Thursday, June 30, 2011

Midseason Developmental Report

We've reached the mid-season point on the Major League schedule, as the Phillies played their 81st game of the season last night. Since the minor league regular season schedules typically only go through Labor Day, we're slightly past that halfway point for developmental levels. That doesn't mean we can't take a midpoint glance around the farm to get familiar with the status of each full season team and the progress of some key contributors for each club, through games played on Wednesday.

In the Triple A International League, Ryne Sandberg's Lehigh Valley IronPigs lead the North division with a 46-33 record. All season long, the 'Pigs roster has served as the on deck circle for the Major League Phillies, but somehow the team has managed to hold things together and stand out as a strong club in the tough division that includes the Yankees and Red Sox affiliates.

Second baseman Josh Barfield, who has Major League experience with the Indians, has posted solid numbers throughout the season with Lehigh Valley. In 69 games, Barfield has a .287 batting average with a .743 OPS.

John Mayberry Jr., who joined the club after a lackluster April and May with the Phillies, is hitting .287 overall in 23 games with the IronPigs. Lately, the 27-year-old is making a solid case for a return to the big club, having posted a .381 average over his past 10 contests.

Multi-positional prospect Cody Overbeck hasn't had much success with the IronPigs since his promotion from Double A Reading a couple weeks back. The 25-year-old righty hitting third baseman/first baseman/left fielder rocked Eastern League pitching for over two months this year, as he led the league with 18 homers while driving in 46 and batting .275. However, since joining Lehigh Valley, Overbeck is just 6-for-40 (.150 avg).

25-year-old righty reliever Michael Schwimer is making a terrific case for himself to be considered if the Phillies end up with any more room in their "PigPen". The 6-foot-8-inch 240-pounder has been excellent this season for the IronPigs, posting a 4-0 record, 4 saves, a 2.01 ERA and a .195 batting average against, while striking out 56 batters in 44 2/3 innings. Schwimer was named as an International League all-star on Thursday.

Another key contributor out of the 'Pigs' bullpen has been 34-year-old Jason Grilli, who pitched in three different big league seasons with the Rockies, Tigers and Rangers. The right-hander has posted a 4-0 record, 1 save and a 1.80 ERA in 21 outings.
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The Double A Reading Phillies stand at 39-39 in the middle of the pack, 8 games out of first place in the Eastern League Eastern division. Mark Parent's club has been dealing with lack of pitching depth for much of the season, as the organization is reluctant to move any of the system's prized young arms up from Class A Advanced Clearwater upward. As such, they've inserted relievers into their rotation and added position players to their relief corps.

Matt Rizzotti, a 25-year-old lefty batter, leads the club with 14 homeruns and has driven in 47 runs while batting .286 through 76 games. Rizzotti, one of three all-stars on the team, was originally drafted in the 6th round by the Phillies in 2007.

Another all-star, Austin Hyatt, a right-handed pitcher that was selected in 15th round of the 2009 amateur draft, has been the most solid starting pitcher on the Reading staff. The 25-year-old has posted a 7-5 record with a 4.18 ERA and a .227 batting average against while striking out 98 batters in 90 1/3 innings, through 16 starts.

JC Ramirez, one of the trio of players acquired from Seattle for Cliff Lee in 2009, had a scorching start this season, posting a 4-0 record with a 1.03 ERA in 4 April starts, but has dropped off a considerable amount lately, going 2-7 with a 5.37 ERA in his last 10 starts. The 6-foot-3-inch 230-pounder has struggled with confidence issues at times this season and is striving to improve under pitching coach Bob Milacki.

In the first of two full-season leagues that crown a first half and second half division champ, with both advancing to the postseason, the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers stand at 2-5 just over a week into the second half of the Florida State League season. The team finished the first half 39-30, which was good enough for second place in the North division, 7 1/2 games behind first half division champion Daytona.

Despite the unappealing status in the standings, Dusty Wathan's Clearwater club is loaded with highly regarded prospects. In fact, 4 of their 5 starting pitchers were named as FSL all-stars.

Jarred Cosart, a right-handed prospect was one of those honored as a mid-season all-star for the Threshers. Cosart, who was selected in the 38th round of the 2008 draft, will also represent the Phillies in this year's MLB All-star Futures Game. Through 14 starts this year, Cosart, who sports a high-90's fastball, has a 6-5 record and a 3.15 ERA.

Jonathan Pettibone, who is less than 3 weeks from his 21st birthday, entered the season as possibly the least known name among Clearwater starters, but he has prevailed as their most consistent hurler. Through 15 starts, the 6-foot-5-inch 200-pound Pettibone has a 7-5 record with a 2.91 ERA. The right-hander was chosen in the 3rd round of the 2008 amateur draft by the Phillies.

Trevor May, a right-hander out of Washington state, was a 5th round draft choice in 2008. The 21-year-old May struggled last year with Clearwater before being reassigned to Low A Lakewood in July. This season, however, May is doing much better in the FSL. Another one of the team's all-stars, May has a 5-4 record with a 3.14 ERA and 108 strike outs in 83 innings through 15 starts this season.

20-year-old Julio Rodriguez completes the quartet of Threshers all-stars, all of whom where members of the South Atlantic League championship winning Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010. As the youngest in the group and the only member that spent considerable time as a reliever last year, Rodriguez has been a pleasant surprise for the Phillies in 2011. Through 15 starts, the Puerto Rico native has posted an 8-6 record with a 3.49 ERA and a .198 batting average against.

Among the offensive standouts for the Threshers this year is a pair of players that were also on that 2010 title winning Lakewood roster. "The Boss" Jonathan Singleton, who rose quickly upward in everyone's prospect rankings last season, has spent time in the outfield and at first base this year while batting .283 with 6 HR and 31 RBI in 66 games. Catcher Sebastian Valle, another Futures Game representative, has a team leading .335 batting average, but his walk rate (3 walks in 196 plate appearances this season) is the most alarming part of his offensive game.

The Lakewood BlueClaws are the 2-time defending South Atlantic League champions, but they haven't quite shown this season that they'll contend for a three-peat. In the season's opening half, the BlueClaws finished 33-35, which landed them in last place in the 7-team Northern division. In the second half they have an improved 4-3 record and sit 1 game behind division leading Hickory in 2nd place.

Lakewood's standout stars thus far in 2011 have been pitchers David Buchanan and Garett Claypool. Each man represented the BlueClaws in the SAL All-star Game earlier this month.

The righty Buchanan was a 7th round draft pick by the Phillies last year after being drafted in the 6th round in 2009 by the Mets and not signing. Buchanan's 8 wins are tied for the SAL lead and his 3.45 ERA through 15 starts is impressive also, for the 21-year-old pitching his first full season of professional baseball. The Georgia native started the All-star Game for the Northern Division team.

Claypool, 22, was an 11th round draft choice of the Phillies in 2010 out of UCLA. The right-handed Claypool began this season in the bullpen, but joined the BlueClaws' rotation before the end of April. The 6-foot-2-inch 170-pounder has posted a 3-3 record and a 3.01 ERA through 16 games. His 88 strike outs rank 2nd in the league.

Well-regarded outfield prospect Domingo Santana has put up good numbers as an 18-year-old in the SAL (.264 avg/.332 OBP/.444 slg), but he's steadily working to improve with Lakewood hitting coach Greg Legg. The righty hitting Santana, who stands 6-feet-5-inches tall and weighs in at 200 pounds, has had difficulty hitting against left-handed pitchers (.182 avg) this season, and that has been a focus for both Santana and his coaching staff. However, based on his age, his coaches and the Phillies' brass are quite pleased with the Dominican's progress this season.

As the 2011 campaign for these clubs roll on, check back here for frequent updates on the Phillies of tomorrow.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Savery Back on Mound, Future is Unclear

Monday night, Joe Savery pitched 2 scoreless innings of relief for the Double A Reading Phillies. A year ago, this information may not have surprised too many people. However, this season, since Savery was converted from pitcher to full-time hitter, it caught plenty of folks by surprise.

With Reading in the midst of a stretch of their schedule when they have no days off for more than three weeks and the organization promoting players upward, as injuries command, the R-Phils have been in need of some extra pitching. The 25-year-old Savery, who was drafted in the 1st round by the Phillies in 2007 and pitched four professional seasons, fits the bill to supplement the club's needs.

Reading manager Mark Parent addressed the matter today, stating that at the time of Savery's mid-June promotion from Class A Advanced Clearwater, it was known that the left-hander could slide into a relief role at some point.

"When he was sent here to DH and to get at bats, to see how he was able handle pitching at this level, he also began to throw bullpen sessions and be available to use in the 'pen at an undetermined time," Parent said in an exclusive interview.

"We needed a couple of innings covered last night and he stepped up and really helped us out," Parent added.

