Saturday, January 23, 2021

2021 Phillies Top Prospects Countdown: #22 SS Casey Martin

Please visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work, get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.  

A third round draft pick last year, Arkansas junior Casey Martin was quickly signed by the Phillies and consideration as one of the organization's top infield prospects quickly began.  The team's confidence in his ceiling is likely evident in the signing bonus he got, which was reportedly $1.3 million, which was considerably more than slot money dictated by his 87th overall draft position ($685K).

The right-handed batting Martin tallied a .311/.393/.545 slash line with 30 homers, 24 steals and 112 RBI in 143 games through his college career at Arkansas.  Reports had him falling in the draft as a result of an injury to the hamate bone in his left hand prior to his 2020 season.  Prior to the procedure, Baseball America projected Martin as a top ten draft pick.

In 15 games last year, primarily as the Razorbacks' clean up hitter, before the season was halted due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Martin sported a .271 average with a pair of home runs, 10 RBI and six stolen bases.  

A super talent, Martin was a collegiate freshman All-American in 2018 and was a unanimous pre-season All-American prior to his junior season.

Martin, listed at five-feet-11, 175-pounds in an Arkansas native.  

He's projected as a guy that could change positions and land as a second baseman or a center fielder as he moves through the professional ranks.  Martin previously played third base as a freshman in college.

Described as a player that's "full of tools", it's possible that the 21-year-old could get a shot at playing in full-season Class A ball to open the 2021 campaign. 

You can keep tabs on this year's Phillies prospects countdown by clicking on this link.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

2021 Phillies Top Prospect Countdown: #23 LHP Ethan Lindow

Ethan Lindow, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work, get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.  

Lefty pitcher Ethan Lindow stood out so much among Phillies pitching prospects in 2019 that he was honored with the Paul Owens Award, which is bestowed annually upon the top position player and the top hurler from the organization's minor league affiliates.

Selected in the 5th round of the 2017 draft as a high schooler, Lindow would sign for a reported $500,000 and swiftly began his professional career.

In the Rookie level Gulf Coast League, the Georgie native would start eight contests, posting a 2-2 record with a 4.55 ERA and a .241 batting average against while striking out 34 and walking 12 batters in 27 2/3 innings pitched.  He participated that year in the Florida Instructional League as well. 

In 2018 Lindow opened the campaign in extended spring training, then put up exceptional numbers for the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.  In 13 starts, the six-foot-three 180-pounder posted a 3-2 record with a 2.19 ERA, a .227 batting average against along with an 8.1 K/9 mark.  For his efforts with the 'Cutters, he was honored by Baseball America as a short-season All-Star.

The following year Lindow really made his mark with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  In 23 appearances (13 starts), he collected a 5-2 record with a 2.66 ERA, a .208 batting average against, a 0.98 WHIP and a 9.9 K/9 mark.

By late in the season, the Phillies promoted Lindow to Class A Advanced Clearwater.  With the Threshers, he made three starts, going winless with a 1.69 ERA, a .274 batting average against and averaging a strikeout per inning pitched.
 
He's got some intangibles that developmental personnel like to see.  Coaches admire Lindow's tendency to stand out as a leader among his peers. He also pitches like a polished, more mature hurler.  This is a quality that can be attributed to working with a well-known big leaguer, namely Tom Glavine, whose son was a travel ball teammate of Lindow.  The Hall of Famer would mentor Lindow and helped him develop insight on the game he would not have otherwise had. 

Described as a serious competitor, Lindow has a terrific feel for the strike zone and attacks the opposition with his arsenal.  The 22-year-old's repertoire includes a fastball that most often resides in the low-90's, a very good curve ball, a cutter and a top notch change up.

The key quality that has people raving about Lindow and pointing toward him as a guy that could become special is his command.  With consistency like his, Lindow's ceiling is as a member of a big league starting rotation.

An emerging talent, Lindow may open the 2021 campaign at the Double-A level.  He's definitely a prospect to watch this year.

You can keep tabs on this year's Phillies prospects countdown by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

2021 Phillies Top Prospects Countdown: #24 LHP Kyle Dohy

I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and read to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't see anywhere else.  

Not Adam Haseley
Left-handed reliever Kyle Dohy has been on the fast track since joining the Phillies organization and has steadily stood out as one of the organization's most promising pitching prospects.

A 16th round draft selection out of Citrus Community College in 2017, Dohy was quickly signed by the Phils and began his professional career that year in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League.

In 13 appearances with Williamsport that year, as a 20-year-old, Dohy would notch a 2-1 record with a 3.60 ERA and a .182 batting average against in 13 appearances.  Additionally, he would strike out 22 and walk 20 in 20 innings.

In 2018, Dohy really stood out, pitching at three levels, and started to make a name for himself.  In 24 appearances with Class A Lakewood, Dohy looked nearly untouchable, recording a 3-3 record with seven saves, a 0.80 ERA, a .144 batting average against and an outstanding 16.8 K/9 mark while the BB/9 rate looked much better at 4.5.

Dohy earned a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater at the Sally League's All-Star break in June.  His brief stint there was just as successful as the first half of the season had been, as he tallied a 2-1 record with a pair of saves and a 1.64 ERA, striking out 18 and walking three in 11 innings over seven appearances for the Threshers.

The Phillies then promoted the youngster once more and he looked a bit more human out of the bullpen with Double-A Reading for the remainder of the season.  In 18 games Dohy sported a 2-5 record with a save, a 5.56 ERA and a .165 batting average against.  He would strike out 30 and walk 22 over 22 2/3 innings pitched in the Eastern League.

In 2019, Dohy opened the campaign back in Double-A and appeared to have mastered that level.  In six games, he collected a 1-0 record with two saves, a 0.82 ERA, a .059 batting average against and stuck out 22 while walking five in 11 innings of work.  He'd move to Triple-A Lehigh Valley before April was through.

As a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Dohy posted a 6-5 record with a save, a 6.19 ERA, a .253 batting average against while striking out 83 and walking 54 in 56 2/3 innings over 41 appearances.

