Saturday, February 28, 2015

Phillies Looking For Answers In Spring Training

Anyone who has read 2015 MLB previews understands that the Philadelphia Phillies right now are not looking particularly strong. In fact, some publications have them as one of the worst teams in baseball. However, with a major market and a decent amount of money to work with, this team could make some decisions that could get them started on a rebuilding process. That rebuilding process could start as early as spring training.

Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee are two aging pitchers who could easily be flipped to replenish the minor league system for the Phillies in 2015. Most people seem to think that it is not a matter of if, but when regarding these 2 left-handed pitchers. Philadelphia might be waiting until the middle of the season to pull off any type of trade, because there is a chance that they get off to a good start and stay in the playoff race. However, a rebuilding team needs to build from within, and they would both command some decent prospects.

Speaking of prospects, it is time to give some of their young players an extended look in spring training to see where they stand right now. The top prospect in the system right now is probably JP Crawford, but no one realistically expects the 20-year-old shortstop to be ready for the majors in 2015. However, guys like Aaron Nola, Maikel Franco, Ben Lively and Jesse Biddle could be ready to contribute in fantasy baseball this year.

Manager Ryne Sandberg knows that he has a tough task ahead of him, but he is hoping spring training will fix a few issues. Many people want to see if someone can emerge as a team leader on this roster. Many people look at Ryan Howard or Chase Utley filling that role, but injury issues and inconsistent play has kept them out of the lineup quite a bit. Until they have a better set up in the locker room, this team is not going anywhere in the National League East.

The above piece is from guest blogger Zack Kennedy.

Friday, February 27, 2015

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 75: Baseball Betsy & Hoby Milner Interviews

On the 75th edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast, Tug and Jay are joined by Phillies and minor league blogger "Baseball Betsy", who shares some stories about being an American parent to some of the Phils' up and coming Latin prospects and gives some updates on the likes of Perci Garner, Adam Morgan, Grenny Cumana and Carlos Alonso. Lefty hurler Hoby Milner takes time to answer Nine Silly-ass Questions. The guys also discuss the Phillies diving into the analytics era at long last, Kelly Dugan's injury, questionable Twitter etiquette and plenty more.

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.

Additionally, thanks to the thousands of you for being part of the growing process as our previous episode featuring an interview with the aforementioned Alonso was our most downloaded episode ever.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oft-injured Dugan speaks on latest ailment

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Kelly Dugan, image- Jay Floyd
Phillies outfield prospect Kelly Dugan expects to be ready to play when the regular season gets rolling in April.

Sidelined with a stress reaction in his right foot, Dugan, who is no stranger to injuries, showed up to spring training this week in a walking boot and has engaged in limited activity thus far in Clearwater. This issue popped up recently while the California native was running sprints.

For those wondering precisely what a stress reaction is, Dugan cleared that matter up.

"There is no fracture. It's a low level bone injury from stress to the area," Dugan explained via text message on Thursday.

The 24-year-old is working to stay in shape in the weight room and states that he is able to play light catch with a regular shoe, free of any pain.

Dugan, who was the Phillies top draft selection (2nd round) in 2009, will be in the walking boot for another week.

"Things are going smoothly so far," Dugan stated. "Doctors and trainers expect me to be a full go before camp breaks because the MRI showing a stress reaction that was very mild."

The son of Hollywood director Dennis Dugan, Kelly sports a solid career slash line (.293/.368/.451) in five pro seasons and will likely open the 2015 campaign on the Triple-A Lehigh Valley roster.

In his professional career, Dugan has spent time on the shelf with a collection of injuries including a staph infection, an ankle sprain, oblique strains and turf toe.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #1 SS J.P. Crawford

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J.P. Crawford, image- Jay Floyd
Prospects don't come much more exciting than J.P. Crawford. Equipped with big-time athleticism, a premium baseball IQ, leadership qualities and all the right on-field tools, the Phillies' top draft selection from 2013 (16th overall) is already being referred to as the future of the franchise.

Prior to the draft, Crawford posted great numbers at Lakewood High School in California, batting .432 in 25 games during his senior season and he stands as the school's all-time leader in hits and runs scored at a school that also produced former Phillies 1st round draft choice and current Mets backstop Travis d'Arnaud.

After signing his first pro deal, Crawford joined the Phillies system and quickly proved to be among the organization's most talented young players.

