Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Off-season check in: 3B prospect Zach Green

Zach Green
Zach Green, image- Jay Floyd
Zach Green entered the 2014 season as one of the Phillies' fastest rising prospects. The swift ascension was halted though, as the 20-year-old third baseman had a difficult go of things early last year and was sidelined with a hip injury, playing hurt for much of the season.

After being drafted in the 3rd round in 2012, the six-foot-three 210-pounder notched a .284 average with three homers and 21 RBI in 47 games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies. He followed up that season with an All-Star campaign in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League, posting a .252 average with a league-leading 13 home runs and 41 RBI in 74 games for Williamsport.

This year the righty batting Green missed roughly seven weeks with the ailment that limited his range for the entire season. When the hip issue became too painful to play with in April, the California native was sporting a .219/.293/.260 slash line. After he returned to action in June, Green tallied a .282/.322/.443 line, proving how productive he could be for the Class A BlueClaws. While trying to recover, the youngster crossed the diamond to man first base in order to continue competing and remain on the field.

Recently, I spoke with Zach, who is now pain-free and working to improve this off-season. Read ahead for details on his routine, who he's working out with, his feelings on last year's health concerns and more.

-What is your off-season routine like right now? What are you doing to begin knocking the rust off after some down time?

It's just like agility stuff and whatever weights I have scheduled. I work with a couple other pro ball guys that are from the Sacramento area. I'm starting to get back into throwing now a little bit and swinging a little bit.

-Who are the guys that you've been working out with?

Max Stassi, who is with the Astros, Ryan Mattheus, who's with the Nationals. He's a pitcher. Danny Hayes, he's with the White Sox, and then Brock Stassi too. He's with us. We go to this place, we got a guy who does some training, it's all for (physical therapy), so if anybody gets banged up in the process, he's there to help us.

-I spoke with Aaron Nola recently...he and a lot of guys that are draft picks out of college always say that their colleges welcome them back to train in the off-season. You were picked out of high school and don't have that same support system. What's your connection to the facility that you guys use?

A lot of the guys from my high school go there. They're one of the best places, man. Sacramento Results. They're a good PT place. But, if I wanted to go back to my high school and use their weight room, they'd be more than happy to let me use it. I was just there, had a little baseball camp that they had going on.

-When you go to a camp like that and get to speak as someone who has been there as a student, or in their shoes, what is the reaction you get from the kids you are able to speak to?

From the kids, they usually have fun questions. They usually ask how many home runs I've hit. You know, what's the farthest ball I've hit. The kids are always funny. And you always have the parents asking about the whole process we go through. So, it's very fun talking with the kids and the adults, of course.

-Over the off-season, do the Phillies mandate anything you have to improve on or work at?

The Phillies they give us this whole thing online that we can go and log in for workouts. They've got a throwing program, they've got a nutritional part on their web site. So, yeah, they take care of us as far as if we have any questions on nutrition, should we be throwing right now, should we be hitting...they have that all set up for us.

-I know you had a tough season, with the injury and all. In retrospect, what are you thoughts on your 2014 campaign?

2014 was rough. I don't think I was ever on a baseball field without pain. But, I guess I just kind of- if I ever do get hurt again, I'll have that experience with it and I'll know how to deal with it better. With that being my first experience with an injury and my first time being out a long time (it was tougher).

-Was there anybody that you bonded with last year that you picked up a lot from or who helped you improve baseball IQ wise?

Yeah, Andrew Knapp, our catcher...he's from out this way. He lives probably 10 minutes away from me. And he's older, he's a college guy. We were together (in 2013) in Williamsport and again this year, so then we were together again this year and we've gotten to talk a little more. I've seen him a few times this off-season and our friendship kind of grew. His dad played pro baseball, so he's got a really good baseball IQ and anytime I want to talk some hitting or just talk baseball, he was definitely my go-to guy this year.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Off-season check in: RHP Aaron Nola

Last June, Aaron Nola was selected 7th overall in the MLB amateur draft by the Phillies. Just months later, he is widley considered one of the organization's most promising prospects.

After sporting an 11-1 record and a 1.47 ERA and being named a collegiate First Team All-American at Louisiana State University this year, the righty went on to post a 4-3 record as well as a 2.93 ERA along with 45 strike outs and 10 walks in 55 1/3 innings over 12 professional appearances.

Nola, 21, is working hard this winter to improve what already is an exceptional arm. Recently, I spoke with the six-foot-one 195-pounder about his efforts this off-season, working with his brother and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.

-How have you been keeping busy this off-season?

I've just been hanging out and doing little hunting and fishing trips. Kind of just keeping my mind off of baseball for some time, but now that I've started throwing again a couple weeks ago, I'm back into baseball, back into the swing of it. And ever since I started throwing, I just want that season to come sooner.

-What is the work out routine for you at this stage and is it mandated by the Phillies?

Yeah, they have a workout program on their website and I kind of go off of that and kind of plan my workouts around that and do a lot of the stuff that they've got me and a lot of the guys through the off-season. They've got the throwing program lined up and I go off of that. It's been pretty helpful.

-As a pitcher, do you have someone that you typically pair up with to get your work in?

I do. Some of the guys that I played with over at LSU, they train there and they're with different organizations right now, but some of them are over at LSU, training on the field. What's easiest for me is actually I throw with my brother, Austin (an infielder in the Miami system). He catches me and he gives me some great feedback.