Last year, the California native opened spring training with the big league team.  Prior to the sport's stoppage due to the Coronavirus pandemic Dohy appeared in three games, allowing two earned runs, striking out three batters, walking none and hitting one batter in three innings of work. 

The pitch repertoire for Dohy, who is listed at six-feet-two, 202 pounds, includes a trio of offerings with plus potential.  He features a mid-90's fastball that has touched up to 97 MPH, a premier slider that has a lot of movement and a change up that has been a work in progress at times.

Command has been a area of concern through the 24-year-old's first few seasons in the minors.  It's part of his games that has been a focus for coaches and instructors, as they work with the pitcher to get his mechanics and delivery to be as consistent as possible.

A sticking point for several pitchers in 2019 was the usage of a different baseball, the type used in the big leagues, at the Triple-A level.  It has been a learning process and the Phillies' developmental coaches feel it's something that a talented individual like Dohy will work through and emerge from with a promising future.

If guidelines do not limit roster size, due to the ongoing pandemic, look for Dohy back in big league spring training this year.  He could get a shot at contributing in the major leagues before very long.  

You can keep tabs on this year's Phillies prospects countdown by clicking on this link.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

2021 Phillies Top Prospects Countdown: #25 First baseman Darick Hall

I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.

Building on a breakout initial full season that saw him honored as the Class A South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player, first baseman Darick Hall continued to prove himself worthy of regard as one of the Phillies' most promising minor league power hitters.

A 14th round draft selection in 2016, the Dallas Baptist product made his professional debut with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters that same year. In 57 games, Hall would notch a .282 batting average with nine home runs and 29 RBI.  His .890 OPS led the New York-Penn League.

Hall, a left-handed hitter, moved up to full-season Class A in 2017 and with Lakewood, sporting a .272 average with 28 doubles, a triple, 27 home runs (team record) and 96 RBI (another team record) in 114 games.  

He would close out his 2017 campaign with a week in the Class A Advanced Florida State League playing for Clearwater. In seven games with the Threshers, the six-foot-four 236-pounder posted a .231 batting average with a pair of homers and five RBI. 

The clean-up hitter's presence in the lineup for a Lakewood club that had several teenagers that were learning what minor league life was like, playing everyday, traveling up and down the east coast, was crucial. Hall, who played three seasons of college ball helped his teammates learn what the professional athlete life is all about. Hall is an individual that can lead by example and he did just that all year long.

In 2018, Hall continued his top offensive efforts, torching FSL opposition for two months. In 48 games, he batted .277 with 12 doubles, 11 home runs and 35 RBI.

Promoted to Double-A Reading on June 1st, Hall would see his batting average dip in the Eastern League, but the power numbers did not fall off. In 80 games for the Fightins, Hall tallied a .224 average with 10 doubles, a triple, 15 homers and 52 RBI.

During the off-season, Hall competed in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. There with the Scorpions he batted .234 while launching four round-trippers and driving in 12 runs through 18 games.

Hall shared with me that he picked up a timing tip from Mets star Pete Alonso that he hoped would help him going forward.

He returned to the Double-A level in 2019 and saw improvement with his production.  In 132 games for Reading, he posted a .235 average with a league leading 38 doubles, a triple, 20 home runs (2nd in the league) and 67 RBI.  Additionally, along with helping Reading reach the postseason, a highlight of 2019 for Hall was taking two-time All-Star Luis Severino deep for a homer in the Eastern League playoffs while the right-hander was rehabbing with the Yankees' affiliate Trenton.  Another big moment for Hall that year was winning the Eastern League Home Run Derby at the All-Star break in Richmond, VA.

Last year, Hall missed the entire regular season, due to the COVID-19 shutdown of minor league baseball.  He was also not included in the Phillies Taxi Squad, but was told to remain ready all summer long, in case he was needed.  So, essentially, Hall was a Taxi Squad alternate.  

Hall spent time this off-season playing in Mexico with Los Mochis, lacing four homers in 20 games and gaining experience in left field and right field, while there.

Aside from his missile-like long balls, the 25-year-old's daily work and preparation are the things that impress Phillies developmental coaches the most. 

From a family where two of his uncles (Ladd Hall and Shane Hall) were drafted by big league teams, Hall feels structure is important to his game. Everything from diet and practice to making a game plan and following through have been critical to his success.

Hall preaches "confidence is key" and knows which parts of his game he needs to improve. While recording triple digits in strike outs in three straight seasons, the promising slugger has worked plenty on refining his approach at the plate.

He saw a considerable increase in his walk rate heading into his most recent full season, as his 11.2% mark was a big jump from his 6.1% effort in 2018 and his 7.5% career mark heading into the 2019 campaign. 
 
On defense, Hall is solid and dependable.  He is an accurate thrower with a .992 career fielding percentage.

Not a speedster, the Arizona native has collected just seven stolen bases in his minor league career. 

The Phillies invited Hall to big league spring training last year, so it's possible for that to happen again this year, if pandemic restriction allow it.  Expect him to see action at the Triple-A level to open the regular season this year.

You can keep tabs on this year's Phillies prospects countdown by clicking on this link.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

2021 Phillies Prospect Countdown Prelude

I invite you to head on over the Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.  

Each winter I compile prospect rankings and count down the Phillies organization’s top 25 minor league players. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting reviews for each of the top developmental talents that appear to have the brightest futures for the Phils organization.

Taken into consideration when compiling the list is age, minor league performance relative to levels played to date, value to the organization as well as each player's future potential along with proximity to the big leagues.

These rankings won't contain players over the age of 25 or individuals that have already spent lengthy stretches in the big leagues.

For example, an individual such as JoJo Romero, who was included on last year's edition of this list, will not be featured in this year's rankings, as he appeared in a dozen big league contests last year.  

Players that garnered consideration for this list but missed out on placing among the top 25 names include some promising talents with high ceilings as well as some names fans may have already begun hearing about.

