Thursday, May 5, 2016

PhoulBallz Interview: Phillies RHP Prospect Mitch Gueller

Mitch Gueller, image- Jay Floyd
A supplemental opening round pick in the 2012 draft (54th overall), righty pitcher Mitch Gueller has taken a considerable amount of time to reach a full-season level of pro ball. This year he made that jump and opened the season with Class A Lakewood.

The six-foot-three 220-pounder has struggled somewhat in the early going, posting a 0-1 record with a 9.58 ERA through three starts. He entered 2016 fresh off a strong campaign last year with short-season A level Williamsport, where he helped lead the team to the playoffs with his 10-1 record, 2.23 ERA and .229 batting average against in 12 starts.

Last week I spoke with the 22-year-old about his time table for reaching Lakewood, his pitch repertoire, his BlueClaws team, New Jersey and more. Read ahead for that full interview.

-Some people would feel that after you were drafted you took a long time to reach Lakewood. How would you reply to that type of assertion?

That's true, I guess. I would have liked to have been here sooner, but I didn't pitch well enough. I had a lot of development to do and I took it as part of the process and grinded through it. I was in Williamsport for three years, so I think I'm ready to go now.

-I got to see you pitch for Williamsport last year in Staten Island, good outing. Just talk about your season there last year, which was successful and included a postseason run.


I mean we had a good team. It was fun to go out and pitch for the guys and, you know, just knowing that we were going to put up runs and win ball games was a great feeling going out there, being able to throw in front of them.


-My key memory of you from that day, other than the good outing, was your mustache. Does that make a comeback this year?

I'm thinking it's got to come back this year. Yeah, definitely. You can expect to see that.

-I have spoken with the coaches here. There's a new pitching coach here this year leading the way, Brian Sweeney. How do you feel about the coaching staff and how they're helping you along this year?

They're great. They get after it. They get to work and they're positive and they're good to be around. Brian Sweeney the pitching coach is a great influence for all the pitchers. He's just working with us on all parts of the game and we focus on pitching and I really like his stuff so far.

-You mentioned the word "stuff" there. In regards to your stuff, with your offerings, is there anything new with the grips or pitches you've added, things like that?

My slider's been improving. It's only a pitch that I've thrown for two years now, but it's getting better and better. I'm really comfortable throwing it, so I'm excited to see that. I haven't really changed anything aside from that, but like I said the slider's coming along for me.

-What's the full repertoire aside from that?

Fastball, change up, sinker and that's about it.

-Do you have a lot of confidence in each pitch at this stage?

Yeah, I feel like I could throw any of them in any count to any hitter too, so I'm excited to just throw 'em.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

PhoulBallz Interview: Lakewood manager Shawn Williams talking injuries, Tobias, Pujols, Watson

Shawn Williams
The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws have been exciting to watch this season, despite a disappointing 6-16 overall record thus far this season. This week I spoke with team skipper Shawn Williams about several talented young prospects such as righty pitcher Shane Watson, outfielder Jose Pujols and infielder Josh Tobias. Additionally, I asked him about the injuries his team has dealt with so far in the early going.

Read ahead for the exclusive comments.

-The BlueClaws have had quite a few injuries with some key offensive contributors like Deivi Grullon, Zach Coppola and Cornelius Randolph missing time. How is the team able to deal with this kind of shake up?

For me, it gives an opportunity for a lot of these other guys to get a chance and they've taken full advantage of it and we've still-- I mean, we've been swinging the bats well overall all season and, like I said, it's giving them a chance to get in there and show what they can do and they've done a heck of a job filling in.

-With a few key guys out of action, does that impact the way you manage?

It doesn't effect how I manage, but I think in the long run, it's going to make us better because of other guys getting opportunities, so they're staying sharp. The guys are going to come back when they're healthy and I think, for me, you got the whole lineup and you've got the 12 position players that are going to take off because they've all gotten their chance to come in and when they get a chance to play, it's just staying fresh and they've been producing and helping us stay in these ball games.