-And you've both got free run of the facilities at LSU there over the off-season?

Oh, yeah. They open it up to all the former athletes that played at LSU, which is awesome, because we can go there and train and you can do whatever you want there.

-You mentioned being around campus a lot, which could make this fall and winter similar to last year, but I imagine the biggest difference of your baseball off-season is being able to focus on your body much more without all the classes...

Yeah. When I was at LSU the past couple years, especially last year, this time I'd just be getting done with exams. But this time, my focus is completely on training and it's easier on me and easier on my mind. I've enjoyed it.

-Being highly ranked among Phillies prospects so early in your career, what type of effect can that have on your outlook, if any?

Well, I try not to at that and look at it that way. I'm still myself and I still have goals and I still just want to go out and do the best that I can. Leave everything out on the field and try not to get on all this other stuff and these rankings. I just want to go out and do what I can do and play to the best of my ability and everything will take care of itself.

-Do you have an estimated time of arrival for spring training yet?

I'll probably show up around the 12th or 13th (of February), but I may go earlier than that. I'll just play it by ear.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Frosty Phillies Favorites: 2014 Player Christmas Survey

Matt Imhof, photo editing- Eric Floyd
Everybody loves the holidays and baseball players are certainly no different. Each year at Christmas time, I survey a group of Phillies prospects about what they get excited for during the holiday season.

Players that took part in this year's questionnaire include 2014 second round draft selection lefty hurler Matt Imhof, this year's 7th overall pick right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola, top pick from 2012 righty pitcher Shane Watson, second baseman Andrew Pullin, righty pitcher Tyler Viza as well as third baseman Zach Green.

Questions and answers detailing each player’s holly jolly holiday favorites are ahead…

What is your favorite holiday movie or TV show?

Imhof- I've always been a big fan of Charlie Brown Christmas. That's a huge one for me. I watch it every year. I've watched it ever since I was little. It's a tradition in the Imhof household. We all get together and watch it.

Nola- Favorite holiday movie...I saw Home Alone on the other night and that's a holiday classic for me.

Watson- I have two top Christmas movies. First would be A Christmas Story and number two would be The Polar Express.

Pullin- Favorite movie is A Christmas Story because I always watched it when I was younger.

Viza- My favorite Christmas movie is "Its a Wonderful Life" simply for the meaning behind it. The main character wished he wasn't born and then realized how many lives that he had touched throughout his lifetime. Very sentimental movie to always remember not to take life for granted.

Green- Christmas Vacation. That's number one.

What is your favorite thing to eat at Christmas and who makes it?

Imhof- It's got to be the holiday ham made by my mom. I've always been huge ham guy and that's my number one. Hands down.

Watson- I love marshmallow Rice Krispies treats that my gramma makes.

Pullin- I love stuffed mushrooms and I make it.

Viza- My favorite holiday food would be my mother's home made chocolate chip cheesecake. Nothing beats it.

Green- It's coming from my mom. My mom's an amazing cook. Wow...there are so many. It has to be all of it. I can't pinpoint one thing. Everything she makes is all fantastic. But, I'm a big ham guy with the mashed sweet potatoes, I guess.

What is your favorite gift from childhood that stands out in your memory?

Imhof- When I was seven or eight and my parents got me my first Razor scooter. We actually went up to my grandma's up in Washington and I was so upset that Santa wasn't going to know where we were, because we weren't going to be at our house and Santa wouldn't get the gifts to the right place and I had a gift waiting for me from Santa on Christmas day and it was the Razor scooter and I swear to God, me and my sister rode those things for eight straight hours.

Nola- Probably the Sandlot movie. I watched it over and over and kind of wore it out.

Watson- Favorite gift was my Red Rider BB gun when I was seven or eight years old. My dad gave it to me. Not worried about the naughty list though...I'd shoot windows and anything that I could break. I was a trouble maker for sure.

Pullin- One year my uncle gave me three autographed bats! One signed by Willie Mays, one by Hank Aaron and the other by Frank Robinson.

Viza- My most memorable gift would be being with my family for this day every year.

Green- I remember when I was 11 year old, my dad got me my first wood bat. It was a used maple bat that had my name on it and that was the coolest thing ever. I couldn't wait to hit with that thing.

What is your favorite Christmas song?

Imhof- I'm a big Rudolph fan. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

Nola- Usually, some country singer that sings a holiday song.

Watson- I can't decide on one song because I like them all.

Pullin- My favorite is Bing Crosby's White Christmas because it reminds me of my grandma.

Viza- My favorite Christmas song is Jingle Bells, simply for it being so cliche of a song.

Green- Marian Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" is probably number one. Old Mariah Carey, she was a babe, man. She could sing it and that was a Christmas classic. What's funny, though, is growing up my sisters were really into N Sync and that N Sync Christmas album. Ever since we were little we always played that. So, I guess, the N Sync album we listen to a lot and, of course, The Beach Boys.

Is there a Phillies ornament on your family's Christmas tree?

Imhof- There is! The first thing my mom did when I was drafted...I think she bought it in July. Yeah, she can be a little over the top at times. There's one on there.

Nola- I actually think there is. My mom said something about it the other day, but I haven't seen it yet. I'll have to check it out.

Pullin- Yes, there is a Phillies ornament on my tree.

Do you recall the discovery of the upsetting news about Santa that we all find out in our childhood?