Savery posted a 1-12 record with a 4.66 ERA in 28 games for the Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs last season, before getting a chance as an everyday player.

To date in 2011, in 62 games at two levels, Savery has posted a .299 batting average with 2 HR, 25 RBI and a .766 OPS, while spending time at first base, left field and designated hitter.

Earlier this season, a 23-inning marathon in late May for the Clearwater Threshers forced Savery's initial return to the mound. Savery, who started the game as the designated hitter, tossed 2 scoreless innings that night in Jupiter, FL.

What the future exactly holds for the 6-foot-3-inch 220-pounder remains to be seen and is up to the two men in charge of the Phillies' developmental system, pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller and assistant general manager in charge of player development Chuck LaMar, according to Parent.

"Depending on how is arm feels he'll be in the line up as a hitter before he sees the mound again. I think."
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Series Preview: Red Sox at Phillies, 6/28-6/30

A pair of favorites to reach the 2011 World Series are set to square off, as interleague play continues this week. The Red Sox (45-32), who are in 2nd place in the American League East division, travel to Philadelphia to take on the Phillies (49-30), who sit atop the National League East division.

The teams will begin a three-game series on Tuesday evening at Citizens Bank Park.

In game one of the series, Boston will send veteran righty Josh Beckett, who leads the Major Leagues in ERA, to the mound. The Phillies will counter with left-hander Cliff Lee, who has not allowed a run in his past 23 innings.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other key details for this series.


Tuesday, 7:05PM. Josh Beckett (6-2, 1.86 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (8-5, 2.87 ERA). In 8 road starts this year, Beckett has a 4-2 record with a 2.35 ERA and a .183 batting average against. Beckett missed his last start with the flu. Beckett has a 2-2 record and a 6.26 ERA in 4 career starts at Citizens Bank Park. In his last 3 home starts, Lee allowed 1 earned run in 24 innings pitched (0.38 ERA). Lee has a 2-4 record and a 4.06 ERA in 10 career starts against Boston. Adrian Gonzalez is 7-for-10 with 3 doubles and a HR in his career against Lee.

Wednesday, 7:05PM. John Lackey (5-6, 7.36 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (2-1, 2.83 ERA). In his last 6 starts, Lackey is 3-3 with an 8.82 ERA. Lackey has a 2-3 record and a 6.82 ERA in 5 road starts this season. Raul Ibanez is 19-for-54 (.352 avg) in his career against the right-handed Lackey. In 4 home starts this season, Worley is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA. Opponents have batted .182 against Worley in 8 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

Thursday, 1:05PM. Jon Lester (9-4, 3.66 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (9-4, 2.49 ERA). In his last 4 road starts, Lester is 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA. In 2 career starts against the Phillies, Lester is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are a combined 0-for-17 against Lester. Hamels is 5-2 with a 1.85 ERA in his last 8 starts. In 3 career starts against Boston, Hamels is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA. Dustin Pedroia is 5-for-10 (.500 avg) with 2 doubles and a HR in his career against Hamels.


Adrian Gonzalez leads the American League with 71 RBI. In 33 career games against the Phillies, Gonzalez is a .350 hitter with 13 HR and 29 RBI.

Jonathan Papelbon is 10-for-10 in save opportunities on the road this season. In 7 career games against the Phillies, Papelbon has a 1.04 ERA.

In 36 road games this season, Kevin Youkilis has a .180 batting average. Youkilis is 6-for-30 (.200 avg) with 2 triples and 3 solo HR in 11 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

In 18 day games, Shane Victorino is batting .361, while he has posted just a .263 batting average in 44 night games.

Carlos Ruiz is 5-for-39 (.128 batting average) in 12 career games against Boston. Ruiz is batting .182 with runners in scoring position this season.

Raul Ibanez, who is batting .233 overall this season, has posted a .284 batting average in 41 home games in 2011. Ibanez is 26-for-74 (.351 avg) combined, in his career, against Boston's three scheduled starting pitchers for this series.

The Phillies announced prior to the series opener that reliever Ryan Madson has been placed on the disabled list, with a right hand contusion.

Red Sox team ERA- 3.97
Phillies team ERA- 3.05

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IronPigs Manager Ryne Sandberg Interview

Drafted in the 20th round by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1978, Ryne Sandberg became one of the most regrettable trade chips in team history. As a youngster, Sandberg played shortstop, second base, third base and center field, but was blocked at each of those positions by a quartet of early 1980's stars by the names of Larry Bowa, Manny Trillo, Mike Schmidt and Garry Maddox.

Eventually, Sandberg, a Washington state native, was included as a throw-in, in a trade with the Chicago Cubs. As a second baseman for the Cubs, Sandberg excelled, becoming a 10-time National League All-star, a 9-time Gold Glove Award winner, 1984 NL Most Valuable Player and a Hall of Famer.

After decades away from the organization that drafted him, the 51-year-old Sandberg returned this year to manage the Phillies' Triple A level club, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Through the weekend, the IronPigs sported the best record in the International League with a 44-32 mark.

Recently, I spoke with Ryne about the team's success despite the constant rotation of player up and down from the big league level, a few new additions to the Lehigh Valley roster, his return to the Phillies developmental system and plenty more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.



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Monday, June 27, 2011

PN Round Table: Pressing Need

Today I took part in a writers round table over at one of my other internet homes, PhilliesNation.com. One particular question to the panel of writers, pertaining to what the Phillies' most pressing need is right now, was left out of the piece. I'd like to take this opportunity to share my answer to that question.


What is the most pressing need right now? A back-end bullpen arm or a right-handed bat?

My answer would surely have been a right-handed bat, in previous weeks. However, with recent news that Jose Contreras won't even throw a baseball for two weeks and Ryan Madson's finger numbness both added to the ever-extending absence of Brad Lidge, it seems as though the Phillies will need to add a solid arm to their relief corps.


The Phils have been lucky that in-house addition Mike Stutes has pitched above and beyond expectations (3-0 record, 2.92 ERA, .179 BAA). And while a couple more home grown Mikes, Zagurski and Schwimer, are confident and ready to join the fold, the organization might be more comfortable adding a proven MLB arm instead of more Triple A hurlers.


A veteran reliever that could be an option for the Phillies is JJ Putz (1-1 record, 2.45 ERA, .193 BAA, 21 saves, 3 blown saves). Sure, Arizona has been near the top of the NL West lately, but they likely won't stay there very long, and as the trade deadline approaches, GM Kevin Towers' phone will begin ringing and it would be difficult to decline what the Phillies have to offer. Philadelphia is well stocked with young pitching prospects that could prove to be a fair swap for the minimally budgeted D-Backs. The 34-year-old right-hander, Putz, is nicely priced, making $4 million this season.


To read the rest of the round table discussion on subjects like recent perceived laziness by the team, which Phils hitter has been most disappointing this season and thoughts on the team's pitching rotation for this week, click THIS LINK.

PhilliesNation.com is a collaborative effort of several solid baseball writers. Be sure to make it a regular stop on your web browsing list.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Get Author Allen Schatz's Baseball Mystery "Game 7: Dead Ball"

Local author, and massive baseball fan, Allen Schatz's initial literary release "Game 7: Dead Ball", a murder mystery based around the World Series in Philadelphia, is now in print, after a successful run as an electronic-read only release.

Here's a snippet from the press release from earlier this year:

Washington, Pennsylvania - Allen Schatz, Philadelphia native and current resident of western Pennsylvania, mixes a love of the game to spin a mystery-suspense yarn where revenge hides at the core. The book, titled GAME 7: DEAD BALL, targeting mystery fans and baseball fans alike, takes place before and during the 2008 World Series. The lead character, umpire Marshall Connors, believes a vacation cut short is a reasonable price to pay for the opportunity to work the games, but that price rapidly increases when he finds himself in the middle of something more intense than the games on the field.

Schatz, who happens to be a friend of PhoulBallz.com, invites all readers of this site to take advantage of a special offer. Buy the book early, before its official hard release date of July 1st, and get 10% off. Allen may also deliver personal high fives to certain fans.

Click THIS LINK to get the book and enter code SG4Z85JL to get your exclusive PhoulBallz.com discount hook up.

With two sequels on the way, Schatz's work is definitely a triple play that baseball fans shouldn't miss.
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Series Preview: Athletics at Phillies, 6/24-6/26

After taking a series off from interleague play, due to MLB scheduling, the Phillies (47-29) return home to play host to the team that was once Philadelphia's other big league club, the Athletics (34-42). The A's will be making their first visit ever to Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies will see a few familiar faces in the series, as Hideki Matsui (2009 World Series MVP, when the Yankees defeated the Phillies in 6 games) and Josh Outman (10th draft pick by the Phillies in 2005) come to town. Former Phils prospect Gio Gonzalez, a starting pitcher, is also on the Athletics' roster, but he is not due to see action in the series.

