Monday, December 31, 2012

Off-season Q&A: Dugan Readying for 2013

Last season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Kelly Dugan put together a solid season in which he batted .300 while slugging 12 homers and driving in 60 runs in 117 games as a 21-year-old in the South Atlantic League.  Primarily an outfielder, Dugan spent time at first base to assist with recovery from leg and ankle issues during the early portion of the season.

Overall, in his minor league career, Dugan has posted a .292 batting average in 237 games.  He was the Phillies' top draft selection back in 2009 (2nd round) out of Notre Dame High School in California.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Kelly about his off-season workout routine, what his film director dad Dennis has in store for the movie-going public and plenty more.  Read ahead to check out that full interview.


- What is your workout routine like lately and how much time off from hitting do you take during the off-season?

I took about a month and a half off.  I pretty much follow the program that the Phillies have set in place.  I have a trainer and I follow the program.  And I have a (batting) cage at my house and I've been working with an ex-Dodger, Reggie Smith.  We've been hitting together here in the off-season.  I regularly have some other minor league players over, Cody Decker and Jeremy Rodriguez, they come over here at the house and we take some hacks.


- So, you're working with players from others organizations.  Are those guys you've played with in high school or against in the pro's?

Well, Jeremy played at my rival high school, Crespi High School, out here in California.  Jeff Suppan used to play there. And we're all hitting with Reggie and getting things going right now.


- Typically, guys out of Class A Advanced or Double A, which are the two levels ahead of where you played last season Class A Lakewood, might have a chance to play in fall/winter leagues like the Arizona Fall League, or in the Caribbean.  Is that potentially something you look forward to, in the coming seasons?

Yeah.  And I think that would be a great opportunity.  I just hope, right now, I can build on last year and continue the momentum from that season and stay healthy and, you know, hopefully, after the season, I have to be mentally prepared to play in the fall, for a month, or so.  We'll see.  I'll be mentally ready for (something like that) next year.  I'm looking forward to it, if I get the opportunity. 


- Other than hitting and working out, what do you stay busy with, either as a hobby or for fun, to occupy yourself during the off-season?

To be honest, I don't do much.  I do some pilates.  I do running.  But, I'm an exercise geek.  I like to switch it up a lot and do the stairs one day...but I don't do a whole lot.  I like to take little vacations.  Over Christmas, we're in Yosemite, with my family and my girlfriend, to do some hiking and holiday stuff.  

I love watching movies, 'cause my dad is a director, so I go to the movies a lot.  We definitely try to get to the theater as much as we can.


- You mentioned your dad there.  Is he working on anything during the off-season that you can visit the set for, or anything like that?

Well, right now, he's got a movie coming out in the summer and he's working on it.  It's Grown Ups 2, they're doing the sequel to Grown Ups.  So, that'll be coming out next summer.  I think they're mostly in the editing room, right now.  They were shooting during last season, because it's a summer movie.  Everyone's excited and it looks really good.


- That sounds really good.  Now, heading toward next year, as spring training approaches, when do you estimate your arrival to Florida for the spring?  Do you normally go down there early?

I like to get there a little bit early and get adjusted, because of the time difference and I like to get there a couple days early.  I haven't put a date on it yet, but that's usually, what I do. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Weekly Off-season League Updates: 12/30/12

It's another edition of our weekly off-season league review. Read ahead, as we take a tour around the globe for a look at Phillies talents including Antonio Bastardo, Raul Valdes and plenty of others, who are participating in various winter league action. 


Venezuelan League-

Second baseman Cesar Hernandez (pictured, left) ended his VWL regular season batting .226 with a home run, 16 RBI and 14 steals in 44 games for Margarita, as his team did not advance to the semi-final round.  The 22-year-old switch-hitter batted a combined .291 with two homers and 57 RBI in 133 games for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley during the 2012 regular season.

Shortstop Edgar Duran, also with Margarita, batted .240 with a home run and nine RBI in 36 games.  In 121 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater in 2012, Duran, 21, sported a .253/.310/.357 line.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis wrapped up his regular season with a 10-game hitting streak, during which he posted .349 batting average with three doubles and seven RBI.  Galvis batted .300 in 58 games for Zulia and has missed the early games of the semi-final round robin for undisclosed reasons, but has stated on his Twitter account that he expects to return to the team in January.

Catcher Humberto Quintero has posted a .333 average along with five doubles, a homer and 10 RBI in 26 games for Zulia.  The 33-year-old was signed by the Phillies last month after playing in 43 games with the Royals in 2012.

Outfielder Ender Inciarte is sporting a .250 batting average along with five doubles, a triple and eight RBI and 20 steals in 48 games for Zulia.  The 22-year-old batted .307 with 46 stolen bases combined at Class A and Class A Advanced in the Arizona system in 2012.

Left-handed hurler Cesar Jimenez has a 0-3 record along with three saves and a 3.86 ERA for Lara. The 28-year-old, who was signed to a minor league deal earlier this month, has struck out 26 batters and walked seven in 21 innings pitched.


Dominican League-

Antonio Bastardo had no decisions and a 7.71 ERA through four regular season outings with Cibaenas.  Bastardo has thrown one scoreless frame thus far in the post-season round robin, which began this past week.  The 27-year-old posted a 2-5 record with one save and a 4.33 ERA in 65 big league appearances with the Phillies in 2012.

Utility man Michael Martinez batted .205 in 23 regular season games for Oriente.  Thus far in the Dominican post-season round robin, Martinez is 2-for-6 with a stolen base.

Also with Oriente, outfield prospect Leandro Castro batted .313 with a double and four RBI in 32 games.  Castro is 1-for-2 with a double in the round robin thus far.  The 23-year-old was an All-Star in the Double-A Eastern League in 2012.

Raul Valdes had a strong outing in the round robin opener on Thursday, as he led Este to a win with seven scoreless innings while striking out seven, walking just one and allowing two hits.  The left-handed Valdes posted a 2.90 ERA in 27 games with the Phillies in 2012.


Australian League-

Infielder Jeremy Barnes (pictured, right), who played with Clearwater, Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2012, is sporting a .340 batting average through 27 games with Canberra, which is tied for third best in the league.  Barnes, a Notre Dame product, was the Phils' 11th round draft pick in 2009.