Imhof- Aw! That is something that's burned in my memory. I have an older sister and she's a couple years older than me and I think she's the one that let me in on Santa's secret. I was in a car in some shopping center and I was out of control screaming. I couldn't handle it. My sister dropped the bomb on me.

Nola- I heard my parents talking one day and I was really young. And how I really found out was that I lost a tooth, put it under my pillow, didn't tell my parents and I never got money from the Tooth Fairy. That's how I found out.

Watson- Wait! Santa isn't real?

Green- I think I was in 3rd grade and my parents did not do a really good job of hiding their Christmas presents. I saw a bunch of gifts. On Christmas, there was stuff I got from Santa that I had seen in the garage earlier, so that was a bummer. I didn't say anything. I didn't really want to talk about it.


Also, check out previous editions of the holiday survey- 2013 edition, 2012 edition, 2011 edition and 2010 edition.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Off-season league notes: Astudillo, Herrera staying hot

Baseball goes year-round.  All across the globe, Phillies players are in action and we've got the rundown on how they are performing.  Read ahead for all the details.

Venezuelan Winter League-

Willians Astudillo, a corner infielder and backstop who has been playing a lot of outfield of late, is batting .314 with a homer and four RBI in nine games for Anzoategui. The 23-year-old was the catalyst for the Class A Lakewood team this year, where he finished second in the South Atlantic League with a .333 average.

Odubel Herrera, who was selected by the Phillies in this month's Rule 5 draft, leads the Venezuelan Winter League in average with a .373 mark.  He has also mashed five homers, driven in 25 runs and stolen seven bases in 52 games for La Guaira.  The 22-year-old played second base primarily in the regular season at Double-A Frisco, but has been playing center field in the VWL.

Infielder/outfielder Cesar Hernandez is batting .307 with seven doubles, 15 RBI and six stolen bases in 34 games with Lara. In 66 games with the big league Phillies this year, the 24-year-old switch-hitter batted .237 with a homer, four RBI and a steal.

Catcher Gabriel Lino is batting .227 with six doubles and seven RBI for Lara. The 21-year-old righty batter, who was acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade, played in 90 combined games with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, posting a combined .215 average with five home runs and 34 RBI.

In 16 appearances (nine starts) with Lara, lefty hurler Cesar Jimenez has a 3-5 record with a 3.83 ERA while striking out 44 and walking 12 in 44 innings of work. The 30-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games with the Phillies this year.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis is batting .257 with 12 doubles, a triple, a homer and 18 RBI through 49 games with Zulia. In 43 big league contests this year, the 25-year-old switch-hitter batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

Elvis Araujo sports a 4-0 record with a 0.48 ERA in 15 relief outings for Zulia. He has struck out 18 and walked seven in 18 2/3 innings.  The 23-year-old left-hander, who was signed as a free agent this off-season, posted a 2-1 record with 11 saves, a 3.42 ERA and a 9.00 K/9 mark in 43 combined games with Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron this year.

Righty pitcher Ethan Martin appears to have wrapped up his time in Venezuela.  The six-foot-two 220-pounder sported a 0-1 record with a 4.50 ERA in three outings with five strike outs and four walks over six innings for La Guaira. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 Shane Victorino trade. Martin appeared in two games with the Phillies this year, allowing two earned runs in four innings.

In five appearances for La Guaira, righty Mike Nesseth has allowed nine earned runs in 2 1/3 innings (3.471 ERA). The 26-year-old posted a 2-7 record with a save and a 5.60 ERA in 42 combined outings at Double- Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. The six-foot-five 210-pound Nesseth was the Phils' 17th round pick in 2010.

Infielder Andres Blanco is batting .310 with 10 doubles, two triples and 16 RBI in 32 games for Magallanes. The 30-year-old batted .277 with a homer and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club in 2014.

With Aragua, righty pitcher Manny Martinez has thrown seven scoreless relief appearances. Combined with Class A short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood this year, Martinez, who turns 23 on New Year's eve, posted a 1-4 record with a 5.01 ERA while striking out 34 and walking 17 in 32 1/3 innings over 26 contests.


Dominican Winter League-

Third baseman Maikel Franco is batting .272 with seven homers and 29 RBI in 38 games with the Gigantes thus far. This year in 133 contests with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the righty hitting Franco posted a .257 batting average with 16 home runs and 78 RBI, then made his major league debut in September, tallying a .179 average with two doubles and five RBI in 16 games.

Right-handed reliever Hector Neris extended his scoreless appearance streak to open the DR season to 20 this weekend. In 18 innings for the Toros, Neris has struck out 13 and walked five. The 25-year-old appeared in one game with the Phils this year, earning a win in his big league debut and posted a 3.61 ERA in 48 minor league contests this year.

With the Aguilas, righty pitcher Nefi Ogando has tossed five scoreless appearances. In 5 2/3 innings, Ogando has struck out three and walked one. Earlier this off-season in the Arizona Fall League, the 25-year-old sported a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.07 ERA while striking out 15 and walking four in 14 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Luis Garcia has allowed an unearned run while walking three and striking out three in four innings of work for the Estrellas. In 13 big league games this year, the 27-year-old posted a 6.43 ERA while striking out 12 and walking 13 in 14 innings.

