Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Frosty Phillies Favorites: 2013 Player Christmas Survey

It's that time of year that gets folks in the mood to be merry. The biggest of all holidays is loved by all, for many reasons. Baseball players certainly 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 in this year's questionnaire include top 2013 draft pick shortstop J.P. Crawford, righty pitching prospects Colby Shreve, Nic Hanson and Mark Leiter Jr., third base prospect Mitch Walding, minor league first baseman Art Charles as well as Phillies rookie catcher Cameron Rupp.

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


What is your favorite Christmas movie or TV special?

JP Crawford- Favorite Christmas movie is The Grinch. Just one of my favorite movies.

Mark Leiter Jr.- Elf. Definitely, Elf. Will Ferrell!

Shreve- My family has a tradition where we watch Elf every Christmas. It gets us in the holiday spirit, and it’s hilarious.

Mitch Walding- Probably, Home Alone is my favorite Christmas movie. It's a funny movie. You can always get a good laugh out of it.

Nic Hanson- I would probably say Elf, because Will Ferrell is hilarious.

Art Charles- My favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Classic movie that has always been my favorite since I was younger. Love how he sets up traps for the burglars and uses what he has around the house as his weapons...and of course they all worked like a charm. Gotta love how the kid outsmarts the burglars and how he is always one step ahead of them. Definitely made me wish I could throw bricks off the top of a roof and set up traps for someone.

Cameron Rupp- Favorite movie would have to be Elf! I still act like Buddy when Santa is coming.


What is your favorite Christmas song?

Crawford- My favorite Christmas song is the Jackson 5 version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Me and my family always jam to that song.

Leiter- I would say Bruce Springsteen- Santa Claus is Coming to Town. I definitely like Bruce.

Shreve- I think my favorite Christmas song of all time is the Eagle’s rendition of “Please Come Home for Christmas”, but it’s hard to narrow it down because I love Christmas music, and I start listening to it in November.

Hanson- That's a tough one. I always grew up- I grew up and my mom would always play Luther Vandross Christmas songs. So, I guess, I always remember his song "This is Christmas" or something, and my mom would always be playing that around Christmas and I guess that would be it.

Charles- My favorite Christmas song would have to be Feliz Navidad. I like it because it's different and also has a mixture of Spanish and English as well as good vibes. I feel like you can't sing that song and not have fun or enjoy doing it. Great song and has the Christmas feeling.

Rupp- Favorite song would be Santa Claus is coming to town.


What is your favorite Christmas gift from childhood and why does it stand out?

Crawford- Favorite gift I got was my basketball hoop when I was, like, nine. Me and my dad always play and it always is competitive because I hate losing and so does he.

Leiter- My dad has gotten me some great memorabilia. He gave me a Griffey baseball one year. He got me a Griffey jersey one year, because I was a big Griffey fan. I got a decent amount of memorabilia for Christmas and me and him are big on memorabilia, so that was always cool. As far as toys, I remember he used to buy me Starting Lineups every year. So, I would say those, because it was cool to have them and collect different guys.

Shreve- I remember when I was about 12, I got a Ohama Gold baseball bat for Christmas and I think I carried it around for about a week.

Walding- That's tough. I'll have to go with, maybe a bike or something. I'm not sure.

Hanson- That's a good question! Probably a tie between when I got Playstation 2 one year, I remember I was so excited to get that. And then my first shot gun I got. I like to hunt.

Charles- My favorite Christmas gift I received in my childhood was probably my rollerblades. The reason these were such a great gift to me is because a movie came out on Disney called "Brink" and it was about a rollerblader trying to get a sponsorship but also remain a "Soul-Skater" with his friends. It was definitely my favorite movie at the time. All me and my buddies did was skate everywhere trying to do tricks and be apart of "Team Pup 'N Suds" and soul-skate.


What is your favorite food or dish at the holidays and who makes it?

Crawford- Favorite dish is my grandma's chili.

Leiter- I am not sure. I don't think I can give you one, because I like it all.

Shreve- My mom’s corn casserole.

Walding- I guess my grandma makes waffles and pancakes every Christmas morning, so I have to go with that. It's great to be at my grandparents' house and they always have a nice breakfast.

Hanson- We always make a nice ham. A nice Christmas ham and I love ham. I like it better than turkey.

Charles- To be honest I don't have a favorite food or dish during Christmas because all of the food is so good. I always get the best of both worlds because we get together with the family. Everyone brings something and then we just dig in.