Infielder Carlos Alonso is batting .222 with a homer and six RBI through 28 games for Brisbane.  The 24-year-old University of Delaware product, was the Phillies’ 32nd round draft choice in 2010.

Righty Josh Warner has a 7.36 ERA through three relief outings for Brisbane.  The 20-year-old went 5-7 with a 4.28 ERA while striking out 63 and walking 30 in 90 1/3 over 17 combined starts for short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood in 2012.

Catcher Liam Bedford, 19, is batting .213 with two doubles and two RBI in 18 games for Melbourne.  Bedford and Warner are native Australians. 


Mexican League-

Through 30 games, catcher Sebastian Valle has tallied a .193 average with two homers and nine RBI for Los Mochis.  Valle, 22, was an All-Star in the Double-A Eastern League in 2012 prior to earning a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Valle is on the Phils’ 40-man roster.


Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rican) League-

Righty hurler Julio Rodriguez picked up two wins over the past week, pushing his record to 3-1 with a 3.67 ERA in 10 appearances (three starts).  Rodriguez, 22, has struck out 30 and walked 12 in 27 innings for Carolina.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Off-season Q&A: Austin Wright Issues Challenge

Left-handed pitcher Austin Wright has been a fast rising performer since he was selected by the Phillies in the 8th round of the 2011 draft, out of the University of Mississippi. In his first season of pro ball that year, the 6-foot-4 235-pounder tallied a 4-3 record with a 3.03 ERA and an 11.2 K/9 mark combined with short-season A level Williamsport and Class A Lakewood.

In 2012, Wright, 23, became an all-star and was honored as the Florida State League pitcher of the year, as he posted an 11-5 record, a 3.47 ERA and an 8.11 K/9 mark with Class A Advanced Clearwater.

Recently, I spoke with Austin about his off-season routine and how he uses his time during the colder months, during which the Illinois native issued a challenge to any gamers that might see this material. Read ahead for that full interview.


- How much time off from throwing do you take during the off-season? When do you begin a throwing program to prepare for spring training?

I took off October and November and started throwing December 1st.


- I know you're a Chicago area guy. Do you have a hard time finding a venue to keep your arm in shape during the colder months?

No, I've got it down. I have a pitching mound in my basement, where I do dry drills, and then in mid-December my dad sets up a warehouse to be used as a baseball practice facility for local teams. It allows me to air it out a little, and I workout there with my dad until I leave for spring training.


- What exactly is your routine during the off-season and is this year different than your routines from previous off-seasons?

I'm doing the same things I did last year during the off-season. From the time I get home, I spend a lot of time at the health club, doing a variety of classes and workouts. I do yoga, swimming, core workout, weights and run a little 5-on-5 basketball.


- When trade rumors pop up, do you ever worry about having your name attached to stories like that, or would that be welcome, because it might mean you have impressed another team and you are a hot commodity?

I try not to worry too much about things that are out of my control. Right now, I'm just focused on improving my game and I'll let the business side take care of itself.


- I know some guys hold down jobs over the winter months. Do you work at all and, if so, what do you do?

I didn't work last year, but this year I was asked to do pitching lessons for some travel teams in the area, which has been a lot of fun.


- What video game is taking up the most hours of yours, since the season ended? And what teammate(s) are you whooping at it?

I usually play whatever game/sport is in season, so, right now it's Madden, and NBA2k13. I'll take on anyone willing to play me - Xbox LIVE awright022.


Check back here throughout the off-season for updates on Phillies players from around the globe in the fall/winter leagues and plenty of interviews.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Frosty Phillies Favorites: 2012 Christmas Survey

It's that time of year that gets you in the mood to be jolly. The biggest of all holidays is loved by all, for many reasons. Baseball players don't feel any differently.  In recent weeks, I have checked in with several Phillies players, from the bottom to the top of the system, to find out what stands out for them as reasons to get excited for Christmas.

Players that took part include Phillies rookie OF/1B Darin Ruf (pictured), lefty pitching prospect Austin Wright, former supplemental 1st round draft pick, outfielder Zach Collier, right-handed minor league pitcher David Buchanan, third base prospect Cody Asche, former top draft pick, outfielder Kelly Dugan, whose father Dennis Dugan is a film director, and, lastly, catcher Josh Ludy, who was drafted by the Phils in the 8th round this year.

Questions and answers detailing each player's holly jolly holiday favorites are ahead...


What's your favorite Christmas movie or TV special?

Darin Ruf- Elf with Will Ferrell is my favorite.

Austin Wright- The Grinch Who Stole Christmas- always liked that movie.

Zach Collier- A Charlie Brown Christmas is my favorite one.

David Buchanan-  Favorite Christmas movie is Elf. My family watches it every year!

Cody Asche- I always spend holidays watching all of the college football bowl games. It's my favorite thing to watch on TV.

Kelly Dugan- I like Love Actually.  That's a good one.  And It's a Wonderful Life is a good movie too.

Josh Ludy- I really like A Christmas Story.


What is your favorite Christmas song?

Collier- Luther Vandross, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

Buchanan- Joy to the World by Chris Tomlin. I see him sing at church a lot and he's also my favorite Christian artist. His version of the song is amazing!

Asche- I don't really have a concrete favorite, but I do enjoy listening to Christmas music with the family.

Dugan- I like Little Drummer Boy.  

Ludy- Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer, because it's pretty darn funny.


What food do you enjoy most at the holidays?

Wright- My aunt makes a killer Christmas cookie platter that I always look forward to.

Collier- Sweet and simple- milk and cookies.

Buchanan- Vanilla yogurt frosted pretzels! They're delicious!

Asche- My Grandma's chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies.

Dugan- I gotta go with mashed potatoes and turkey.  We double down on Christmas with the Thanksgiving food.

Ludy- Sugar cream pie. Depends on the year, who makes it.  But I love it.


What is your favorite Christmas gift from childhood?

Ruf- My favorite was definitely my Nintendo 64!

Wright- My dog- I got her when I was 10.

Collier- A baseball bat that was hard to afford and batting gloves!

Buchanan- Favorite gift as a toddler was a cardboard cut out of Ken Griffey Jr.

Asche- One year, I got a remote control monster truck from my grandpa. I loved that thing until I drove it down some wooden steps. It was a great gift though.