Phillies third baseman Placido Polanco, who leads fan voting at his position for the 2011 All-star Game, excels against Oakland, as his .376 average in 42 games against the A's is his best mark against any team he has faced.

The Athletics have won 5 of 9 all-time interleague meetings between these two clubs.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and other key information on this series.


Friday, 7:05PM. Guillermo Moscoso (2-3, 3.30 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (2-1, 3.41 ERA). Moscoso has a 1-3 record and a 3.10 ERA in 5 road games this season. Righty batters have posted a .196 average against the right-handed Moscoso this season. In 3 home starts this season, Worley is 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA and a .194 batting average against. Worley has a 2.16 ERA in 7 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

Saturday, 7:05PM. Trevor Cahill (7-5, 3.24 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (9-3, 2.51 ERA). In 8 road starts, Cahill is 3-2 with a 4.18 ERA. In his last 8 starts, Cahill has a 1-5 record and a 5.12 ERA. Hamels has a 5-2 record and a 2.80 ERA in 8 starts at home this season. In his last 7 starts, Hamels is 5-1 with a 1.79 ERA. Right-handed opponents are batting .195 against the lefty Hamels this year.

Sunday, 1:35PM. Josh Outman (3-1, 2.86 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.51 ERA). In his last 3 starts, Outman, who was sent to Oakland in the Joe Blanton trade in 2008, is 2-1 with a 1.89 ERA. In 4 road starts, the lefty Outman is 1-1 with a 3.74 ERA. Left-handed batters have posted a .164 average against Outman in his career. In his last 7 starts, Halladay is 4-0 with a 2.94 ERA. Halladay has a 6-4 record with a 4.54 ERA in 13 career starts against Oakland.


Hideki Matsui is 1-for-10 (.100 avg) in 3 career regular season games against the Phillies. In 6 career postseason games against them, Matsui is 8-for-14 (.615 avg) with a double and 3 HR.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki is batting .151 in 16 June games. In 35 road games this year, Suzuki is batting .195.

In 13 career games against the Phillies, reliever Brian Fuentes has never allowed an earned run and has held opponents to a .094 batting average.

Placido Polanco is 3-for-30 (.100 avg) in his last 9 games. Polanco is has a .207 combined average in 36 games while batting 3rd and 5th in the order this year...however, in 35 games while batting 2nd in the order, Polanco has a .359 average.

Jimmy Rollins leads the Phillies with 15 stolen bases. In 9 career games against Oakland, Rollins has a .289 batting average.

Ryan Howard is 1-for-13 (.077 avg) in 3 career games against the Athletics. Howard has reached base via hit or walk in 15 straight games. In that stretch, he is 17-for-50 (.340 avg).

In 24 games this season, Mike Stutes has held opponents to a .169 batting average. He has also struck out 22 batters in 22 2/3 innings.

Athletics team batting average- .237
Phillies team batting average- .247

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Phils Starters Shining Brightly

Many baseball fans will recall all the hype surrounding the Phillies' pitching rotation leading into the season. After Philadelphia snatched free agent Cliff Lee up, before the Rangers or the Yankees could lock him into a contract, the baseball world seemed to buzz for months about the potential of the Phillies' starting pitchers for the 2011 season.

As the team has reached the 75 games plateau in the 2011 season, the Phillies' 47-28 record is the best record in Major League Baseball and, as should have been expected, they have their pitching staff to thank for it.

Overall, the Phillies' pitching staff leads the Majors in ERA, with a 2.98 mark, but the staff has been led by three members of their starting rotation...especially over the past month.

Adding together statistics from each of Cole Hamels', Roy Halladay's and Cliff Lee's past 7 starts, the sums are remarkable. The trio has combined for a 15-2 record and a 2.17 ERA while allowing just 24 walks and striking out 141 batters in 153 2/3 innings pitched.

Veteran right-hander Roy Oswalt hasn't been quite as sharp as his previously mentioned staff mates over the same stretch. Oswalt has posted a 1-4 record and a 3.40 ERA over his previous 7 starts, dating back to mid-May.

Fifth starter Joe Blanton posted a 1-2 record with a 5.50 ERA through 6 starts, prior to landing on the disabled list with elbow inflammation for the second time in mid-May.

Recent shortcomings of the core four plus one aside, even the team's relievers have prevailed as a strength of the club and are among the best in baseball. The bullpen's 2.80 ERA ranks second best in the big leagues and their .226 batting average against is 5th best in the Majors.

Plenty of analysts and writers have pointed out that the offense has to reduce their struggles producing runs if the team is going to reach the World Series, but with a pitching staff like this that shuts down the opposition with sheer dominance on a steady basis, the Phillies' offense shouldn't be a source of too much worry.
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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Interview with Phillies Prospect Colby Shreve

Righty hurler Colby Shreve didn't have a solid start this season with the Phillies' Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. After beginning the year in the starting rotation and posting a .315 batting average against through three April starts, as the team's fifth starter, Shreve was moved to the bullpen. Since that time, the 6-foot-5-inch tall Shreve has sported a .261 BAA and has improved his other numbers as well.

Pitching coordinator Gorman Heimueller, along with the BlueClaws coaching staff saw the switch as an opportunity to allow Shreve to become more focused and increase his velocity.

A 6th round draft pick in 2008, Shreve missed the 2008 and 2009 season due to elbow issues that required Tommy John surgery and made his pro debut last year, as a member of Lakewood's starting rotation, when he went 7-5 with a 3.95 ERA.

In his past 9 relief appearances, Shreve has been strong, going 1-0 with a 1.65 ERA.

Last week, I spoke with Colby about his change of roles, his progress with his pitches, a well known admirer of his and plenty more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.



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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Series Preview: Phillies at Cardinals, 6/21-6/23

When the Cardinals and Phillies meet in a 3-game series beginning on Tuesday night in St. Louis, it will be a match up of two teams that have held onto the top spot in their respective divisions, despite repeated injuries all season long.

The Cardinals (40-33) are in first place in the National League Central, but they are just 1/2 game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers. They'll have a difficult time holding onto that lead as baseball's top hitter suffered a fractured wrist on Sunday in a collision with the Royals' Wilson Betemit. Pujols, the 3-time NL Most Valuable Player, is expected to miss up to 6 weeks with the injury.

St. Louis has also lost top pitcher Adam Wainwright for the season to an elbow injury. In addition, outfielder Matt Holliday has spent 2 stints on the disabled list. Nick Punto, David Freese, Gerald Laird, Eduardo Sanchez and others are also currently on the DL.

The defending NL East champion Phillies (45-28), with Brian Schneider, Joe Blanton and Brad Lidge currently out of action have also missed Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Domonic Brown and others to injury this season. With all of that, Philadelphia still possesses the best record in Major League Baseball, as they begin this series with St. Louis.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and more key details for this series.


Tuesday, 8:15PM. Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.56 ERA) vs. Kyle McClellan (6-3, 3.96 ERA). Halladay is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 2 starts against the Cardinals. In his last 6 starts, Halladay is 4-0 with a 3.14 ERA. Halladay has a 4-2 record with a 2.45 ERA in 6 road starts this year. McClelland has a 0-2 record and a 4.50 ERA in 10 games against the Phillies in his career. In 6 home games this year (5 starts), McClellan is 3-1 with a 4.38 ERA. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino are a combined 0-for-10 against the right-hander McClellan.

Wednesday, 8:15PM. Cliff Lee (7-5, 3.12 ERA) vs. Kyle Lohse (7-3, 2.88 ERA). In 3 career starts against St. Louis, Lee has a 2-1 record and a 2.11 ERA. In 6 road starts this season, Lee is 1-4 with a 5.35 ERA. In his last 3 starts, Lee is 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA. In 8 career starts against the Phillies, Lohse is 2-3 with a 4.00 ERA. Lohse has a 2-2 record with a 3.09 ERA in 6 home starts this year. Ryan Howard is 6-for-13 (.462 avg) with a HR in his career against Lohse.

Thursday, 8:15PM. Roy Oswalt (4-5, 3.37 ERA) vs. Chris Carpenter (1-7, 4.47 ERA). In 29 career games against the Cardinals, Oswalt is 9-8 with a 3.15 ERA. Oswalt is 2-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 7 road starts this season. In his last 8 starts, Oswalt is 1-5 with a 4.57 ERA. In 9 career starts against the Phillies, Carpenter is 5-2 with a 5.08 ERA. In his last 7 starts, Carpenter is 0-5 with a 4.62 ERA.


In 36 career games against the Cardinals, Shane Victorino has a .311 batting average with 10 doubles, a triple and 4 HR. In his last 12 games Victorino is 20-for-49 (.408 avg).

Ryan Howard, who was born in St. Louis, has a .365 average with 4 doubles, 8 HR and 31 RBI in 23 career games at Busch Stadium.