Rupp- My favorite food is all of it. (Laughs) It's all good!


What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Crawford- All my family comes down to my house on Christmas.

Leiter- My family comes down and it's not too big of a family, but we get to see everybody at Christmastime. They come down to my house and we don't have to travel. Everyone comes over and it's a good time.

Shreve- It would have to be watching Christmas movies with my family. Another one we have that I enjoy is doing puzzles as a family every Christmas, it takes us about 2 weeks to do the whole thing, because we just do it as we're passing by, but its a tradition nonetheless.

Walding- I mean honestly, just going to my grandparents' house in the morning. You know, the whole family gathers around the living room and we all just hang out and talk and open up presents and I just really love doing that. It's cool. Even after Christmas with the family, I'll go over to one of my friends' houses and we'll all just hang out. And I just really like the gathering of all the friends and family. That's always the best part about it.

Hanson- Not really any tradition other than on Christmas morning, we sit around the tree and, you know, go through the stockings and open presents and stuff. That's basically the only tradition we have.

Charles- My favorite thing about Christmas is that all of my family comes together on this day. I see that as a blessing because everyone works and we don't always get to see each other or spend time, but on Christmas we all unite for a great time. It's a tradition that we all get together at someone's house to visit, eat, have fun, and just enjoy everyone's company. We also do a big gift exchange game at the end of dinner which is also fun as well.


Do you have a Phillies ornament or ornaments from teams you've played with on your Christmas tree?


Leiter- Yeah. Every team. I have one from college, high school, the summer ball teams I played for and we have a Phillies one now.

Shreve- My mom bought a Phillies ornament the year I got drafted. Its just a standard red ball with the Phillies logo in the middle. She also got my brother a Braves one the year he got drafted, but I always make sure the Phils ornament is above the Braves.

Hanson- That's funny. Yeah, we do have a Phillies ornament. I think the year I got drafted, they told my uncle and stuff and he got a little Phillies red logo ball on there.

Charles- I do have an ornament from a team I played for. I don't have a Phillies or Blue Jays one, but I received one from my club team when I was eleven or twelve and I still have it. We did a team gift exchange and after we finished, our coach gave us all an ornament with our names, number, picture, and team initials on it. It was a cool gift. I actually still have it to this day and hang it on the tree each year.

Rupp- Yes, there is a Phils ornament on the tree.


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

Also, check out the 2012 holiday survey, the 2011 version along with the 2010 version

Friday, December 20, 2013

Off-season Check In: Phils Pitching Prospect Nic Hanson

Throughout the off-season, I'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.

This round I chatted with righty pitching prospect Nic Hanson, who had a solid season in the minors for the Phillies this year.  Last year's 16th round draft selection began the season with Class A Lakewood where he sported a 2-2 record along with a 2.49 ERA and a 7.1 K/9 mark in 16 total outings.  Following a groin issue that sidelined him in May, Hanson returned to the BlueClaws, posting a 1.09 ERA over five starts which earned a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater.  In five starts with the Threshers, the California native went 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA.

Following the season, the six-foot-seven 210-pounder made up for some missed time from the regular season by spending time at the fall instructional league.

This week I spoke with Nic about his time at instructs, his off-season routine and plenty more.  Read ahead for that interview.


-Once your season winded down and you begin your off-season, how much time off do you take and how much time passes without picking up a baseball?

I went to the fall instructional league, so I got home in the middle of October.  And I guess I didn't pick up a baseball until about two weeks ago.  So, I think I went two months with my down time.


-Related to your time at instructs, what do you think you took out of your time there that was most beneficial to you?

It was just to work out some mechanical stuff, staying back and getting a little more out of my body and frame and I felt like I got a lot out of it and it was definitely worth it.


-I know that players who go down there would typically get to work with different instructors and coaches than they did during the regular season.  Did you get time with any other coaches and who helped you while you were there?

Well, I got to work with Aaron Fultz again and I've had him the last two years.  It was helpful that he was there, he knows me really well.  And, of course, Steve Schrenk.  I worked with him last year.  And then now, Carlos (Arroyo) was there and he's the new pitching coordinator, so it was cool to try to get a feel of his new ideas and the way he's going to run stuff.  


-Did you have any early impressions of Arroyo while you were down there?

He's a very knowledgeable guy.  Pretty laid back.  Likes to smile, likes to laugh and, you know, I like to do the same, so seems like working with him will be good.


-What is your throwing program like, now that you've gotten back to it?  How do you start out and who do you throw to?