Dugan- I loved when my dad, I think he built a batting cage when I was like 12.  He built me a batting cage in the back yard.  That was a great Christmas present.

Ludy- I got a Red Ryder BB gun when I was six years old.


What is your favorite holiday tradition?


Ruf- Having dinner with my entire family is an annual event that means a lot to me.

Wright- Going to the Christmas tree lighting in the city with my family.

Collier- Going to the aunt's house with the fam and watching basketball.

Buchanan- Every year after we open presents at my Dad's we go eat breakfast at Waffle House. And at my Mom's she always has hot chocolate in the morning along with a Santa hat for me to wear, to pass out presents.

Asche- Going back to Nebraska to see all of my family that I don't see very often. 

Ludy- Getting together with all the family and enjoying the time together.


Dugan- When I was a kid, my dad's friend Michael Keaton (yes, that Michael Keaton...Batman and Beetlejuice) would come over and, on Christmas Eve, he would pretend he was Santa Claus and he used to climb up on the (roof), him and his son, and they used to bang hockey sticks on the roof with bells and pretend they were landing on the roof.  And my dad did it for his son and he did it for us and now we're planning on doing it for his kids' kids.  So, that's a tradition that we have.  We gotta keep it alive. 


From PhoulBallz.com, PhilliesNation.com and all the players that took part in this survey, we wish you all the best this holiday season.

Also, check out the 2011 holiday survey and the 2010 version.  Image editing by Eric Floyd.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Weekly Off-season League Updates: 12/23/12

We're back with another edition of the (usually) weekly off-season league rundown. Read ahead, as we take a tour around the globe for a look at Phillies talents participating in various autumn and winter league action.


Venezuelan League-


Freddy Galvis (pictured, right) is batting .296 with 11 doubles, two triples, five homers and 28 RBI along with four steals through 57 games. The switch-hitting 23-year-old is riding a nine-game hitting streak, during which he is 13-for-39 (.333 avg). Galvis has been playing shortstop exclusively with Zulia.

Catcher Humberto Quintero, 33, has posted a .314 batting average with five doubles, one home run and nine RBI in 23 games for Zulia. The righty hitting Quintero was signed by the Phillies last month after playing in 43 games with the Royals last season.

Rule 5 draft choice Ender Inciarte, 22, is batting .234 with five doubles and a triple along with three steals through 44 games for Zulia. The lefty hitting center fielder batted .307 with 46 stolen bases combined at Class A and Class A Advanced in the Arizona system in 2012.

Second baseman Cesar Hernandez is batting .266 with a homer, 16 RBI and 14 steals through 44 games with Margarita. The 22-year-old switch-hitter batted a combined .291 with two homers and 57 RBI in 133 games in Double-A and Triple-A during the 2012 regular season.

Shortstop Edgar Duran has had a rough stretch, going just 2-for-23 (.087 avg) over his last 11 games. In 34 contests for Magarita, the 21-year-old has posted a .250 batting average, along with a homer and eight RBI.

Infielder Andres Blanco has a .167 batting average with two doubles, a triple and seven RBI in 26 games for Magallanes. Last season, with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the 28-year-old Blanco batted .235 with 10 homers and 40 RBI in 120 games.

J.C. Ramirez has had an extremely difficult time in Venezuela, serving up a 12.38 ERA through 12 relief outings. The 24-year-old righty went 3-4 with 4 saves and a 4.01 ERA in 45 combined games at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2012.

Lefty Cesar Jimenez has a 0-2 record with three saves and a 3.79 ERA in 21 appearances. Additionally, the 28-year-old, who was signed to a minor league deal earlier this month, has struck out 22 and walked only four in 19 innings pitched for Lara.


Australian League-

Righty hurler Josh Warner (pictured, left) made his season debut on Friday, allowing five hits and two earned runs in 2/3 of an inning for Brisbane. The 20-year-old went 5-7 with a 4.28 ERA while striking out 63 and walking 30 in 90 1/3 over 17 combined starts for short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood in 2012.

Infielder Carlos Alonso is sporting a .217 batting average with four doubles, one homer and four RBI in 23 contests with Brisbane. Alonso, a University of Delaware product, was the Phillies’ 32nd round draft choice in 2010.

Catcher Liam Bedford is batting .189 with two doubles and two RBI in 14 games for Melbourne.  The righty hitting 19-year-old batted .190 in 19 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2012.


Dominican League-

Outfielder Leandro Castro has a .313 batting average and just one extra-base hit, a double, along with four RBI in 32 games with Oriente. The 23-year-old was an All-Star in the Double-A Eastern League in 2012.

Also with Oriente, infielder Michael Martinez finally got his batting average above .200 with a 1-for-4 night on Friday that placed him at the .205 mark. The 30-year-old Martinez also has three doubles and nine RBI in 23 games.

Lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo has allowed two earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of work (7.71 ERA) in four outings for Cibao. Bastardo, 27, posted a 2-5 record with one save and a 4.33 ERA in 65 big league appearances with the Phillies in 2012.

Catcher Steven Lerud posted a .212 average along with a double, a homer and five RBI through 23 games with Este. Lerud made his big league debut with the Phillies in 2012, going 2-for-10 in three contests.

Hector Neris (pictured, right) has a 0-1 record with a 5.68 ERA in six games with Este. The 23-year-old right-hander had a 4-2 record with six saves, a 3.55 ERA and a 10.75 K/9 mark in 50 games with Class A Advanced Clearwater in 2012.

In eight outings with Este, Raul Valdes has a 1-2 record with a 3.09 ERA and a .203 batting average against. The left-handed Valdes posted a 2.90 ERA in 27 games with the Phillies in 2012.

Righty hurler Juan Morillo is sporting a 2.79 ERA with no decisions in 11 games with Escogido. Morillo, 29, pitched with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2012.

Juan Sosa, a right-hander, has tallied a 1-0 record and a 4.61 ERA while striking out 14 and walking just three over 13 2/3 innings, in 14 relief outings with Licey. Sosa, 23, went 5-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 46 games with Clearwater this year.


Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rican) League-

Righty pitcher Julio Rodriguez has a 1-1 record with a 3.32 in eight games (two starts) with Carolina. The 22-year-old sported a 7-7 record with a 4.23 ERA in 29 games for Double-A Reading in 2012.