In 17 May games, Carlos Ruiz posted a .300 batting average. In 17 June games, Ruiz is batting .192.

Former Phillie Ryan Franklin has an 8.17 ERA and a .367 batting average against in 21 games out of the Cardinals bullpen this season.

In 4 games since returning from the disabled list with a quadriceps injury, Matt Holliday is 5-for-12 (.417 avg) with a double and 2 HR. Holliday is batting .316 at home this year, compared to .374 on the road.

Skip Schumaker, in 31 career games against the Phillies, has a .330 batting average and a .900 OPS. Schumaker's overall career numbers are .288/.725.

Phillies team batting average- .247
Cardinals team batting average-

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Murphy a Leader For Class A Lakewood

LAKEWOOD, NJ- Right-handed slugger Jim Murphy knows that the first base position within the Phillies organization is cluttered. With former National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Howard signed with the Phillies through the 2017 season for big money, and names like Matt Rizzotti (.296 avg, 13 HR, 45 RBI in 67 games with Double A Reading this year), Cody Overbeck (.266 avg, 19 HR, 47 RBI in 66 combined games for Reading and Triple A Lehigh Valley), Joe Savery (.303 avg, 2 HR, 25 RBI in 57 combined games for High A Clearwater and Reading) and top Phillies positional prospect "The Boss" Jonathan Singleton (.244, 3 HR, 21 RBI in 57 games for Clearwater) all currently occupying spots ahead of Murphy within the Phils' developmental system, there is limited room to advance, no matter how he performs.

This season Murphy is blazing through South Atlantic League pitching. In 67 games with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Murphy is batting .286 and is tied for the league lead with 17 homeruns and 53 RBI. The outstanding numbers have earned Murphy a starting spot on the SAL North division All-star team, slated to be played Tuesday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, MD, home of the Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles affiliate).

Murphy was especially hot in the month of May, when he sported a .318 batting average, with 15 doubles, 6 homers and 23 RBI in 29 games en route to locking down a nod as Phillies Minor League Player of the Month.

However, Murphy's career hasn't been all high flying and tater mashing. After posting a combined .281 average with an OPS of .801 at 3 levels in 2008 and batting .279 with an OPS of .860 with the BlueClaws in 2009, Murphy struggled in the Class A Advanced Florida State League in 2010. In 115 games for the Clearwater Threshers, Murphy hit .239 with a .679 OPS.

While he's not especially happy with his current situation, back with the same team he helped win a league championship two years ago, the 25-year-old Murphy is excited to be representing his team and the Phillies organization as an All-star.

"It's definitely a huge honor to get player of the month for the Phillies and also to be an all-star," Murphy stated. "There's a lot of good players in this league and I thought there were a couple of other guys that were deserving. One from West Virginia that already got moved up was (Matt) Curry- he was having a heck of a year. But I'm glad to get the nod to go to the All-star Game. It'll be a good time."

Murphy will also take part in the pre-game homerun derby, prior to the All-star exhibition festivities, when he will compete against teammate Anthony Hewitt, Hagerstown's Bryce Harper, Lexington's Chris Wallace and several others.

The Washington native, Murphy, spent some time with the Phillies in big league camp during spring training. In 2 games of Grapefruit League action, Murphy was held without a hit in 5 at bats.

Originally a 17th round draft choice by Philadelphia in 2006 out of Washington State University, Murphy knows that the Phillies aren't the only possibility out there for him to climb back upward on the ladder toward the big leagues. He has been focused on showcasing himself for other teams that might be watching, in addition to his own organization's talent evaluators.

"I just want to put up my numbers and I don't want to waste any at bats," Murphy said. "I just want to see what happens. There's a lot of other teams out there that we play against. I don't know how many organizations are in this league, but everybody is watching and there are scouts at every game. I just want to go out and not waste any at bats and have a good approach (and if I keep posting) good numbers, somebody might look at it and say, 'Hey, give this guy a shot.'

"We're all auditioning. We're all auditioning for the Phillies, we're all auditioning for everybody. That goes for me and everybody else in the locker room."

Lakewood manager and former Major Leaguer Chris Truby feels the presence of Murphy benefits the team in more ways than just offensive production. Truby speaks highly of the the 6-foot-4-inch 240-pound prospect, expressing the importance of Murphy's role as a leader to younger players.

"Murph's been awesome here. Not just the way he plays, but the way he carries himself and the way he goes about his business," Truby said. "I think, especially when you have a guy who's having success, obviously an older guy, naturally (younger players) are gonna watch him and see how he goes about preparing himself to play. And with Murph, he's the ultimate pro, in terms of the way he's handled the move here and the way he just goes about his work on a daily basis. And his numbers show it, so it's a great example for the younger players to watch."

With the trading deadline approaching and the attendance of scouts from other clubs set to be at a maximum level, Murphy, the BlueClaws' all-time HR and RBI leader, might be crossing his fingers that an organization which happens to be a bit more light on minor league first basemen will decide to reach out to the Phillies to acquire the Class A stud. If that doesn't happen, however, Murphy will continue to take pride in his approach to the game he loves and strive to do his best. And while others credit Murphy for setting examples for players coming up behind him, the man himself doesn't take that sort of credit. He considers himself just one of the guys.

"I just want to go out and play hard every day and play with my teammates and have a good time and keep grinding. I enjoy playing the game. I'm just happy to get to play another full season."

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Interview with Former Phillie Marlon Anderson

A second round draft pick in 1995 out of the University of South Alabama, Marlon Anderson rose quickly through the Phillies developmental system and made his Major League debut on September 8th, 1998, slamming a homerun as a pinch hitter against the Mets'Mel Rojas.

By the following year, Anderson was the Phillies' everyday second baseman. The lefty hitting Anderson posted a .266 batting average in 5 seasons with the Phillies.

Following the 2002 season, Anderson became a free agent and began a stretch of his career which saw him play with the Devil Rays, Mets, Dodgers, Cardinals and Nationals within 4 years.

Anderson finished out his Major League career with the Mets in 2009, but these days he serves as the hitting coach for the Class A Hagerstown Suns, a Washington Nationals affiliate, where he coaches top minor league prospect Bryce Harper.

Last week I spoke with Marlon about his transition into coaching, his approach with player, his time with the Phillies organization as well as plenty more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.



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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 93

During the 1944 season, 16-year-old Ralph "Putsy" Caballero became the youngest Phillie in team history when he broke into the Major Leagues. Signed out of high school by the Phillies that year, Caballero reached the big show in September for the final few weeks of the season. He played in parts of 8 different seasons as a member of the Phillies, mostly as a reserve infielder.

In his debut season, the right-handed hitting Caballero went 0-for-4 in 4 games and then went hitless in 9 appearances the following season at the big league level.

Caballero, a Louisiana native, missed the 1946 season, as he was summoned for military service. He later achieved his first Major League hit in 1947.

In 1948, still very young for the highest level of the sport, at 20-years-old, Caballero saw action in 113 games with the Phillies, spending time at second base and third base. That season, Caballero hit .245 with 12 doubles a triple and 33 runs scored.

With minimal power, Caballero hit just 1 career Major League homerun and had a career OPS of .547.

In 1950, Caballero played in 46 regular season games as a member of the famed Whiz Kids team that reached the World Series. It was the Philadelphia organization's first trip to the Fall Classic in 35 years. Caballero went 0-for-3 in the World Series against the Yankees.

At the age of 24, Caballero, who stood 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighed around 170 pounds, played his last game at the Major League level. He played three more seasons in the minors, before retiring following the 1955 season.

After his baseball days were through, Caballero returned home to New Orleans, where he operated a pest-control business for many years. In 2005, Caballero's home in Lake View, LA was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Caballero lost nearly all of his belongings in the catastrophe of the hurricane, but among the few things he managed to salvage were his entire uniform from that 1950 season and his National League championship ring.

A father to seven and a grandfather to more, Putsy Caballero values his memories of his big league days more than all the memorabilia and personal belongings he lost. According to Audrey Nuss, Caballero's youngest daughter, he still speaks of his time in the game as though it was yesterday.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Series Preview: Phillies at Mariners, 6/17-6/19

The Phillies (44-26), in the midst of a hot streak that has seen them win 7 straight games, will head west for a 3-game interleague series with the Seattle Mariners (35-34) that begins Friday night.

Philadelphia has been riding stellar pitching during the recent streak of success. Phillies starting pitchers have combined to post a 1.80 ERA over the past 7 games.

The M's, who are 1/2 game behind Texas for 1st place in the American League West division standings, hope to benefit from the promotion of highly regarded prospect, infielder Dustin Ackley. The 2nd overall draft selection in the 2009 draft, Ackley had posted a .303 average with 9 homers and 35 RBI through 66 games with Triple A Tacoma.

These two teams have not met since the Mariners took 2 of 3 games from the Phillies at Seattle's Safeco Field in 2005.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups as well as other key statistics from this series.