I live with two guys from the Red Sox and my buddy Henry Owens is who I play catch with and we threw- a few days, because we live on the beach, we played catch in the sand, with our toes in the sand, which was pretty fun.  We just start off slow and go 60 feet and work it back to 90, gradually, and just let my arm feel- I kind of play catch according to my arm.  You know, I just gotta work it out.  I haven't started to long toss or anything yet.


-I know some minor league players will work or teach in baseball clinics or hold down other jobs during the off-season to supplement their incomes.  Do you have anything like that going on at this stage of the off-season?

I haven't yet.  I will be coaching a team after the first of the year.  Do a little pitching coach kind of stuff with some younger kids, but as far as "work work", I'm not doing any of that right now.  Teaching kids to play baseball I think is fun.  No retail stuff or anything like that. 


-So, without work taking up your time, are there any hobbies you're into to keep busy this off-season?

Yeah, whenever the waves are good, I'm always in the water getting waves.  And it's been pretty good the past week, so that's always nice to catch some waves and get in the water.  It's been a little chilly, but it's kind of refreshing. 

We surf, body surf, body board, whatever we feel like.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

PhoulBallz Podcast 49: Cameron Rupp Talks Eagles vs. Cowboys

Jay and Tug return with episode 49 of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast and are joined by Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp, who chats about the Phillies' heavy amount of activity at the backstop position this off-season, debuting in the big leagues this year, Carlos Ruiz as a mentor and leader as well as the NFC East rivalry between the Eagles and the Cowboys.  The guys also talk about recent transactions involving Sebastian Valle and Lou Marson, Roy Halladay's retirement plus much more.

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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Watson to Undergo Shoulder Surgery

To follow up on a previous story, Phillies right-handed pitching prospect Shane Watson learned this week that rehab would not be enough to allow his ailing shoulder to return to form and he'll require surgery.

Watson, the Phils' top draft choice in 2012, missed time during the regular season with a shoulder issue, but had rehabbed through the fall instructional league and was thought to be in good health until recently.  On a the latest edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast, Watson told me that he woke up one day in November with considerable discomfort in his joint and the pain worsened over the week that followed. The 21-year-old also admitted that the issue, which has kept him out of action since July, initially popped up in 2012 when he was playing racquetball.

admitted that the issue, which has kept him out of action since July, initially popped up in 2012 when he was playing racquetball. - See more at: http://philliesnation.com/archives/2013/12/watson-shoulder-injury-occurred-while-playing-racquetball/#sthash.yHoLtgN8.dpuf
admitted that the issue, which has kept him out of action since July, initially popped up in 2012 when he was playing racquetball. - See more at: http://philliesnation.com/archives/2013/12/watson-shoulder-injury-occurred-while-playing-racquetball/#sthash.yHoLtgN8.dpuf
admitted that the issue, which has kept him out of action since July, initially popped up in 2012 when he was playing racquetball. - See more at: http://philliesnation.com/archives/2013/12/watson-shoulder-injury-occurred-while-playing-racquetball/#sthash.yHoLtgN8.dpuf
Earlier this month, Watson was diagnosed by Phillies team doctor Michael Ciccotti with an enlarged capsule.  The procedure, which will occur in January in Los Angeles, will help to correct inflammation and clear more room for the arm to move in the socket.  If things go as expected, Watson would miss three months total.

After a difficult start to the 2013 regular season, in which he posted a 6.35 ERA in his first 12 starts with Class A Lakewood, the California native sported a 0.86 ERA in his final four outings prior to being sidelined. Overall in 16 starts, Watson posted a 4-6 record, a 6.62 K/9 mark and a .230 batting average against.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Off-season League Notes: Valle Looking Good, Bastardo Stays Hot

Throughout the fall and winter seasons, our weekly rundown reviews how Phillies players are performing in the various off-season leagues around the globe. Read ahead for the latest on many familiar names, some top prospects and plenty more.


Mexican Winter League...

Sebastian Valle, Image- Jay Floyd
Catcher Sebastian Valle- The righty batting 23-year-old had a big day on Sunday for Los Mochis.  Playing right field, Valle went 3-for-4 with a homer and an RBI.  Overall in 36 games, Valle is batting .286 with with seven doubles, two home runs and seven RBI.  Valle posted a .203 batting average with 12 homers and 41 RBI in 98 games with Double-A Reading this year.

RHP Kevin Munson- The 24-year-old, who was picked up by the Phillies in last week's Rule 5 draft from Arizona, has posted a 1.59 ERA with no decisions in five relief outings with Hermosillo.  Munson was a 4th round draft choice by Arizona in 2010.