-Shane Watson is a guy that some may think is beyond this level. What thoughts can you share on Shane and his progress?

Shane has been, especially his last two starts, has been outstanding. I mean, he's been a lot of fun to watch. Just his demeanor, his mound presence, how aggressive he is going at these hitters, his tempo. I mean, you're going to see hitters calling time a lot because he's working quick and it works to his advantage and it's just been a lot of fun to watch.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Kilome staying confident despite rough start with BlueClaws

Franklyn Kilome, image- Jay Floyd
Widely ranked among the Phillies' top 10 prospects, right-handed pitcher Franklyn Kilome was one of the most excited inclusions on the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws' roster heading into the season. A disappointing effort in the early going hasn't shaken the youngster's frame of mind though and he's focused on showing the skills that got him loads of attention.

The Dominican Republic native, touting an upper-90's fastball, had an impressive campaign with the short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters last year, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.28 ERA and a 6.6 K/9 mark in 11 regular season outings. This season did not get off on a similar foot for Kilome, however.

In three starts for the BlueClaws, the 20-year-old has a 0-3 record along with a 15.83 ERA and a .435 batting average against.

Control has been a concern for Kilome, as he has walked 10 batters in 9 2/3 innings.

The poor numbers haven't fazed the youngster, though, and he's anxious for his next outing after being skipped in the rotation, with a day off for the team this past Monday.

"Yeah, I figure I will bounce back. I feel really good. You know, I want to get back out there. I pitch on Sunday, so I'm going to do a good job," Kilome shared on Wednesday.

Kilome was slated to make his next start on Sunday, but with the BlueClaws' rain out on Thursday, that outing may be pushed back a day to Monday in the last game of Lakewood's home stand.

Over the off-season, the Phillies brought Kilome north to work out at the team's spring training facility in Clearwater, FL with a goal of adding muscle to his slim six-foot-six 175-pound frame. The program was successful as he's added strength and several few pounds of muscle. Along with the changes to his body, Kilome's mechanics were updated as well, as the Phils has him alter how he uses his legs.

While he's adjusting to so much, including the cold April weather after never having pitched in temperatures below 50 degrees, Kilome cites advice from his coaches as a key factor in what keeps his confidence high in the competitive South Atlantic League.

"They talk to me every day. They say, 'You're going to be okay.' We all know it's a process, so they say, 'Stay confident', just like that, 'Keep going and never give up.'"

With Kilome returning to the mound in the coming days, here's hoping his command gets on the same level as the belief he has in himself and we get to see the return of the promising prospect that had a break out campaign last year.

Monday, April 25, 2016

PhoulBallz Interview: Lakewood second baseman Josh Tobias

Tobias, image- Jay Floyd

Second baseman Josh Tobias has been an offensive catalyst for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws thus far in the young season. The 23-year-old switch hitter entered action on Sunday among the South Atlantic League leaders in hits, batting average, OPS and RBI.

A 10th round draft selection out of Florida last year, Tobias had a solid pro debut with short-season A level Williamsport, batting .321 with four home runs and 37 RBI in 61 games, helping to lead the Crosscutters into the playoffs.


Recently, I chatted with the man known around the clubhouse as "Toby" about playing with Lakewood, players he looked up to as a child, how he spends his free time and plenty more. Read ahead for that interview.

-You've got some teammates that have played in Lakewood before. Did anyone prepare you for what to expect before coming here in regards to the fans, the facilities or the town?

Yeah, a lot of guys that are playing in Clearwater now talked to me about what it's like playing in front of Lakewood fans and also the travel, going back and forth among places down south. But, I was well prepared for it before I came here.

-Some guys will come here to Lakewood with impressions of New Jersey they've seen in the media and things like that. What did you know about Jersey before coming to Lakewood?