Baron Radcliff, a 21-year-old outfielder, was the Phillies' 5th round draft selection last year.  posted a .259 batting average with three home runs and 17 RBI.  His father Vic was a 4th round draft pick of the Royals back in 1995 and he played five seasons in the minor leagues.  Radcliff could be a stereotypical big power guy that slugs and strikes out a lot.

Yhoswar Garcia is another outfielder that has much promise.  The 19-year-old Venezuelan is said to have great defense and superior speed.  Garcia reportedly also is a contact hitter that laces line drives on offense.  Standing six feet tall with a small 150-pound frame, Garcia may draw some comparisons to former Phils prospect Carlos Tocci.  Garcia signed last summer for a reported $2.5 million.  

Daniel Brito, image- Jay Floyd

Second baseman/shortstop Daniel Brito is one of the most fun Phillies prospects to watch.  With loads of energy and an ability to lead, the 22-year-old lefty batter could become a favorite of Phils fans.  In five pro seasons, Brito sports a .252 average with 16 homers, 146 RBI and 49 steals.  Look for Brito, who has an ability to hit well to all fields, at the Double-A level this year.

Pitcher Albertus Barber is a familiar name to regular readers of this site.  The 24-year-old Oklahoma native was an undrafted free agent signing by the Phils in 2019.  That year, the right-hander competed at three levels, reaching full-season A level Lakewood.  In 17 total appearances, Barber notched a 4-0 record with a save and a 0.87 ERA, while averaging more than a strike out per inning.  Barber worked harder than most during the cancelled 2020 season, training at the well-regarded Driveline facility with a focus on reaching triple-digits in velocity, which he has done at times.

Lefty pitcher David Parkinson remains a hurler that the Phillies could be able to count on.  A 12th round draft pick in 2017, Parkinson has tallied a 2.71 ERA, a .226 batting average against and a 9.8  K/9 mark through three professional seasons to date.  The 25-year-old Mississippi product is a strike thrower that focuses on game-planning as much, if not more, than any other guy on the field.  With command and a four-pitch arsenal, Parkinson is a battler that keeps his opposition guessing.

Check back here on PhoulBallz.com often, as the 2021 season approaches, for the unveiling of this year’s top 25 ranked prospects within the Phillies organization.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Frosty Phillies Favorites: 2020 Christmas Favorites Survey

Season's greetings to all!  It's that time of the year to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season.  Every year at Christmas time, I survey a group of Phillies prospects about what they get excited for during the holidays.  This year I included a throwback Phils name as well.

Individuals taking part in this year's 11th annual Christmas favorites survey include former Phillies All-Star and coach Mickey Morandini as well as pitching prospects Dominic Pipkin, Erik Miller and Ben Brown along with corner infielder Matt Kroon. Inquiries and responses regarding each player's holly jolly favorites lie ahead...

 

-What's your favorite Christmas song and which version?

Morandini- All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey.

Pipkin- Blue Christmas by Elvis.  It's just unbeatable.  

Miller- I don't like Christmas music, to be honest.

Kroon- I am a big fan of the original Jingle Bells. It reminds me of being a kid again. It reminds me of all the holiday activities and good times that are about to be celebrated.

Brown- God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.  And my favorite version is the one that my church's worship group sings.

 

-What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Morandini- A Christmas Story.

Pipkin- Elf.  Will Ferrell is one of my favorite actors. 

Miller- My favorite movie is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Kroon- My favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone. Always has been and always will be.  Just a true classic!

Brown- My favorite Christmas movie, hands down, is Elf.  I try to watch at least two times every Christmas season.

 

-What is your favorite thing to eat at the holidays and who makes it?

Morandini- Beef tenderloin that my wife, Peg, makes.

Pipkin- My mom's lobster tail on Christmas Eve.  She makes it perfectly every time. 

Miller- My mom makes this spicy sausage dip once a year for Christmas and it's the best and most sought out dish on Christmas Day. 

Kroon- My Aunt Gia’s homemade mac and cheese! I’ve never had one bad bite.

Brown- My mom makes an amazing breakfast every Christmas.  Really looking forward to that this year.

 

-Do you have a standout memorable gift from childhood?

Morandini- Gremlin go-cart.  

Pipkin- My PS3 when I was 10.  I still use it to this day. 

Miller- I don't have any particularly memorable gifts.  We would go on vacations the day after Christmas when I was younger and those were always great gifts.

Kroon- The most memorable gift from childhood is my first full set of All-Star catchers gear. I was a bit (of a) catcher growing up and I can still picture my excitement to today. My dad had it all packed up in the All-Star bag, the shin guards loaded up with knee savers ready to go.

Brown- My older sister bought me a dog (Charlie Brown) as an early Christmas present in 2007.  Something that I will never forget. 

 

-Do you recall finding out the truth about Santa and is there a story that goes with it?

Morandini- I just remember hearing my mom and brother getting everything put out under the tree while they thought I was sleeping.

Pipkin- I realized Santa wasn't real when we found our Christmas gifts in the garage when I was like eight years old but I wasn't upset about it.

Miller- I was able to figure out the truth about Santa myself.  I just used reasoning to realize there was no way some guy could go around the world on one night and get every kid's gifts to them.

Kroon- Santa still sneaks his way down my chimney every Christmas Eve. I grew up in a family with a very passionate belief in Santa Clause and I look forward to the present that I hope he drops off each and every year.

Brown- Well, Jay, the truth is that Santa is still delivering presents under my tree each year.  Always trying to get on that nice list.  


Previous editions of this survey include answers from Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins, Adam Haseley, Scott Kingery, Logan O'Hoppe, and loads of others.  

Those editions of this delightful Christmas questionnaire can be viewed at the following links- 2019 holiday survey, 2018 survey, 2017 survey, 2016 survey, 2015 survey, 2014 survey, 2013 edition, 2012 edition, 2011 edition and the 2010 edition

Sunday, December 20, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: LHP Erik Miller talks missed season, Instructs, repertoire, O'Hoppe

Erik Miller, image- MiLB.com
Lefty hurler Erik Miller is widely regarded as one of the Phillies most promising prospects.  Selected in the 4th round in last year's draft out of Stanford, he quickly made an impact as a professional and was promoted twice in his brief stint in the minors.

