Sunday, June 30, 2013

Minors Notes: Updates on Ruf, Gillies, Watson, Joseph, James & More

From all throughout the Phillies' developmental ranks, here's our weekly rundown of top performers and those players that have struggled recently.

Triple A Lehigh Valley IronPigs-

Who's hot...

Outfielder Darin Ruf has picked up the production with his batting average of late, but has displayed minimal power during that stretch. The 26-year-old righty hitting slugger is batting .306 with only one extra-base hit, a double, while driving in seven runs in his past 10 games.  In 75 games with the 'Pigs, Ruf is batting .270 with seven homers and 42 RBI.

Who's not...

Righty pitcher Tyler Cloyd took his 7th loss of the season on Saturday, when he allowed six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings. The 26-year-old is 0-3 with a 10.69 ERA in three starts for the IronPigs since returning from the majors this month.


Double-A Reading Fightins-

Who's hot...

Outfielder Tyson Gillies has been on a tear, batting .400 with three homers, seven RBI and two steals in his last 10 games. Gillies, who batted .244 through his first 25 contests at Double-A this year, has his average up to .275 after 50 games. The 24-year-old began the season with the IronPigs, where he struggled.

Outfielder Anthony Hewitt, 24, is 11-for-28 (.393 avg) with two doubles and three home runs in his last seven games. Overall in 63 games for Reading, Hewitt sports a .266 batting average with eight homers, 25 RBI and 12 stolen bases.  Hewitt was the Phils' 1st round draft pick in 2008.

Who's not...

After throwing five scoreless frames in his return to the starting rotation on June 13th, right-hander Brody Colvin has had a pair of weak outings. In his past two starts, the 22-year-old has allowed 14 earned runs in 7 2/3 innings (16.43 ERA) while issuing seven free passes. 


Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers-

Who's hot...

Reliever Colby Shreve has posted a 2-0 record with a 1.29 ERA in nine appearances this month. The 25-year-old right-hander has a 2-1 record and a 3.32 ERA overall in 22 outings for Clearwater this season.

First baseman Chris Serritella, last year's 4th round pick, is batting .316 with two homers and seven RBI in his last 10 games. The 23-year-old lefty batter is hitting .270 with five home runs and 32 RBI this season.

Who's not...

Catcher Tommy Joseph, who's bouncing back from a shin contusion that he suffered while rehabbing from a concussion, has not had much luck with the Threshers. The 21-year-old is just 2-for-32 (.063 avg) in nine total games with Clearwater and is 0-for-10 in three games since his most recent setback, although he went 1-for-3 in one game for the Gulf Coast League team.


Class A Lakewood BlueClaws-

Who's hot...

The Phils' top draft pick from 2011, outfielder Larry Greene Jr. has posted a .350 batting average over his past 10 games while mashing three doubles and swiping two bags. The 20-year-old lefty batter was projected as a big power threat on draft day, but has just one home run and sports a .601 OPS thus far in 56 games this season.

Shane Watson, who was the Phillies' 1st round draft choice in 2012, has strung together some really solid success recently, posting a 0.00 ERA while striking out 12 and walking four in 16 innings over his last three starts. Overall, the 19-year-old right-hander is 4-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 15 games.

Who's not...

Third baseman Mitch Walding, 20, has tallied a .171 average with a double over his past 10 games. The 5th round draft choice from 2011 began the season strong, hitting .277 in April, but has posted a .227 average since then.


Class A short season Williamsport Crosscutter-

Who's hot...

Catcher Andrew Knapp, who was selected by the Phillies in the 2nd round of this year's draft, is off to a great start to his pro career. In 10 games, the 21-year-old is batting .300 with three doubles and four RBI. Knapp has caught two contests and has served as the Cutters' DH in his other games.

Who's not...

Outfielder Dylan Cozens has had a slow start, as the 19-year-old is batting .194 with a home run and four steals in 11 games. The 6-foot-6 235-pounder was the Phils' 2nd round draft selection last year.


Gulf Coast League Phillies-

Who's hot...

Rehabbing outfielder Jiwan James has looked great as he recovers from left knee surgery. The 24-year-old is 6-for-14 (.429 avg) with a double, a triple and a home run in four games. James was the Phillies' 22nd round draft pick in 2007.

This year's top draft pick J.P. Crawford made his pro debut this past week and is 2-for-6 with two stolen bases in two games thus far. The 18-year-old lefty batting shortstop was selected 16th overall.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

BlueClaws Quotables: Morandini on Mecias, Quinn, Tocci, Gonzalez & more

I spoke with Class A Lakewood manager Mickey Morandini on Friday about several of his players including 20-year-old shortstop Roman Quinn (2nd round pick, 2011), who was placed on the disabled list this week, 21-year-old OF Brian Pointer (28th round pick, 2010) who is hitting at a .325/.400/.500 clip in his last 10 games, and 20-year-old RHP Severino Gonzalez, who joined the BlueClaws' starting rotation this week after posting excellent stats (1-1 record, 1.65 ERA, 33 K, 3 BB in 27 1/3 IP) with Class A Advanced Clearwater, plus plenty more.

Yoel Mecias, photo- Jay Floyd
Most importantly, Morandini confirmed that Lakewood's lone lefty hurler, Yoel Mecias, who represented the 'Claws in last week's South Atlantic League All-Star Game, is facing Tommy John surgery.  Mecias struck out eight batters over 3 2/3 innings in his most recent outing against West Virginia last Saturday, but left the contest after experiencing elbow pain.  An MRI conducted on Thursday revealed damage to the ulnar collateral ligament and reconstructive surgery is required for the 19-year-old Venezuelan.

In 13 games with Lakewood this season, Mecias posted a 4-3 record, a 3.79 ERA along with an 11.05 K/9 mark.  No date has been set for his surgery as of yet.

Read ahead for more from Morandini...


- Roman Quinn really put things together and had picked up his offense here as of late. This week, he's struck with a pitch in his left wrist and suffers a fracture, which results in a lengthy stretch of down time.  What are your thoughts on this situation for Roman?