Friday, 10:10PM. Roy Oswalt (4-4, 3.14 ERA) vs. Michael Pineda (6-4, 2.72 ERA). Oswalt has posted a 2-2 record and a 2.90 ERA in 6 road starts this year. In his last 7 starts, Oswalt has a 1-4 record and a 3.92 ERA. Adam Kennedy is 7-for-17 (.412 avg) in his career against Oswalt. In 6 home starts, Pineda has posted a 3-1 record and a 2.06 ERA. In his last 4 starts, Pineda is 0-2 with a 4.07 ERA. The rookie right-hander Pineda has held opponents to a .208 batting average this season.

Saturday, 10:10PM. Vance Worley (2-1, 3.75 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (7-5, 3.30 ERA). In 3 road games this season, Worley has a 0-1 record and a 7.71 ERA. Worley posted a 4-2 record and a 2.62 ERA in 8 starts for the Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Hernandez is 3-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 6 starts at Safeco Field this season. In his last 4 starts, Hernandez is 1-2 with a 4.08 ERA. Placido Polanco is 7-for-18 (.389 avg) in his career against Hernandez.

Sunday, 4:10PM. Cole Hamels (9-2, 2.49 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (4-4, 4.13 ERA). Hamels is 4-0 with a 2.09 ERA and a .187 batting average against in 6 road starts this season. Adam Kennedy and Brendan Ryan are a combined 0-for-15 against Hamels. In 3 career outings against the Phillies, the lefty Vargas has no decisions and a 9.45 ERA. In his last 5 starts, Vargas is 1-2 with a 5.52 ERA. In 35 career games at Safeco Field, Vargas has a 12-10 record with a 3.33 ERA.


In 6 career games against Philadelphia, Ichiro Suzuki has a .321 average and a homerun. Ichiro has 5 consecutive multi-hit games heading into this series.

First baseman Justin Smoak, a key piece in the Texas trade for Cliff Lee last July, leads the Mariners in HR (12) and RBI (38). Smoak is batting just .233 since April.

Mariners closer Brandon League has a 1.72 ERA and is perfect in 11 save opportunities in 16 home games this season.

Ryan Howard has posted a .209 batting average in 29 road games this season. Also, in 48 night games in 2011, Howard has a .217 batting average.

In 21 career games at Safeco Field, Placido Polanco has a .241 batting average and a .575 OPS. Polanco is batting .352 against left-handers this season.

In his last 10 games, Chase Utley is 14-for-39 (.359 avg) with 4 doubles, 2 HR and 9 RBI.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mathieson Returning to Starting Role


PAWTUCKET, RI- Phillies minor league hurler Scott Mathieson has dealt with a lot of obstacles in his career. Three times a patient on the operating table, to undergo elbow surgery, Mathieson was originally a 17th round draft choice by the Phillies in 2002.

The Vancouver, BC native made his Major League debut with the Phillies as a starting pitcher in June, 2006. However, by September that season, Mathieson was sidelined with a torn elbow ligament and required Tommy John surgery. As he rehabbed the following year, it was discovered that Mathieson had lingering issues that would force him to undergo an ulnar nerve transposition procedure. Bouncing back from that surgery proved difficult in 2008, when Mathieson was forced to have a second Tommy John surgery.

Prior to the surgical procedures, Mathieson had pitched mainly as a starter. However, since returning from that third stint on the disabled list, and working his way back up through the Phillies developmental system, the 6-foot-3-inch 220-pound Mathieson has pitched exclusively in relief.

In 22 games combined at 3 levels in 2009, Mathieson posted a 4-0 record with a 0.84 ERA and a .149 batting average against. While last season, Mathieson served as the closer for Triple A Lehigh Valley, recording 26 saves to go along with his 3-6 record and 2.80 ERA.

This year, Mathieson began the season with Lehigh Valley, but has appeared in 2 games with the Major League club, throwing 3 scoreless innings.

The switch, according to Mathieson, is a welcome change that he says he is ready for.

"I really liked closing last year and pitching out of the bullpen, but I believe I can still start and be a starter at the big league level," Mathieson said.

The switch is not just a spot start, brought on by the organization's recent roster maneuvers. While there is a need, Mathieson is a strong individual that should adapt going forward.

"This isn't just a temporary start. I'm in the rotation now," Mathieson said.

Making his first start since the 2007 season, Mathieson says he expects to be good for 60-70 pitches on Sunday, when he faces the Pawtucket Red Sox at McCoy Stadium, and is looking forward to stretching himself out over the outings to follow.

"I'm going to try to work my pitch count up to at least 100 in my next 2 or 3 starts. I'm excited for (the challenge)."
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Worley Up, Romero Designated For Assignment


Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced after today's game that Vance Worley will officially be activated to the Major League roster. Worley is expected to start for the Phillies on Saturday in Seattle.

In a subsequent move, JC Romero has been designated for assignment. According to MLB regulations, the Phillies have 10 days to move Romero's contract. If he is not traded or claimed, Amaro says Romero will be given an opportunity to stay within the organization.

The left-handed Romero had posted a 3.86 ERA with no decisions and a .262 batting average against in 24 appearances for Philadelphia this season.

Outstanding efforts by younger hurlers like Antonio Bastardo (3-0, 1.05 ERA, .129 BAA) and Mike Stutes (0-0, 2.25 ERA, .174 BAA) have virtually pushed Romero out of his position on the Phillies pitching staff.

Last month, when Romero made a rehab appearance with the Lakewood BlueClaws, I asked him about the progress of his fellow lefty Bastardo. The interview can be heard by clicking HERE.
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Quartet of Reading Stars Headed to Lehigh

Before any official release was made by the organization, news came out on Thursday, thanks to social media, that two of the organization's top relief pitching prospects were taking another step toward their ultimate goals of pitching in the Major Leagues. Right-handed pitchers Justin De Fratus and Phillippe Aumont are headed from Double A Reading to the Triple A level Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Both De Fratus and Aumont announced their promotions via Twitter between late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.

De Fratus, a 6-foot-4-inch 220-pounder, has been excellent with the R-Phils. In 23 games, De Fratus posted a 4-0 record with a 2.10 ERA and a team leading 8 saves. De Fratus' 43 strike outs in 34 1/3 innings are impressive as well. The 23-year-old was ranked 5th in the PhoulBallz/PhilliesNation 2011 prospect rankings.

The Oxnard, California native De Fratus was originally an 11th round draft pick in 2007 by the Phillies, is definitely pleased with the move, but still has goals to achieve.

"I'm excited, of course...but, the goal is still Philadelphia," De Fratus said. "This just brings me one step closer to where I've always wanted to be- on a big league mound."

Aumont, who intimidates opposing batters with his 6-foot-7-inch 255-pound frame, had split duties at the back end of the Reading bullpen all season long. In 25 games, Aumont posted a 1-5 record with a 2.32 ERA and 4 saves. Aumont, a dominating force, also struck out 41 batters in 31 innings. The 22-year-old was ranked 13th in PhoulBallz/PhilliesNation's 2011 prospect rankings.

The Quebec native Aumont was acquired by the Phillies in December, 2009 from the Mariners as part of the Cliff Lee trade. Aumont struggled last year in his first season in the Phillies organization, after the club converted him to a starter. However, back in his more comfortable role out of the bullpen, Aumont has shined.

According to Reading manager Mark Parent, the absence of De Fratus and Aumont will leave quite a hole within the R-Phils' pitching staff but knows that both men are worthy of the promotion.

"Aumont and De Fratus will be missed," Parent said. "They, however, need to find out about the next level. Hopefully, they go there and work hard and listen to (pitching coach) Rod Nichols and help the IronPigs stay very competetive."

Along with the pair of relievers, power hitting third baseman Cody Overbeck is headed to Lehigh as well. Overbeck, a 6-foot-1-inch, 200-pounder, was a 9th round draft selection by the Phillies in 2008.

Through 62 games this year, Overbeck hit .275 while leading the Eastern League with 18 homeruns and 46 RBI.

Overbeck's defensive versatility benefits him as he moves upward. He's played extensively at third base during his pro career, but has spent time manning 1st base and even dabbled in the outfield this year as well.

Mark Parent feels that Overbeck, who was ranked 23rd in the PhoulBallz/PhilliesNation 2011 prospect rankings, is deserving of the move upward and has been pleased with his performance overall this season.

"Overbeck's done a fabulous job," Parent said. "He's got good hands. His hand-eye coordination is really good. And when he gets to the ball, he's got outstanding pop."

Starting pitcher Ryan Edell joins the trio en route to joining the IronPigs on the road. Edell, a 27-year-old lefty has been Reading's most consistent starter, posting a 5- 1 record with a 3.50 ERA in 12 starts.