I knew it would be cold because I'm from North Carolina and it's chilly there till March, but I knew it would be colder here. I knew about the accents. We had a couple cab drivers when we got here, because a lot of us didn't have cars, so a lot of the "yous" and stuff, it's a little different to me. Other than that, I was really surprised. I haven't seen the shore at all. I live in New Egypt. It's a really nice place. I like it up here.

-I wanted to ask you about Williamsport last year. Can you share some thoughts on your debut pro season with the Crosscutters?

Aw, man. That was a great team. We had a chemistry with the guys and we had a great manager (Pat Borders). I mean, it was a just end from a good college season I had, so it was kind of rolled into it. I just had a blast there and I want to continue that into this year.

-You've got a lot of guys from that team coming up with you here to the BlueClaws roster this year. You guys had an outstanding run there, going into the postseason. Do you feel like you guys are bonded?

Oh, yeah. This is pretty similar to that Williamsport team, so we're all pretty close. We all know each other pretty well. There's not any awkwardness when we talk, we don't need to get to know each other because we've played together for three or four months already.

Friday, April 22, 2016

PhoulBallz Interview: "C" Randolph Q&A Excerpts

Randolph, image- Jay Floyd
Last week, I spoke with outfield prospect Cornelius Randolph, who prefers the nickname "C", and wrote a feature for the Shore Sports Network on last year's top Phillies draft pick working through some struggles at the plate to open the season. Below are some excerpts from that interview.

-What are your thoughts on South Atlantic League competition thus far?

It's pretty good. Yeah, I mean right now I'm not swinging the bat the best, but it'll come around and I'm trying to take it day by day.

-What have you learned about the fans here in Lakewood, the facility, the park? Do guys that have been here before like Jiandido Tromp or Shane Watson help out and share some things with you to get you ready?

I heard the fans-- this place packs out pretty much all the time. I've also heard-- well, I've seen that the field plays pretty big. Tromp has been talking to me about how to play the ball off the wall and how the ball kicks. Like that break up there (points toward center field) if somebody hits the ball up there, how it's going to kick. Just little things that's going to help me out.

-You've got a couple good coaches in Shawn Williams and Nelson Prada, both guys were here last year. What advice have you gotten from your coaches thus far?

They're just talking me through things. Making sure I'm not trying to do too much, not trying too hard. Just keeping me into my game.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Catching prospect Alfaro hits disabled list for Reading



J Alfaro
Alfaro, image- Jay Floyd
News broke on Tuesday afternoon that the hottest of the hot, as far as prospects go, is sidelined with an injury.

Catcher Jorge Alfaro was placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 18th with an oblique strain, according to the team.

The 22-year-old Colombian, who was acquired from Texas as part of last summer's Cole Hamels deal, had really impressed through the first couple weeks of the season, going 18-for-36 (.500 avg) with four doubles, a triple, a home run and 10 RBI.


Disabled list stints in the minors are a minimum of 7-days, but oblique strains are difficult to fully recover from and players often miss more than a month or two while dealing with this type of injury.

Alfaro was injured at the time of the trade last year, as he recovered from ankle surgery, then missed time again at fall instructional league with a hamstring issue.

Threshers Quotables: Viza, Jordan, Walding speak on pitching success

Tyler Viza, image- Jay Floyd
The Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers have enjoyed some solid success on the mound in the early going this season. Combined, four members of the team's starting rotation (Tyler Viza, Elniery Garcia, Thomas Eshelman and Ranfi Casimiro) have combined for a 6-1 record and a 1.19 ERA through eight starts (two each). Additionally, another of the team's starters, Will Morris, entered action on Monday with a scoreless five inning appearance in his game log.

This week I asked the righty Viza about his own success as well as the great efforts by his teammates. Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan and Clearwater third baseman Mitch Walding also offered their thoughts. Read ahead for the exclusive comments.