Mexican League-

Catcher Sebastian Valle is batting .205 with two home runs and nine RBI in 27 games with Los Mochis. Valle, 22, was an All-Star in the Double-A Eastern League in 2012 prior to earning a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Valle is on the Phils’ 40-man roster.


Continue to check out this site in the coming weeks and months for off-season updates and interviews.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Off-season Check In: Cloyd Up For Challenges Ahead

Throughout the off-season, I have checked in with various players from around the Phillies organization to gauge their thoughts on fall/winter leagues they've played in and what their outlooks are going forward.  Recently, I heard from right-handed pitcher Tyler Cloyd, who won the 2012 Paul Owens Award, an honor bestowed upon the most outstanding pitching and offensive players in the Phillies minor league system each year.

This year combined with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the Nebraska native posted a 15-1 record with a 2.26 ERA and a .214 batting average against.  Cloyd, the 18th round draft choice from 2008, was promoted to the Phillies late in the season, and sported a 2-2 record along with a 4.91 ERA in six starts in the big leagues. 

Tyler was nice enough to offer his thoughts on his off-season routine, his potential to claim a spot in the starting rotation next year and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.


- What exactly is your off-season workout routine like?  Is there anything different this year compared to other years?

I would say that this off-season has been a lot different this year, as far as working out, than years past. When this season was coming to an end, I really sat down with the strength and conditioning coach and we talked about a good off-season plan for me. I’ve really been pushing myself and even got together with one of my buddies, who is now a personal trainer, to really help me stay on track and get to the point where I want to be at going into spring training.


- How much time off from throwing do you take?  And when will you begin a throwing program to get ready for spring training?

Normally, my time off from throwing really depends on how I felt at the end of the year, and how I’m feeling during the off-season. Normally I give myself about 2 ½ - 3 weeks off of throwing, and then slowly start tossing again. So, for this upcoming spring training, I started throwing in the middle of November and I’m slowly working my way back, getting into bullpens sometime in January.


- I imagine you'd be reporting to spring training a bit earlier in 2013 than you have in the past.  When do you expect to head to Clearwater and what are your hopes and goals for spring training?

My wife and I will be heading down to Clearwater around the end of January. Since we got married in 2010, we try and head down about two weeks early. We do this so I can start working out at the facilities there with the trainers, get acclimated to the Florida climate, and also use it as kind of a vacation for the both of us before baseball starts.


- When trade rumors pop up and your name is attached, how do you react? Is that something you'd rather not hear, or is it encouraging because it means another team might be recognizing your great efforts?

It’s really not anything I pay attention to. When it comes to trades, there is nothing I can do about it, and you never know if it's true or not. So, I just really keep going on with my days, workouts, and preparation for spring training to compete for a spot on the opening day roster.


- With the trade of Vance Worley, it seems that you get a bit of a bump upward on the starting pitcher depth chart in the Phils organization.  Is that something that crosses your mind?  And even if that hasn't crossed your mind, right now, you might be considered a member of the Phillies 2013 starting rotation, so what are your thoughts on that?

I don’t look at it that way at all. With Vance being traded, to me, it does open a spot, but that never guarantees anyone anything. Yeah, I was up there to end the season, but there is a lot that I need to work on and get better at. There are going to be a lot of guys in spring training competing for spots and I will be one of them. I’m not taking anything for granted, nor will I ever.


- A lot of guys hold down jobs over the off-season.  Have you ever worked during the fall/winter months, and, if so, what did you do?

I used to work for our school system here on the grounds crew during the off-season. It was a job that I used to have in the summers during high school and college, and they were nice enough to take me back during the off seasons. We basically just took care of snow removal, along with lots of other things, during the days. I also worked with UPS last year as a seasonal helper, delivering packages. However, I didn’t work this off-season, because I really wanted to focus on getting stronger and in better shape for the 2013 season.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

BA's Prospect Rankings Up for Debate

BA ranked Jesse Biddle as the Phils' #1 prospect
On Monday, Baseball America released its annual list of top 10 prospects in the Phillies organization. The rankings feature some plenty of names that are deserving of considerable regard, but also includes some debatable placement.

Generally, I feel that prospect rankings issued by national writers or their publications are a somewhat questionable, as such members of the media do not get to see many of the same players on a regular basis and, as such, must rely on other people's accumulated scouting reports and other material to publish full reviews.  Limitations of how frequently a player is viewed over a season can prevent an analyst from witnessing development or getting to see the type of work individuals put in outside the lines.  A player's progress is key in reviewing his potential and in ranking him among other prospects, as are his age, his proximity to helping the big league team and other factors as well. 


What's wrong with the list-

Failure to include third baseman Cody Asche in the top five is quite an oversight.  The University of Nebraska product ranks 7th on the list and proved to be one of the Phils' best young talents in 2012 when he posted a combined .324 average with 12 home runs and 72 RBI at Class A Advanced and Double-A during his first full pro season.

Shortstop Roman Quinn holding down the number two spot is not on point.  With other players more deserving, the 19-year-old Quinn having not yet shown the sort of efforts that could solidify such a ranking should be considered for the list, but should not be at the top of it.  Quinn, the Phillies' 2nd round draft choice last year, batted .281 with a homer, 23 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 66 pro games with short-season Class A Williamsport after debuting as a pro in 2012.

Catcher Sebastian Valle is nowhere to be found on the list.  This is alarming, as the Mexican born 22-year-old put together an All-Star campaign (.261 avg, 13 HR, 45 RBI in 83 games) with Double-A Reading prior to earning a promotion the Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2012.  Valle, who was widely regarded as the Phillies' top positional prospect last off-season did not suffer a drop off in skills, so why should he fall completely out of consideration for a similar spot this year?

Darin Ruf being on their list is dubious.  Proclaiming a 26-year-old as a prospect, no matter how explosive and impressive of an offensive season he had (.317 avg, 38 HR, 104 RBI in 139 games) at Double-A, simply is not what this type of list should be about.  Ruf, a clear late bloomer, is deserving of recognition for his exceptional efforts in 2012 and is a candidate to make the big league Phillies' opening day roster next season, but simply is not fitting of a classification that should be reserved for more youthful players.  Additionally, Ruf has already debuted in the majors, which seemingly was enough to remove players like Freddy Galvis and Phillippe Aumont from last year's BA rankings.