Voids had been left on the Lehigh roster this week following the retirement of infielder Ronnie Belliard, the departure of starting pitcher Brian Gordon for the Yankees and pitcher Nate Bump's hamstring injury.

All four players are certainly deserving of a move to the Lehigh Valley roster and all will join the team for a 4-game series in Pawtucket that begins Thursday night. However, like De Fratus said, this is just one more step and it will be up to each player to continue to excel and take the necessary strides to joining the Phillies at the highest level of the game.

To correspond with those roster moves, Reading will be adding some players of their own. Reliever Justin Friend and first baseman/DH/left fielder/former pitcher Joe Savery will join the R-Phils' roster from High A Clearwater, while Chance Chapman has been demoted from Lehigh Valley..
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Biddle Coming on Strong


LAKEWOOD, NJ- The Phillies' 2010 first round draft pick Jesse Biddle had a difficult opening stretch in his first full season as a professional this year, but has since bounced back and learned how to cope with the rigors of professional baseball.

Following a period in which he struggled with his command and seemed to repeatedly let up one big inning to his opponents, Biddle has adapted to the new full season environment and produced effectively for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in the South Atlantic League.

After beginning the season with a 1-5 record and a 5.57 ERA through his first 7 starts, the left-handed Biddle has gotten himself on the right track, posting a 2-1 record and a 2.60 ERA in his last 6 outings. Biddle feels that a confidence in his own pitching abilities, despite some concerns and doubts about those skills, is what has helped him to improve.

"I think earlier I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and kind of just second guessing my stuff and why (the Phillies) drafted me," Biddle said. "You have questions like that when you're struggling and you start doubting who you are. But I just gotta remember that I'm one of the youngest guys in the league, and one of the youngest guys in this clubhouse, and there's a reason why the Phillies picked me (in the 1st round) and I just need to go out there and prove it. I just need to throw the ball, throw strikes and get guys out."

Biddle feels that his up and down performances will serve as somewhat of a series of lessons, going forward. With some weak performances weighing on his mind early in the season, Biddle's now got a string of solid outings to build on, which have enabled him to bask in some success and get away from drowning in an ocean of regrets.

"When you walk 5 guys and give up 6 runs in 3 innings, it's a whirlwind of, like, you can't really focus on one pitch," Biddle said. "You just let everything bother you.

"It's pretty amazing how baseball works. One outing, you're good. One outing, you're bad. And then a bunch- you're in the middle. So it's really a matter of finding that in between. That's something that I've been working on and kind of trying to keep a level head.

The matured mentality that has helped Biddle make improvements this season with the BlueClaws is the sort of advice the 19-year-old would pass along toward this year's draftees coming straight out of high school.

"It's all about trusting yourself and remembering that this is the same game you played in high school. And yes, the game's faster and you're playing with different guys, but I'm still pitching 60-feet-6-inches, the plate's the same size. It's all about trusting yourself and knowing that you got drafted for a reason. The Phillies have faith in you and it's just a matter of having faith in yourself."

In his most recent start, a no decision against the Hagerstown Suns (Nationals affiliate) on Tuesday, Biddle got touched up early, giving up a homerun following a walk in the 1st inning, which put the BlueClaws in a 2-0 hole. A quick word of encouragement from his pitching coach Steve Schrenk helped Biddle to refocus and allow only one more hit through the remaining 5 innings of his outing, en route to a season high 9 strike outs.

"He told me, 'That's all they're gonna get!' and that's all he really had to say, that's all I needed to hear. And that's how I felt. It's all about holding them and giving my team a chance to win." Biddle said.

During that start, Biddle's parents, his girlfriend and his 3rd grade teacher were in attendance at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park to cheer him on. Biddle, a Philadelphia native who grew up as a Phillies fan, enjoys playing close to home. According to 6-foot-4-inch 225-pounder, a close support system really helps him focus.

"It's nice to have those people around at all times," Biddle stated. "They're going to be there, no matter how I do and that means a lot to me. It really does."

Regardless of the outcome, Biddle knows his family will stand by him and that they'll still take him out to dinner afterward, which is one of the few things Biddle knew about his future prior to signing his first professional contract with the Phillies. The rest, he is learning as he goes.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Moose Mattair Talks About His Lakewood Return

After missing more than a month with an oblique strain, Travis "Moose" Mattair found himself as the odd man out of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers roster. Having lost his starting job to Jeremy Barnes, who has posted a .293 batting average since taking over for Mattair, the Washington state native was reassigned to the Class A Lakewood roster, where he became on of the club's most popular players during his previous stint there.

The 6-foot-5-inch 230-pound Mattair batted .234 with 3 homeruns and 16 RBI in 21 April games as a member of the Threshers.

Originally a 2nd round draft selection by the Phillies in 2007, Mattair was a member of the BlueClaws team that won the first of two straight South Atlantic League titles in 2009. After that, Mattair was placed on the retired list in order to try his dream of playing Division 1 college basketball. By late summer last year, Mattair got the itch for baseball and chose to return to the Phillies organization rather than becoming the last man on the Boise State roster as a 22-year-old freshman.

Now back in Lakewood, Moose took time to chat with PhoulBallz.com's and PhilliesNation's Jay Floyd about his return to the Jersey shore, being a leader, his future and more. Check out the media player below to listen to the full interview.


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Series Preview: Marlins at Phillies, 6/14-6/16

With a double header on Wednesday (the afternoon game is a make up for a rain out back in April) breaking up the highly regarded Philadelphia pitching rotation, the Marlins (32-33) will still have to face the Phillies' (40-26) three strongest starting pitchers in this upcoming 4-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

On consecutive days, the Marlins are set to face Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who, in their past 15 combined starts (5 from each hurler), have posted a 12-1 record and a 2.38 ERA.

Florida will counter with a collection of three pitchers that have not had much success against the Phillies (17-19 combined record, 4.69 combined ERA) and a starter that has not been announced yet, in the series.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and loads more statistical information from this series.


Tuesday, 7:05PM. Chris Volstad (2-6, 5.51 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (8-2, 2.58 ERA). In 10 career starts against the Phillies, Volstad has a 2-3 record with a 4.45 ERA. Volstad has a 0-2 record, a 7.56 ERA and a .349 batting average against in 5 road starts this year. In his last 8 starts, the former 1st round draft pick Volstad is 0-5 with a 5.60 ERA. Ryan Howard is 11-for-23 (.478 avg) with 6 HR in his career against Volstad. In 16 career starts against Florida, Hamels has a 4-7 record with a 3.65 ERA. Hamels has posted a 4-0 record with a 1.70 ERA over his last 5 starts this season. In 7 home starts this year, Hamels is 4-2 with a 3.02 ERA.

Wednesday, 1:05PM. To Be Announced vs. Kyle Kendrick (3-4, 3.47 ERA). In 13 career games against Florida, Kendrick is 5-2 with a 5.36 ERA. Kendrick has posted a 1-3 record and a 3.60 ERA in 9 home games this year. Gaby Sanchez is 6-for-10 (.600 avg) with a double and a HR against Kendrick in his career.

Wednesday, 7:05PM. Anibal Sanchez (6-1, 3.06 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.39 ERA). The right-handed Sanchez has a 3-7 record and a 5.65 ERA in 12 career starts against the Phils. In 6 road starts this season, Sanchez has a 3-1 record with a 2.93 ERA. Chase Utley is 11-for-25 (.440 avg) with 3 doubles and a triple in his career against Sanchez. In 8 career starts against the Marlins, Halladay is 4-3 with a 2.13 ERA. Halladay is 4-0 with a 2.75 ERA in his last 5 starts.

Thursday, 1:05PM. Javier Vazquez (3-6, 7.09 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (6-5, 3.41 ERA). Vazquez has allowed 8 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings pitched (7.71 ERA) against the Phillies this year. Lefty batters have posted a .321 batting average against the right-handed Vazquez this year. In 5 career starts at Citizens Bank Park, Vazquez has a 1-2 record with a 5.97 ERA. Lee has a 1-0 record and a 4.24 ERA in 3 career starts against the Marlins. In 8 home starts this season, Lee has a 5-1 record with a 2.17 ERA.

Hanley Ramirez is slated to be activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. He has been out of action with a back strain. Ramirez is batting .179 in 22 road games this year.

In his last 6 outings, Florida closer Leo Nunez has a 6.34 ERA and 2 blown saves. Nunez has a 3.54 ERA in 20 career games against the Phillies.

Mike Stanton is batting .224 in 16 day games this season. In 8 career games at CBP, Stanton has a .324 avg. with 3 HR and 6 RBI.

In 112 career games against Florida, Chase Utley has a .301 average with 23 HR and 85 RBI.

Raul Ibanez has a .333 average and a .931 OPS in 49 games against the Marlins. Ibanez is 8-for-20 (.400 avg) in 5 games against the Marlins this season.

