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Showing posts from March, 2012

South Jersey's Rice and Others Released By Phils

On the heels of a string of cuts this week, the Phillies released three more players from minor league camp on Friday, including outfielders Bill Rice (pictured) and Brent Clevlen as well as catcher Jeff Lanning . Rice, a native of Sewell, NJ, was signed by the Phillies following a tryout at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park in June, 2010. Always a standout at every amateur level he has played, Rice's lifelong dream of competing as a professional was achieved when the team he grew up cheering for offered him a contract. Last year, in 46 combined games with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies and the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, the 5-foot-11-inch 185-pounder sported a .296 batting average with 1 HR, 13 RBI and 10 stolen bases. After watching several teammates receive similar news in recent weeks, the lefty hitting speedster was stunned to learn he was being released early Friday. Speaking exclusively with PhoulBallz.com's Jay Floyd, Rice expressed his greatest ap

Rizzotti Traded to Twins

News out of Phillies camp on Friday detailed a not-so-surprising event going down. Matt Rizzotti, who has long been held back in the Philadelphia organization, was dealt to the Minnesota Twins for cash considerations. The 26-year-old first baseman was steadily blocked at the highest level of the system by former National League Most Valuable Player and All-Star Ryan Howard. Rizzotti, a power hitter with often-critiqued defense, had improved his overall game and strived to improve his conditioning in recent years, only to be removed from the Phillies’ 40-man roster and more-or-less demoted back to Double-A Reading in 2011 after making his Triple-A debut in 2010. Selected in the 6th round of the 2007 MLB amateur draft, Rizzotti often dominated minor league pitching in his minor league career, slugging 66 homeruns and driving in 231 runs while batting .292 in five pro seasons. In the Minnesota organization, Rizzotti will have an improved shot at reaching the big leagues, as American Le

Spring Training Check In: LHP Mario Hollands

Lefty pitching prospect Mario Hollands took great strides in 2011 with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. After beginning the year as the club's opening day starting pitcher, Hollands, a 10th round draft choice by the Phillies in 2010, went through some difficult times and was moved to the bullpen, where he flourished. In 15 starts in the South Atlantic League, the California native posted a 4-4 record with a 4.64 ERA and a .306 batting average against. In 13 relief appearances, Hollands performed considerably better, going 2-2 with a 3.00 ERA and a .205 batting average against. Hollands, 23, took some time this week to chat about spring training, the stress of the steady wave of player cuts in camp and more. Read on for my check in with Mario. How would you assess spring training to date? What have you taken from these past few weeks? I'm really happy it's almost over. It's a long road for everyone. But besides that, with all the changes in personnel, I

Way and Pettis Released by Phillies

The Phillies continued their trimming of the masses in minor league camp Wednesday morning by releasing another group of players. Among those who were let go was lefty pitcher Matthew Way . Right-handed hurler Eric Pettis (pictured) was also among those cut. Way was often injured during his time in the Philadelphia organization. In three seasons as a pro, including 2011 in which he did not pitch, Way posted a 13-9 record with a 3.22 ERA in 31 games (30 starts). The 24-year-old was a 5th round draft choice in 2009, out of Washington State. Pettis stormed onto the pro scene as a 35th round draft selection in 2010, going 8-0 with 7 saves and a 1.37 ERA in 20 outings (5 starts) and becoming a NY-Penn League All-Star with the Williamsport Crosscutters that year before joining Class A Lakewood for their playoff push. Last season, Pettis, now 23-years-old, continued his success, tallying a 2-3 record with 5 saves and a 2.84 ERA in 47 combined relief appearances with Class A Lakewood and

Diekman Among Three Sent Down

Today the Phillies announced that a trio of players, who have been in big league camp, were sent down to the minors. Right-handed hurler Scott Elarton and Brian Sanches were trimmed from the roster along with impressive lefty reliever Jake Diekman. Elarton, who has pitched previously in the Majors with the Astros, Rockies, Indians and Royals, did not perform very well this spring, as he posted a 0-1 record with a 5.02 ERA in 5 outings (2 starts). Expect the 36-year-old veteran to hold down a spot in the starting rotation for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs as the 2012 regular season begins. Sanches, who had a previous stint with Philadelphia from 2006 to 2007 and is fresh off three solid seasons with the Marlins, allowed 5 runs in 7 innings pitched in Grapefruit League play this spring. The 33-year-old will add veteran depth to Lehigh Valley’s relief corp. Diekman, 25, remains a terrific option as a lefty in the bullpen when the need arises this season. Sporting a fastball that