Upon making his minor league debut as an 18-year-old with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, Crawford was very impressive. He was tops in the GCL in batting for a considerable stretch and posted a .345 average with a homer, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases through 39 games. To wrap up the regular season, the youngster was promoted up two levels to Class A full season Lakewood.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #2 RHP Aaron Nola

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Aaron Nola, image- Jay Floyd
Selected with the 7th overall pick in last year's MLB amateur draft, righty hurler Aaron Nola has been one of the Phillies' most promising prospects since day one.

The six-foot-one 196-pounder was a First Team All-American in his junior season at LSU last year, posting an 11-1 record along with a 1.47 ERA and a 10.37 K/9 mark in 16 starts. He enjoyed a tremendous college career, twice winning SEC Player of the Year honors while compiling a 30-6 overall record with a 2.09 ERA in three seasons.

Nola signed quickly with the Phils and made his pro debut as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers on June 23rd, taking a loss by allowing four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. Over his following five starts, Nola let up seven earned runs in 24 innings (2.63 ERA) and earned a promotion to Double-A.

With Reading, the 21-year-old Nola would close out his season with a 2-0 record and a 2.63 ERA in five games.

Overall, in 12 minor league appearances (11 starts) last year, the Louisiana native tallied a 4-3 record as well as a 2.93 ERA along with 45 strike outs and 10 walks in 55 1/3 innings.

Over the off-season, Nola worked hard, using the Phils' mandated routine and throwing program as guidelines. Able to use the LSU facilities to stay in shape, Nola would throw to his brother, Austin, an infielder with the Marlins.

Often praised for his precision control, Nola is not seen as overpowering. With a clean, potent delivery, the durable youngster is projected as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher. He has a repertoire that features a low-to-mid-90's fastball that has nice movement, a change up with great upside and a curve ball, which he throws for strikes, that will supplement the other two offerings quite well.

Fearless on the mound, Nola goes after the opposition and isn't afraid to give up a run or two for the good of the team, but certainly doesn't need to do so in order to work out of jams.

Nola, who grew up admiring former Phillie Pedro Martinez, was previously drafted by Toronto out of high school in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft, but did not sign. His college coach, Paul Mainieri, also coached Brad Lidge at Notre dame.

It is likely that Nola will open the 2015 season as Reading's opening day starter. He'll continue to be on the fast track toward the big leagues for sure and should debut there before the end of the season.

To follow along with this year's full countdown, click HERE.

ProspectNation

Friday, February 20, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #3 3B/1B Maikel Franco

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Maikel Franco, image- Jay Floyd
Despite a difficult stretch last season, corner infielder Maikel Franco remains as one of the Phillies' most promising prospects.

Signed as an amateur free agent by the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, Franco would make his professional debut with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies that same year. As a 17-year-old, he posted respectable numbers, with a line of .222/.292/.330 in 51 games.

A year later, the righty hitting Franco began the season in extended spring training and later competed with the short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters. Franco looked great against New York-Penn League competition, posting a .274/.339/.389 line while driving in 28 runs in 42 games before earning a promotion to full season Class A Lakewood.

In the South Atlantic League, at the age of 18, the baby-faced Franco struggled quite a bit. In 17 contests for the BlueClaws, Franco went 8-for-67 (.123 avg) and racked up an extremely weak .349 OPS. The Phillies realized Franco was over-matched and that he was growing discouraged, so he was re-assigned back to Williamsport, where he finished the season by batting .333 with seven extra-base hits and 10 RBI over his final 13 games with the Crosscutters.

In 2012, Franco returned to Lakewood, showing much improvement throughout the season. Franco began the year at somewhat of a slow pace, batting just .207 with six homers, 27 RBI and a .607 OPS before he heated things up after the South Atlantic League All-Star break. In the second half of the season, Franco really showed what he can do at the plate, tallying a .346 average with eight home runs, 57 RBI, which were tops in the league during that stretch, and a .925 OPS.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lee speaks with a little help, Amaro downplays Hamels remarks, More spring updates

spring-training-2015Hoping to keep things light on the first day of spring training, Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee showed up to speak with members of the media toting a plastic answer providing assistant.  With his Magic 8 Ball by his side, the 36-year-old proclaimed with a smile that he'd use the device to help with any hard questions.