Infielder Angelo Mora has a .143 average with an RBI in four games for the Estrellas.  In 107 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, the 21-year-old sported a  .227/.284/.314 slash line.
Australian Baseball League-

Outfielder Dylan Cozens has a .260 average with eight doubles, five homers, 13 RBI and five stolen bases in 27 games with Melbourne. This year, with Class A Lakewood, the 20-year-old sported a .248 average with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 132 games. The six-foot-six 235-pounder was the Phillies' 2nd round draft selection in 2012.

Catcher Chace Numata is batting .269 with six doubles and 11 RBI in 27 games, also with Melbourne. Numata missed much of the 2014 season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hamate bone prior to the season. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 14th round draft pick in 2010.

Outfielder Brian Pointer has a .200 average with a home run and six RBI in 27 games for Perth. In 123 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, Pointer posted a .246 average with 15 homers, 53 RBI and 16 steals. The 22-year-old lefty batter was the Phils' 28th round pick in 2010.

Third baseman Mitch Walding is batting .239 with four doubles, two homers and 18 RBI in 23 games with Canberra. Walding sported a .237 average with seven home runs and 55 RBI in 108 games for Class A Lakewood this year. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 5th round draft choice in 2011.

Mexican Winter League-

Victor Arano has a 4.76 ERA with 15 strike outs and four walks in 17 innings for Obregon.  In 22 games with Class A Great Lakes this year, Arano tallied a 4-7 record with three saves and a 4.08 ERA and an 8.69 K/9 mark.  The 19-year-old right-hander was acquired as the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers trade this year.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League-

In 16 games for Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin is batting .333 with two doubles and four RBI. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.  Valentin was the other player acquired from the Dodgers for Hernandez.

Catcher Rene Garcia has a .271 average with three doubles, a home run and six RBI in 14 games with Carolina. The 24-year-old righty hitter was signed by the Phillies recently as a minor league free agent. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Off-season check in: 2B Andrew Pullin

Andrew Pullin
Andrew Pullin, image- Jay Floyd
Andrew Pullin put himself on the radar last season with a solid year at Class A Lakewood. The 21-year-old posted a .270 average with nine home runs and 61 RBI in 129 games for the BlueClaws.

A converted outfielder, the Phils' 5th round draft choice from 2012 focused on learning the ways of the infield, in the past couple seasons, and he has become a steady second baseman, impressing the organization's coaches and scouts alike.

I caught up with the six-foot 185-pounder this week. The Washington state native provided details on his fall/winter workout routine, how he's keeping busy this off-season and more.

-What is your current workout routine like and is it mandated by the Phillies?

Yeah. I mostly do the Phillies routine but I also like to swim for a workout and I do speed training drills.

-Is there a goal you have in mind with what you are working on? Anything you're looking to do like add muscle or stamina this off-season?

I am working on increasing my range of motion, strength and speed.


-Are you holding down an off-season job at all? Any details to share on that?

I do have an off-season job. I work at the NW Sports Hub. It's a new 76,000 square foot sports facility in Washington state that's mainly for amateur sports tournaments. It also has a turf infield, so I can do all my work on it.

-Who do you pair up with to get your work in?

I work with Lyle Overbay's brother Jake and we work on outfield and infield drills.

-Do you get to watch the games that go on at the facility. Is there anything there that you've grown interested in?

There is a big pickle ball tournament coming up and I'm interested to see that will be like and there is also a big indoor fast pitch tournament coming up. I think that will be cool to see played inside.

-What else are you doing this off-season to keep busy? Any notable hobbies to share?

Right now with getting ready for next season and working I haven't been able to do a lot, but I do like to go golfing.

-Retrospect point of view...months later, what is your level of satisfaction with your 2014 season?

I thought my season went well. I learned a lot and I thought I improved in a lot of areas. And I felt at the end of the season I was more patient at the plate and I was having better at bats.

- What was the highlight of last season for you?

I really enjoyed playing in front of the big crowds. Lakewood has great fans.

-Do you have an arrival date slated for spring training yet?

No, I don't yet but I'm excited to get back.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Off-season check in: RHP Tyler Viza

Tyler Viza 1
Tyler Viza, image- Jay Floyd
Righty hurler Tyler Viza had a noteworthy season in his first full year in the pro ranks in 2014. After being the Phillies' 32nd round draft choice in 2013 and posting a 1-0 record with a 1.41 ERA in 12 games with the rookie level Gulf Coast League team, the Arizona native dealt with considerable struggles this year. Notching Class A Lakewood's all-time record for losses, with his 3-17 record, the six-foot-three 170-pounder held tough, sticking in the BlueClaws' rotation for the full campaign, sporting a 5.29 ERA with 80 strike outs and 24 walks issued in 126 innings pitched over 24 starts.

Not discouraged by the infamous achievement, the 20-year-old is looking forward to a fresh start in the upcoming season and has been focused to stay in shape and improve during the fall and winter months.

This week, I spoke with Viza about how he's maintaining his conditioning, how he feels about last season in retrospect and more. Read ahead for the full interview.

-Off the top, I'm just wondering what your current workout routine is. Any gym training, cardio, that sort thing you're doing to keep in shape?

As of right now my off season routine consists of throwing on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Each of those are followed by an upper body workout. On the rest of the days, those are my leg and core workout days.

-Is the fitness routine provided by the Phillies, or something you put together yourself?

My workouts consist of lifts that the Phillies provide for us and a little bit of lifts that I did throughout the season that I benefited from.

-What is the most different about this off-season compared to ones in the past?