Dominican Winter League-

LHP Antonio Bastardo- The 28-year-old has a 1-1 record with a 0.71 ERA ERA in 13 relief outings for the Gigantes.  Through 12 2/3 innings, Bastardo has struck out 22 batters while walking four.  In 48 big league games this year, Bastardo sported a 3-2 record with two saves and a 2.32 ERA.

3B/1B Maikel Franco-  The righty batting 21-year-old went 3-for-14 (.231 avg) with a double, a triple and an RBI in his last five games.  Overall, in 41 games, Franco has tallied a .241 average with two home runs, 13 RBI and three steals for the Gigantes.  Franco became highly touted in 2013 as he collected 31 homers and 103 RBI with a .320 batting average in 134 games with Class Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading during the regular season.

Catcher Tommy Joseph- The 22-year-old righty hitter has a .192 average with two doubles and two RBI through nine games for the Estrellas, but hasn't played since November 27th.  Joseph missed considerable time with concussion related issues during the 2013 regular season and batted .179 in 36 minor league games.  Acquired in last year's Hunter Pence trade, Joseph was a 2nd round draft selection by the Giants in 2009.

OF Leandro Castro- The 24-year-old is currently playing in a backup role.  He sports a .254 average with five doubles and eight RBI in 23 games for the Estrellas.  In 117 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, the righty batting Castro tallied a .256 average with eight home runs and 55 RBI.

RHP Luis Garcia- The 26-year-old has a 1-0 record with a 2.38 ERA and a .176 batting average against through 11 games for the Estrellas.  In 24 games at three levels of the minors this year, Garcia posted a 3.73 ERA and a .237 batting average against.

RHP Hector Neris- The 24-year-old sports a 1-0 record along with a 2.45 ERA while striking out four and walking five in 7 1/3 innings pitched for the Toros.  Neris posted a 6-4 record with a 4.55 ERA and a .241 batting average against in 46 games this year for Double-A Reading.

1B/DH Jim Murphy- The 28-year-old Murphy returned to off-season league action last week, going 2-for-7 with a walk and a run scored for Licey.  The 2013 Double-A All-Star had been released by his Venezuelan League team last month.


Venezuelan Winter League-

Shortstop Freddy Galvis- The 23-year-old is batting .288 with 10 doubles, one triple, two home runs and 20 RBI and four stolen bases in 41 games for Zulia.  The switch-hitting Galvis sported a .234 average with six home runs and 19 RBI in 70 big league games with the Phillies this year.

RHP Severino Gonzalez- The 21-year-old, who was honored as the Phils' Paul Owens Award winner this year, has posted a 0-1 record along with an 8.10 ERA and a .414 batting average against in four appearances for La Guaira.  Gonzalez last pitched on November 22nd.  In the regular season, Gonzalez posted a 7-5 record with a 2.00 ERA and a 10.33 K/9 mark in 25 games at three levels of the minors.

LHP Mario Hollands- In six games (two starts), the 25-year-old has a 1.26 ERA with no decisions for La Guaira. Hollands has struck out 12 batters and walked five in 14 1/3 innings. Hollands, the Phils' 10th round draft selection out of UC Santa Barbara in 2010, went 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 27 combined games with Clearwater and Reading this year.

LHP Cesar Jimenez- The 29-year-old has tallied a 0-2 record and a 3.55 ERA in 11 appearances for Lara. Jimenez has struck out 11 and walked five in 12 2/3 innings.  In 19 big league games this year, Jimenez posted a 1-1 record along with a 3.71 ERA and a .226 batting average against.

C Gabriel Lino- In a reserve role, Lino has been getting at bats sparingly for Lara.  The 20-year-old is 0-for-4 this month and is 0-for-6 overall in seven games played.  The right-handed hitting Lino was acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade.

Infielder Andres Blanco- The 29-year-old is batting .214 with a double in 10 games for Magallanes. Blanco, who played with the Triple-A Iron Pigs in 2012, is a .255 hitter in 235 big league games.  The switch-hitting Blanco was re-signed by the Phillies this off-season.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Off-season Check In: Mitch Walding

Throughout the off-season, I'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, third base prospect Mitch Walding, the Phils' 5th round draft selection from 2011, took time to answer some questions about what he's been up to since he wrapped up the 2013 regular season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.