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 3

As we do each week, Tug Haines and I bring you another new edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast! The latest edition features a big time Twitter focus with a lot of Latin flavor, as we talk about potential Phils' opening day second baseman Freddy Galvis, another Chooch story and Ruben Amaro Jr's impact on acquiring foreign born players. We also have some fun with several team personnel's social networking accounts and there's plenty more. Check out the player below, to listen or download the show. And don't miss our previous two episodes. ________________________________________________________ You can follow PhoulBallz on Twitter by clicking HERE . Also connect with PhoulBallz on Facebook by clicking HERE .

More Phils Farm Hands Released

For the second consecutive week, you can read breaking news of Phillies' minor league cuts here on PhoulBallz.com first. Early Sunday morning, the following players were informed that the Phillies no longer required their services: Luis Unda , Ian Durham , Paul Cusick , Chase Johnson , Juary Gomez and Rye Davis . Unda (pictured, right), a 22-year-old infielder had been signed by the Phillies in 2008 and played as high as Class A Lakewood, where he went 0-for-8 in 3 games played last season. The Venezuelan native was a member of the Phils' championship Gulf Coast League team in 2010. Durham, 23, was a 28th round draft choice in 2011. The righty pitcher went 1-0 with a 3.62 ERA and 2 saves in 18 appearances for the Gulf Coast League Phillies last year. Cusick, a 23-year-old right-hander, was also selected in last year's draft. In 18 combined appearances (1 start) with the GCL team and Williamsport in 2011, the University of Penn product went 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA. Johnson

Nick Hernandez Interview Excerpts

Earlier this week, I ran a feature on lefty hurler Nick Hernandez , who is recovering from surgery on his throwing shoulder. Hernandez, an All-Star with Class A Lakewood in 2010, has been relatively out of action since May of that season with repeated shoulder issues. Aside from his four rehab outings with the GCL Phillies in 2010, in which he struggled, Hernandez has posted tremendous professional numbers with an 11-2 record and a 2.25 ERA in 23 starts. I spoke with Nick, a 12th round draft choice of Philadelphia in 2009, about several subjects related to his down time and recovery. Here are some questions and answers that didn’t appear in the previous story about this promising young pitcher. Where would you rate your health right now and what are you working on until you can throw from a mound? Health wise, I feel I'm about 80-85 percent right now. I still have some arm strength and stamina to build up in my shoulder but that will come within the next month or so. Since

The J-Bone Zone, Vol. 5: Recovery, Twitter, Injured Stars

You know him, you adore him and Justin De Fratus is back in the J-Bone Zone. The right-handed reliever joins PhoulBallz.com once again, from Clearwater, FL to offer his thoughts from inside Phillies spring training. The 24-year-old reliever went 6-3 with 15 saves, a 2.99 ERA and 99 strike outs in 75 1/3 innings in his time with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year before making his big league debut in September and holding opponents to a .083 batting average in 5 appearances. Heading forward, De Fratus, an 11th round draft choice in 2007, hopes to be an impact contributor in the Phillies bullpen for years to come. In the latest edition of The J-Bone Zone, Justin talks about his recovery from his elbow ailment, hunger for game action, Twitter and more. Read ahead for another edition of The J-Bone Zone. On the progression of his elbow, which kept him out of action with soreness for weeks at the outset of spring training... Everything&

Health is the Focus for LHP Prospect Hernandez

After undergoing shoulder surgery last April, lefty pitcher Nick Hernandez has been striving to get healthy so that he can continue living his dream of playing professional baseball. A 12th round draft selection in 2009 out of the University of Tennessee by the Phillies, Hernandez expects to return to the mound soon after being out of action for a lengthy stretch. Hernandez, the nephew of Major League umpire Angel Hernandez and the son of former Brewers 1st round draft pick Nick (father is Nicolas, son is Nicholas) Hernandez, became an All-Star in the South Atlantic League with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010 by posting a 3-1 record with a 1.61 ERA while striking out 52 and walking just 8 in 56 innings pitched in 2010. Following his tremendous start that year, Hernandez began experiencing discomfort in his throwing shoulder and was shut down for much of the remainder of the season. He rehabbed that year, making four starts with the Gulf Coast League Phillies but experien