This off-season is different from last because I am trying to get my body and mind to a place where I can come into spring training ready to go. I feel as though I am in the best shape of my life so far and I am very antsy to get back on the mound this (upcoming) season.

-Are you holding down an off-season job at all? Any sort of coaching or clinics you're helping with?

I am doing little lessons here and there for younger ball players, trying to give back to the community.

-Retrospect point of view...months later, what is your level of satisfaction with your first full pro season?

Looking back on the season, I feel as though I learned a lot about myself and the pitcher that I want to become. I had some difficult times, as any player does in their career, and I was determined not to let the game beat me up and to learn from my mistakes moving forward. I am very happy that I got to learn and experience this earlier in my career.

I am very excited once again to get back at it this year.

Friday, December 12, 2014

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 73: Matt Imhof Interview

On the 73rd edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast Tug and Jay are joined by lefty pitching prospect Matt Imhof, who was the Phillies' 2nd round draft choice this year. Additionally, the guys talk about the Phils' rebuild mode kicked off by the team trading former National League MVP Jimmy Rollins and what Rollins', as well as other core team members', places in team history should be. Wondering if Cole Hamels is next to go and the organization's cranky fan base are also a topics of discussion.

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.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Phillies nab two minor league hurlers in return for Rollins

At long last, it was announced on Thursday what the Phillies would obtain in return for franchise all-time hits leader Jimmy Rollins. Righty pitcher Zach Eflin and lefty Tom Windle are the players headed east.

On Wednesday, news leaked that the Phillies and Dodgers agreed on a deal for the three-time All-Star and 2007 National League most valuable player, Rollins, but it wasn't know what the Phils would get in the swap for close to 24 hours.

The 20-year-old Eflin was the Padres' first round draft choice (33rd overall) in 2012 and had just been acquired from San Diego in the deal for Matt Kemp. With Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore this year, Eflin, who stands six-foot-four and weighs 200 pounds, tallied a 10-7 record along with a 3.80 ERA and a 6.5 K/9 mark in 24 starts.

Scouts like Eflin's excellent change up and his fastball sits in the low 90's with potential to increase. His pitch menu also includes a slider.

Windle, a six-foot-four 215-pounder, was the Dodgers' 2nd round draft choice in 2013. In 26 games (25 starts) with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga last season, the 22-year-old University of Minnesota product posted a 12-8 record with a 4.26 ERA and a 7.2 K/9 mark.

His fastball velocity can reach the mid-90's. Windle's repertoire also features a solid slider and a change up that is said to need improvement.

It's likely that both of these pitchers will make their way into Phillies Nation's top prospect rankings that begin their annual countdown roughly four weeks from now.

Phils add two, lose three in Rule 5 draft

Herrera
Odubel Herrera
In the major league portion of the yearly Rule 5 draft that took place this morning at the MLB Winter Meetings, the Phillies selected 2B/SS Odubel Herrera from the Texas Rangers and lefty hurler Andy Oliver from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Each player must remain on the Phillies' big league roster for the entire 2015 season or would have to be offered back to the team they were selected from.

Last season combined at Class A Advanced and Double-A in the minors, the 22-year-old posted a .315/.383/.388 slash line with 21 steals in 125 games. He has played 135 of his 574 pro games at the position that is of most concern with the reported trade of Jimmy Rollins, shortstop. Defensively, it is said that Herrera has some progress to make with the glove, but with 10 games played in the outfield last year, he touts the versatility that enhances his value as a bench player, if the Phils are to keep him on their roster next year.

Currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League, 5-foot-11 lefty batter sports a league-best .374 batting average with a .986 OPS in 42 games with La Guaira, the same team that Phils pitching prospects Ethan Martin and Mike Nesseth play for.

Oliver, who touts questionable control (7.6 BB/9 in 77 games the past two seasons at Triple-A Indianapolis), fills a void in a collection of lefties competing for a big league spot in spring traning next year after the dealing of Antonio Bastardo.

As a reliever last year, the 27-year-old, who has big league experience with the Tigers, tallied a 3-4 record with 13 saves and a 2.53 ERA and a .157 BAA.

In the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, the Phillies elected not to make any selections, but had a trio of players plucked from their organization.

Righty hurler Kyle Simon was taken by Colorado. He had been acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade. In 36 games with Double-A Reading last year, the 24-year-old posted a 5-2 record with three saves and a 2.64 ERA.  He also appeared in 10 games at the Triple-A level, posted a 9.42 ERA while striking out eight and walking 10 in 14 1/3 innings.

Delvi Francisco, a right-handed reliever, had been converted to the mound after spending two seasons in the outfield. The 22-year-old sported an 8.29 ERA in 22 games with Class A Lakewood last year.

Outfielder Peter Lavin was taken by the Dodgers. The 26-year-old was a 20th round draft choice in 2011. He posted a .287/332/.441 slash line in 128 combined games with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading last season.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

2014 Phillies Rule 5 Draft Primer

Rule5The MLB Winter Meetings haven't resulted in much excitement for Phillies fans thus far, but Thursday's Rule 5 draft could have some bearing on the team's near future, if the Phils have their way.

Phillies Rule 5 selections in recent years that ended up being returned to their original teams include Ender Inciarte (2012) and Kevin Munson (2013). Players that remained with the Phils for the entire following season in recent years include Michael Martinez (2010) and David Herndon (2009).