It was a little disappointing.  He was making some strides, you know, getting his at bats in, making some strides with his throwing and his defense.  You know, I don't think four-to-six weeks is going to set him back too much overall, but, for us it's disappointing, you lose our lead-off guy, you know, your speed guy, you lose your shortstop, so we're gonna need someone to step up and fill his shoes.  It's just a hairline fracture, so it's going to heal and he'll be fine, so that's good.


- Is Roman at home, healing, till the cast can come off?

He went to Florida.  He'll rehab.  He's gotta be in a cast for four about weeks and they'll reevaluate him then.  Hopefully, the cast will come off and he can start doing some rehabilitation and strengthening on it and best case scenario, he'll probably back in six weeks, hopefully, and if not, six weeks takes us to mid-August so, if he's not back by then. he probably won't be back at least for the regular season.


- And, clearly, he can play in instructs to make up for the time he's missed here during the regular season, right?

He'll play somewhere this (off-season), whether it's instructs or some league somewhere, but they're going to want him to go play some more, absolutely.


- You mentioned losing your lead-off guy.  A player that's picked it up lately and earned a crack at the lead-off spot, while Quinn's out, is Brian Pointer.  What can you tell me about his recent positive stretch?

I put Brian in the lead-off spot.  He's been stealing bases for us, he draws some walks, he gets hit all the time, it seems like.  He's got 15, 16 hit by pitches.  So, I just wanted someone at the top of the order I thought could get on base and make some things happen.  He'll get the opportunity against right-handed pitchers.  I'd like to give (Carlos) Tocci some lead-off experience.  I'd like to give (Angelo) Mora some lead-off experience.  So, it's going to rotate around, depending on the pitcher and how these guys are swinging.


- Young outfielder Carlos Tocci's been a guy that has seen improvements and has heated up as the weather has gotten gotten warmer.  What are your thoughts on his progress here with the team?

He's coming along nicely.  He's holding his own here.  We really didn't know what we were going to get with a 17-year-old coming into this league.  We wanted to push him a little bit and see what he could do here.  His defense has been outstanding.  He's playing a very good center field.  He's throwing the ball very well.  And he's starting to drive the ball a little more now.  You know, the ball's going a little farther, he's starting to get a little stronger.  

My main concern is just trying to keep him fresh.  This is the first time he's going to play this many games in a season, so I'm going to try and give him some days off in some day games and in certain match ups.  But, overall, we've been happy with the way he's been playing. 


- Severino Gonzalez gets added to the roster here after putting up amazing numbers with Clearwater.  What went into the move to bring him here and what are your thoughts on him after throwing four scoreless frames in his BlueClaws debut this week.

I had never seen him pitch, so I was just getting the reports from the guys in Clearwater that he throws strikes, he throws four pitches, he's not afraid to pitch inside, he's got a good game plan, he likes to go right after the hitters, and that's exactly what he did (on Thursday).  He's got a good fastball.  He throws a cutter.  He's got a good breaking ball, threw some change ups.  He mixed it up well.  He knows how to pitch.  Ain't afraid to pitch inside and that's exactly what he did (on Thursday). 

The reason he came here is he was in the 'pen in Clearwater and they wanted him to be a starter.  They wanted him to start getting stretched out and be a starter, so we had an opening, obviously, in the rotation, so it was a good fit for him to come here.  We're gonna get his innings and and we're going to continually stretch him out.  He was at about a 55 pitch limit in his first start here.  So, he was done at four innings no matter if the rain came, or not.  But, we're going to continue to stretch him out and if he keeps pitching like he did (on Thursday), then he'll be very successful.


- Mitch Walding began the season as one of this team's most consistent hitters, but in the past couple months has seen things balance out and he's seen some rough patches.  Thoughts on Mitch and his efforts of late?

Mitch is fine.  He started off real hot and then, yeah, he went into a little cool-down period there.  But the defense has been good.  The errors are up a little bit for him, but he plays very good defense.  He's got great hands, good feet, some of his errors are just careless mistakes.  But, overall, we've been very happy with the way he's been playing defense.  Offensively, he's making strides, he really is.  He's making strides, starting to pull the ball a little more, driving the ball a little more.  The strike outs are down.  The average probably isn't where he thinks it should be, but I think for him to come in here and hit .260, .265, .270, I think that'd be a very good year for him.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Galvis Demoted to Clear Room for McDonald

Freddy Galvis, image- Jay Floyd

Following Thursday's acquisition of infielder John McDonald from Cleveland, the Phillies made room on their active big league roster by demoting infielder Freddy Galvis to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

McDonald, a veteran of 15 major league seasons, has a career .235 batting average and a .605 career OPS mark. The 38-year-old posted a .053 batting average in 24 games in the bigs this year. Primarily a shortstop, with 568 games played there, McDonald has also spent considerable time at second base (209 games) and third base (135 games) while dabbling just a tad in the outfield (six games).

Galvis is a career .218 hitter with a .626 OPS in 112 major league contests. The move will allow the 23-year-old Venezuelan to get more playing time with the IronPigs.

Philly.com featured the following quote from Phils manager Charlie Manuel regarding the youngster's need for game action.

"When we evaluate him, we think he has a good chance of being a hell of a player," Manuel said. "If he's going to stay here and only play once a week or something like that, that ain't enough. That's definitely not enough."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

PhoulBallz Podcast 31: Hollands Interview, Futures Game Names, Phils Bullpen & More

We're back with a brand new edition, episode 31, of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast.  This week Jay and Tug talk with reigning Phillies minor league pitcher of the week Mario Hollands, who is having an excellent season with Class A Advanced Clearwater.  The guys also chat about the Phils' All-Star Futures Game representatives Jesse Biddle and Maikel Franco, J.C. Ramirez's big league debut, Jonathan Papelbon's recent struggles and the future of the Phillies' managerial position.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.

You can also check out previous episodes and subscribe on iTunes.