At three levels as a 21-year-old, Miller notched a 1-0 record with a 1.50 ERA, a .188 batting average against, a 1.11WHIP along with a 13.0 K/9 mark in 11 appearances in the minors.  

Listed at six-feet-five, 240-pounds, Miller was outstanding in college as well.  In his junior season (2019), Miller was named as a Baseball America second team Preseason All-American. In 16 starts that season, he posted an 8-3 record with a 3.48 ERA, a .224 batting average against and an 11.1 K/9 mark.  

Miller likely could have made it to the Double-A level this year, if the pandemic had not preempted the minor league season.

Recently, I spoke with the 22-year-old Missouri native about his time at the fall Instructional League this year, his missed season and more.  Read ahead for that interview.

-What can you share about the missed 2020 campaign? How did you stay game ready in case the minor league season re-started?

2020 was obviously a very tough year to be a minor leaguer. Everyone had to deal with it in different ways based on what was available to them. I was fortunate enough to have a place to throw and lift the entire time. I stayed on top of throwing during the pandemic and tried to treat it as if I was throwing during a normal season. For example getting off a mound 2 times a week, one being a bullpen and one being a live session against hitters. 

-How did you try to make sure it wasn't time wasted once it was clear there'd be no minor league season?

Once it was clear the minor season was not happening I tried to maintain the same throwing schedule to simulate a season as much as possible. I needed to make sure I treated my arm as similar as possible to a normal season to ensure I’d be healthy in 2021. From there it was just a constant process of trying to refine and build upon things from my 2019 season. 

-What's your pitch repertoire these days and does that differ from what it was before you were drafted?

My pitch repertoire is different now from when I was drafted because I split my breaking ball into two distinct pitches. I used to throw what I called a slurve, and I now throw a slider and curve ball. When I started throwing early in 2020 my slurve had changed into a cutter-type pitch. With the movement profile of my fastball I need a pitch with vertical break, thus I started to throw a curve ball. I think with more work my curve ball and slider will become true weapons for me. In total I throw a four-seam, change, curve and slider. 

To read the complete version of this interview, in which Miller shares his thoughts on participating in Instructs, teammate Logan O'Hoppe, and plenty more, check out my Patreon page located at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz and support my work.  Membership there will get you access to loads of exclusive material and you'll get other material early.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: LHP Garrett Cleavinger talks about his 2020, big league call up, more

Cleavinger, image- Jay Floyd

This post originally appeared on my Patreon page at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz.  Readers can support my work and gain access to exclusive interviews and news along with the ability to read my other material early.  Please consider supporting my work and checking out that page. 

Lefty reliever Garrett Cleavinger made his big league debut with the Phillies this year and hopes to continue his career as a big league contributor in the coming seasons.  

Cleavinger, a third round draft pick of the Orioles in 2015, was acquired by the Phillies in 2017 in a swap for pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.  

In his more than five professional seasons, the Oregon product sports a 19-12 record, a 4.08 ERA, a .217 batting average against and a 12.0 K/9 mark in 140 minor league appearances.  

This year in his lone big league outing, the 26-year-old tossed 2/3 inning, surrendered an earned run and struck out one batter. 

Recently, I talked with Garrett to get his insight on his promotion to the Phils, what he'll be working on this off-season, which team staffer has helped him the most in his career and much more.  Read ahead for that complete interview...

-So can you share some thoughts on your call up to join the big league roster this year?

The call up was pretty unique this year just with the COVID restrictions and like family and friends couldn’t be there so it was kind of weird for sure.

-Inclusion in the taxi squad group...to that point, did the call to be included there kind of have the feeling of a promotion or call up?

The taxi squad was fun, we had a good group of guys that made it competitive everyday. I kind of knew I was going to be on the taxi squad because I was added to the 40 man roster.

-Who has been a big help to you in the Phillies organization, in relation to coaches or teammates? 

Aaron Fultz has probably been the biggest help to me.  I’ve been lucky to be around him for parts of three seasons and he’s someone who I really like being around. He was the one who introduced a slider to my pitch repertoire and so now it’s fastball, curveball, slider and a little of a change up.

-In those taxi squad games, did you get to face any of the coaches that filled in? What was that like? 

I never had any coaches hit off me in the taxi squad games but they played the field behind me quite a bit and it was a lot of fun! So many of those guys played at the highest level and so it’s fun for them to get out there again and fun for us to play with them.

-Any big plans for the off-season? 

Biggest goal for the off-season is to get strong and be in the best shape possible for spring so I can win a job in the bullpen.

-How has your family done with the pandemic? Fortunate enough to remain healthy and employed?

Family has been doing well, safe and healthy.

-A couple people commented on the recent Instagram post of you I had, saying you resemble pro wrestler and MMA fighter Jake Hager. Do you know who that is and have you heard that before?

I haven’t heard of that comparison before.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Winter League Updates

I've got a quick rundown here of how some Phillies players are performing in the off-season/Winter leagues that are underway so far.  Keep in mind that, down under, the Australian Baseball League kicks off later this month and that league is jam packed with Phils.  The Puerto Rico League is set to start action this week.

Darick Hall, image- Jay Floyd
In Mexico, first baseman Darick Hall is ripping up the opposition.  In 10 games, he's posted a .324/.409/.595 slash line.  The 25-year-old lefty slugger has a double, three homers and 16 RBI to date for Los Mochis.  Hall, a 14th round pick in 2016 out of Dallas Baptist, has reportedly been playing some left field in Mexico.

In the Dominican Republic, for Licey, RHP Adonis Medina has appeared in two games.  In three innings of work, the 23-year-old has allowed four hits and two earned runs while striking out three and walking two.  Also with Licey, Enyel De Los Santos has also appeared in a pair of games.  He has notched 1 2/3 scoreless frames while striking out three, walking two and hitting one batter.  The 24-year-old appeared in five games with the big league Phils in 2019.  

Former Phillies prospects Ulises Joaquin and Alfredo Simon are also on the Licey pitching staff.