Righty hurler Seth Rosin was taken from the Phillies in last December's Rule 5 draft and was returned to the organization after officially being property of three different teams in the interim time.

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.

Three minor league pitchers were recently added to the Phils' 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Those hurlers were lefties Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan and right-hander Nefi Ogando.

Players that could draw interest from other teams this week...

OF Zach Collier- The Phils' first round (34th overall) selection from 2008 hasn't shown a great amount of consistency, but a torrid stretch in August for Double-A Reading this year kept him afloat in the eyes of some. Overall in 86 games for the Fightins last season, the 23-year-old sported a .240 average with a career high nine homers and 29 RBI. In 552 career games, Collier has a .241/.313/.359 slash line. A solid defender, Collier's ceiling may be a big league reserve, but isn't going to be ready for that assignment next season, based on what he showed in 2014.

RHP Colton Murray- The Phils' 13th round draft choice from 2011 had a bit of a breakout year in 2013, posting a 3-7 record with eight saves, a 2.23 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 mark in 47 outings combined for Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Murray, a reliever who regularly clocks his fastball in the mid-90's, also participated in the Arizona Fall League, where he tallied a 0-2 record with a 4.91 ERA in 11 appearances. Murray has a future on the big leagues...whether that's as a "Quadruple-A" injury filler or if he can hold a steady role depends on his progression. Regardless of that uncertainty, he's likely the individual on this list that has the best shot at holding a big league roster spot for the entire 2015 season.

1B/C/LF/3B Willians Astudillo- The Venezuelan posted a .333 average with Class A Lakewood this year, which placed second in the Sally League. The 23-year-old slammed four homers and drove in 61 in 117 games last season. Astudillo, who missed 2013 with an injury, makes great contact and is aggressive at the plate. There isn't a player out there that enjoys himself at the ballpark on a daily basis more than Astudillo and his love for the game is reflected in his output. His ceiling might not be an everyday big leaguer, but he could be a contributor at the upper levels.

Other eligible Phils players include infielder Carlos Alonso and outfielder Peter Lavin, who coaches have told me should see big league time in their futures. In an organization with upper level minor league infield and outfield depth, perhaps another team's front office giving one of these guys a break is what they need.

More eligible names: RHP Kyle Simon, RHP Perci Garner, 1B/3B Harold Martinez, RHP Mike Nesseth, RHP Tyler Knigge and LHP Ethan Stewart. Rosin is also available once more.

Expect the Phillies to be in the market for help on the mound. Statistically, nearly two-thirds of picks made in recent years have been hurlers and you know the way the saying goes...a team can never have too much pitching.

Names worth considering...

RHP Mychal Givens. The 24-year-old was a 2nd round pick in 2009. He has plus velocity and mixes his offerings very well with a deceiving delivery. In 36 games combined with Class A Advanced and Double-A this year, Givens posted a 1-2 record with three saves, a 3.53 ERA, a .189 BAA and an 8.43 K/9 mark.

RHP Greg Infante. The 24-year-old, who stands six-foot-eight, has clocked triple digits with his fastball. As a starter in Class A Advanced this year, Infante posted a 7-9 record with a 3.30 ERA, a .230 BAA and a 5.89 K/9 mark.. He would project as a reliever in the upper levels.

LHP Patrick Schuster. The 24-year-old was the top pick in last year's Rule 5 draft and is eligible again. Combined in 57 games at Double-A and Triple-A this year, Schuster, who was a 13th round draft choice in 2009, sported a 3-2 record with a 3.02 ERA, a .213 BAA and a 7.86 K/9 mark. He is touted as a lefty specialist.

RHP Jandel Gustave. A 22-year-old, the Dominican native hasn't pitched above Class A, but with a high-90's fastball, he might be worth the risk for a team that's not a contender next year. In 23 games (14 starts) in the A level Midwest League last year, Gustave tallied a 5-5 record along with a 5.01 ERA, a .289 BAA and a 9.34 K/9 mark.

Keep it locked here on Thursday for updates on any additions and subtractions resulting from this year's Rule 5 draft.

*An earlier version of this post with details on an extra pick awarded from the Cubs, referenced those details in error.  That grievance was in fact decided last year.  The Phillies elected not to use that pick at that time.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Off-season league updates: Hernandez heats up

Once again, we're back with another weekly rundown of how Phillies players are performing in fall and winter leagues around the globe. Read ahead for all the latest stats and updates.

Venezuelan Winter League-

CesarHernandez
Cesar Hernandez, image- Jay Floyd
After going 17-for-37 (.459 avg) in his last nine games, infielder Cesar Hernandez is batting .356 with five doubles, 13 RBI and three stolen bases for Lara. In 66 games with the Phillies this year, the 24-year-old switch-hitter batted .237 with a homer, four RBI and a stolen base.

Catcher Gabriel Lino is batting .265 with five doubles, four RBI in 19 games for Lara. The 21-year-old, who was acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade, played in 90 combined games with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, posting a combined .215 average with five home runs and 34 RBI.

In 13 appearances (six starts) with Lara, lefty hurler Cesar Jimenez has a 2-4 record with a 3.48 ERA while striking out 29 and walking eight in 31 innings of work. The 30-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games with the Phillies this year.