After posting a 1.74 ERA in 10 April games, Danys Baez has posted a 5.31 ERA in 14 games since then. Baez has a 5.11 ERA in 44 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

Marlins team ERA- 3.83
Phillies team ERA- 3.15
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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Murphy Completes Big Week in Walk-off Fashion

LAKEWOOD, NJ- It took 15 innings, but Jim Murphy and the Lakewood BlueClaws downed the West Virginia Power by a score of 4-3, to end an eight-game losing streak on Saturday night.

Murphy, the club's first baseman, tied the game with a run scoring hit in the 13th to give the team new life and later came through with the hit that locked in the victory for the Class A 'Claws in the final match up of their 3-game series with the Pirates affiliate West Virginia Power.

Murphy was named as a starter for the South Atlantic League Northern Division All-star team earlier this week. Following that news, Murphy was named the Phillies' minor league player of the month for May, when he batted .318 with 6 homeruns and 23 RBI in 29 games. Wrapping up a remarkable week, Murphy posted 3 hits in the contest on Saturday.

In the 13th, an RBI hit by Power catcher Elias Diaz gave West Virginia the lead. Batting with one down in the bottom of the frame, left fielder Zach Collier doubled and scored on a single by Murphy, who would strike again two innings later.

With Collier on first base in the bottom of the 15th, the right-handed hitting Murphy flipped a single the opposite way that was misplayed by rightfielder Dan Grovatt, enabling Collier to score the game winner for the BlueClaws.

Another all-star, righty hurler Lisalberto Bonilla, made his first Class A start for Lakewood in this game. Bonilla, a native of the Domincan Republic joined the team in early May and slid into the closer role, posting exceptional stats (4 saves, 1.07 ERA in 11 games) as a reliever. However, the organization made a switch within the pitching staff in recent days, moving opening day starter Mario Hollands to the bullpen and giving Bonilla the starting nod.

The 21-year-old Bonilla continued his string of success on Saturday by tossing 5 innings of shutout baseball while allowing just 3 hits. He struck out 3 batters and walked 2 in the process.

Right-hander Lendy Castillo made his Class A debut in the game, throwing 5 innings of relief. The 22-year-old was charged with the tying run in the 8th inning, when a run scoring double by designated hitter Chase Lyles plated first baseman Justin Howard.

Righty reliever Chase Johnson (3-2, 4.70) threw a scoreless top of the 15th to earn the victory.

The BlueClaws (29-32) remain in last place, 8 games behind Hagerstown (37-24) in their division. Lakewood begins a 4-game series with Hagerstown at home on Sunday afternoon at 4:05PM.

Check out the media player below for video of the game ending play and post-game comments from Murphy.


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Friday, June 10, 2011

d'Arnaud in Serious Groove Following Concussion

NH hitting coach Justin Mashore working with Travis d'Arnaud last week

Sidelined in late April with a concussion, suffered when he was hit with the swing of a batter, catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud began the season in quite a slump. Through 13 games in April with the Double A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, d'Arnaud had posted a .188 batting average with 1 HR and 5 RBI.

However, since returning from the disabled list in early May, d'Arnaud has been on a hot streak, ripping into Eastern League pitching to the tune of a .378 batting average with 9 doubles, 5 homeruns and 12 RBI in 27 games.

The 22-year-old California native asserted that he hasn't changed anything in his approach or mechanics, confirming that sometimes a hitter can just get into a groove and capitalize on that.

"I've been slowing everything down and I feel like the ball looks like a softball right now. I can see it really good," d'Arnaud stated. "When I got on a roll, I was just seeing the ball well and putting good swings on it."

In regards to his slow start and an increase of power (.928 OPS through 40 games played, while a previous season high in OPS was .831 in a 2008 season he split between short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood in the Phillies organization), the righty hitting d'Arnaud feels that he's steadily showing the type of hitter he's developing into.

"This year I've hit stretches where my timing's off a little bit, but I've made no changes and gotten some good results," d'Arnaud said.

d'Arnaud was originally drafted in the supplemental round (37th overall) in 2007 by the Phillies. He was later traded to Toronto among a trio of player dealt for ace pitcher Roy Halladay in December, 2009. Last off-season, d'Arnaud was ranked as the 4th best prospect in the Toronto system by Baseball America.

Defensively, d'Arnaud has always shined, earning nods from his pitching staff at every level he's played for assisting in their success and progress.

His ability to lead will certainly help d'Arnaud advance in the professional ranks and even his coaching staff has sees a bright future for the 2010 Class A Florida State League All-star. Fisher Cats hitting coach Justin Mashore is pleased to be working with such talented prospects in New Hampshire and has worked closely with d'Arnaud. Mashore agrees that d'Arnaud is going about hitting the same way since arriving in Double A.

"(His) consistent work and his approach is what's allowing (d'Arnaud) to drive the ball more," Mashore said. "Travis has got phenomenal hands. Hopefully, (he) can continue to climb where we hope he goes."

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This post also appeared on 1BlueJaysWay.com.

David Buchanan Interview Excerpts

On Tuesday, right-handed pitcher David Buchanan was named the starting pitcher of the Class A South Atlantic League North division All-star team. Thus far in 2011, Buchanan has emerged as the leader of the pitching staff for the Lakewood BlueClaws, posting a 7-3 record with a 2.68 ERA.

The 22-year-old Buchanan is among the league leaders in ERA (4th), innings pitched (2nd with 74), wins (1st with 7) and WHIP (6th with 1.11).

Buchanan was drafted by the Phillies in the 7th round of last year's amateur draft out of Georgia State University. He made his pro debut as a member of the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters in 2010, going 3-1 with a 4.21 ERA in 12 starts.

On Thursday, the 6-foot-3-inch 190-pound Buchanan was honored as the Topps SAL Player of the Month for May. During the month, Buchanan went 4-2 with a 2.06 ERA.

The Georgia native Buchanan was previously drafted in the 6th round by the Mets in 2009, but chose not to sign.

When Phillies pitcher JC Romero stopped through Lakewood for a rehab appearance in May, I asked Romero if there were any BlueClaws pitchers he was familiar with. His answers were Buchanan and staffmate Mario Hollands, who was Lakewood's opening day starter.

Recently, I spoke with David about being recognized by a Major Leaguer, his own pitch repertoire, growing up as a Braves fan and plenty more. Check out the media player below to hear excerpts from my chat with Buchanan and click here to read my previous piece on him.


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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mattair Headed for Return to Lakewood

Moose-keteers get your headgear ready, as your namesake is headed back to the home of the greatest fan group in Class A baseball history.

Ready to be activated from an oblique strain that has kept him out of action since April, Travis "Moose" Mattair is set to see action this weekend with the two-time defending South Atlantic League champions, the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Mattair, a 2nd round draft pick in 2007, developed quite a fan following in 2008 and 2009 when manned third base for Lakewood. The 6-foot-5-inch 220-pound Mattair held the BlueClaws all-time RBI record with 91 before Ryan Howard broke the mark during a rehab assignment with Lakewood last year. First baseman Jim Murphy has since surpassed both men, during his second campaign with the club this season.

Following the 2009 season, Mattair temporarily retired from baseball, in order to try his hand at Division 1 college basketball. After attempting a bit of an audition with Boise State in 2010, Moose returned to baseball this year and reported to spring training early, in January, in order to get back into the swing of things.

The 22-year-old Mattair had posted a .234 batting average with 3 homeruns and 16 RBI in 21 games with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, prior to experiencing the injury in a game against Lakeland on April 28th.

Speaking exclusively with PhoulBallz.com, Mattair expressed a desire to always play at the highest level possible at any particular time, but explained that the Phillies feel that the best place for Mattair, coming of his injury, is Lakewood right now and Mattair says he's accepting of that decision.

"I am headed there (Friday) morning and I hope to be in the lineup," Mattair said. "I want to play, that is the bottom line. If I have a uniform on, I am getting consistent everyday at bats and I have my sites set on the big leagues, I am fine.

"I love baseball no matter when or where I am playing it."

To purchase BlueClaws tickets, call 732-901-7000 and select option 2, or click this link.

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Photo- BlueClaws.com

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Series Preview: Cubs at Phillies, 6/9-6/12

Sporting the best record in the Major Leagues, the Phillies (37-25) will play host for a 4-game series against the Cubs (24-36), who are 11 1/2 games out of first place in the National League Central division.

Jimmy Rollins, who has been sidelined in recent days with a deep bone bruise in his right knee, will be back in the Phillies' lineup Thursday night.

Read ahead for details on the pitching match ups and more statistics from this series.


Thursday, 7:05PM. Randy Wells (1-1, 5.74 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (3-4, 3.78 ERA). In 1 career outing against the Phillies, Wells threw 7 scoreless innings. In 3 starts this season, batters are hitting .246 against Wells. Kendrick has pitched 1 scoreless inning against the Cubs in his career. In 8 games at home this season, Kendrick is 1-3 with a 4.24 ERA. Kendrick has a 19-16 record with a 4.65 ERA in 56 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park.