Outfielder/first baseman Austin Listi made his debut this weekend with Licey in the DR.  He played first base and went 1-for-3 with a walk and was caught stealing.  The 27-year-old was the Phils' 17th round pick in 2017 and was a college teammate of Hall at DBU.

In DR, Ramon Rosso is competing with the Aguilas.  In five appearances, the 24-year-old righty 1-0 with a 0.47 ERA.  He's struck out 20 and walked three in 19 innings.

The rest of this post, which includes information about Daniel Brito, Raul Rivas, Leonel Aponte, Cristopher Sanchez, Johan Quezada and others, can be found on my Patreon page at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz.  Supporters get exclusive content including interviews and news, plus early access to my other material.  This statistics from this article are as of Sunday, December 6th, 2020.

Monday, November 23, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: OF Matt Vierling talks Instructs & more

Matt Vierling, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to check out my Patreon page, where you can read exclusive interviews and get early access to other posts, news and information from the Phillies minor league levels.

Phillies prospect Matt Vierling was among the minor leaguers that participated in this year's Florida Instructional League, which an annual series of exhibitions and training with team coaches.

While there, Vierling, an outfielder, got a chance to add first base to his skill set.  

In two pro seasons in his career, the 5th round draft choice out of Notre Dame in 2018 sports a .263 average with 12 HR, 72 RBI and 29 stolen bases.  He spent the 2019 campaign with Class A Advanced Clearwater and likely would have opened this year with Double-A Reading if the season had taken place.

Recently, I talked with Matt about his time at Instructs, trying first base, how his family has done in the face of the pandemic and more.  Read ahead for that interview.  

-What was your experience like at Instructs this year?

My experience at Instructs was a good one. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there getting back on the field.  After being gone for about six months,  it was refreshing and satisfying to finally get playing again.

-I know you got some time playing first base.  Who got that in motion and who worked with you at adjusting to the new position?

That's true, I did work at first base. It was mostly my idea. I brought  the idea up to Marty Malloy, who coached me my previous two seasons. So we decided that I could get some work over at 1st base during extra work. Shawn Williams, Marty Malloy, Andy Abad and Chris Truby all helped  me learn the position, but Shawn Williams worked with me the most over  there. I am not sure if I will (play there again), but I would love to get more work over there, as I feel like the more positions I can play can only help me.

-What has been the most important thing you learned in 2020?

Biggest thing I learned in 2020 is to not take anything for granted. I specifically mean baseball and health here. Being gone from the game and  having it taken away from you sucks. But getting back out on the field  made me realize how much I missed the competition and the camaraderie.  And my family being healthy is a blessing and something I am especially grateful for as well.


To read the complete version of this interview, visit my Patreon page at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz and support my work. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Randolph among many Phillies minor leaguers set for ABL action

Cornelius Randolph, image- Jay Floyd
On Sunday, the Adelaide Giants of the Australian Baseball League announced that Phillies outfield prospect Cornelius Randolph will be part of their team for the coming season.

Supporters of my Patreon site were aware of that news nine days ago.  

The 23-year-old Georgia native was the Phils' first round draft selection in 2015.  In his five minor league seasons, Randolph sports a .255 batting average with 31 home runs, 190 RBI and a .719 OPS.  

Randolph's 2018 and 2019 seasons were spent playing for Double-A Reading.

Randolph will join several other Phils prospects on the Giants roster this coming season, including native Australians Rixon Wingrove and Mitchell Edwards as well as New Zealander Kyle Glogoski.  A list of seven other American Phillies prospects set to be part of the Adelaide roster is available by supporting my work over at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz.  

Also available on the Patreon page is a recent exclusive interview with outfielder Matt Vierling talking about his time at Instructs and getting some time at first base.

Pitcher Luke Leftwich is already in Australia preparing for his ABL season as a member of the Melbourne Aces.  He'll be joined on that club by familiar faces like hurler Josh Tols, catcher Chris Burke and infielder Damek Tomscha. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Dom Pipkin talks Instructs & more

Dom Pipkin, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Dominic Pipkin spent the 2019 season with the Class A BlueClaws.  In 24 appearances he tallied a 3-4 record with a 5.15 ERA, a 1.62 WHIP along with a .261 batting average against.

Pipkin was a 9th round draft selection in 2018 and is among the organization's most promising hurlers.

This week I spoke with the 21-year-old (his birthday is today!) California native about his time at Fall Instructs and more.  Read ahead for that interview.

-What can you share about the benefits of Fall Instructs this year following a cancelled regular season?  

Instructs after a cancelled season allowed the few players that went to  get live reps in after 6 months of nothing, it was good to get the rust  off and feel that first inning jitter again.

-Did you or other players there go harder during your month at Instructs as opposed to a regular fall exhibition schedule that follows an action-packed regular season?

We definitely tried a little harder for the short month we had, just  because we were excited to be back, finally. I know that’s why I tried  harder.

-I know you guys played some weekend exhibitions against the Toronto prospects.  How often were the intrasquad games?

We played a game every day some days it would be three innings and others a full nine.

-Were you satisfied with the efforts you had during games?

I’m satisfied with my performance, it could have been better but after 6 months of nothing I didn’t have my bar set too high.
 
-How would you say you benefited from Instructs this year?

I think this years instructs helped me develop my pitch arsenal a little bit more, find a “power slider” compared to my loopy one.

-Who helped with refining the slider?

I worked on the slider mostly with Brad Bergesen, AKA Viper, but our goal  was to have a distinguished difference between the slider and curve ball  to play off the running fastball and change up.

-How has your family dealt with the pandemic?  Has everyone stayed healthy and maintained employment?

My family dealt with the pandemic pretty well they all stayed employed and healthy.

 

...To check out the rest of this interview in which Dom talks about if he'll pitch in any off-season leagues, the most important thing he learned in 2020, The Mandolorian and other topics, visit my Patreon page, at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz, and support my work.  You'll gain access to loads of exclusive content and get virtually all of my other content early. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Phillies' Bohm among finalists for Rookie of the Year Award

In news that likely surprised nobody, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that Phillies first baseman/third baseman Alec Bohm is among the finalists for this year's National League Rookie of the Year Award.  