Walding, a California native, batted .224 with 18 doubles, two triples, a home run and 42 RBI this year with Lakewood.  His season wrapped up early as he was sidelined with a rib fracture and missed time in the closing months.  Equipped with a strong arm at the hot corner, the 21-year-old is a quality defender and was dispatched to the Phillies' winter academy in the Dominican Republic, where he made up for some missed time, playing there during November. 

Read ahead to see what the lefty batting Walding had to say about his off-season...


- You ended the regular season on a down note, with the rib injury.  Clearly, you must be back to full health, as the Phillies had you in action here at their Dominican academy.  But, how did the recovery turn out and were there any lasting effects while you were down there, playing?

It was all healed up before I got to the Dominican.  I played all the way through with no issues.  Everything's 100-percent and I'm feeling good!


- I mentioned you spent some time at the Dominican academy.  What can you tell me about your time there?

It was a cool experience.  It was definitely nice to see where a lot of my teammates come from and the lifestyle that they live.  It was cool to be able to go to another country and play ball over there.  Just to basically, to see a different lifestyle and get a little different culture change.  I mean, all in all, it was a good experience and I learned a lot from the coaches there.


- That academy is not the same as the Dominican Winter League, as some people don't realize.  How much of it is working out on the fields and training and is there an exhibition schedule that you are all slated for, while you're there, and is that internal or against other clubs?

Yeah, it's a lot like our instructs down in Florida.  You basically just go and you practice all morning and you take batting practice, and early work, and you play a game.  We played the Yankees or Reds or Mets.  It's kind of just like instructs.  You play different teams around noon, 1 o'clock-ish.


- I know you went down there with some Phillies teammates that you're familiar with, like Larry Greene Jr. and others.  How did you guys adapt or perform during your time down there?

We all did pretty well.  At first, it was a different thing for us, with the different lifestyle and just being in, you know, being in a dormitory kind of setup, living at their complex.  You're living, eating, sleeping baseball everyday.  Where, you know, usually we can go home or get away from the ballpark.  But (at the Dominican Academy), you'll actually stay there, so that was kind of different.  All in all, we had a good time and we bonded more together as buddies and stuff because we were always right next to each other all day long.


- I know some players will hold down jobs to supplement their income or perhaps give back by participating in coaching at baseball clinics.  Do you do anything like that during the off-season right now?

No.  I mean, I might do some baseball stuff with some clinics.  Working wise, no.  I usually don't do that.  I'm just in California, hanging out with my family for the holidays.  I might do a few things with some kids, clinic wise.  But other than that, no, not working. 


- Once you're back from the Dominican, how much down time do you take.  Being there was good for you, as you got to make up for any missed time during the regular season, but afterward, how long do you go before you pick up a bat or get back into fully working out?

I took about a week off.  After about a week, you start getting bored, you have to find stuff to do.  So, I started lifting pretty much right after about a week.  Hitting- I'll kind of start getting back into that here pretty soon.  I haven't hit yet, but I started throwing a little bit, just to make sure my arm's still in shape.  So, mainly just lifting and hitting I'll be doing a couple times a week.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Phils Add a Pitcher, Lose a Pitcher in MLB Rule 5 Draft

As the annual Winter Meetings begin to wind down the Rule 5 draft took place on Thursday and the Phillies lost a player while gaining another.  Right-hander Kevin Munson was selected by the Phils from Arizona while the Mets took righty hurler Seth Rosin from the Phillies.

With Double-A Mobile in 2013, Munson was a mid-season All-Star, posting a 2-2 record with a 3.41 ERA, 13 saves and a .157 batting average against in 29 relief outings.  Following a promotion to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, which is often considered tough on pitchers, the six-foot-one 215 pounder sported a 0-2 record along with a 5.09 ERA, one save and a .269 batting average against in 24 relief appearances for the Reno Aces.  Additionally, Munson combined to tally a 10.87 K/9 mark at the two levels last year.

Scouting reports on Munson state that he has a low-90's fastball and a plus slider.  He projects to be a late inning reliever.  Munson was a 4th round draft selection by Arizona in 2010.

In five outings for Hermosillo in the Mexican Winter League, Munson has 1.59 ERA with two strike outs and one walk through 5 2/3 innings.

Rosin, also a Double-A All-Star last season, with Reading, was acquired from San Francisco in the 2012 Hunter Pence trade.  In 26 games (23 starts) with Reading last season, Rosin sported a 9-6 record with a 4.33 ERA while striking out 96 and walking 35 in 126 2/3 innings.