Biddle & Franco to Rep Phils in All-Star Futures Game

Left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle and third baseman Maikel Franco were named as the Phillies' representatives at the MLB All-Star Futures Game set to be played on July 14th at New York's Citi Field.  Biddle, the Phils' top draft choice from 2010, will play for the United States team while the Dominican born Franco will be a member of the World team.

Bidde, 21, sports a 3-7 record with a 3.21 ERA with two complete games, a 10.07 K/9 mark and a .189 batting average against through 15 starts with Double-A Reading this season.  Biddle, who was also named an Eastern League All-Star on Wednesday, began the season at a torrid pace, tallying a 1.74 ERA in five April starts, but he has slipped since that time as he has posted a 4.11 mark in his last 10 outings.

Franco, 20, was promoted to Double-A last week after the young slugger mashed Class A Advanced Florida State League opposition to the tune of a .299/.349/.576 line.  Thus far in seven games with Reading, the righty hitter has gone 14-for-29 (.483 avg) with a double, a triple, three home runs and seven RBI.

Biddle and Franco were ranked 1st and 4th respectively in this year's prospect rankings by PhilliesNation.com.

Last year the Phillies sent two Reading hurlers to the annual minor league showcase played each year on the Sunday just prior to the All-Star break. Righty pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla, who was dealt to Texas as part of the Michael Young trade last off-season, injured himself at the team hotel in Kansas City last year and missed considerable time following his failure to appeare in the game.  Bonilla has posted a 5-5 record with an 8.14 ERA in 25 games for Triple-A Round Rock.  Another right-hander Julio Rodriguez, who was dealt this spring for minor league outfielder Ronnie Welty who lasted 15 games in the Phils organization before he was released, recently began an injury rehab assignment with Baltimore's Gulf Coast League team making his first appearance since the opening week of the regular season.  Rodriguez served up a damaging homer in last year's contest.

Additionally, for Reading, first baseman Jim Murphy (.297 avg, 15 HR, 47 RBI) and second baseman Albert Cartwright (.248 avg, 4 HR, 20 RBI) were also named as Eastern League All-Stars.  Murphy, 27, was the Phils' 17th round draft pick out of Washington State University in 2008.  The 25-year-old Cartwright was acquired from Houston prior to the 2011 season, in a trade for Sergio Escalona.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

PNTV Reminder and Full Kyle Simon Interview

Here's a reminder to tune into Phillies Nation TV on Tuesday evening at 6 PM. In addition to the great analysis you expect, this week's episode features a load of terrific interviews from last week's Celebrity Hitting Challenge which was part of the Class A South Atlantic League All-Star events hosted by the Lakewood BlueClaws. It's unclear what will make the cut, but guys I spoke with included Phillies post-season legend Matt Stairs, Cy Young Award winner Dwight Gooden, members of the 1993 Phillies Mitch Williams and Mickey Morandini as well as comedians Artie Lange and Jim Florentine.

Check out my full uncut interview with Double-A Reading reliever Kyle Simon, who was acquired from Baltimore last year in the Jim Thome trade. The clip in the media player below features footage not seen in last week's episode of PNTV.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Series Preview: Phillies at Padres, June 24-26

The Phillies (36-40) hit the road to begin a ten-game road trip as they visit San Diego's Petco Park for three contests against the Padres (38-38).

Losers of 10 of their last 15 games, since they saw their record go above .500 early this month, the Phillies will send left-handed ace Cliff Lee to the mound in the series opener.  Lee hasn't suffered a loss since May 1st.  The Padres have lost four of their past six contests and will counter with starting pitcher Eric Stults, who has allowed two runs or less in each of his past five starts.

The Phils won four of seven meetings with the Padres last season, including a split of four games in San Diego.

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

Monday, 10:10 PM.  Cliff Lee (9-2, 2.53 ERA) vs. Eric Stults (6-5, 3.28 ERA).  In five career starts against San Diego, Cliff Lee is 1-2 with a 4.99 ERA.  In nine road starts this season, Lee has a 6-1 record and a 1.88 ERA.  Lee is 7-0 with a 1.97 ERA in his last nine starts.  The lefty Stults is 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA in six home starts this year.  Stults has allowed four earned runs in three career innings against the Phillies.  Ryan Howard is 2-for-2 with two home runs against Stults.

Tuesday, 10:10 PM.  Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 3.56 ERA) vs. Jason Marquis (9-2, 3.59 ERA).
  Kendrick is 2-1 with a 5.51 ERA in four career games against the Padres.  In seven road starts this year, Kendrick is 2-2 with a 3.77 ERA.  In 26 career games against the Phils, Marquis is 6-8 with a 5.45 ERA.  Marquis is 8-0 with a 3.22 ERA in his last 11 starts.  Humberto Quintero is 5-for-12 (.417 avg) in his career against Marquis.

Wednesday, 10:10 PM.  Cole Hamels (2-11, 4.50 ERA) vs. To Be Determined.  Hamels is 0-3 with a 4.26 ERA in his last three starts.  In 13 career starts against San Diego, Hamels has an 8-2 record with a 2.15 ERA.  Hamels has a 1-5 record along with a 3.54 ERA in eight road starts this year.  Nick Hundley is 1-for-11 (.091 avg) in his career against Hamels.  The Padres will be without lefty starter Clayton Richard, who was placed on the disabled list over the weekend with a shoulder issue.

In 18 games this month, Michael Young is batting .355 with two homers and seven RBI.  Young is 2-for-10 (.200 avg) in three career games at Petco Park.

Will Venable is a .196 career hitter 19 games against the Phillies.  Venable's 10 HR are most on the Padres team. 

Minors Notes: Franco, Susdorf, Green and Others Heat Up

From all throughout the Phillies' developmental ranks, here's our weekly rundown of top performers and those players that haven't done much as of late. 


Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs-

Who's hot...

Outfielder Steve Susdorf has been on a tear lately, going 10-for-24 (.417 avg) with a double, a home run and four RBI in his last seven games.  The 27-year-old lefty batter was the Phils' 19th round draft choice in 2008 out of Fresno State.  Susdorf is batting .326 with a home run and 23 RBI in 51 games this year.