Relying on the toy for answers related to teammate Cole Hamels' proclamation this week that the Phillies won't be winners and if he'd wish to be traded to a contender, Lee offered more genuine thoughts on his outlook overall.  The four-time All-Star pledged his focus to win a championship for the team he's currently with.

"Until we get out there and play the games, get ourself in a certain position, I can't expect to do anything other than to win and get to the World Series, and win a World Series," Lee asserted.  "That's the only way I know how to look at it."

Team general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. was not concerned with the ace Hamels' desire to pitch for a winning club.

Via Philly.com:
"Listen, all of these guys want to play for competitive and winning teams. That's the nature of the beast. These guys are human beings, they want to win. And they're athletes. My job is to create that atmosphere again and it may take a little time to get there. But I don’t have any problem with Cole - maybe he could have chosen his words a little but differently - but I don’t have a problem with that at all because I know he wants to compete and I fully expect him to do so. He’s a very professional guy, he’s going to go out and pitch, and he’s going to do his job here."

In other news, the Phillies announced that former CSN studio analyst Ben Davis would replace Jamie Moyer on the television broadcast team.  Davis, who is also an on-air personality for WIP sports radio, is a Chester, PA native who played seven seasons in the big leagues.

Position players that are confirmed to have reported to camp early include outfielders Ben Revere, Jeff Francoeur, Darin Mastroianni, Darin Ruf, Odubel Herrera and Jordan Danks along with third baseman Cody Asche.

Also, former Phillies minor league outfielder Steve Susdorf confirmed his retirement from baseball with me on Wednesday.  He is looking forward to his career outside of the sport he played professionally for seven seasons.  Susdorf played in three games in the majors for the Phils in 2013.

Prospect Nation 2015: #4 OF Roman Quinn


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Roman Quinn, image- Jay Floyd
After bouncing back from significant surgery last season, Roman Quinn showed exactly why he has been so highly regarded since he was selected by the Phillies in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Making his pro debut with short-season Class A Williamsport in 2012, Quinn shined, putting together a .281 average with nine doubles, a league-leading 11 triples, one homer and 23 RBI while swiping 30 bases in 36 opportunities.

Those excellent offensive efforts came while learning to switch hit and adapting to a defensive switch to the infield after playing mostly outfield prior to signing his first pro deal.

Comfort was a big factor for Quinn in 2013, according to his Class A Lakewood coaches, who saw things get easier for the youngster at the plate as the season went on. Quinn opened that campaign as a 19-year-old. He got off to a rough start, batting .202 with a .556 OPS in 22 April games. In May, things began to look up, offensively, for Quinn, as he tallied a .304 average with an .874 OPS in 26 contests. His season would not last much longer, as the Florida resident was hit by a pitch that resulted in a broken left wrist in June.

The Florida native wrapped up his 2013 BlueClaws campaign sporting a .238 average with seven doubles, three triples, five home runs and 32 stolen bases in 41 chances through 67 games.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #5 LHP Jesse Biddle

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Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd
Lefty pitching prospect Jesse Biddle had a difficult season last year, but injuries and shaky stats aside, he's still a prospect the Phillies will count on to take strides toward helping the big club in the near future.

Selected in the opening round of the 2010 draft, Biddle, who grew up as a Phillies fan, quickly made his minor league debut, beginning his journey toward donning the uniform of the team he cheered on from the seats of Citizens Bank Park all throughout his childhood and teenage years. The graduate of Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia combined to post a 4-1 record with a 3.92 ERA and a .241 batting average against in 12 starts with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies and short-season A level Williamsport in 2010.

The following season, Biddle became an All-Star in the Class A South Atlantic League as a member of the Lakewood BlueClaws. As the team’s most dependable starter through much of the year, Biddle posted a 7-8 record with a 2.98 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) and notched 124 strike outs in 133 innings pitched while sporting a.219 batting average against.

In 2012, the young hurler had quite a solid season, representing the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League All-Star Game. That year he tallied a 10-6 record with a 3.22 ERA, a 9.53 K/9 mark and a .237 batting average against.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #6 RHP Zach Eflin

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Zach Eflin, image- MiLB.com
Right-hander Zach Eflin was the key target when the Phillies dealt former National League MVP Jimmy Rollins this off-season. With a load of buzz about this young hurler, Eflin will look to prove himself worthy of being part of a trade for an organizational legend.