This is the second straight year the Phillies took a player from Arizona.  Last December, the team selected outfielder Ender Inciarte from the D-Backs, but lost him back to Arizona.  Rules require the selecting team to keep the selected player on their 25-man big league roster for the entire 2014 season, or offer him back to the team he was drafted from.

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 four years, OR 2) were signed at age 18 or younger and have been in that organization for five years.

*Update- Rosin was swiftly traded by the Mets to the Dodgers.  The same Rule 5 requirements of sticking on the major league roster will apply to Rosin with his latest new organization.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Halladay Retires, Offers Thanks to Phils Fans


The Phillies have been quiet thus far at the annual MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando FL, but one storyline impacted Philadelphia fans a great deal.  On Monday, Roy Halladay, who helped the Phils lock down two division titles announced his retirement from playing baseball.

Halladay, an eight-time All-Star, signed a one-day contract with Toronto in order to retire as a member of the team that drafted him.  Proving to be a class act that he has always been regarded as, Halladay and his family took out a full-page ad in the Philadelphia Daily News thanking the Phillies organization and their fans for their dedication to him during his time in town.


The text of the ad reads as follows...
"To the City of Philadelphia, and Phillies fans everywhere:

My family and I want to thank you for four amazing years. We have so many great memories of our time with the Phillies, on and off the field, and we will cherish those always. We want to also express our appreciation to my teammates and the wonderful people of the Phillies organization, especially Ruben Amaro and David Montgomery, for all they have done for us. And to the fans, thank you for always making us feel welcome here and for all your support at Citizen’s Bank Park."

The retirement caught many by surprise.  Halladay, 36, spoke of his intent to continue to pitch in the majors all through last season.   During a rehab stop in Lakewood less than four months ago, the veteran expressed his desire to continue to chase a World Series ring, stating that if there was a chance to sign with a team that gave him a great change to lock down that achievement in 2014, he might offer to pay that team to play for them.  Halladay cited his lengthy career and previous large paydays as reasons he was not focused on a need to prove himself for his next contract.

Overall in 16 big league seasons, Halladay posted a 203-105 record along with a 3.38 ERA over 416 games.  Additionally, he won two Cy Young Awards, led the league in complete games seven times and pitched the second ever post-season no-hitter against the Reds in 2010.

Halladay came as touted, as one of the big leagues' best hurlers, early in his time with the Phils.  In his first 73 games with the team, including the post-season, "Doc" pitched longer than 6 1/3 innings 59 times (81% of the time).  After some time, however, it was clear that Halladay was no longer an elite pitcher, as injuries spoiled his dominance and durability.  In his final 29 games with the Phils, Halladay pitched more than 6 1/3 innings just eight times (27.5% of the time).

While Halladay will be missed, fans may consider thanking him, not only for his time and effort pitching in Philadelphia, but also for making a decision for team general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.  The Phillies' GM seems to be passing on every possible opportunity to get the roster younger and, although there's been no solid rumors of the like, he could very well have extended a contract offer to Halladay, if the three-time 20-game winner had been receptive.  Amaro has added some mid-30's players this year that will keep blossoming prospects out of next year's lineup.  Be thankful for Doc's years in red pinstripes, but also be thankful that Ethan Martin and Jonathan Pettibone will have an easier route to the 2014 Phillies pitching staff.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Off-season League Notes: Details on Franco, Bastardo, Galvis and more

Throughout the winter season, our weekly rundown reviews how Phillies players are performing in the various off-season leagues around the globe. Read ahead for the latest on many familiar names, some top prospects and plenty more.

Dominican Winter League...

Maikel Franco, image- gigantessfm.com
Maikel Franco-  In 37 games the righty batting Franco has tallied a .237 average with seven doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI and three steals for the Gigantes.  The 21-year-old had a standout 2013, mashing 31 homers and driving in 103 runs in 134 games with Clearwater and Reading during the regular season.
3B/1B

LHP Antonio Bastardo- The 28-year-old has a 0-1 record with a 0.84 ERA ERA in 11 relief outings for the Gigantes.  Through 10 2/3 innings, Bastardo has struck out 19 batters while walking two.  In 48 big league games this year Bastardo sported a 3-2 record with two saves and a 2.32 ERA.

Catcher Tommy Joseph- The 22-year-old righty hitter has a .192 average with two doubles and two RBI through nine games for the Estrellas.  Joseph missed considerable time with concussion related issues during the 2013 regular season and batted .179 in 36 minor league games.  Joseph was a 2nd round draft selection by the Giants in 2009.