First baseman Josh Fields has five multi-hit games in his last seven contests.  The 30-year-old is 10-for-25 (.400 avg) during that stretch.  Overall this season, Fields, who was signed as a minor league free agent last November, is batting .316 with four homers and 26 RBI this year. 

Who's not...

Infielder Pete Orr is 3-for-23 (.130 avg) with two doubles in his last seven games.  Orr, who has spent time in the big leagues with the Phillies in each of the past two seasons, is batting .231 with three home runs and 17 RBI in 54 games with the IronPigs this season.


Double-A Reading Fightins-

Third baseman Maikel Franco is 8-for-17 (.471 avg) with a triple and two home runs since making his Double-A debut on Thursday.  The 20-year-old Dominican posted a .299 average with 16 homers and 52 RBI in 66 games with Clearwater prior to his promotion.

First baseman Jim Murphy is 8-for-17 (.471 avg) with four home runs and seven RBI in his last five contests.  Overall this year, the 27-year-old slugger is batting .301 with 15 homers and 46 RBI in 72 games.  Murphy was taken in the 17th round of the 2008 draft by the Phils.

Who's not...

Second baseman Albert Cartwright is 2-for-20 (.100 avg) over his last six games.  The righty hitting 24-year-old is batting .250 with four homers and 20 RBI in 65 games this season.  Cartwright was acquired in 2011 from Houston in a trade for Sergio Escalona


Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers-

Who's hot...

First baseman/third baseman Harold Martinez is 10-for-35 (.286 avg) over his last nine games.  Prior to this successful streak, Martinez was batting .189 through his first 28 games this year. The 23-year-old was the Phils' 2nd round draft pick in 2011 out of the University of Miami.

24-year-old lefty Mario Hollands threw eight scoreless frames for Clearwater for a no decision on Sunday.  In his last three starts, the University of California Santa Barbara product, has allowed one earned run in 20 innings (0.45 ERA).  Overall, the Phils' 10th round pick from 2010 is 4-0 with a 1.53 ERA in 11 outings for the Threshers, although he had a 7.20 ERA in three outings for Reading this year.

Who's not...

Infielder Jose Mojica is batting .189 in 11 games this month.  The 24-year-old Dominican batted .364 in 21 games in April, but has tallied a .198 average since then.


Class A Lakewood BlueClaws-

Who's hot...

Willie Carmona's 10-game hitting streak was ended with an 0-for-4 effort on Sunday, but during his hot stretch, the first baseman/third baseman/designated hitter went 17-for-34 with four doubles, a homer and 10 RBI.  Overall this year, the 22-year-old who was drafted in the 11th round last year out of Stony Brook University, is batting .290 with two home runs and 28 RBI.

Who's not...

Shortstop Roman Quinn is struggling mightily over the past week, having gone 3-for-28 (.107 avg) with one RBI and two runs scored in his last seven games.   The Phillies' 2nd round draft pick from 2011 is batting .238 with five homers and 31 steals in 66 games this season.  Quinn has also tallied 31 errors on defense this season.

All-Star catcher Chace Numata is batting .147 with two doubles and six RBI in his last 10 games.  The Hawaiian native was the Phils' 14th round draft selection in 2010 out of Pearl City High School.


Class A short season Williamsport Crosscutters-

Who's hot...

Catcher Gabriel Lino is 9-for-27 (.333 avg) with a homer and seven RBI through seven games.  The 20-year-old was acquired as part of the Jim Thome trade with Baltimore last year.  Lino has also manned first base twice in the early going, for the Cutters.

Zach Green, the Phils' 3rd round draft pick last year out of Jesuit High School in California, is 9-for-28 (.321 avg) with five doubles, three home runs and a New York-Penn League leading nine RBI in seven games.  The 19-year-old righty hitter is Williamsport's third baseman. 

Who's not...

Second baseman Andrew Pullin has gone 4-for-27 (.148 avg) with a double and a triple through six games.  The 19-year-old Washington state native was a 5th round draft selection last year out of Centralia High School. 


Dominican Summer League Phillies-

Who's hot...

Third baseman Deiber Olivera is 15-for-33 (.455 avg) with four doubles, four RBI and three steals in eight games.  The 20-year-old righty hitter played in the Venezuelan Summer League in each of the past two years, batting .335 with one homer and 36 RBI in 71 total contests.

Righty pitcher Gregorio Santos threw a complete game, allowing one run while earning a win in his latest outing on Saturday. Through four games, the 20-year-old is 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA while striking out 18 and walking three in 28 innings.

Venezuelan Summer League Phillies-

Who's hot...

Left-handed hurler Jesus Chavez has allowed one earned run over his last five starts, posting a 0.31 ERA during that stretch.  Overall, the 19-year-old is 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA and 9.0 K/9 in seven games this season.  Chavez was signed in April of last year and appeared in just two VSL games in 2012. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Series Preview: Metropolitans at Phillies, June 21-23

The Mets (28-41) visit Citizens Bank Park this weekend to begin a three-game series with the division rival Phillies (35-38).

In the series opener, New York righty Jeremy Hefner, who allowed seven earned runs without recording an out in a start against the Phils last September 20th, will take the mound for the visitors, while lefty Cole Hamels, who is tied for the big league lead in losses with 10, will try to get on the winning track.

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


Friday, 7:05 PM.  Jeremy Hefner (1-6, 3.96 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (2-10, 4.40 ERA).  In four career games against the Phils, Hefner is 1-2 with a 15.68 ERA and a .448 batting average against.  Hefner has a 1-3 record along with a 5.14 ERA in seven road games this season.  Ryan Howard is 3-for-3 in his career against Hefner. In 22 career games against the Mets, Hamels has a 6-10 record with a 4.20 ERA.  One of Hamels' wins this season came in an outing against the Mets on April 28th, when he allowed one earned run in six innings.  Lucas Duda is 1-for-12 (.083 avg) in his career against Hamels.