Selected with the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 draft by San Diego out of Hagerty High School in FL, Eflin made his professional debut that same year as a member of the rookie level Arizona League Padres. In four games (three starts), the six-foot-four 200-pounder posted a 0-1 record with a 7.71 ERA, as an 18-year-old.

After making minimal impact upon his minor league debut, Eflin came back strong in 2013, tallying a 7-6 record along with a 2.73 ERA, a .239 batting average against and a 6.52 K/9 mark in 22 starts with Class A Fort Worth.

Last season, as a 20-year-old, Eflin sported a 10-7 record with a 3.80 ERA and a 6.54 K/9 in 24 starts for Lake Elsinore in the Class A California League.

Eflin, who turns 21-year-old on April 8th, has a mid-90's fastball, a quality curve ball with some nice break as well as a change up that has great potential which he is working to perfect. Consistency with his mechanics is said to be a big plus for the youngster. He'll need to work on solidifying one of his breaking balls as an out pitch. With age on his side, there's plenty of time for his offerings to develop and fully come together.

Last season the Florida native took considerable strides in shaking his reputation as a fly ball pitcher, increasing his ground ball rate a hefty amount. After sporting a 37.9% mark in 2013, he notched an exceptional 50.2% mark in 2014.

Not only was Eflin part of the Rollins trade with the Dodgers, Los Angeles flipped him immediately after they acquired him from the Padres in a swap for two-time All-Star Matt Kemp.

The possible ETA for Eflin arriving in the big leagues could be 2016 with a ceiling as a middle of the rotation starter, possibly higher in the order. Look for him to be an anchor for the anticipated deep rotation with Double-A Reading to kick off this coming season.

To follow along with this year's full countdown, click HERE.

ProspectNation

Friday, February 13, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #7 RHP Ben Lively

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Ben Lively, image- MiLB.com
Acquired this off-season from Cincinnati, righty hurler Ben Lively would quickly land among the ranks of top Phillies prospect. He'll enter this coming season looking to prove why.

Originally selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, the Florida native would begin his pro career as a member of the rookie level Billings Mustangs. In 12 starts, Lively would tally a 0-3 record with a 0.73 ERA and an 11.92 K/9 mark. He was promoted to Class A Dayton to close out the season with a single start, allowing one earned run in four innings of work while striking out seven and walking one.

This was fresh off his junior season at the University of Central Florida where, in 15 games, he went 7-5 with a 2.04 ERA and an 8.57 K/9 mark as the team's ace.

Lively would follow up his exceptional year by becoming the Reds' minor league player of the year in 2014. Opening the season with Class A Advanced Bakersfield, Lively posted a 10-1 record with a 2.28 ERA, a .201 batting average against and a 10.82 K/9 mark in 13 starts. A stretch of 31 consecutive scoreless innings as a member of the Blaze got Lively some considerable attention and he was selected as a California League All-Star.

In mid-June, he was promoted to his hometown Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos. There, he would sport a 3-6 record with a 3.88 ERA, a .232 batting average against and a 9.5 K/9 mark.

The six-foot-four 190-pounder features a repertoire that includes a low-to-mid-90's fastball, a slider, a change up and a curve ball. All of his offerings come with a deceptive delivery that helps Lively gain an advantage on the opposition.

Projections would have Lively, who will turn 23 years old in early March, as a big league starter. His progress will determine where he might land among a team's five starters.

Out of high school, where he was also a varsity athlete in football and basketball, Lively was drafted in the 24th round by Cleveland, but chose not to sign.

Lively, who was dealt by the Reds for veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd, is primed to open the 2015 as a member of a stacked Double-A Reading starting rotation.

To follow along with this year's full countdown, click HERE.

ProspectNation

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #8 OF Kelly Dugan

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Kelly Dugan, image- Jay Floyd
After entering last season as one of the Phillies' most promising offensive prospects, outfielder Kelly Dugan worked hard to continue his path toward the big league. He'll enter 2015 just a step away from that goal and will look to dodge the pesky injury bug in order to get there.

Signed as the Phillies top draft selection (2nd round, 75th overall) in 2009, Dugan would debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies that year, posting a .233 average with eight doubles, a triple and eight RBI in 45 games. The following season, with the GCL team and short-season Class A Williamsport, Dugan sported a .366 average with a homer and eight RBI in 28 combined games. He missed roughly two months of action with the Crosscutters after he was hit in the leg with a batted ball during batting practice in June and later developed a staph infection that required draining.