Schwimer, Aumont Among Those Sent to Minor League Camp

On Tuesday, the Phillies reassigned right-handed hurlers Phillippe Aumont and Michael Schwimer to minor league camp. Aumont was recently ranked 4th on the PhilliesNation.com Top 25 Prospects Countdown , while Schwimer came in at number 13. Aumont, who sports a high-90's fastball, struggled a bit with his command this spring and notched a 4.50 ERA with no decisions while walking 4 and striking out 4 in 4 innings of work in Grapefruit League play. Aumont is 23-year-old. In 4 exhibition appearances, the 26-year-old Schwimer posted a 1-0 record with a 3.86 ERA while walking 5 and striking out 1 in 4 2/3 innings. It is very likely that these two promising relievers will be back with the big club in the near future. While the opening day roster is likely to include 12 pitchers, it's very common for teams to utilize up to about 10 more hurlers as injuries arise throughout a season. Both men would be expected to begin the regular season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Addit

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast: Episode 2

Need some more minor league information in your life? Jay Floyd and Tug Haines have you covered. On a weekly basis, we will be focusing our brand new podcast on the developmental side of the Phillies organization. Check us out each week as we bring you news and details on all the top Philadelphia prospects as well as insider stories that you can't get anywhere else. On this week's edition, Tug and I spoke about the recovery of a few ailing prospects, Zach Collier's suspension and his presence in spring training, promotional giveaway highlights throughout the organization's affiliates, some cool stuff about Carlos Ruiz's ice cream connection and more. We also have a fun announcement for Twitter savy and media focused Phils fans as well. Click HERE to check out episode 2 of the PhoulBallz minor league podcast.

Gump Speaks on Getting Dumped by Phils

If you missed it on Sunday, I detailed the Phillies' initial wave of minor league player releases . Among the individuals that Philadelphia parted ways with was outfielder Brian Gump , who was a 26th round draft selection in 2009 out of UC Santa Barbara. I had the opportunity to speak with Brian on Sunday and he agreed to allow a glance inside the process of getting released, his time with the Phillies and other things. Read ahead for that exclusive content. What is the process of getting released like? How does everything go down? The process is what the players refer to as "the walk of death". In the early (morning), when we are all arriving at the complex, there is usually a coach or two waiting outside the front office to pluck players away and send them to the office to sign their release papers and talk with the brass. It is an unsettling feeling for almost all the players as you approach the front and have to walk past the coaches to get into the locke

Phillies Release First Wave of Minor Leaguers

Sunday morning, the Phillies began trimming some players they deemed expendable from minor league camp. Outfielder Brian Gump (pictured, center, celebrating Lakewood's 2010 South Atlantic League championship with coach Greg Legg and Kyle Lafrenz ), who posted a .239 average with 9 HR and 52 RBI in his three professional seasons, was among the collection of players that Philadelphia parted ways with. Gump, a 26th round draft selection in 2009 out of UC Santa Barbara, worked hard this past off-season to increase his strength and stamina. Often used as an extra man, Gump entered spring training this year with a focus on showing the Phillies that he was deserving of a shot as an everyday player. On his personal blog today, Gump wrote, "Adversity breeds greatness, so I've got to battle on and see where this takes me." The 24-year-old earned the nickname "The Jewelry Man" as he put together a nice collection of rings by winning three championships (one wi

Ex-Phils Prospects MLB Exhibition Stat Review

In recent seasons, plenty of well-regarded prospects have been traded by the Phillies to acquire established MLB talent and other key contributors. Many of those minor leaguers have been spending time with their respective clubs' big league teams this spring training. Here's a glance at how many of those former Phils' farm hands have done thus far in the exhibition season. Jonathan Singleton , 1B, traded to Houston in 2011 as part of the Hunter Pence deal- 9 games, 4-for-10 (.400 avg.), 1 double, 3 runs scored. Jonathan Villar , SS, traded to Houston in 2010 as part of the Roy Oswalt deal- 4 games, 0-for-2, with 2 walks. Anthony Gose , OF, traded to Houston in 2010 as part of the Roy Oswalt deal (subsequently flipped to Toronto)- 11 games, 4-for-15 (.267 avg), 1 double, 1 RBI. Travis d'Arnaud , traded to Toronto in 2009 as part of the Roy Halladay deal- 7 games, 3-for-15 (.200 avg), 2 doubles, 1 HR, 4 RBI. Kyle Drabek , traded to Toronto in the 2009 Roy Hallada

The PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast is Here

In a world clearly in need of more podcasts, PhoulBallz.com brings you a brand new internet radio show. Featuring yours truly, PhilliesNation.com minor league insider Jay Floyd, and The Casual Fan himself, Tug Haines of TheFightins.com fame, we'll be delivering content focused on the Phillies' developmental system throughout the season. After some mutual interest and some encouragement from some fellow Phillies blog big-timers, Tug and I decided to get together to put together a program that we will be delivering to you on a regular basis. In the opening edition of the podcast, we reviewed my recently wrapped up 2012 Phillies prospect countdown and dug into some well-known prospects like Matt Rizzotti , Sebastian Valle and more Check out the audio BY CLICKING HERE and let us know what you think!

The J-Bone Zone, Vol 4: Elbow Status, PN Ranking, Hazing

You know him, you adore him and Justin De Fratus is back in the J-Bone Zone. The righty reliever joins PhoulBallz.com live and direct, once again, from Clearwater, FL to offer his thoughts from inside Phillies spring training. The 24-year-old reliever went 6-3 with 15 saves, a 2.99 ERA and 99 strike outs in 75 1/3 innings in his time with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year before making his big league debut in September and holding opponents to a .083 batting average in 5 appearances. Heading forward, De Fratus, an 11th round draft choice in 2007, hopes to be an impact contributor in the Phillies bullpen for years to come. In the latest edition of The J-Bone Zone, Justin talks about the status of his elbow, what being ranked highly on prospect lists means to him, the team's mentality on hazing younger players and more. Read ahead for another edition of The J-Bone Zone. On the status of his improving elbow, which was sore and kept him out of

Prospect Nation 2012: #1 RHP Trevor May

With a massively impressive campaign in 2011 for the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, right-handed starting pitcher Trevor May locked down his spot as Philadelphia's top prospect and is on the fast track toward the big leagues. He is the reigning Paul Owens Award winner, given to the top pitcher and player in the Phillies' developmental system each year. In 27 starts with the Threshers in 2011, May posted a 10-8 record with a 3.63 ERA, while striking out a Florida State League leading 208 batters in 151 1/3 innings. He also held opposing hitters to a .221 average. The Phillies' 4th round draft pick from 2008, May earned the win in the 50th annual Florida State League All-Star Game at Bright House Field last year. He also was twice named FSL Pitcher of the Week and earned Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month honors for June. After signing with Philadelphia, May helped lead the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies to a championship in 2008. In 5 regul

Phils Moving Ramirez to Pen

Word out of spring training today ( via a Matt Gelb tweet ) is that the Phillies have decided to move righty pitching prospect J.C. Ramirez to a relief role. The native of Nicaragua was part of the trio of players that Philadelphia required from Seattle in return for Cliff Lee in December, 2009. Ranked as the Phillies' number 20 prospect recently by PhilliesNation.com, Ramirez spent last season with the Double-A Reading Phillies, where he got off to a scorching hot start in April, posting a 4-0 record with a 1.03 ERA and a .187 batting average against in 4 starts. As the season moved on, that output fizzled, however. Ramirez finished the reglar season with an 11-13 record, an ERA of 4.50 and .258 batting average against in 26 starts for the R-Phils. After the Eastern League All-Star break, Ramirez was rather awful on the mound, tallying a 5.92 ERA and a .305 BAA in 10 outings. At this stage, the Phillies feel the 23-year-old Ramirez, who struggled with his command in

Spring Training Check In: RHP Tyler Knigge

Tyler Knigge , a 12th round draft pick by the Phillies from 2010, has been an impressive relief pitcher during his time with the organization. Sporting a fastball that resides in the mid-90's, a knuckle curve that he learned from his father, a change up and sinker, Knigge feels that he is equipped to take on all comers, as he ascends toward the big leagues. A competitive guy, Knigge challenges opposing batters with his stuff and isn't afraid to take the ball in any situation. Last year, the 6-foot-4-inch 215-pound right-hander had an impressive campaign with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in his first full professional season. In 43 relief outings, Knigge posted a 4-3 record with 4 saves and a 3.32 ERA with a .243 batting average against. Recently, I spoke with Tyler, 23, from the Phillies' spring home in Clearwater, FL. He talked about a speech by the Phils' GM, arriving spring training considerably early and more. Read ahead for Tyler Knigge's spring tra