Viza, who was the Phils' 32nd round draft pick in 2013, remarked about his consistent output-

My success through the early part of the season started around the all-star break last year. Aaron Fultz and I had a conversation about keeping the ball down and using all of my pitches from the first hitter on to get outs and not try to save anything for later in the game. Therefore it might be too late to use them. 
I continued my success last year into the off season and worked with my pitching coach from high school, Jamie Brewington. He wanted to work out with me this off season instead of just throwing and long toss. I'm in the best shape of my life and I'm continuing to get stronger and learn about pitching.
Viza also spoke about his satisfaction with his 2-0 record and 1.59 ERA after two starts-
I'm very happy with my results thus far because my team is getting the chance to win the game.

Threshers' Walding taking strides to be an impact player

Mitch Walding, image- Jay Floyd
You've heard all the buzz names and how they're destined to help turn things around at the big league level for the Phillies, but an often overlooked prospect might be ready to claim his spot among those fast-rising impact players of the future.

After making some necessary modifications at the plate with the help of a pair of former Phillies, third baseman Mitch Walding has been making quite a splash in the early going for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers.

"I went to instructs for 10 days this off-season.  While I was there, Andy Tracy, Rob Ducey and I put together a hitting plan there.  We worked on a new load with my hands and worked on creating a better path through the zone," Walding explained this week.

Tracy and Ducey, who both spent time in Phils pinstripes, are now coaches at the minor league levels. Ducey, the hitting coach for Clearwater, seemed to take special interest in the 23-year-old Walding, helping to make some real changes for the California native.

"I was trying to catch the ball too deep (with my bat)," Walding explained. "Everything I hit was opposite field. So I changed where my attack point was and now I’m finally pulling the ball. I never noticed I did it till Rob Ducey pointed it out to me."

Sunday, April 17, 2016

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws Pitching Coach Brian Sweeney

With a new season underway, the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws' pitching staff is being led this year by a brand new coach, former big leaguer Brian Sweeney.

Following the 'Claws' home opener on Thursday, Sweeney sat down to talk about his pitching staff including prospects Tyler Gilbert, Franklyn Kilome, Alberto Tirado and several others. Read ahead for that full interview.

Tyler Gilbert, image- Jay Floyd
-Tyler Gilbert had some moments, despite taking the loss in the home opener. What are your thoughts on his outing?

He was fantastic for four innings. I mean, I love what I saw. Four pitches for strikes, in command and attacking the zone. And the wheels fell off after a few hits in the fifth inning. You know, that’s unfortunate because he had a pretty good outing going for him.

-Is Gilbert dealing with any changes, such as updates to his grips or repertoire after a successful debut as a pro last year?

Yeah, everything’s— we’re always building. We’re building to get better with every pitcher. He has a new slider. The slider is new and has developed nicely into a weapon tonight that he used to get some punch outs, so he’s progressing very nicely.

-I spoke with skipper Shawn Williams, who expressed that weather was possibly impacting Kilome's efforts thus far this season. Do you think the cold weather is a big factor for him lately?

I think it’s a factor. A big factor? No.

Until you get into this weather, you don’t know how the ball’s going to feel, how you can grip, because even right now I can feel my fingers tips how they’re slick and that translates onto the ball and that takes a bit of an adjustment period. But, within one or two starts you should have a feel for what you have to do to prepare to make pitches on the mound.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Top Pick Randolph not discouraged by slow start

"C" Randolph, Image- Jay Floyd
After starting the season with some struggles at the plate for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, last year's top Phillies draft pick Cornelius Randolph has maintained a positive approach.

Fresh off a season-opening road trip that saw the 18-year-old go 2-for-28 (.071 avg) in six contests, the young man that goes by the nickname "C" was anxiously awaiting the moment when he would start shaking off some bad luck at the plate and seeing his efforts pay off.

"In the box I feel good.  I mean, I'm seeing pitches early.  I'm taking good swings, I'm just not getting the results I want.  That's part of baseball.  It's gonna happen.  I'm not too much worried about it," Randolph stated in the home dugout at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park prior to Thursday's home opener.