Saturday, 4:05 PM.  Dillon Gee (5-7, 4.56 ERA) vs. Jonathan Pettibone (3-3, 4.40 ERA).  In eight career games against the Phils, the right-hander Gee has a 2-3 record with a 7.49 ERA.  Gee is 3-1 with a 1.53 ERA over his last four starts.  Ryan Howard is 4-for-12 (.333 avg) with four homers in his career against Gee.  Jimmy Rollins is 8-for-13 (.615 avg) in his career against Gee.  Pettibone earned a win in his lone career start against the Mets on April 27th, when he allowed three earned runs in five innings of work.  In his last six starts, Pettibone is 0-3 with a 5.29 ERA.   

Sunday, 1:35 PM.  Matt Harvey (5-1, 2.04 ERA) vs. John Lannan (0-1, 5.49 ERA).  Harvey is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies.  In six road starts this season, the righty Harvey has a 4-0 record with 2.72 ERA.  In 12 career starts against the Mets, John Lannan has a 5-4 record with a 3.46 ERA.  David Wright is 10-for-32 (.313 avg) with three doubles in his career against Lannan.


In 22 home games this season, Chase Utley, who is being activated from the disabled list for this series after missing several weeks with an oblique issue, is batting .244 with three homers and 10 RBI.  Utley sports a .208 average in six games against the Mets this year.

Ryan Howard is batting .291 with six home runs and 17 RBI in 30 home games this year.  Howard sports a .328/.425/.534 line in 18 games this month. Howard is batting .197 against lefty pitchers this year.

In 36 career games against the team that drafted him, former Phillie Marlon Byrd has a .229 average with two home runs and nine RBI.  Byrd is batting .315 in 27 road games this season.

David Wright is batting .357 with four homers and eight RBI in 17 games this month.  Wright is a .291 hitter with 16 homers and 55 RBI in 71 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

Mets team runs scored in June- 59 (28th in MLB)
Phillies team runs scored in June- 77 (12th in MLB)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

PhoulBallz Podcast, Episode 30: Clawstar Event, Morandini & Wild Thing Interviews

On the 30th edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast, Jay and Tug discuss the South Atlantic League All-Star events out in Lakewood, Jonathan Papelbon's recent missteps, Severino Gonzalez's tremendous efforts with Class A Advanced Clearwater and plenty more.  Plus the guys have a couple exclusive interviews with Mitch Williams and Mickey Morandini from Lakewood.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.

You can also check out previous episodes and subscribe on iTunes.

Top Prospect Franco Promoted to Double-A Reading

Maikel Franco with Lakewood in 2012, photo- Jay Floyd
On the same day which Phillies second baseman Chase Utley joined the Double-A Reading Fightins to begin a rehab assignment, as he recovers from an oblique issue, the club added another big bat, as slugging third base prospect Maikel Franco was promoted from Class A Advanced Clearwater.

Through 65 games with the Threshers this season, Franco posted a .299 average with 16 home runs and 52 RBI.  His doubles total (23) was tops in the Florida State League, while his homer total was tied for the league lead.

Franco's manager with Clearwater, former big league third baseman Chris Truby has seen improvements in the youngster in just the few short months that he's managed him.

"Maikel has worked his tail off and improved his game in all areas," Truby stated.  "At the plate he has a better idea of the strike zone and is able to do impressive damage when he gets a pitch to hit. He is using the whole field and driving the ball to all fields."

Often regarded for his offensive prowess, Franco is highly skilled on defense as well.  Having excellent instincts along with a strong arm, the Dominican Republic native is developing into a total package prospect on the field.

"On defense he is just as impressive. He can make all the plays. He works extremely hard and is very motivated to reach the highest level. He is just an impressive all around talent that has the desire to get better," Truby added.

Look for Franco, who was ranked as the Phillies' 4th best prospect this year by PhilliesNation.com, to make his debut with Reading on Thursday, as Utley continues his rehab efforts and nears a return to the big club.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

PNTV: Top Phillies Stories, Trivia Contest, Kyle Simon Interview

On this week's edition of Phillies Nation TV, Pat and Corey run down all the key storylines going on at the big league level, with details on Ben Revere's offensive contributions, Cole Hamels' struggles, Cliff Lee's trade value and plenty more. Additionally, the program features an interview I did with Double-A Reading reliever Kyle Simon, who was acquired from the Orioles last year in the Jim Thome trade. A fun parking lot trivia contest is also featured.

Check out the full episode in the media player below and look for new episodes each Tuesday at 6PM on The Comcast Network, as well as replays all throughout the week on TCN and Comcast SportsNet.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

First Round Pick Crawford Officially Signs with Phils

Thanks to a picture that was tweeted and soon deleted by J.P. Crawford's sister Eliza, we caught a quick glimpse of the Phillies' top draft pick signing his first professional contract today.

Crawford, 18, was selected 16th overall out of Lakewood (CA) High School less than two weeks ago by the Phillies.  The youngster enjoyed his high school graduation late last week, then took off to begin his life as a pro ball player, flying into Philadelphia on Monday.  Crawford met with team officials and put ink to paper on Tuesday afternoon shortly after 1 PM.

The lefty batting shortstop, has been highly touted throughout his high school years and is said to have great defensive range and a strong arm.  Crawford hit .432 in 25 games in his senior season this year and is his school's all-time leader in hits and runs scored.

If the weather holds off in Philadelphia, Crawford could join the Phillies for batting practice at Citizens Bank Park in the afternoon.

This year's selection by the Phillies was the highest they've drafted since 2001, when they took Gavin Floyd 4th overall.

BlueClaws Hosting SAL All-Star Events

When the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws host the South Atlantic League All-Star game on Tuesday night, the club will be represented by four players on the North division roster.  Initially, just catcher Chace Numata and pitcher Steven Inch were selected as All-Stars, but due to other pitchers' availability, two more BlueClaws hurlers were selected to represent the resident team in the game with lefty Yoel Mecias and right-hander Delvi Francisco now selected to fill voids on the roster.