What gets the approval on the list-

The pitchers included in BA's top ten all deserve to be ranked among the best the organization has to offer.  Lefty hurler Jesse Biddle topping the list is deserved.  The 21-year-old proved himself worthy of solid praise ever since he signed his first professional contract.  In 26 starts for Class A Advanced Clearwater, the Philadelphia native tallied a 10-6 record with a 3.22 ERA and 9.55 K/9.  An All-Star for the second consecutive season, Biddle is steadily proving himself to be a top prospect for his hometown team.

Other pitchers included on the BA list, Jonathan Pettibone (4), Adam Morgan (5) and Ethan Martin (6) are certainly valid picks.

Pettibone, a 3rd round draft pick by the Phils in 2008, was a strong contributor for Double-A Reading in 2012.  Now a member of the Phils' 40-man roster, Pettibone faced a troublesome beginning to 2012 that saw him post a 1-3 record along with a 4.78 ERA in his first six outings. In the 13 starts which followed that difficult stretch, Pettibone tallied an 8-4 record with a 2.74 ERA. The 22-year-old right-hander was then promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in July, where he went 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA in seven starts for the IronPigs.

Morgan, the Phils' 3rd round draft choice in 2011, proved to be a fast mover in the organization this year in his first full pro season, as he sported a 1.29 ERA in five July starts in the Class A Advanced Florida State League.  For that, he was named the Phillies minor league pitcher of the month and earned a promotion to Double-A Reading, where he went 4-1 with a 3.53 ERA in six starts.  The 22-year-old lefty posts strong strike out numbers, averaging more than a K per inning. 

Martin, acquired by the Phillies from the Dodgers in July as part of the Shane Victorino trade, performed excellently for Double-A Reading after joining the organization. The 23-year-old right-hander was 5-0 with a 3.18 ERA in seven regular season starts following the swap. Martin, who can reach mid-to-upper 90's with his fastball, is another strike out pitcher and has averaged 9.19 K/9 throughout his minor league career.

Placement of third baseman Maikel Franco on the list is a must.  The Dominican born righty hitter put together quite a season for Class A Lakewood in 2012, batting .280 with 14 homers and 84 RBI in 132 games.  Franco who was 19-year-old old until there was just about a week left in the minor league season, proved to be the Phils' most promising young talent as he put in the extra work needed to excel in the professional ranks.

Tommy Joseph, also a Double-A Eastern League All-Star catcher this year, had a solid 2012 (.257 avg, 11 HR, 48 RBI in 108 games) and is a quality leader on the field.  The 21-year-old was acquired by the Phillies from San Francisco in the Hunter Pence trade and adds some serious depth to the catcher position in the organization's developmental ranks.  Joseph, who places 3rd on BA's list, likely won't rank that highly when PhilliesNation's annual prospect countdown begins in January.

As PhilliesNation's Ian Riccaboni wrote, BA's Phillies prospect lists typically have proven accurate in naming players that are destined for the big leagues. Overall, Baseball America is a certainly a reputable source, but that surely doesn't make them the end-all-be-all of player potential.  Stay tuned here in the coming months, for full reviews for the Phillies' top 25 prospects heading into the 2013 season.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Weekly Off-season League Updates: 12/16/12

It's another edition of the (usually) weekly off-season league rundown.  Check it out, as we take a tour around the globe for a look at Phillies talents participating in various autumn and winter league action.

Dominican League-

Antonio Bastardo (pictured, right) made his DR League season debut on Saturday, throwing a scoreless frame and allowing no baserunners for Cibao.  Bastardo tossed a 1-2-3 inning against Este, closing it out by getting Phils catcher Steven Lerud to fly out.  The 27-year-old lefty was 2-5 with a 4.33 ERA and a save in 65 games for the Phillies in 2012.

Lerud sports a .200 batting average with a double, a home run and four RBI in 19 games.  The 28-year-old made his big league debut with the Phils during the 2012 regular season.

Veteran lefty Raul Valdes has tallied a 1-2 record with a 3.81 ERA in seven starts for Este.  The 35-year-old had a 2.90 ERA and held opponents to a .168 batting average against in 27 games with the Phillies this year.

Outfielder Leandro Castro has a .275 batting average, no extra base hits, three RBI and four steals in 28 games for Oriente.  The 23-year-old Castro batted .287 with 10 homers and 71 RBI in 133 games while becoming an All-Star for Double-A Reading this year.

Utility man Michael Martinez has a .192 batting average with eight RBI in 21 games for Oriente.  The 30-year-old appeared in 45 games while batting .171 with the Phillies in 2012.

Righty pitcher Juan Morillo has no decisions and a 2.79 ERA in 11 relief outings.  The 29-year-old Morillo pitched for both Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2012, posting a combined 1-2 record with a 5.34 ERA in 40 appearances.

Juan Sosa, a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher, has no decisions and a 5.56 ERA in 11 games.  While the reliever has served up a considerable amount of runs, he has struck out 14 and walked just one in 11 1/3 innings for Licey.

Australian League-

University of Delaware product Carlos Alonso (pictured, left) is batting .229 with three doubles a homer and four RBI in 20 games with Brisbane. Alonso, an infielder that has been playing third base for the Bandits, was the Phillies’ 32nd round draft pick in 2010.

Catcher Liam Bedford has posted a .194 batting average with a double and two RBI in 12 games for the Melbourne Aces. The righty hitting 19-year-old batted .190 in 19 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2012.

Tim Kennelly has posted a .250 average with a double and two RBI in four games as an offensive player for Perth. Meanwhile, the 26-year-old has allowed three earned runs in two innings of work (13.50 ERA) on the mound.

Roberto Clemente (Puerto Rican) League-

Right-handed pitcher Julio Rodriguez is sporting a 1-1 record with a 4.11 ERA in seven games (one start). Rodriguez, who was dominating as a reliever, started his first game of the season for Carolina on Thursday and struggled. The 22-year-old allowed five earned runs in 2 1/3 innings while walking six batters in that contest. With Double-A Reading in 2012, Rodriguez went 7-7 with a 4.23 ERA in 29 games (22 starts).

Mexican League-

Catcher Sebastian Valle is batting .200 with three doubles and two home runs with eight RBI in 24 games with Los Mochis. Valle, 22, was an All-Star in the Double-A Eastern League in 2012 prior to earning a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Valle is on the Phils’ 40-man roster.