Bohm, who entered the 2020 season as the Phillies top-ranked offensive prospect, performed extremely well following his promotion to the big league's from the club's alternate training site.  In 44 games the 24-year-old tallied a .338 batting average with four home runs and 23 RBI.  The average and RBI total ranked first among all NL rookies, as did his on base percentage (.400), slugging percentage (.481) and hits total (54).  

Impressive in clutch situations, Bohm notched a .452 batting average with runners in scoring position, which was best in baseball.  Even more outstanding, the talented youngster struck out just four times in those situations.

The six-foot-five 225 pounder was the Phils' first round draft selection out of Wichita State in 2018.

Other finalists for the NL ROY Award are San Diego infielder Jake Cronenworth, who slashed .285/.354/.477 this season as well as Milwaukee hurler Devin Williams, who sported a 0.33 ERA, a 0.63 WHIP along with a 17.7 K/9 mark in 22 relief appearances.  The winner of the NL Rookie of the Year Award will be announced on Monday, November 9th.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

BlueClaws re-brand as Jersey Shore

The BlueClaws has long claimed to be the Jersey Shore's baseball team and on Wednesday they made it official, as the Phillies' Class A affiliate re-branded itself.  Changing their name from the Lakewood BlueClaws to the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, the team made the announcement at Asbury Park's Convention Hall.

Per a release from the team:

"This is truly a banner day for the BlueClaws and the Jersey Shore,” said Art Matin, managing partner of Shore Town Baseball, the partnership that operates the BlueClaws. “Shore Town Baseball has added a mini golf course, boardwalk game area, and Biergarten to FirstEnergy Park over the last several seasons to help bring the ‘Shore feeling’ to the ballpark. The Jersey Shore BlueClaws is the natural next step. We couldn’t be more excited.”

While the club keeps its nickname of the BlueClaws, they unveiled new logos, updated caps and a fresh home uniform.

Image via BlueClaws

Ironically, I have talked to many players over the years that have come to New Jersey for the first time in their lives, upon being assigned to play with the 'Claws, with their only knowledge of the state being from the MTV reality show "Jersey Shore".

Also announced on Wednesday, the team has exercised a 10-year team option on the FirstEnergy Park lease with the Township of Lakewood.  

The BlueClaws were set to celebrate their 20th season in Lakewood this year, before the entire minor league schedule was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  

In their 19 seasons, the team has won the South Atlantic League championship three times, in 2006, 2009 and 2010.  

I invite you to check out my Patreon page, where you can read exclusive interviews and get early access to other posts, news and information from the Phillies minor league levels.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: Connor Hinchliffe answers Nine Silly-ass Questions

Connor Hinchliffe, image- GoExplorers.com
I invite you to check out my Patreon page, where you can read exclusive interviews and get early access to other posts, news and information from the Phillies minor league levels.

Promising pitcher Connor Hinchliffe took time to answer questions for me recently, providing insight on how he has dealt with missing the full 2020 season due to the global coronavirus pandemic.  While I was interacting with the Pottsville, PA native, he also responded to some non-baseball related inquiries, answering Nine Silly-ass Questions for me.

Signed as an undrafted free agent last year out of LaSalle, Hinchliffe was assigned to the Rookie level Gulf Coast League where, in 16 outings, the right-hander posted a 1-1 record, a save, a 1.82 ERA, a .163 batting average against along with a 1.26 WHIP.

Read ahead for my latest interview with Connor as we talk hard-hitting topics such as Star Wars, Halloween costumes and music!

-Who is your favorite non-baseball athlete?

Bryson DeChambeau. I have been following him recently and how he is changing the game of golf. Golf is a sport that has rich traditions, much like baseball and going against them usually has some backlash. He is starting to train and play golf using analytics and non-traditional training (like baseball) which is fun to observe.

-Who is the best character from Star Wars?

Darth Vader. I think the movies wouldn’t be what they are without a legendary villain. Darth Vader is a very cool and interesting character throughout all of the movies. 

-Do you have a favorite Halloween costume from your youth?
 
My favorite Halloween costume has to be White Goodman. Dodgeball came out when I was maybe 7 or 8 and my whole friend group went as the Purple Cobras. 

-Seeds or gum?  And what flavor?
 
Seeds. If I had to pick one flavor I’d pick cracked pepper. We haven’t had baseball in a while, but since my senior year I actually started to eat pistachios during the games rather than seeds. Big fan. 

-Who is the coolest teammate you have with the Phillies?
 
The coolest teammate I have has to be Andrick Nava, AKA “The Poison”. I walked by his locker one day and he actually had seven boxes of custom Nike’s with his nickname on them. Very Show.

-What track you bumpin'?
 
I’m always bumpin’ a variety of music. My playlists range from the '70's to now. Lots of rock, alternative rock, pop, rap, and even some country. I am not a country fan but some songs are starting to grow on me. 

-What is a food that you hear people like, but deep down you know they are wrong and it truly sucks?
 
Hands down sauerkraut. I mean read that word.  How could any one actually like it? The name of it doesn’t even sound good. I can’t imagine someone eating that without a gun to their head. It smells awful. 

-Tell me a word that rhymes with your favorite curse word?
 
Hit!

-Have you watched The Boys on Amazon Prime yet?  If so, talk about how great it is.  If not, how soon can I provide you with a bootlegged log-in, so you can watch it?
 
I have watched The Boys. I’ve been on it since it released last year and now watching season two every Friday. The show it’s very unique and I appreciate that. I’m a huge fan of super hero movies in general, so I like how they have super heroes, but it’s not actually about their powers. It’s about satirizing their personalities and, a lot of the time, how they are corrupt.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Notes from Phils fall instructs

Subscribers of my Patreon site have gotten some details from the Phillies' Fall Instructs in recent days.  

The Florida Instructional League is an annual month-long off-season combine that will feature workouts as well as practices and regularly pits players from different organizations against one another in exhibition games.  This year's version in a pandemic impacted world won't see different teams facing one another, but the Phillies' players will see exhibition competition, as the organization is slated to have some intrasquad games in the coming weeks.