After debuting as a pro last year, the five-foot-11 205-pound lefty batter looked sharp with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.  In 53 games, Randolph posted a .302 batting average with 15 doubles, three triples, a home run and 24 RBI.

Manager Shawn Williams, who is entering his second season at the helm for the BlueClaws, is confident the Georgia native will soon show BlueClaws fans the skill set that made him the tenth overall pick in last year's amateur draft.

"The bat speed is there and that's what's impressive (about him). The things I have seen- guys with really good fastballs, which is hard to do, he'll turn it right around on them.  For me, that tool, it's hard to really teach hitting and you can't teach bat speed and he's got the ability to hit.

"For me, he's exciting just watching him hit.  He's done a fine job defensively.  He can run a little bit.  He can steal a base.  He has instincts.  He knows how to steal a base.  So it's kind of looking forward to him getting going and seeing the full package," Williams stated.

With the BlueClaws taking on Greensboro in their home opener on Thursday night, Randolph looked comfortable at the plate, going 1-for-2 with a double and two RBI while drawing three walks.

Did he feel pressure to turn things around?

"None at all, honestly.  I know it's going to happen, so I'm not really stressed and I'm just trying to barrel the ball up right now," Randolph said.

He'll continue to put bat to ball throughout the weekend, as the BlueClaws host Greensboro for three more games (Friday at 7:05pm, Saturday at 4:05pm, Sunday at 1:05pm).  Tickets for each contest are just $1 each.

BlueClaws Quotables: Manager Shawn Williams speaks on new team

Entering his second season in the role, Class A Lakewood manager Shawn Williams took time to comment on various topics before and after the BlueClaws' home opener on Thursday. Read ahead for the skipper's remarks

Jiandido Tromp, image- Jay Floyd
Speaking about outfielder Jiandido Tromp, who got off to a hot start this season...

He's just been having good at bats. Really battling with two strikes. He's been getting into hitters counts and he's not missing his pitch. You can just tell his whole mindset- he's on a mission right now.

Commenting on backstop Deivi Grullon and if his improvements are a direct relation to repeating the level...

I think it's a combination of a lot of things. You get older you get more mature, you get smarter, you keep learning the game and I think even a lot of times, like we saw last year with Tocci, guys coming back, you come back and it gives you some confidence and it gives you something to work for, because you want to move up, you want to get out of here, so that's why a lot of those guys, they come back here and they just take off, like (Carlos) Tocci did last year and Deivi (Grullon) and Trompy have gotten off to good starts here this year.

Talking about early struggles at the plate for last year's Phillies first round pick Cornelius Randolph...

For me, he just needs to keep getting at bats. He's been competing in there. You know, he's having good at bats, he's just had a couple guys come out with a diving play here. He's barreling balls up, right at first basemen, borderline balls that could be hits, but they're called errors. He's been having good at bats, he's been competing. It just takes one hit, one clinker, one bunt hit, to get him going.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Phillies Home Opener Schedule of Events


opening dayHappy opening day (again), everyone! Regular season baseball is back in Philadelphia as today it gets underway for the 2016 season. For those that plan to be in attendance at Citizens Bank Park to see the Phillies take on the visiting San Diego Padres, here is the full list of festivities, so you don't miss a thing.


8:00 am - Majestic Clubhouse Store opens.

12:00 pm - Free Citizens Bank Way Opening Day Party including a live performance by Go Go Gadjet, a ferris wheel, a giant Anheuser Busch Bud and Burgers trailer and prizes and sampling from Turkey Hill ice cream, J&J Snack Food, Rita’s Italian Water Ice, Chick-Fil-A, plus more

12:35 pm - All gates open. All fans receive a Phillies Opening Day Commemorative Cap, compliments of Nemours

12:43 pm - Phillies batting practice

Friday, April 8, 2016

Thompson & Morgan look good in season debuts with IronPigs

J Thompson 2
Thompson w/ Reading in 2015, image- Jay Floyd


Phillies top pitching prospect Jake Thompson made his Triple-A debut in front of absolutely zero fans on Friday thanks to poor weather in New York state and a swift scheduling adjustment.