The North division team will also include Lakewood manager and former Phillies All-Star Mickey Morandini, who will serve as a coach.

"It's fun.  It's always exciting when you get to host an All-Star game.  I know the organization here has really worked hard to do as much as they can for everybody coming in, with the events going on, so my hat's off to all the people that have busted their butt to make this thing happen," Morandini stated. 

"We're excited.  We've got a good group of players coming in, I know that.  We've got a lot of guys that can hit and we've got a lot of good arms out there.  For me, it's exciting to see them go out there and compete against each other and see how things go."

Numata, a 20-year-old, is batting .254 with two homers and 24 RBI this season.  The 20-year-old was a 14th round draft pick in 2010.  Inch, the team's closer, has a 1-5 record with seven saves and a 5.61 ERA in 24 games.  The 22-year-old, Inch, was a 6th round draft pick of the Phils in 2009.  Mecias, the 'Claws' lone left-hander this year, is 4-2 with a 3.71 ERA and a 10.46 K/9 mark in 12 games (10 starts) this season.  The Venezuela native is 19-year-old.  Francisco, a 20-year-old Dominican native, is 1-2 with two saves, a 2.90 ERA and a 10.16 K/9 mark in 21 relief outings this season.

The two-night "ClawStar Spectacular" kicked off on Monday night with a celebrity hitting challenge that featured the likes of retired slugger Matt Stairs, Cy Young Award winning pitcher Dwight Gooden, comedian Artie Lange, retired wrestler Tito Santana, the NBA's Randy Foye, NY Giants top draft pick Justin Pugh, Morandini and former Phillies closer Mitch Williams.

Williams, who is most famous for his time with the 1993 National League Champion Phils, wasn't concerned with the competition he had to face in the hitting challenge, but he was a little envious of the First Energy Park facility today's Class A Phillies players get to enjoy.

"These kids are so spoiled, it's not even funny.  You should have seen the goat pastures I played on.  They've done a really good job here," Williams stated while perched in the comfort of Lakewood's home locker room.

The hitting challenge event pitted two teams of celebrities and SAL All-Stars against each other, with the South team, led by Charleston (Yankees) catcher Peter O'Brien, winning by a score of 1835-1810. 

Following the team challenge a surprise home run derby took place with Hickory's (Rangers) Joey Gallo edging David Chester of Greenville (Red Sox) for the title.

Prior to Tuesday's game, which gets started at 7:05 PM at FirstEnergy Park, All-Stars along with visiting family members as well as league and team employees will take part in a community outreach as part of local "Restore the Shore" efforts.

Former South Atlantic League All-Stars include Steve Carlton, Nolan Ryan, Ryan Howard and David Wright.

BlueClaws hurler Colin Kleven was the winning pitcher in last year's contest as the North was victorious, 3-2.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Series Preview: Nationals at Phillies, June 17-19

Here's an abbreviated version of the usual series preview, reviewing the match ups for this week's three-game series between the National League East division rival Nationals (34-34) and the Phillies (33-37) at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park. 


Monday, 7:05 PM. Dan Haren (4-8, 5.70 ERA) vs. John Lannan (0-1, 6.14 ERA). In five career starts against the Phillies, Haren has a 0-3 record along with a 5.79 ERA. Haren is 0-3 with a 6.05 ERA in his last four starts. Ryan Howard is 1-for-9 (.111 avg) in his career against Haren. The left-handed Lannan will make his fourth big league start of the year after missing nearly two months with left knee issues.Adam LaRoche is 0-for-12 in his career against Lannan. The former Nats hurler has a 6.05 ERA in nine career starts at Citizens Bank Park.

Tuesday, 7:05 PM. Ross Detwiler (2-4, 3.02 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (8-2, 2.55 ERA). In five road starts this season, Detwiler is 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA and a .290 batting average against. Detwiler has just one win and a 4.40 ERA in his last six starts. Domonic Brown is 0-for-7 in his career against the lefty Detwiler. In five home starts this year, Lee is 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA. Lee has a 5-3 record along with a 2.51 ERA in eight career starts against the Nats. Ryan Zimmerman is 3-for-18 (.167 avg) with a homer in his career against Lee.

Wednesday, 7:05 PM. Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.40 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 3.76 ERA).
Gonzalez is 0-1 with a 2.12 ERA over his last seven starts. The former Phillies prospect has a 3-1 record with a 2.52 ERA in four career starts against the Phils. Michael Young us 5-for-22 (.227 avg) with a home run in his career against Gonzalez. Kendrick is 4-2 with a 3.74 ERA in seven home starts this season. In 20 career games (18 starts) Kendrick has a 4.90 ERA against Washington. Ian Desmond is 10-for-25 (.400 avg) with two home runs in his career against Kendrick.

PhoulBallz Interview: Shane Watson Speaks on JP Crawford

Watson & Crawford go all the way back to tee ball, photo- Shane Watson
With the Phillies' 2013 first round pick, J.P. Crawford en route to Philadelphia, jotting some ink on his first professional contract seems inevitable. What has become somewhat of a ceremonial signing for 1st rounders, which typically includes the player taking batting practice and/or putting himself on display to the media, seems to be in the near future for the 18-year-old Lakewood High School (CA) product that was taken with the 16th overall pick in the MLB draft less than two weeks ago.

With the excitement level picking up for Crawford to join the Phils organization, I spoke with one of his closest friends, Shane Watson, who was selected with the Phillies' first pick in the 2012 draft. The two players grew up together, playing tee ball on the same team and being by each other's side through high school ball until Watson turned pro last year.

Now, the two "brothers" seem to be more excited than any pair of ball players you might come across. I spoke with Shane over the weekend and he offered his thoughts on the guy that will soon be the newest addition to the Phillies family. Read ahead for that interview.


- In your playing days, I know you guys came up on the same tee ball league team together and played at the same high school, but through all those years in youth ball, I imagine that you two would have faced each other at some point.