OF Leandro Castro- The 24-year-old sports a .237 average with five doubles and six RBI in 20 games for the Estrellas.  In 117 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, the righty batting Castro tallied a .256 average with eight home runs and 55 RBI.

RHP Luis Garcia- The 26-year-old has a 1-0 record with a 3.12 ERA and a .185 batting average against through nine games for the Estrellas.  In 24 games at three levels of the minors this year, Garcia posted a 3.73 ERA and a .237 batting average against.

RHP Hector Neris- The 24-year-old sports a 1-0 record along with a 2.45 ERA while striking out four and walking five in 7 1/3 innings pitched for the Toros.  Neris posted a 6-4 record with a 4.55 ERA and a .241 batting average against in 46 games this year for Double-A Reading.


Venezuelan Winter League-

Shortstop Freddy Galvis- The 23-year-old is batting .302 with nine doubles, one triple, two home runs, 17 RBI and four stolen bases in 36 games for Zulia.  The switch-hitting Galvis sported a .234 average with six home runs and 19 RBI in 70 big league games this year.

RHP Severino Gonzalez- The 21-year-old, who was honored as the Phils' Paul Owens Award winner this year, has posted a 0-1 record along with an 8.10 ERA and a .414 batting average against in four appearances for La Guaira.  Gonzalez last pitched on November 22nd.  In the regular season, Gonzalez posted a 7-5 record with a 2.00 ERA and a 10.33 K/9 mark in 25 games at three levels of the minors.

LHP Mario Hollands- In four games (one start), the 25-year-old is sporting a 0.96 ERA with no decisions for La Guaira. Hollands has struck out nine batters and walked three in 9 1/3 innings. Hollands, the Phils' 10th round draft selection from 2010, went 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 27 combined games with Clearwater and Reading this year.

LHP Cesar Jimenez- The 29-year-old has tallied a 0-1 record and a 4.70 ERA in seven appearances for Lara. Jimenez has struck out eight and walked four in 7 2/3 innings.  In 19 big league games this year, Jimenez posted a 1-1 record along with a 3.71 ERA and a .226 batting average against.

Infielder Andres Blanco- The 29-year-old is 2-for-11 (.182 avg) in nine games with Magallanes. Blanco, who played with the Triple-A Iron Pigs in 2012, is a .255 hitter in 235 big league games.  The switch-hitting Blanco was re-signed by the Phillies this off-season.

Mexican Winter League...

Catcher Sebastian Valle- The righty batting 23-year-old has hit safely in four straight games and has played some left field recently.  Overall in 33 contests for Los Mochis, Valle is sporting a .258 average with seven doubles, a homer and four RBI.  Valle posted a .203 batting average with 12 homers and 41 RBI in 98 games with Double-A Reading this year.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 48: Shane Watson Speaks on Shoulder Issues

On the 48th edition of the show, Tug and Jay are joined by Phillies pitching prospect Shane Watson who chats about his shoulder setback, his love for Philadelphia, endorsement deal and more.  The guys also talk about the Phils' acquisitions of Brad Lincoln and Wil Nieves, Kevin Frandsen's Twitter anger and other off-season dealings.

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.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Watson Has Shoulder Setback

Watson with Lakewood in 2013, image- Jay Floyd

Righty pitching prospect Shane Watson is dealing with another setback related to his throwing shoulder. The Phillies’ first round draft choice from 2012 visited team physician Michael Ciccotti in Philadelphia this week and was diagnosed with an enlarged capsule. Watson is back in Florida and is slated to rehab the injury through early next week at which time he will be reevaluated. If the shoulder hasn’t improved at that time, surgery will be in order to correct the issue.

Watson and Dr. Ciccotti are optimistic about a return to the mound, whether surgery is needed or not.

The 20-year-old missed considerable time during the 2013 regular season with inflammation in the joint then rehabbed the ailment at the Phillies’ spring training headquarters in Clearwater, FL through the closing months of the season and throughout the fall instructional league season.

After a rough start to the 2013 regular season, in which he posted a 6.35 ERA in his first 12 starts with Class A Lakewood, the California native sported a 0.86 ERA in his final four outings prior to being sidelined in July. Overall in 16 starts, Watson posted a 4-6 record, a 6.62 K/9 mark and a .230 batting average against.

Watson will be a guest on the PhoulBallz Podcast on Thursday to further address the concerns with his health.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Off-season League Notes: Bastardo Shines, Hernandez Leaves Team

Throughout the autumn and winter months, we'll have a weekly rundown of how Phillies players are performing in the various leagues around the globe. Read ahead for the latest on many familiar names, some top prospects and plenty more.