After a 0-for-4 day on Sunday, shortstop Freddy Galvis is batting .246 with seven doubles, a triple, a homer and nine RBI. In 43 big league contests this year, the 25-year-old switch-hitter batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

Elvis Araujo sports a 4-0 record with a 0.61 ERA in 12 relief outings for Zulia. The 23-year-old left-hander, who was signed as a free agent this off-season, posted a 2-1 record with 11 saves, a 3.42 ERA and a 9.00 K/9 mark in 43 combined games with Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron this year.

Righty pitcher Ethan Martin has a 0-1 record with a 4.50 ERA in three outings with five strike outs and four walks over six innings for La Guaira. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 Shane Victorino trade. Martin appeared in two games with the Phillies this year, allowing two earned runs in four innings.

Also for La Guaira, righty Mike Nesseth has allowed seven earned runs in two innings. The 26-year-old posted a 2-7 record with a save and a 5.60 ERA in 42 combined outings at Double- Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. The six-foot-five 210-pound Nesseth was the Phils' 17th round pick in 2010.

Infielder Andres Blanco is batting .308 with five doubles, a triple, 10 RBI and a stolen base in 20 games for Magallanes. The 30-year-old batted .277 with a homer and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club in 2014.

With Aragua, righty Manny Martinez has thrown six scoreless relief appearances. Combined with Class A short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood this year, the 22-year-old posted a 1-4 record with a 5.01 ERA while striking out 34 and walking 17 in 32 1/3 innings over 26 contests.

Corner infielder/backstop Willians Astudillo is 1-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in one game for Anzoategui after making his season debut this past week. The 23-year-old was the catalyst for the Class A Lakewood team this year, where he finished second in the South Atlantic League with a .333 average.

Dominican Winter League-

Third baseman Maikel Franco is batting .269 with five doubles, seven home runs and 26 RBI through 30 games with the Gigantes. This year in 133 contests with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the righty hitting Franco posted a .257 batting average with 16 home runs and 78 RBI, then made his major league debut in September and tallied a .179 average with two doubles and five RBI in 16 games.

Right-handed reliever Hector Neris extended his scoreless appearance streak to open the DR season to 15 this weekend. In 12 innings for the Toros, Neris has struck out seven and walked four. The 25-year-old appeared in one game with the Phils this year, earning a win in his big league debut and posted a 3.61 ERA in 48 minor league contests this year.

With the Aguilas, righty pitcher Nefi Ogando has tossed two scoreless appearances. In 2 2/3 innings, Ogando has a strike out and has not allowed a walk. Earlier this off-season in the Arizona Fall League, the 25-year-old sported a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.07 ERA while striking out 15 and walking four in 14 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Luis Garcia has allowed an unearned run in two innings of work for the Estrellas. In 13 big league games this year, the 27-year-old posted a 6.43 ERA while striking out 12 and walking 13 in 14 innings.

Australian Baseball League-

Outfielder Dylan Cozens has a .239 average with five doubles, four homers and eight RBI with Melbourne. This year, with Class A Lakewood, the 20-year-old sported a .248 average with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 132 games. The six-foot-six 235-pounder was the Phillies' 2nd round draft selection in 2012.

Catcher Chace Numata is batting .250 with five doubles and seven RBI in 19 games, also with Melbourne. Numata missed much of the 2014 season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hamate bone prior to the season. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 14th round draft pick in 2010.

After going hitless in his most recent six games, outfielder Brian Pointer has a .169 average with three doubles, two triples, a homer and five RBI for Perth. In 123 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, Pointer posted a .246 average with 15 homers, 53 RBI and 16 steals. The 22-year-old lefty batter was the Phils' 28th round pick in 2010.

Third baseman Mitch Walding is batting .226 with a home run and 17 RBI in 16 games with Canberra. Walding sported a .237 average with seven home runs and 55 RBI in 108 games for Class A Lakewood this year. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 5th round draft choice in 2011.

Fans can vote for Numata and Pointer to be the final entrant on the World team for the ABL's upcoming All-Star Game by visiting this link.

Mexican Winter League-

Victor Arano has a 5.79 ERA with 11 strike outs and three walks issued in 14 innings for Obregon. The 19-year-old right-hander was acquired as the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers trade this year. In 22 games with Class A Great Lakes this year, Arano tallied a 4-7 record with three saves and a 4.08 ERA and an 8.69 K/9 mark.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League-

Righty pitcher Yacksel Rios has a 0-1 record after allowing two earned runs in three innings of work for Santurce. The 21-year-old posted a 6-2 record with one save and a 3.69 ERA in 33 games (13 starts) for Lakewood this year. Rios was the Phillies' 12th round draft pick in 2011.

In 16 games for Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin is batting .333 with two doubles and four RBI. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Catcher Rene Garcia has a .265 average with a home run and six RBI in 10 games with Carolina. The 24-year-old righty hitter was signed by the Phillies recently as a minor league free agent.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Phillies off-season league updates: Altherr, Araujo, Franco, Hernandez, more

Baseball never stops and neither does Phillies Nation. It's another weekly edition of the Phillies off-season league rundown featuring updates on players from around the globe. Read ahead for all the info with activity through Saturday.