Venezuelan League-

In 50 games with Zulia, short stop Freddy Galvis has a .302 batting average with nine doubles, two triples, five home runs and 24 RBI. The switch-hitting 23-year-old played in 58 games with the big league Phillies in 2012 prior to being sidelined with a back injury and being suspended for banned substances.

Catcher Humberto Quintero has a .316 average with 5 doubles, one homer and nine RBI in 19 games for Zulia. The 33-year-old signed with the Phillies this off-season, after playing in 43 games with the Royals in 2012.

Phils Rule 5 pick Ender Inciarte is batting .232 with four doubles, one triple, eight RBI and two steals in 40 games for Zulia. Inciarte batting .307 with two homers, 47 RBI and 46 stolen bases in 127 combined games at A level and Class A Advanced in the Arizona organization during the 2012 regular season.

With La Guaira, righty hurler J.C. Ramirez has continued to struggle, as he has posted a 2-1 record with a 12.38 ERA in 12 relief outings. The 24-year-old pitched exclusively as a reliever in the Phillies system in 2012, sporting a 3-4 record with a 4.01 ERA and a .230 batting average against in 45 games at Double-A and Triple A.

Righty Justin Friend has a 3-1 record along with a 5.19 ERA and a save in 20 relief outings for La Guaira. In 50 combined games at Double-A and Triple-A this year, Friend, a 26-year-old, notched a 4-1 record with 25 saves and a 1.33 ERA.

Michael Cisco is 3-1 with a 6.04 ERA in 19 games (one start) for La Guaira. Cisco, whose grandfather is former Phillies pitching coach Galen Cisco, has walked 12 and struck out nine in 22 1/3 innings.  The 25-year-old Cisco put together a 5-3 record with three saves and a 1.80 ERA in 40 combined outings with Reading and Lehigh Valley this year.

Second baseman Cesar Hernandez (pictured, right) has a .265 batting average with a homer and 13 RBI along with 14 stolen bases in 39 games with Margarita.  The switch-hitting 22-year-old posted a .291/.329/.404 line in 133 combined regular season games at Double-A and Triple-A in 2012.

In 33 games with Margarita, short stop Edgar Duran is batting .256 with six doubles, one home run and eight RBI.   With Class A Advanced Clearwater in 2012, the 21-year-old Duran sported a .253 batting average with seven homers and 49 RBI.

With Aragua, righty Manaure Martinez is sporting a 1-1 record with a 5.40 ERA in seven relief appearances. In 8 1/3 innings, the 21-year-old has walked four and struck out five. Combined with the GCL Phillies and short-season A level Williamsport in 2012, Martinez sported a combined 4-5 record with a 3.53 ERA and an 8.55 K/9 mark in 14 games.

First baseman Cody Overbeck posted a .118 average with one RBI through five games for Aragua. The 26-year-old Overbeck, who was the Phils' 9th round draft pick in 2008, posted a .716 OPS in 133 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. Overbeck has not played a game in more than a month.


Infielder Andres Blanco is batting .167 with two doubles, a triple and seven RBI in 26 games with Magallanes. With Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2012, the 28-year-old batted .235 with 10 HR and 40 RBI.
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Friday, December 14, 2012

Off-season Check In: Darin Ruf

Throughout the off-season, I have checked in with various players from around the Phillies organization to gauge their thoughts on fall/winter leagues they've played in and what their outlooks are going forward.  Recently, I spoke with outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf, who mashed 38 home runs and drove in 104 runs for Double-A Reading before making his major league debut with the big league Phils in September, when he batted .333 and added another three homers in 12 games.

A 20th round draft selection out of Creighton University in 2009, the righty hitting Ruf played for La Guaira in the Venezuelan Winter League, posting a .258 batting average with 10 home runs and 27 RBI in 32 games.  Ruf's long year of baseball, that began with spring training, ended the week of Thanksgiving Day, so the 26-year-old could rest up for next season, when he is expected to compete for an opening day roster spot with the Phillies.

Read ahead to check out what the man they call "Babe Ruf" had to say about his time in Venezuela, his tweetless Twitter account and his thoughts on 2013.


-Congratulations on a tremendous 2012. What are your thoughts on being able to keep your hugely successful year rolling into that off-season league in Venezuela?

I just had to keep doing the same things I had been doing all year. Try to keep things simple. Baseball is a difficult game and the more you can simplify it the more success you will allow yourself to have.

-How would you rate the competition in Venezuela?

It was very good competition. There are many talented players down there and a lot of solid pitching. There is a nice range of young players, playing with all their tools, who might not yet be as refined as well as older players who are smart and know how to play the game.

-I know you had some Phillies teammates with you there, playing for the Tiburones. How did you guys help one another adjust to the different culture in Venezuela? Was there any help provided by native players you know, like Freddy Galvis, on other teams?

It was nice having familiar faces down there and the fact that a couple of them went last year helped first time guys like myself and (Michael) Cisco. The native players are very friendly and do whatever they can do to help us out. They know how difficult the adjustment is from playing in the States for so many years, they help us anyway they can.

-I imagine a lot of guys would really welcome the opportunity to play abroad like you did. How do you view that whole experience?

It was a good experience for me as a person and a baseball player. I realize how fortunate I was to have that opportunity and I tried to take advantage of it as much as I could. It is a grind for the import players physically and mentally because of the adjustments we had to make to the different culture.

-You've had an account on Twitter for several months, but have yet to post any comments.  Will you ever tweet?

No, probably not. I am not really into the whole social networking thing. I just like Twitter to get news quickly and to follow some of my teammates.

-I am sure it's time for rest now, but how much are you looking forward to spring training and what are your goals for 2013?

I am really looking forward to spring training and hope I can just build upon where I left off last season. I just want to be able to help whichever team I find myself playing for and I am going to approach this off-season like any other.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Off-season Check In: David Buchanan

Throughout the off-season, we'll be checking in with various players from around the Phillies organization to see how they're staying in shape and how they're keeping busy during the colder months. To kick things off, righty pitching prospect David Buchanan, the Phils' 7th round draft selection in 2010, took some time to answer questions for the PhilliesNation.