Dominican Winter League...

LHP Antonio Bastardo- The 28-year-old has a 0-1 record with a 1.04 ERA in nine outings for the Gigantes.  Through 8 2/3 innings, Bastardo has struck out 17 batters while walking two.  In 48 big league games this year, before missing time due to a banned substance suspension, the reliever had a 3-2 record with two saves and a 2.32 ERA.

3B/1B Maikel Franco-  The 21-year-old slugged his first homer of the Dominican League season this past week.  Overall, in 32 games the righty batting Franco has tallied a .237 average with six doubles, a home run, 11 RBI and three steals.  Franco had an excellent 2013, mashing 31 homers and driving in 103 runs in 134 games with Clearwater and Reading during the regular season.

Utility man Michael Martinez- The 31-year-old is hitting .200 with a double, a home run and two RBI in eight games with the Estrellas.  Martinez was re-signed by the Phillies in October.

Catcher Tommy Joseph- The 22-year-old righty hitter has a .192 average with two doubles and two RBI through nine games for the Estrellas.  Joseph missed considerable time with concussion related issues this year and batted .179 in 36 minor league games.  Joseph was a 2nd draft pick by the Giants in 2009.

OF Leandro Castro- The 24-year-old sports a .237 average with five doubles and six RBI in 20 games for the Estrellas.  In 117 games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year, the righty batting Castro tallied a .256 average with eight home runs and 55 RBI.

RHP Luis Garcia- The 26-year-old has a 1-0 record with a 3.52 ERA and a .208 batting average against through eight games for the Estrellas.  In 24 games at three levels of the minors this year, Garcia posted a 3.73 ERA and a .237 batting average against.

RHP Hector Neris- The 24-year-old sports a 1-0 record along with a 1.35 ERA while striking out three and walking five in 6 2/3 innings pitched for the Toros.  Neris posted a 6-4 record with a 4.55 ERA and a .241 batting average against in 46 games this year for Double-A Reading.


Venezuelan Winter League-

Second baseman Cesar Hernandez- The 23-year-old is likely done for the season with Margarita, as he requires some rest heading into big league spring training in 2014.  Overall in 31 Venezuelan League games, Hernandez, who has also played center field, posted a .254 average with two home runs, 15 RBI and two steals.  Hernandez batted .289 with five doubles and 10 RBI in 34 games with the Phillies and was honored as a Triple-A All-Star this past season.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis- The 23-year-old recorded back-to-back three-hit games over the weekend.  Galvis is batting .310 with nine doubles, one triple, two home runs, 17 RBI and four stolen bases in 33 games.  The switch-hitting Galvis sported a .234 average with six home runs and 19 RBI in 70 big league games this year.

RHP Severino Gonzalez- The 21-year-old, who was honored as the Phils' Paul Owens Award winner this year, has posted a 0-1 record along with an 8.10 ERA in four appearances for La Guaira.  In 6 2/3 innings in the Venezuelan League, Gonzalez has struck out five batters and walked seven.  In the regular season, Gonzalez posted a 7-5 record with a 2.00 ERA and a 10.33 K/9 mark in 25 games at three levels.

LHP Mario Hollands- In three games (one start), the 25-year-old is sporting a 1.17 ERA with no decisions. Hollands has struck out six batters and walked two in 7 2/3 innings. Hollands, the Phils' 10th round draft selection from 2010, went 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA in 27 combined games with Clearwater and Reading this year.

LHP Cesar Jimenez- The 29-year-old has tallied a 0-1 record and a 4.70 ERA in seven appearances for Lara. Jimenez has struck out eight and walked four in 7 2/3 innings.  In 19 big league games this year, Jimenez posted a 1-1 record along with a 3.71 ERA and a .226 batting average against.

Infielder Andres Blanco- The 29-year-old is 1-for-7 in six games with Magallanes. Blanco, who played with the Triple-A Iron Pigs in 2012, is a .255 hitter in 235 big league games.  The switch-hitting Blanco was re-signed by the Phillies this off-season.

Mexican Winter League...

Catcher Sebastian Valle- The righty batting 23-year-old is hitless in six of his last seven games.  Overall in 29 games for Los Mochis, Valle is sporting a .244 average with seven doubles and four RBI.  Valle posted a .203 batting average with 12 homers and 41 RBI in 98 games with Double-A Reading this year.