandon Nimmo, the club would double their score and increase their lead to 10-1 over the World Team in the 6th inning.

Crawford also impressed on defense, nabbing a liner on a leaping catch and turning a slick double play in the 5th frame.

This was the 20-year-old lefty batter's second trip to the Futures Game. He went 1-for-2 with a stolen base in last year's contest, just 13 months after he was drafted 16th overall in the 2013 draft.

Another Phillies prospect honored to be on the US roster in this year's annual exhibition was starting pitcher Aaron Nola, who did not pitch in the game, after throwing six innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday.

In 17 starts combined for Double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley this season, the 22-year-old LSU product has tallied a 10-3 record with a 2.03 ERA and a 7.53 K/9. Nola was drafted 7th overall last year by the Phils.

The game was still in progress at the time this post was published.

This post was originally published on Phillies Nation.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

4th Round Pick Martin Living Dream in Phillies System

K Martin 4
Kyle Martin, image- Jay Floyd
LAKEWOOD, NJ- Drafted by the team he grew up rooting for, first baseman Kyle Martin has found the transition to professional baseball to be an easy one, in the midst of living a dream.

Through 15 games with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, the left-handed hitting Martin has had early success, sporting a .322 average with seven doubles, a triple and a homer with eight RBI.

A lifelong southerner, the six-foot-two 225-pounder followed in his father's footsteps, cheering for the Phillies from far away.

"South Carolina born and raised, but my dad's family and my dad was born up around the Philly area, so I kind of grew up following in his steps since there's nobody to pull for down in South Carolina," Martin shared in the FirstEnergy Park home dugout this week.

Martin happily described the moment in which his family's favorite team drafted him 114th overall just last month.

"I was with my whole family, my mom, my dad, some close relatives and all my family and friends. It was an exciting moment, a great moment, very unscripted that you can't really write up," Martin said.

"I mean the whole house kind of erupted with excitement. I think my dad may have shed a tear. I think he was more happy I got a job more so than anything. But other than that, it was just full of happiness and joy. It was a great moment."

Living far away, the Martins didn't attend too many Phillies games as Kyle grew up, but one Phillie in particular stands out as making a hefty impression on the young prospect during his formative years.

"I grew up a huge Jim Thome fan," Martin said. "He was a big inspiration. His swing, the way he went about the game was a big part of it.

"Great guy. A very good guy to look up to, on or off the field, he did everything the right way, played the game the right way and it rewarded him in the end."

Martin, who wears a steady expression of seriousness and determination whenever he's near the field, has quickly asserted himself as a key contributor for Lakewood by notching seven multi-hit games in his last 12 contests. His abilities at the plate have impressed his coaches.

"One thing I really like on him is his pitch selection," BlueClaws hitting coach Nelson Prada stated. "He, for a big boy, he doesn't strike out too much. Coming from college to play pro and to become a clean up guy for a professional team, you know, getting some RBI's already and some good at bats is a plus for him. I think he's going to be a good hitter. "

This year in his senior season with the South Carolina Gamecocks, the 22-year-old notched a .350 average with 14 home runs and 56 RBI in 57 games.

Four years in a tough collegiate conference was key for Martin's transition into affiliated professional baseball.

"Playing in the SEC, it's the top level, it's top notch programs," Martin shared. "Playing against them, you see the kind of pitching in the SEC that you see here and it's really prepared me. It's gotten me in the zone, it's gotten me in the moment and has helped me evolve as a hitter and a fielder in this type of play."

Now, playing in an area in which he has family ties, Martin will get the support he thrived on throughout his college playing days in order to continue thriving on the diamond.

"I've got some family, and friends who have family, up here and I've gotten to see them a good bit, so that's really kind of helped me out so far and will be nice going forward."