In 2011, the lefty batting Dugan returned to Williamsport and represented the club in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game. As a member of the Cutters, in 47 games, he sported a .284 batting average along with two home runs and 21 RBI.

With Class A Lakewood the following season, after missing time with a severely sprained ankle, Dugan displayed improved power and steady production, as he notched a .300 batting average, 12 homers and 60 RBI in 117 games. Additionally, his OPS, at .857, was .127 points higher than his mark from the previous season, which was exciting to see.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #9 OF Dylan Cozens

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Dylan Cozens, image- Jay Floyd
Raw power is what scouts, media members and the Phillies alike covet with outfielder Dylan Cozens. Loads of pop combined with a strong adaptability as well as remarkable athleticism have Cozens rising toward the top among the team's best prospects.

At six feet six inches tall and 235 pounds Cozens has an imposing frame that was well-suited for the grid iron, as he was a two-sport star during high school. Already touting a great ability to drive the ball, the Arizona native has 30-plus homer potential. Last season marked just the second calendar year that Cozens had devoted all of his time to baseball, no longer competing in football after signing with the Phillies.

After he was selected in the second round of the 2012 MLB amateur draft, Cozens debuted in the minors with the rookie level Gulf Coast Phillies. In 50 games there, the lefty hitting youngster notched 15 doubles, two triples, five homers and 24 RBI. Cozens also participated in the Florida Instructional League in 2012.

After a productive spring in 2013, Cozens was retained in extended spring training and made his official season debut with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League when they kicked off in June. Cozens was among the league leaders in many categories that year, placing second in the league in doubles (19), extra base hits (30), and runs (50) while ranking third in slugging percentage (.469). Additionally, he batted .265 with two triples, nine home runs and 35 RBI in 68 games for the Cutters.

In 2014, with Class A Lakewood, Cozens took strides had a good season, posting a .248 average with 16 homers and 62 RBI. He followed that up with a solid campaign in the Australian Baseball League this off-season. In 45 games with Melbourne, he tallied a .255 average with eight home runs, 23 RBI and 11 steals.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Watson begins throwing program after second surgery

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Shane Watson, image- Jay Floyd
Righty hurler Shane Watson is on the road to recovery once again.

Following his second shoulder surgery in a year, the Phillies' first round draft choice from 2012 began a throwing program on Friday under the watchful eyes of Phillies trainers and coaches in Clearwater, FL on Friday.

Watson threw 25 pitches from 60 feet and stated via text message on Sunday that he feels good. The California native will throw again on Monday. Going forward, his throwing program will consist of throwing two consecutive days, followed by one day off, throwing two days and so on, as he works to build arm strength.

Currently, the six-foot-four 200-pounder is also working on strengthening modalities with the Phils' training staff as well as "dry mound work" with minor league pitching coach Steve Schrenk.

The 2015 season will begin with Watson serving a 50-game suspension, stemming from a positive test for a banned substance late last season. The suspension will count as served, despite the 21-year-old being on the disabled list at the time. The forced time off could be good for Watson, who experienced setbacks following his previous surgery to correct an enlarged capsule.

Watson went under the knife most recently in late autumn after his initial procedure last January wasn't enough to keep him in throwing shape.

Prior to being sidelined with his initial shoulder ailment in July 2013 as a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Watson posted a 4-7 record with a 4.44 ERA and a 6.9 K/9 mark in 21 career pro games.

The current projection is to have Watson seeing game action by June, if everything progresses well.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #10 LHP Yoel Mecias

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Yoel Mecias, image- Jay Floyd
After missing about a full year of action, pitcher Yoel Mecias returned to the mound by mid-season last year and proved why he's been a highly regarded hurler in the Phillies system.

After he was recognized as a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2013 with the Class A BlueClaws, it was determined that the left-hander would require reconstructive surgery to repair the damaged UCL in his throwing arm. That season in 13 games (11 starts), Mecias tallied a 4-3 record with a 3.79 ERA, a .244 batting average against and an 11.05 K/9 mark.

That campaign followed his 2012 season in which he made his professional debut with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2012, tallying a 0-2 record with two saves and a 2.16 ERA in 14 games (four starts).

Following the Tommy John surgery, Mecias returned to game action last June, when he posted a 0-1 record with a 4.76 ERA while striking out 10 and walking eight in 17 innings.