With freezing temperatures and snowy weather besieging the Syracuse area in recent days, the affiliate of the Washington Nationals, the Chiefs, postponed the four-game set against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs that was slated to open the 2016 International League season. However, in order to get in some game action and keep their players active, the Chiefs agreed to play two of those games on the away from their home park.

With such a short time frame to make the adjustment to both teams' plans, operationally, the IronPigs were not able to open the gates for any fans to attend.

Playing a double header made up of two seven-inning games with the host club, the IronPigs, playing as the away team on Friday, the Chiefs handed top Phillies pitching prospect Jake Thompson a loss in his Triple-A debut in game 1.

The 22-year-old right-hander, who was one of the key prospects obtained from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade last summer, went a solid five innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits while striking out five and walking two.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Fightins Quotables: Cozens & Quinn talk spring training, Futures Series, new season

Dylan Cozens, image- Jay Floyd
With spring winding down and the new baseball season on the horizon, players have come north for the final legs of the exhibition schedule. This weekend, a pair of top Phillies minor league outfielders, Dylan Cozens and Roman Quinn spoke with members of the media about various topics including opening the new season back with the Double-A Fightins.

Cozens, the Phillies 16th ranked prospect, joined Reading late last season and proved to be a worthy contributor, helping the team reach the Eastern League finals. The powerful lefty batting 21-year-old posted a .350 average with three homers and nine RBI in 11 games after his promotion from High A Clearwater. Overall with the Threshers, prior to moving up, Cozens, the Phils' 2nd round draft selection in 2012, posted a .282 average with five home runs and 46 RBI in 96 games.

Quinn, missed time last season following a quad injury, but posted excellent numbers (.306 avg, four HR, 15 RBI, 29 SB in 58 games) prior to being sidelined. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 2nd round draft choice in 2011. Quinn is the 6th ranked Phils prospect heading into the season.

Reading ahead for full quotes from two-thirds of Reading's outfield heading into the 2016 campaign.

Dylan Cozens...

On his spring season and getting a chance to impress-

Spring training was good. Playing in Clearwater was a lot of fun, then I got to come up here (for the Futures games). It's good to be back here for another season. I'm looking forward to having a good team and having a lot of fun this year.

Speaking about playing in parks at higher levels-

It's always kind of nice to get your feet wet a little bit and come and check the place out a bit. So, it's going to be nice for us to play in Philly, so that when we do get called up, if we get called up, we'll have a feel for it. That's kind of how it was for me in Reading, to know where stuff is, know how the field plays, stuff like that.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Catching prospect Alfaro ready to impress with Reading

J Alfaro
Jorge Alfaro, image- Jay Floyd

READING- When the Phillies dealt star hurler Cole Hamels to Texas last summer a group of very promising players came back in return. With some standout names among those coming to the Phils, it was difficult to conclude who would be the prized get on that list. Catcher Jorge Alfaro, injured at the time of the deal, could emerge as that gem this year as a member of the Double-A Reading Fightins.

Signed as an amateur free agent out of Colombia in 2010 at the age of 16, Alfaro had played third base and shortstop before turning pro. According the the talented youngster, the Rangers saw him throw from home plate to second base and signed him to become a catcher.

During spring training, Alfaro got to bond with another foreign backstop who started as an infielder. That player is Carlos Ruiz, who played second base as an amateur.

"It's nice to see someone that was an infielder and made it to the big leagues as a catcher for a lot of years," Alfaro stated. "I take that like an example and try to make it."