Players that are currently in Clearwater, FL seeing some long overdue time on the field include this year's first round draft selection Mick Abel.  The high school hurler inked a deal for over $4 million dollars after  being taken with the 15th overall pick in June.

Francisco Morales, image- Jay Floyd
Highly touted Venezuelan pitcher Francisco Morales is also in attendance.  The 20-year-old right-hander entered the 2020 season as the organization's 3rd ranked prospect.  He competed at Class A Lakewood last season and would have been part of the Class A Advanced Clearwater staff to open the season this year, if the season would have happened.  

Righty Joel Cesar is also in Clearwater.  He's the player-to-be-named-later that the Phils acquired from the Pirates in the deal for Austin Davis.  The 24-year-old has pitched as high as the Double-A Eastern League, with Altoona, in 2019.

Other well known pitchers participating in Phils fall instructs include Bailey Falter, Nick Fanti, Erik Miller, Dom Pipkin, Ben Brown and Jack Perkins.  

Outfielder Matt Vierling, who saw some action with the big league club in spring training this year, is in attendance.  Vierling, a Notre Dame product, was the Phillies' 5th round draft pick in 2018.  The righty batting 24-year-old would have been part of the Double-A Reading Fightins this year.  

Simon Muzziotti, Jhailyn Ortiz, Johan Rojas and Baron Radcliffe are also among the outfielders taking part in instructs.  

Promising infielders Kendall Simmons, Luis Garcia, Jamari Baylor and Jonathan Guzman are all in attendance as well.

Edgar Cabral, Herbert Iser and Andrick Nava are among the catchers present.

For the complete roster of players, have a look at my instructs post over on Patreon.  Subscribers get access to exclusive interviews and early access to other news and notes from the Phillies developmental ranks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: Connor Hinchliffe talks cancelled 2020 season

LaSalle University product Connor Hinchliffe was a noteworthy acquisition in the Phillies' developmental ranks last year when he posted standout numbers after signing as an undrafted free agent.  

In 16 appearances in the Rookie level Gulf Coast League last year, the right-hander notched a 1-1 record, a save, a 1.82 ERA, a .163 batting average against as well as a 1.26 WHIP.

Last week I talked with Connor, who is not in attendance for the Phils' Fall Instructional League in Florida, about missing an entire year of competing, how he's staying in shape and more.  Read ahead for that interview.  

-How has the year been for you?  Staying healthy?  

My year has been great despite everything going on.  Feeling great.  

-Have you been able to find any silver lining in this missed 2020 season?

COVID has impacted the lives of many since its arrival. For myself, it meant a lost year of playing time with the Phillies. While it is true I won’t get this year back, that does not mean it was lost. This time off has given me so much insight in how I approach training and getting better as an athlete, on and off the field. It has given me time to develop my abilities and further my knowledge of the game.

The complete version of this interview can be viewed over on my Patreon page.  Supporters of my work on Patreon get access to exclusive interviews plus early access to features and news.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Series Preview: Phillies at Rays, 9/25- 9/27

The Phillies enter the final weekend of the regular season clinging to postseason hopes as they travel to St. Petersburg to take on the American League East Division champion Rays in a three-game set.

Losers of six of their last 10 games, the Phillies urgently need wins in order to qualify for the expanded 16-team playoff format.  The enter the weekend 1/2 game behind Miami for second place in the National League East and they trail San Francisco by 1/2 game for the last NL Wild Card spot.   

Read ahead for a rundown of the pitching match ups and other key statistics for this series.


Friday, 6:40pm.  Vince Velasquez (1-1, 5.46 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.64 ERA).  Velasquez notched a win in his last outing against the Blue Jays, going six innings while allowing one earned run on two hits.  Velasquez is averaging 12.1 K/9 in eight appearances this season.  Velasquez has allowed eight earned runs in 8 2/3 innings on the road this season.  Since his first start of the season in which Morton allowed six earned runs over four innings of work, the former Phillie has tallied a 3.41 ERA.  In 24 career starts at Tropicana Field, Morton has posted a 3.24 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP.  Bryce Harper is 4-for-8 with a home run and four RBI in his career when facing the right-handed Morton.

Saturday, 7:07pm.  Zack Wheeler (4-1, 2.67 ERA) vs. Ryan Yarbrough (1-4, 3.78 ERA).  In four road starts this year, Wheeler has a 1-1 record with a 3.28 ERA.  Yarbrough, a lefty, has a 1-1 record and a 4.03 ERA in four home appearances this season.  Didi Gregorius is 1-for-7 in his career against Yarbrough.

Sunday, 3:10pm.  Aaron Nola (5-4, 3.06 ERA) vs. To be determined.  In five road appearances this season, Nola has posted a 2-3 record with a 3.86 ERA.  Hunter Renfroe is 3-for-7 with two doubles and two walks in his career against Nola.  Through his 11 starts, Nola is averaging 12.0 K/9 this season.  

First baseman Rhys Hoskins remains on the injured list with a left UCL strain.  It's possible he could return if the Phillies reach the postseason. In 41 games this year, Hoskins tallied a .245 average with 10 homers and 26 RBI.

In 24 road games this year, Andrew McCutchen sports a .300 average with four homers and 15 RBI.  McCutchen has a .455 average in nine career games against the Rays.

In 75 career games against the Rays, Gregorius has a .192 average.  In 25 road games, Gregorius has a .256/.316/.442 slash line.  

Rookie third baseman/first baseman Alec Bohm ranks first among National League rookies this year in batting average (.333) and RBI (22).  He also leads the NL in hits this month with 35. 

Second baseman Brandon Lowe leads the Rays in batting average (.274), home runs (14) and RBI (36).  The lefty hitter was the 3rd round draft selection of the Rays in 2015. 

With a .754 mark the Rays rank 13th in MLB in OPS.  At .791, the Phils are 6th in MLB with team OPS.  