Yeah, a couple times in, like, intrasquad games, for high school, we would face each other and I think it was a draw. I know once he hit a dribbler back to me and then another time I walked him. So, we came out even and it was a draw, I think. We both got the best of one another one time. That was about it, though, from what I remember. 


- And obviously, you got to see him play a considerable amount. So, how would you describe his strengths out there on the field?

I would say there's not too many holes in his swing. I mean, it's kind of hard to pitch to him. He's one of those guys where he can handle pressure. He's gonna play hard. He's a Lakewood (High School) guy. All of us pride ourselves on playing really hard, playing with lots of heart and getting after it. So, he's gonna do that, no matter what. 

I want to let the Phillie fans know he's going to play his heart out for them. He can run, he's fast and he's an all around good player.


- When J.P. was selected with the Phils' first pick this year, just as you were last year, what sort of advice did your provide him?

Just pretty much, be ready to play every day, because it's a grind. In high school we play two games a week and four games, sometimes, is a lot for high school. Now, going to pro ball, playing every single day, especially, is the big change.

I said, "Alight, bro, it's really hot and the hotels are gonna suck." So, I mean, the players that don't like it play better. That's what pitchers keep telling me, on my team. It'll make them play better, hoping to move up.

I kind of told him enjoy the experience and enjoy the family before he gets going. It's just a grind to play every day.


- Right off the bat, once J.P. signs, no one would expect you guys to be on the same roster right away, but what would your excitement level be to actually be place on the same pro roster at some point?

It's been crazy. Hopefully, we won't be on the same roster for a while. Because I don't want to be down a level that I don't want to be at. But, it's cool. I think in (fall instructional league) we'll be together on the team, on the roster maybe. I'm guessing, but, yeah, I was talking to my actual brother, Scotty, I was talking to him, and he talked about planning barbecues at (J.P.'s) house, him coming to barbecues at our house and just to be drafted by the same team is pretty crazy, I think.


- When the signing is official, clearly J.P. will make some phone calls. Which number phone call do you think you will be?

I'm not sure. I think, like, going from draft night, right after he talked to the lady on TV, and talked about me a little bit, he called right after and said, "Hey, bro. I love you." And threw a little stuff in there. So, I imagine I'd be up there. He'll probably just call his family and then, I'll probably be one of the first friends he calls. Either way, man, we're like brothers. It's crazy to get picked by the same team. I can't explain it.


- The first half of the South Atlantic League season wraps up here this weekend and the BlueClaws will host the game. For those players not representing the team in that contest, yourself included, will you hang around New Jersey for the break, or will you head home to enjoy some time off?

I am personally going home. I am flying out of Hagerstown Monday morning and going back to California. A couple guys are going to New York. Some guys are going to Philly. I don't really know where everybody's going, but the main thing, I think every one's going home for a break, really.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Minor League Notes: Asche, Gonzalez, Milner & More

Here's our weekly rundown of top performers and those players that have cooled off as of late.  Stats and notes current through games played on Saturday.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs...

Who's hot-

IronPigs Third baseman Cody Asche
Third baseman Cody Asche is 13-for-34 (.382 avg) with two doubles, a triple, a homer and three RBI in his last nine games.  Asche, a lefty batter, was the Phillies' 4th round draft pick in 2011.  The 22-year-old is batting .281 with seven home runs and 40 RBI in 65 games this year.

Upon making his Triple-A debut, catcher Cameron Rupp went 4-for-11 (.367 avg) with three RBI in his first three contests.  Rupp, 24, was the Phillies' 3rd round draft choice in 2010 out of the University of Texas.

Who's not-

In his last nine games, outfielder Leandro Castro is 6-for-35 (.171 avg) with a double, a triple and four RBI.  The Dominican native celebrated his 24th birthday this weekend.  Overall, Castro is sporting a .264 average with six homers in 59 games this season.

Double-A Reading Fightins...

Who's hot-

Righty starter David Buchanan has tallied a 2.98 ERA while sporting a 2-4 record over his last seven starts.  Overall, in 14 starts, Buchanan has a 3-7 record with a 4.65 ERA.  The 24-year-old was a 7th round draft pick of the Phils back in 2010. 

Who's not-

Reading OF Tyson Gillies
Outfielder Tyson Gillies is 4-for-28 (.143 avg) with one RBI in his last 10 games.  Gillies, 24, batted .148 in 18 games with Lehigh Valley this year.

First baseman Jim Murphy has no homers and no RBI in 11 June games after slugging eight home runs and knocking in 21 runs in 30 May games.  Murphy, 27, was a 17th round pick in 2008.


Class A Advance Clearwater Threshers...

Who's hot-

In his last seven appearances, righty reliever Colby Shreve has thrown 11 1/3 scoreless innings, while allowing no runs, striking out eight, with three walks and giving up four hits. Shreve, 25, had a short stint with Reading earlier this season and should earn another promotion if he continues pitching like this.

Panamanian righty Severino Gonzalez in nine games with the Threshers- 27 K, 2BB, 22 2/3 IP, 1ER, 0.40 ERA.  The 20-year-old was signed as an amateur free agent in April, 2011.

Lefty starting pitcher Hoby Milner has gone 6-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his last 10 starts for the Threshers. Overall, Milner is 6-2 with a 3.36 ERA.  The 22-year-old was a 7th round draft pick last year out of the University of Texas.

Who's not-

Harold Martinez with Lakewood in 2012
Harold Martinez, the Phils' 2nd round draft pick from 2011, has gone 2-for-13 (.154 avg) in four games this month.  Overall, the 23-year-old first baseman/third baseman/designated hitter is batting .205 with one home run in 34 games this season.


Class A Lakewood BlueClaws...

Who hot-

Larry Greene Jr. hit his 1st HR of the season for Lakewood in Hagerstown on Saturday.  The 21-year-old Greene, last year's supplementary 1st round pick, is batting .187 in 45 games with the BlueClaws.

Willie Carmona went 10-for-19 (.526 avg) with a homer and five RBI over a six-game hitting streak this past week.  The 22 -year-old has a .282 average with two home runs and 22 RBI in 54 games overall this year.  The first baseman/third baseman/designated hitter was the Phils' 11th round draft choice out of Stony Brook University last year.