Friday, 7:05PM. Carlos Zambrano (5-2, 3.98 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (8-3, 2.56 ERA). In 7 road starts this season, Zambrano is 4-1 with a 4.53 ERA. Zambrano has a 1-0 record and a 2.02 ERA over his last 4 starts. In 5 career games at CBP, the righty Zambrano is 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA. In 7 home starts this year, Halladay has a 4-1 record with a 2.66 ERA. Aramis Ramirez is 2-for-13 (.154 avg) in his career against Halladay. 97 strike outs for Halladay rank second in the National League behind teammate Cliff Lee who has 100.

Saturday, 4:10PM. Matt Garza (2-5, 4.07 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (5-5, 3.62 ERA). In 1 career start against Philadelphia, Garza got a win, allowing 1 run over 8 innings. Garza has a 1-3 record with a 5.16 ERA in 5 road starts this season. Raul Ibanez is 4-for-9 (.444 avg) with a double and 2 HR in his career against Garza. In 7 home starts this season, Lee is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA. Lee is 3-0 with a 1.56 ERA in his last 3 home starts.

Sunday, 1:35PM. Doug Davis (0-5,6.37 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (3-4, 3.05 ERA). Davis has a 12.38 ERA in 2 road starts this season. Davis has a 2-2 record with a 3.71 ERA in 8 games against the Phils. Jimmy Rollins is 3-for-24 (.125 avg) in his career against Davis. In his last 6 starts, Oswalt is 0-4 with a 3.93 ERA. Oswalt has a 14-13 record and a 3.82 ERA in 32 career games against the Cubs. Kosuke Fukudome is 2-for-19 (.105 avg) in his career vs. Oswalt.



In 17 career games against the Phillies, Kosuke Fukudome is a .227 hitter. Fukudome is batting .213 in 20 road games this season.

Geovany Soto is a .235 hitter in 17 career games against the Phillies. Soto is batting .170 against right-handed pitchers this season.

In 10 games against the Phillies, reliever Carlos Marmol is 0-1 with 3 saves, 1 blown save, a 3.86 ERA and .081 batting average against. Marmol has a 0.55 ERA in 15 road games this season.

Rollins has a .224 batting average in 64 career games against the Cubs.

In 35 career games against the Cubs, Chase Utley has a .305 batting average and a .934 OPS. Utley is hitting .150 in 6 home games this season.

Rookie Domonic Brown has a .138 batting average in 8 home games this year.

Cubs team batting average- .269
Phillies team batting average- .247
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Image- ESPN

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Phillies Draft 2011- Day 3 Wrap Up

Here are some blurbs, details, stats and more on the players that were selected by the Phillies on the third and final day of the 2011 MLB first-year player draft.

The Phils selected three more catchers on the third day of the draft, totaling seven for the entire process. The first player taken on Wednesday was Kyle Olson, a catcher out of Jackson High School in Washington. A two sport (baseball & football) stand out, the 31st round pick Olson batted near .500 in his senior season. Olson, a righty hitter who turned 19-years-old last month, stands 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighs 195 pounds.

Other catchers selected on day 3 were 18-year-old Austin Knight (43rd round), a right-handed hitter out of Sumrall High School in Mississippi, and 17-year-old Scott Tomassetti, a righty batter from Sierra Vista High School in Nevada.

Another big focus on Wednesday was pitching, as Philadelphia selected 11 pitchers in their last 19 rounds. Among the hurlers taken by the Phils in day 3 of the draft were Greg Herbst, a 6-foot-6-inch right-hander that went 8-3 with a 2.29 ERA in 15 starts for St. Mary's University, Mike Nastold, a 21-year-old right-hander out of the University of Louisville, and Brett Maggard, an 18-year-old lefty out of Hernando High School in Florida.

Additionally, the Phillies geared some picks toward individuals with some previous ties to the team. Righty Tim Ponto, a life-long Phillies fan, was drafted in the 39th round out of Owen J. Roberts High School in Pottstown, PA. Ponto was actually in attendance at the Phillies-Dodgers game at Citizens Bank Park the night before the Phillies selected the 6-foot-7-inch tall 18-year-old with the 1,201st pick. Ponto celebrated on Wednesday evening by throwing a 2-hit shutout for NorChester in American Legion action.

With the 1,441st overall pick (47th round), the Phillies drafted second baseman Andrew Amaro, nephew of Philadelphia general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. Andrew Amaro is an 18-year-old left-handed batter out of Penn Charter High School.

And lastly, another draftee with a connection to the Phillies is Kolya Stephenson, son of well-known director of video production for the Phillies "Video" Dan Stephenson. Kolya Stephenson, a righty pitcher out of Ocean City High School in NJ, earned the distinction of being picked 1,530th overall, which happened to be the very last pick in the draft.

To view a full list of the Phillies' draft picks, click this link.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 2 Phillies Draft Report

With their initial pick on day two of the 2011 MLB amateur draft, the Phillies tipped their hand for a game plan set to coordinate with the potential future of the game of baseball.

As the game has begun to go the way of speed, small ball, defense and pitching, the Phillies took shortstop Roman Quinn, a product of Port St. Joe's High School in Florida. Quinn, who stands 5-feet-10-inches tall and weighs around 170 pounds, had played some center field and second base during the past couple of seasons as well.

According to the Phillies' director of scouting Marti Wolever, Quinn spent time last Sunday working out at shortstop for the Phillies at their complex in Clearwater. The organization and the 18-year-old Quinn alike have interest in the youngster pursuing a professional career at shortstop.

Quinn was proclaimed, by some, to be the player with the most speed in this year's MLB first-year player draft, which was appealing to the Phillies.

"I've always been a big speed guy, especially in the National League," Wolever said.

Throughout the rest of the day, the Phillies went heavy on players from the left side of the infield, taking 8 additional shortstops and third basemen over the next 17 rounds.

"We feel like (shortstop) is an area where we'd like to add some depth in the organization," Wolever said. "A couple of these kids were just too interesting to pass up. We felt their tools were better than the other options that we had at that point, so we went ahead and took them."

Wolever added that he doesn't think each of the five shortstops the Phillies drafted on Tuesday will sign with the team, but stated that if they get some of them, that the organization would be pleased.

Wolever, who has been in charge of scouting for the Phillies since 2002, seemed exceptionally pleased with the Phillies' 11th round selection of West Boca Raton High School shortstop Tyler Greene, whose signability is among those in question.

"Tyler Greene probably has as much ability, tool-wise, if you grade them out, as any one (of our picks today)," Wolever stated.

Wolever was open in admitting the that Phillies targeted third base as another area to improve within the system, despite the tremendous efforts put forth this season from Double A Reading's Cody Overbeck (Eastern League leading 16 HR with 43 RBI & a .268 avg. in 55 games).

University of Miami third baseman/shortstop/first baseman Harold Martinez, taken 90th overall, is a player that Wolever said was on his radar for years. A junior this season, the 21-year-old righty hitter is a guy who projects to have power and fill the typical expectations for a third baseman.

In 59 games played this season, Martinez posted a .301 batting average with 3 HR and 38 RBI. He had previously led the team with 21 HR and 69 RBI during the 2010 season.

Wolever suggested that the updated collegiate bat regulations for the 2011 season had an impact on Martinez's production. A ban on alloy metals and a reduction in bats' spring effects on balls played a role in an offensive drop throughout college baseball this year.

"I think for a lot of kids this year, they got humiliated with the bats a little bit," Wolever said, later adding that he thought a slow start in a short season and Martinez playing out of position to help his team both made an impact on his offensive production.

Also of interest to the Phillies on day two of the draft were catchers and pitchers. The team selected 4 catchers, most notably Zach Wright (6th round) out of East Carolina University and Logan Moore out of Northeastern Junior College in Colorado. Wright is known for his strong defensive skills, but he batted .272 with a team leading 13 HR in 62 games this season. Moore is a right-handed batter who hit .321 with 6 HR this season.

Among the pitchers taken by the Phils were Adam Morgan, a lefty hurler from the University of Alabama taken in the third round, Kenneth Giles a righty out of Yavapai College selected in the 7th round and Austin Wright from Ole Miss, a lefty who was picked in the 8th round.

The Phillies did not select another outfielder after Larry Greene until the 15th round (481st overall), when they took Ryan Garvey, son of long-time Dodger and former National League MVP Steve Garvey. Ryan, a right-handed hitting 18-year-old, stands 6-feet tall and weighs 190 pounds. The youngster manned first base as well in his playing career at Palm Desert High School in California.

The draft will continue on Wednesday, with rounds 31-50, beginning at noon, Eastern time.

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