Phils trounce minor leaguers in exhibition contest

RHoward
Ryan Howard, image- Jay Floyd



READING- It is a mystery if the Phillies will win many more games than the MLB-worst 63 they notched last season, but it's clear that they could be dominant if they continue competing against minor leaguers after pounding their top prospects by a convincing 19-4 score.

In the seven-inning exhibition, the big league club slammed eight home runs, four each off of right-handers Zach Eflin and Mark Appel.

Eflin, who was acquired from the Dodgers two off-seasons ago in a trade for Jimmy Rollins, was charged with 12 runs (nine earned) on 11 hits while striking out two and walking one with a wild pitch in three innings of work. The 21-year-old declined to speak with media after the loss, but he and Appel (3 IP, 8H, 6R/6ER, 2K, 0BB, WP) did engaged in a little joke cracking at each other's expense on Twitter later in the evening.

Each of the Phillies' eight home runs were launched by a different player. Odubel Herrera, Freddy Galvis, Darin Ruf, Cesar Hernandez, Tyler Goeddel, Maikel Franco, Cedric Hunter and Ryan Howard all recorded big flies.

With the conditions in the hitters' favor, as wind was blowing out and helping fly balls get some extra giddy up, the Futures Team slammed three homers of their own, as Dylan Cozens, J.P. Crawford and Roman Quinn all went deep.

Double-A Reading manager Dusty Wathan, who was the skipper of the Futures Team, commented about the remarkable power results in the first-ever Phillies Futures Series game.

"This is a bad combination- major league baseballs and that wind and in a stadium like this...it was the perfect storm," Watham said.

Having watched 10 players homer before he came to the plate as a pinch hitter in the final frame, Ryan Howard insisted that he didn't feel pressure to do the same, even though his manager, Pete Mackanin, told him if he didn't go deep, that he really stinks.

"I'm glad I was able to come through on that one for him. That's just Pete, keeping it loose and light and everything," Howard said.

The historic event, which celebrated Reading's 50 years of affiliation with the Phillies by having 25 of the organization's top prospects take on the major league roster, drew 9,320 fans to FirstEnergy Stadium.

The two teams will face off once again in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park at 1:05 PM on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Phillies Coming North for Futures Series Exhibitions

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OF Nick Williams, image- Jay Floyd


With the Grapefruit League season wrapping up, the Phillies are bringing their preseason schedule north this week. Upcoming games will feature a pair of intrasquad contests with the big league roster taking on their organization's top prospects.
The brand new concept falls in line with the celebration of Double-A Reading's 50th season of affiliation with the Phillies. The debut game in the series will take place at Reading's FirstEnergy Stadium on Thursday, March 31st at 6:05 PM with another game between the two teams taking place on Saturday, April 2nd at 1:05 PM.

The roster set to be made up of the most promising rising minor leaguers includes eight of the top nine Phillies prospects, as ranked by Phillies Nation this year.

Futures Team roster:
C- Jorge Alfaro, Andrew Knapp
1B- Tommy Joseph, Brock Stassi, Rhys Hoskins
2B- Scott Kingery, Jesmuel Valentin, Angelo Mora
SS- J.P. Crawford, Malquin Canelo
3B- Mitch Walding
OF- Carlos Tocci, Andrew Pullin, Roman Quinn, Dylan Cozens, Aaron Brown, Nick Williams
P- Victor Arano, Zach Eflin, Ricardo Pinto, Edubray Ramos, Tom Windle, Joely Rodriguez, Miguel Nunez, Mark Appel

The game in Reading will feature an appearance by the Phillie Phanatic and a Futures Series Fathead giveaway for the first 2,000 children 14 & under. Fans interested in purchasing tickets should dial the Reading Fightins box office at 610-370-BALL.

Thursday's contest will mark the first exhibition game in Reading featuring the Phillies in 16 years. That match up drew over 9,307 fans to see the Reading Phillies defeat the Philadelphia Phillies, 5-2, on May 8th, 2000.