Buchanan was an All-Star with Lakewood in 2011, when he tallied an 11-5 record with a 3.38 ERA in 20 starts before he earned a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater. In six starts with the Threshers, Buchanan had a 3-2 record with a 3.90 ERA.

The Georgia native, who is playfully referred to by teammates as "Buck Nasty", spent 2012 with Double-A Reading and posted a 3-5 record with a 3.86 ERA and a 4.98 K/9 mark in 12 starts. Unfortunately, the 6-foot-3 190-pounder had his season cut short, when a recurring ailment in the middle finger on his pitching hand became too bothersome and surgery was required to repair a tendon.

Read ahead to check out what Buchanan said about his recovery, his off-season and plenty more.


-How is the recovery from the finger surgery going? Where are you in the rehab stages and have you been throwing again yet?

Finger is doing very well! I have had seven throwing sessions. I'm at a light 45 feet right now. But, my finger is getting very strong and feels good as new.


-Have you spent time in Clearwater to rehab, or have you been at home? Also, have you spent time rehabbing with anyone else?

I'm doing rehab here in Duluth, Ga. No one from the team is with me. I'm doing the workout the Phillies have provided for me along with other stuff. (I'm also) doing a lot of yoga since I've been able to. Doing the Insanity workout is also a routine of mine to really knock out some cardio.


-Who has provided the most help during the rehab process, whether it's personal or team or both?

The doctors I have been dealing with have been excellent. And many of the coordinators, trainers, and coaches have called numerous times checking on me to see how I was doing and (tell me) how they're excited for me to come back. It feels really nice knowing that the organization cares for their players that much.



-I remember J.C. Ramirez once telling me about Chase Utley talking to him after they each had similar hip surgeries and how that provided J.C. with encouragement. Anything like that for you, since you had the finger fixed?

I haven't had too many encounters with the big leaguers. That doesn't really happen except sometimes during spring training. Me and Domonic Brown are good buddies, so he calls and checks on me to make sure I'm working hard and doing everything I need to do.


-What else have you been doing to stay in shape during the off-season and how different is this off-season for you from the past couple of years?

This one is different because I haven't been able to play golf, 'cause I wasn't allowed to while it was warm. And I'm living in Woodstock because of therapy, so I'm not able to spend time at home with my parents or my dogs which stinks. But myself and the rest of my family understand that this is priority to get well.


-Some guys will hold down jobs over the off-season. Do you work at all and, if so, what do you do?

Yes, I work. I am a back server at a restaurant in Roswell, GA. I am also doing some personal training.


-Lastly, talk a bit about your injury shortened season in which you got hot and posted a 2.18 ERA over your final five starts in 2012 and what you expect of yourself in 2013...

I had started to have a good stretch there, right before I got injured. It really killed me, having to end (my year) like that and not finish the season with my team. I expect to be 100% next season and come back right where I left off...and continue to get better every day.

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Sunday, December 9, 2012

Phillies Sign RHP Zach Miner

FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reported on Sunday that the Phillies have signed free agent RHP Zach Miner to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training. 

Miner, 30, has not appeared in a big league game since 2009.  After being sidelined with an elbow ailment, Miner underwent Tommy John Surgery and missed the entire 2010 season.  Since then, the former Detroit Tiger has been trying to reestablish his previous form.

During his time in the majors, the 6-foot-4 215-pounder posted a 25-20 record with a 4.24 ERA in 157 games (35 starts). 

Last season in 29 minor league contests, Miner posted a 2-0 record along with a 2.79 ERA while striking out 23 and walking 22 in 42 innings pitched. 

Even if Miner doesn't impact the big league roster right out of the gate, he's the type of hurler that is valuable to the organization.  He can act as a backup to the 25-man roster with the Triple-A IronPigs, while helping younger pitchers grow and adapt to the higher levels of the game, much like Brian Sanches and Nelson Figueroa have done in recent years.

Young Approves Trade, Phils Deal From Depth

On Saturday, Rangers veteran Michael Young waived his no-trade clause, approving a deal to the Phillies, who sent two righty hurlers to Texas.  The 36-year-old Young has manned third base, first base and second base a considerable amount during his 12-year big league career, all with the Rangers.

Slated to be the Phillies' everyday third baseman, the seven-time All-Star and career .301/.347/.444 hitter commanded a quality return, as the Rangers acquired reliever Josh Lindblom and prospect Lisalverto Bonilla.

Phillies fans got a sizable sampling of Lindblom last season, after he was acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade.  The 25-year-old posted a 1-3 record with 1 save, a 1.53 WHIP and a 4.63 ERA in 26 games for the Phils.  Often critiqued for being a fly ball pitcher, Lindblom was not seen as being an ideal type to dominate at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park.

With Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont, Mike Stutes and several other names all having strong reliever make ups and being a similar age to Lindblom or younger, the club didn't hesitate to move the former 2nd round draft selection to help fill a spot in the daily lineup. 

Lisalverto Bonilla in 2011
The youngster given up in this deal, Bonilla, is a strong prospect that would have represented the Phillies in the MLB All-Star Futures Game last season, if he hadn't injured himself while horsing around at the hotel in Kansas City that weekend.

The Dominican native first began to make his name known in 2011 as a member of the Class A Lakewood staff.  In 26 outings that season (15 starts), Bonilla, who stands 6-foot-1 and is listed generously by the Phillies at 175-pounds, sported a 2.80 ERA while striking out 95 batters and walking 29 in 106 innings pitched.  He followed that up with a great campaign in 2012, which saw him posting a 3-2 record along with four saves, a 1.55 ERA and a 12.43 K/9 mark in 31 combined games at Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading prior to suffering the season ending injury in July.

Bonilla, who had tallied a 1-4 record with two saves and a 6.92 ERA in 15 outings for Escogido in the Dominican Winter League, features an excellent change up to compliment his fastball that typically ranges from 91-94 MPH and his strong slider.  The 22-year-old Bonilla was ranked as the Phillies' 12th best prospect by PhilliesNation.com last off-season.

Considering that the Phillies gave up another top pitching prospect last week, when they sent righty Trevor May to Minnesota in the Ben Revere trade, fans may wonder if giving up the pair of promising arms will hurt their chances of filling pitching voids from within.  Likely, it will not.  Pitching is the key position where the Phillies have depth in their developmental ranks.  With names like Jonathan Pettibone, Kenneth Giles, Adam Morgan, Ethan Martin, Tyler Knigge and others all doing big things and making an impact in the system, the Phils are comfortable with their ability to continue to develop young arms that can and will take over duties on the big league roster.