A promotion back to Lakewood was in order when a spot in their rotation opened up in July and Mecias looked durable, going 3-3 with a 3.21 ERA in seven starts. He struck out 23 and walked nine in 33 2/3 innings.

The Phillies were pleased with the manner in which Mecias returned from the critical injury, according to Phils director of player development Joe Jordan. The Venezuela native needed reps and was able to throw strikes and got most of his velocity back quickly.

Mecias told me during the season that he thinks the downtime he spent dealing with the injury will help him in the long run, as he was able to study the game more and develop the mental toughness he'll need to be a commanding force on the mound.

The 21-year-old is equipped with a fastball that peaks in the low 90's, a change up described as "Major League ready" as well as a slider that coaches say needs improvement. Control is also a major plus for Mecias, who has a career walk rate of 8.5% and doesn't have difficulty locating his pitches. The way he attacks hitters and gets himself ahead in counts also stands out.

At six-foot-two and 160 pounds, Mecias possesses a thin frame. He projects to fill out somewhat and add muscle, which could increase his stamina along with his velocity.

It is possible Mecias could become a reliever in the long run, but the organization views him as a big league starter in the future. His progress will certainly determine what his role will be.

Look for Mecias to be part of the starting rotation for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers when the 2015 season gets rolling.

To follow along with this year's full countdown, click HERE.

ProspectNation

Friday, February 6, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #11 LHP Matt Imhof

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Matt Imhof, image- Jay Floyd
Chosen with the Phillies' second round draft pick last year, hurler Matt Imhof quickly jumped into the Phillies prospect ranks and looks poised to make a big impact in the minor leagues this year following an impressive professional debut.

In his junior season at Cal Poly last year, the left-hander posted a 10-4 record with a 2.45 ERA and an 11.24 K/9 mark in 15 starts while earning second team All-American honors. He wrapped up his college career with an 18-7 record and a 2.68 ERA in 48 games.

After being selected 47th overall by the Phillies in June, Imhof quickly signed his first pro deal and proceeded to pitch at three levels of the developmental ranks. Following his initial outing in which he tossed three scoreless frames for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, Imhof was promoted to short-season A level Williamsport. As a member of the Crosscutters, he posted a 1-0 record while allowing just one earned run in 12 innings (0.75 ERA).

In mid-July, the six-foot-five 220-pounder earned another promotion to Class A Lakewood, where he tallied a 0-2 record with a 4.28 ERA in seven starts.

Overall in 11 minor league appearances, the California native sported a .260 batting average against along with an 8.5 K/9 mark as well as a 2.34 BB/9 mark.

The 21-year-old's pitch repertoire includes a fastball that tops out at 94 MPH and has some movement, a slider-curve hybrid that helps him fool batters along with a developing change up which features a nice dip in velocity. The change up was something he began using increasingly after the draft and it should improve with more experience. Additionally, Imhof's control is a noteworthy aspect of his skill set.

His wind up features some nice concealment of the ball resulting in difficulty for batters in picking up his offerings.

Projecting the big-framed Imhof, he may fill out more and could certainly increase his velocity.

Imhof, who grew up idolizing Randy Johnson, will likely begin the 2015 season as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater starting rotation.

To follow along with this year'™s full countdown, click HERE.

ProspectNation

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Prospect Nation 2015: #12 OF Aaron Altherr

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Aaron Altherr, image- Jay Floyd
Fresh off a season in which he made his major league debut, outfield prospect Aaron Altherr could be knocking on the door to the help the big team once again in 2015.

The righty hitting Altherr entered last season with a .260 batting average with 28 home runs, 201 RBI and 103 stolen bases in 428 career games and made a solid enough impression to jump two levels when the Phillies called.

After starting the 2014 season on the disabled list with a wrist injury, the six-foot-five 220-pounder took some time to heat up, but once he did in June (tallying a .392 average with five doubles, a triple, a home run and nine RBI in 13 games to start the month), the Phillies rewarded Altherr with a promotion to the big league roster, when Tony Gwynn Jr. left on bereavement after his father passed away.

In two games with the Phils, Altherr went 0-for-5 with two strike outs. Overall in 127 minor league contests last season, he posted a .237 average with 14 homers, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

Altherr, who was selected by the Phillies in the 9th round of the 2009 draft, played in 31 games in the Venezuelan Winter League this off-season, putting together an outstanding .286/.392/.486 slash line alongside his Phils teammates Freddy Galvis with Zulia.