The Phillies' 7.17 bullpen ERA ranks worst in the majors this year while the Rays' 3.50 mark is 4th best in MLB.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Catching prospect Marchan makes big league debut

Rafael Marchan, image- Jay Floyd
With an injury to J.T. Realmuto, the Phillies were forced to call up a promising young prospect to fill a void on the big league roster.  

In his big league debut on Monday at Miami, Rafael Marchan went 1-for-3, as he singled in his first at bat to notch his first hit in the majors.

Marchan, 21, was ranked at the Phils' number 16 prospect heading into the 2020 season.   

Signed in the same off-season that the Phils dished out a $4 million signing bonus to outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, Marchan inked a deal for a reported bargain price of $200,000, as a 16-year-old in 2015.

Last year, Marchan, a native of Venezuela, played much of the season with Class A Lakewood.  In 63 games, he tallied a .271 batting average with 16 doubles and 20 RBI.  He would miss a few weeks with an injury in May, but bounced back to complete the season, earning a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater at the end of July.

Wrapping up his 2019 campaign as a member of the Threshers, the switch-hitting Marchan posted a .231 batting average with four doubles and three RBI in 22 games. 

Coaches feel Marchan's defense is a major key to his game.  He's known for his strong arm and quick release behind the dish.  His upside is a big reason that Phillies were comfortable removing Deivi Grullon from their 40-man roster and letting him go to the Red Sox for nothing when they claimed him off waivers.  

Realmuto is sidelined with an upper leg/hip issue.  The 29-year-old told media members that he felt a pop and clicking in the area while running late in the Phils' game on Saturday. 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Phillies at Marlins series preview: 9/10- 9/14

Much is being made of the Phillies' upcoming seven-game series at Miami.  A potentially season-defining weekend that will feature two separate double-headers pit the Phils (21-18) against their pesky division rival, the germ sharing Marlins (19-19).

The teams will meet for a lengthy series due to both clubs missing considerable time after the Marlins dealt with a coronavirus outbreak when the season got underway in July and the Phillies were the last team they faced.  

If the Phillies can't secure a series win against a Marlins team that is in the midst of a rebuild, media types and baseball fans alike have been critical in stating that the big-budget Phils (2020 team salary was slated to be 6th highest in the big leagues while Miami was set to be fourth lowest) likely won't have a place in the postseason.  

Read ahead for a rundown of the pitching match ups as well as some key statistics from this series. 

Thursday, 6:40pm.  Jake Arrieta (3-4, 5.67 ERA) vs. Sandy Alcantara (2-1, 3.78 ERA).  In four road starts this year, Arrieta has a 2-2 record with a 4.22 ERA.  In 11 career starts against the Marlins, Arrieta sports an 8-1 record with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.  Corey Dickerson is 6-for-14 (.429 avg) in his career when facing Arrieta.  The righty, Alcantara, turned 25 years old over the weekend.  In five career starts against the Phils, Alcantara has a 4-1 record with a 2.51 ERA.  Alcantara missed roughly a month of the season following a positive COVID-19 test in July.

Friday, double header with game 1 slated for 5:10pm.  Rookie right-hander Spencer Howard is expected to pitch in one of these games.  It's unclear which hurler would start the other contest for the Phillies.  Howard holds a 1-2 record with a 5.66 ERA in five big league starts this year.  The 24-year-old was the Phils' 2nd round draft selection in 2017.  Aaron Nola last pitched on Sunday the 6th...throwing on Friday would be his turn on normal rest.  On the season, Nola has a 4-3 record with a 2.74 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP.  Nola is 3-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 14 career starts against the Marlins. 

Saturday, 6:10pm.  Zack Wheeler (4-0, 2.47 ERA) vs. Jose Urena (0-0, 5.40 ERA).  Wheeler, a 30-year-old righty, has no decisions with a 3.46 ERA in a pair of road starts this year.  In 15 career starts against Miami, Wheeler has posted an 8-3 record with a 1.87 ERA.  Urena has made just one start this season after missing time due to COVID-19.  Saturday will mark Urena's 29th birthday.  Urena has a 4.38 ERA in 68 career appearances at Marlins Park.  In 17 career appearances (12 starts) against the Phillies, Urena sports a 3-5 record with a 4.27 ERA.  

Sunday, double header with game 1 slated for 1:10pm.  Tentative starters for game 1...Zach Eflin (2-1, 4.58 ERA) vs. Sixto Sanchez (2-1, 1.80 ERA).  Eflin has a 6.33 ERA in five career starts at Marlins Park.  In nine starts against the Marlins, Eflin sports a 5-2 record with a 4.19 ERA.  Sanchez, a former Phillies prospect that was dealt to Miami in the swap for JT Realmuto, has been one of baseball's most exciting rookie performers.  Through four starts, Sanchez has a 2-1 record with a 1.80 ERA and has struck out 25 and walked just two over 25 innings.  He also sports triple-digit velocity numbers with his fastball. 

Monday, 4:10pm.  Righty Vince Velasquez may be tabbed to take this start for the Phillies.  In his last appearance, Velasquez struck out nine, walked none and allowed two earned runs in five innings against the Red Sox.  Velasquez has a 6.10 ERA in seven career games against the Marlins.

Since August 22nd when Bryce Harper last homered, he's 7-for-49 (.143 avg) in 15 games.  In 134 games against Miami, Harper sports a .292 average with 29 home runs and 95 RBI.  

In 26 career games at Marlins Park Andrew McCutchen is a .340 hitter with five homers and 21 RBI.  

Didi Gregorius has a .293/.384/.547 slash line in 21 career games against the Marlins.  

Former Phils lefty pitching prospect Brandon Leibrandt, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2018, signed with the Marlins this season and is once again sidelined with an elbow issue, described as ulnar neuritis.  The 6th round pick from 2014 appeared in five games with the Marlins.  

Catcher Jorge Alfaro is batting .180 with a home run and four RBI in 16 games this season for Miami.  Alfaro is a .462 career hitter in 10 games against the Phils.

The Phillies' .785 team OPS ranks 7th best in MLB.  The Marlins, at .700, ranked 24th heading into action on Wednesday.