Who's not-

All-Star catcher Chace Numata has cooled off lately, as has gone 3-for-26 (.115 avg) in his first eight games this month.  Overall, the 20-year-old Hawaii native is batting .248 with two homers and 23 RBI in 48 games this year.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Phillies Continue to Sign Draft Picks

The Phillies continued locking in last week's draft picks on Friday as the team came to terms with their second round pick Andrew Knapp and officially announced the signing of their third round selection Cord Sandberg.

Knapp, taken 53rd overall, is a switch-hitting 21-year-old. The University of California product led the Golden Bears in batting average this year with a .350 mark while mashing eight homers with 41 RBI. Knapp's deal is said to be for $1.03 million.

Reports last week stating that Sandberg has signed almost immediately for the amount of $775,000 seemed to be fully on point as the amount proved accurate with details released by the Phils.

High school prep catcher Jake Sweaney, who was selected in the 4th round with the 121st pick out of Garces Memorial High School in California, signed for a reported $400,000.

Other signees include 25th rounder Cody Forsythe, a lefty pitcher out of Southern Illinois.  In his senior season this year, the 22-year-old sported a 4-5 record with a 3.03 ERA in 15 games started.

Overall, the Phillies have signed seven of their top 11 picks and 23 of their 40 selections. First round pick J.P. Crawford has yet to ink a contract.

Also worthy of note are some releases from extended spring training this week, just as the short-season Class A Williamsport and the Rookie level Gulf Coast League are set to begin their schedules. Outfielders Miguel Alvarez and Yan Olmo were released while two players that began 2013 on Class A full season Lakewood's roster, infielder Tyler Greene (11th round pick, 2011) and righty pitcher Andrew Aizenstadt were cut as well.

And lastly, as you may have heard on this week's edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast, outfielder Jiwan James, who is recovering from left knee surgery, is participating in all baseball activities at this point and should not be far off from official activation for game action.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Series Preview: Phillies at Rockies, June 14-16

The Rockies (35-32) were dealt a poor hand on Thursday, when three of their regulars suffered injuries.  Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, the National League's second leading hitter, has been placed on the disabled list with a broken rib suffered on a diving defensive play in Thursday's contest against Washington.  Outfielder Carlos Gonzalez was drilled with a line dive foul, while standing on deck in that game, while outfielder Dexter Fowler was hit by a pitch on his hand.

The Phillies (32-35) are no strangers to ailing stars, as the team currently has two All-Stars, second baseman Chase Utley and catcher Carlos Ruiz, on the disabled list with injuries of their own.  Additionally, multi-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay is out of action following shoulder surgery and starting hurler John Lannan has missed nearly two months due to a left quad issue.

Both clubs will try to persevere as they begin a three-game series at Coors Field on Friday night.

The Phillies won two of three meetings in Colorado last year.

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


Friday, 8:40 PM.  Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 3.22 ERA) vs. Juan Nicasio (4-2, 4.61 ERA).  In nine career games against the Rockies (eight starts), Kendrick has a 3-2 record along with a 4.63 ERA and a .308 batting average against.  In six road starts this year, Kendrick is 2-2 with a 2.63 ERA.  The right-hander Nicasio has a 2-1 record with a 4.31 ERA in six home starts this season.  Nicasio has recorded a win just once in his last eight outings.

Saturday, 4:10 PM.  Jonathan Pettibone (3-2, 3.70 ERA) vs. Tyler Chatwood (3-1, 2.14 ERA).  In four road starts, Pettibone has a 1-1 record with a 5.32 ERA.  Pettibone is 0-2 with a 4.84 ERA in his last four starts.  Chatwood is 1-0  with a 3.57 ERA in three home stats this year.  The righty Chatwood allowed two earned run over five innings in his lone career start against the Phils last September.  Michael Young is 5-for-6 (.833 avg) in his career against Chatwood. 

Sunday, 4:10 PM.  Cole Hamels (2-9, 4.45 ERA) vs. Jhoulys Chacin (4-3, 4.52 ERA).  In six career regular season starts against the Rockies, Hamels is 3-1 with a 3.32 ERA.  Hamels is 1-4 with a 3.48 ERA in seven road starts this year.  Hamels has a 5.09 ERA in three career regular season starts at Coors Field.  In his last outing against Washington (five innings, two earned runs), Chacin notched a victory after going seven straight starts without one.  In five career games against the Phillies, Chacin has a 1-0 record with a 1.21 ERA.  Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard are a combined 0-for-16 in their careers against Chacin.

In 11 career games at Coors Field, Phils catcher Humberto Quintero is a .364 hitter with three doubles, a homer and four RBI.  Quintero is batting .150 in eight road games in the big leagues this season.

Injured catcher Carlos Ruiz is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Saturday.  Ruiz has been sidelined with a hamstring strain since May 20th.  

Domonic Brown holds the National League lead in home runs with 19, while Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki are second and third with 18 and 16 respectively.  Brown is batting .326 with four homers and 12 RBI in 12 games this month.

Ryan Howard is batting .289 in 12 games this month, but has not slugged a home run since May 29th.  In 23 regular season games at Coors Field, Howard has a .286 average with six home runs and 19 RBI.

Rookie third baseman Nolan Arenado is batting .327 in 12 games this month.  The 22-year-old is batting .250 with four homers and 13 RBI in 25 home games.

Former Phillies prospect Josh Outman is 2-0 with a 4.81 ERA out of the Rockies' bullpen.  The lefty hurler was dealt to Oakland as part of the Joe Blanton trade in 2008.  He was then swapped to Colorado prior to the 2012 season in a deal for Seth Smith.

In 87 career games against the Phillies, Todd Helton has a .360 average with 17 homers and 62 RBI.  Helton is batting .221 in 27 home games this season.

Phillies bullpen ERA- 4.51 (28th in MLB)
Rockies bullpen ERA- 3.30 (12th in MLB)