Lisalverto Bonilla will be a major leaguer and would have potentially been a tremendous name to help revive Vicente Padilla's long-lost fan group concept (Flotilla, anyone?), but trading from depth and not leaving the team short in another department is perfectly fine.  Along those same lines, expect one of the Phils' well-regarded catching prospects, Tommy Joseph or Sebastian Valle, to become a key trade chip as the weeks and months roll on.  And, just like with their pitchers, the talent that remains put will help the organization to not miss the departed.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Phils Add OF in Rule 5 Draft; How Does He Compare?

Inciarte
In the Rule 5 draft portion of the MLB Winter Meetings, on Thursday, the Phillies selected outfielder Ender Inciarte from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Inciarte, who has played 310 career minor league games in center field, posted a career high OPS of .797 combined at two levels, the Class A Midwest League and the Class A Advanced California League, in 2012. Additionally, Inciarte uses speed as a key to his offense, as he stole 46 bases in 58 opportunities last season and sports a 73% success rate in stolen base attempts during his pro career.

Comparatively, Phillies' outfield prospect Tyson Gillies, who has had a considerable amount of injury issues since joining the organization, had an OPS of .809 at three levels in 2012 (.822 in 68 games at Double-A), which ranked as his third best season in that department through his minor league career. Gillies came over from Seattle in the December 2009 Cliff Lee trade after being picked in the 25th round of the 2006 draft. The 24-year-old has played 263 of his 324 professional defensive games as a center fielder and provides strong defense anywhere in the outfield.

Another Phillies outfield prospect, 23-year-old Jiwan James, who was limited by a left knee ailment throughout the 2012 season, has never posted an OPS greater than .690 in a season in which he played in more than 30 games. James was selected in the 22nd round of the 2007 draft, by the Phils, as a pitcher. James has manned center field 350 times in his pro career with great range and made national headlines with his remarkable defensive play for Reading this past July. James, who typically has relied on speed (32 SB per season avg, 2010-2011), stole just eight bases in 16 attempts during the 2012 regular season in the Double-A Eastern League, due to his knee troubles.

Leandro Castro, who has 91 games in center field under his belt, in the minors, tallied a .742 OPS as an All-Star with Double-A Reading in 2012 and sported a .785 mark with Class A Advanced Clearwater in 2011. Castro stole 13 bases in 22 chances (59% success rate) this year.  With defense that doesn't hurt a team, the 23-year-old projects more as a corner outfielder, but very likely needs to increase his power to catch on the majors.  Castro was originally signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2007.

Zach Collier, who was added to the Phils' 40-man roster this off-season, put together a strong Arizona Fall League campaign (.371/.461/.532) following a drug suspension shortened season in which he put forth a solid effort with the Class A Advanced Threshers, posting a .269 average with six homers, 32 RBI and 11 steals in 78 games.  Collier stole 35 bases in 2011 during a full season with Class A Lakewood.  The 22-year-old, who was taken with the Phils' supplementary round draft pick in 2008, is a solid defender that has played 143 regular season games in center.

The overall thought here is that the 22-year-old Inciarte is not any great improvement over the options the Phillies already had on the way up in their developmental ranks. Although, he does seem to measure up fairly well to the other young outfielders in the Phils' system.  He is more durable than Gillies.  He provides more impressive offense than James.  He is younger and faster than Castro.  He is about even with Collier, at this stage.   

Inciarte, a native Venezuelan who was originally signed as an amateur free agent, has posted a .225/.284/.288 line in 35 games, playing with Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League. His Zulia teammate, Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis, has tallied a .304/.348/.458 line in 43 games. Galvis, 23, played in 58 games with the big league Phillies in 2012, prior to being sidelined with a back injury and being suspended after testing positive for banned substances.

The Phillies will need to keep Inciarte on their 25-man big league roster for the entire 2013 season, or risk losing him back to Arizona.

Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft when they are not on their major league organization's 40 man roster and 1) were signed to a contract at age 19 or older and have been in that organization for 4 years, OR 2) were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in that organization for 5 years.

Additionally, the Phillies selected Brendan Lafferty in the minor league portion on the Rule 5 draft.  The 26-year-old UCLA product was an 18th round draft choice in 2009.  Prior to college, Lafferty was drafted by the Phillies, but he chose not to sign.  This year in the Double-A Texas League, Lafferty sported a 1-1 record with a save, a 4.77 ERA in 43 relief outings.  Also, he struck out 71 batters, while walking 40 in 60 1/3 innings.
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Phils Acquire Revere, May Reacts to Trade

May was a top Phillies prospect

The Phillies made a deal on Thursday to fill a defensive gap in center field, acquiring speedster Ben Revere from the Twins for starting pitcher Vance Worley and pitching prospect Trevor May.

Revere, a 24-year-old lefty hitter, posted a .294 batting average along with 40 stolen bases in 124 games for Minnesota last season.

The right-handed Worley sports an 18-13 record along with a 3.50 ERA in 53 big league contests.  The 25-year-old was the selected by the Phillies in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft.

May, also a right-hander was ranked as the Phillies' top prospect by PhilliesNation.com in this year's preseason prospect rankings.  The Phils' 4th round draft choice in 2008, sported a 10-13 record with a 4.87 ERA and a 9.08 K/9 mark with Double-A Reading this year.

According May, who was not surprised to be included in the deal, he was notified that the trade was agreed upon by Phils general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who called the 23-year-old hurler on the phone around noon Eastern time, to break the news.

Much like many players who are dealt from the organization that drafted them and from the place where they've developed so many solid relationships, May had mixed feelings on Thursday afternoon.

"(I feel) excited and sad. I'll miss all the guys in the Phillies organization and I appreciate all of the opportunities I was given there. That said, I'm excited to get to spring (training) in Fort Myers and show the Twins and their fans what I got."

After the news broke to the public, May spent some time responding to well wishes from fans, stating that he'd miss former teammates and thanking the Phillies organization via his Twitter account.

Not one to dwell on the down side of things for too long, May expressed his outlook for the future and feels ready for what lies ahead.

"I am very excited.  It'll be a great opportunity for me."

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