Prospect Nation 2012: #2 Catcher Sebastian Valle

Righty hitting catcher Sebastian Valle has emerged as one of Philadelphia’s top offensive prospects. Using his quick bat and strong catching abilities the 21-year-old has built a reputation as a dangerous hitter and a leader for his pitching staff. Since signing as a free agent with the Phillies at the age of 16, Valle has improved steadily in every aspect of his game. A smart hitter with power, Valle really shines behind the plate. Pitchers who have thrown to Valle cite his maturity and focus as qualities that help him stand out in leagues where talent is abundant. The Mexico native made his pro debut in 2007 as a member of the Phils' Dominican Summer League team. In 54 games, Valle batted .284 and rocked an .802 OPS. In 2008, Valle played for the Gulf Coast League Phillies, where he batted .281, hit 2 homers and drove in 18 runs in 48 games. There, he helped guide the GCL Phils' pitching staff to a league championship. The following year, Valle, a 6-foot-1-inch 200-

Prospect Nation 2012: #3 LHP Jesse Biddle

Left-handed starting pitcher Jesse Biddle redefines homegrown talent. Born and bred as a Phillies fan in the Philadelphia region, the youngster’s dreams came true in 2010, when he was selected 27th overall in that year’s amateur draft. Biddle wasted no time signing his first professional contract and quickly made his minor league debut, beginning his ascent toward donning the home uniform of the team he cheered on from the seats of Citizens Bank Park all throughout his teenage years. The graduate of Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia combined to sport a 4-1 record with a 3.92 ERA and a .241 batting average against in 12 starts with the Gulf Coast League Phillies and the Williamsport Crosscutters in 2010. In 2011, Biddle became an All-Star in the South Atlantic League with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. As the team's most dependable starter through much of the year, Biddle posted a 7-8 record with a 2.98 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) and struck out 124 batters in 133 innin

Garcia Again Has Knee Surgery

Infield prospect Harold Garcia will miss much of the season for the second consecutive year as the Venezuela native underwent micro fracture surgery on his right knee. The 25-year-old is reportedly expected to miss 4-6 months. After spending so time this past off-season in the Venezuelan Winter League, Garcia reported to spring training with high hopes for a healthy year, but recurring discomfort resulted in further examination of his knee and it was decided to further repair his troubling joint. Garcia had surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee early in the 2011 season, after he began the year with Double-A Reading. It was a tough break for Garcia, whom the Phillies had grown very high on after a tremendous 2010 campaign. This marks the third straight year that Garcia will miss considerable time with a significant injury, as he began the 2010 season on the disabled list with a left hamate fracture. However, that ailment didn't stop the 5-foot-11 190-pounder f

Prospect Nation 2012: #4 RHP Phillippe Aumont

Righty hurler Phillippe Aumont is the third prospect that the Phillies acquired in the December 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle to appear on this countdown. Upon joining the Phillies, organizational brass chose to switch the young reliever into a starting pitcher. Aumont would go on to struggle in that role, during his first season in the Philadelphia system, but has since gotten himself back on track in the bullpen, where he is most comfortable. A first round draft choice (11th overall) by Seattle in 2007, Aumont was a highly regarded hurler when he was traded to Philadelphia. In two seasons in the Mariners' system, Aumont tallied a 6-10 record, a 3.29 ERA and 18 saves in 59 games (8 starts). He also represented Seattle in the 2008 MLB All-Star Futures Game, although he did not appear in the exhibition. In 2009, Aumont, who was a member of the Junior National Team for Canada in his teen years, pitched for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. In one WBC

The J-Bone Zone, Vol. 3: Recovery, Hyatt & Fans

Right-handed relief pitcher Justin De Fratus , known to his brother Steven and those close to him as "J-Bone", joins us live and direct, once again, from Clearwater, FL to offer his thoughts from inside Phillies spring training. The 24-year-old reliever went 6-3 with 15 saves, a 2.99 ERA and 99 strike outs in 75 1/3 innings in his time with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year before making his big league debut in September and holding opponents to a .083 batting average in 5 appearances. Heading forward, De Fratus, an 11th round draft choice in 2007, hopes to be an impact contributor in the Phillies bullpen for years to come. In the latest edition of The J-Bone Zone, Justin updates the status of his elbow, discusses his teammate Austin Hyatt 's chances this year as well as bonding with Phillies fans and more. Read ahead for another edition of The J-Bone Zone. On the status of his ailing elbow that has kept him sidelined for much of spr