Venezuelan Winter League-

Aaron Altherr
Aaron Altherr, image- Jay Floyd
Aaron Altherr is done with his time in Venezuela. The righty batting outfielder hit .286 with four home runs, 27 RBI and a stolen base in 31 games for Zulia. The 23-year-old played in two games with the big league Phillies this year. In 127 minor league games in 2014, the Phillies' 9th round pick in 2009 posted a .237 average with 14 HR, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

In 31 games with Zulia, shortstop Freddy Galvis is batting .254 with seven doubles, a triple, a homer and eight RBI. In 43 big league contests this year, the 25-year-old switch-hitter batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

Elvis Araujo sports a 2-0 record with a 0.66 ERA in 11 relief outings for Zulia. The 23-year-old left-hander posted a 2-1 record with 11 saves, a 3.42 ERA and a 9.00 K/9 mark in 43 combined games with Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron this year.

Righty pitcher Ethan Martin returned from a back injury and pitched twice in the past week for La Guaira, allowing three earned runs while striking out four and walking four in four innings of work. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 Shane Victorino trade. Martin appeared in two games with the Phillies this year, allowing two earned runs in four innings.

Also for La Guaira, righty Mike Nesseth has allowed seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old posted a 2-7 record with a save and a 5.60 ERA in 42 combined outings at Double- Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. The six-foot-five 210-pound Nesseth was the Phils' 17th round pick in 2010.

In 21 games, infielder Cesar Hernandez is batting .317 with five doubles, 12 RBI and three stolen bases. Hot of late, Hernandez is batting .379 with eight runs scored in his last seven games. In 66 games with the Phillies this year, the 24-year-old switch-hitter batted .237 with a homer, four RBI and a stolen base.

Catcher Gabriel Lino is batting .317 with five doubles, four RBI in 16 games for Lara. The 21-year-old, who was acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade, played in 90 combined games with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, posting a combined .215 average with five home runs and 34 RBI.

In nine appearances with Lara, lefty hurler Cesar Jimenez has a 2-4 record with a 3.56 ERA while striking out 29 and walking eight in 30 1/3 innings of work in 12 appearances. The 30-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games with the Phillies this year.

Infielder Andres Blanco is batting .367 with five doubles, a triple, eight RBI and a stolen base in eight games for Magallanes. The 30-year-old batted .277 with a homer and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club in 2014.

With Aragua, righty Manny Martinez has pitched three scoreless innings in four appearances. Combined with Class A short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood this year, the 22-year-old posted a 1-4 record with a 5.01 ERA while striking out 34 and walking 17 in 32 1/3 innings over 26 contests.

Corner infielder/backstop Willians Astudillo is 1-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in one game for Anzoategui after making his season debut this past week. The 23-year-old was the catalyst for the Class A Lakewood team, where he finished second in the South Atlantic League with a .333 average.

Dominican Winter League-

Third baseman Maikel Franco is 5-for-34 (.147 avg) in his last nine games with the Gigantes. Through 24 games, the 22-year-old sports a .242 batting average with six home runs and 23 RBI. This year in 133 contests with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the righty hitting Franco posted a .257 batting average with 16 home runs and 78 RBI, then made his major league debut in September and tallied a .179 average with two doubles and five RBI in 16 games.

Right-handed reliever Hector Neris has made 13 scoreless appearances for the Toros while striking out six and walking four in 10 1/3 innings. The 25-year-old appeared in one game with the Phils this year, earning a win in his big league debut.

With the Aguilas, righty pitcher Nefi Ogando tossed a scoreless appearance in his DR League season debut this weekend. Earlier this off-season in the Arizona Fall League, the 25-year-old sported a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.07 ERA while striking out 15 and walking four in 14 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Luis Garcia also made his DR season debut this weekend, allowing an unearned run in an innings of work for the Estrellas. In 13 big league games this year, the 27-year-old posted a 6.43 ERA while striking out 12 and walking 13 in 14 innings.

Australian Baseball League-

Outfielder Dylan Cozens has a .204 batting average with five doubles, three home runs, six RBI and two steals in four tried through 15 contests with Melbourne. This year, with Class A Lakewood, the 20-year-old sported a .248 average with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 132 games. The six-foot-six 235-pounder was the Phillies' 2nd round draft selection in 2012.

Catcher Chace Numata is batting .271 with four doubles and five RBI in 16 games, also with Melbourne. Numata missed much of the 2014 season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hamate bone prior to the season. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 14th round draft pick in 2010.

Outfielder Brian Pointer has a .207 average with three doubles, two triples, a homer and five RBI in 15 games with Perth after going 0-for-12 this weekend. In 123 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, Pointer posted a .246 average with 15 homers, 53 RBI and 16 steals. The 22-year-old lefty batter was the Phils' 28th round pick in 2010.

Third baseman Mitch Walding is batting .218 with a home run and 15 RBI in 14 games with Canberra. Walding sported a .237 average with seven home runs and 55 RBI in 108 games for Class A Lakewood this year. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 5th round draft choice in 2011.

Mexican Winter League-

Victor Arano has a 5.84 ERA and no decisions while striking out nine and walking two over 12 1/3 innings in 10 appearances for Obregon. The 19-year-old right-hander was acquired was the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers trade this year. In 22 games with Class A Great Lakes this year, Arano tallied a 4-7 record with three saves and a 4.08 ERA and an 8.69 K/9 mark.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League-

Righty pitcher Yacksel Rios has a 0-1 record after allowing two earned runs in three innings of work for Santurce. The 21-year-old posted a 6-2 record with one save and a 3.69 ERA in 33 games (13 starts) for Lakewood this year. Rios was the Phillies' 12th round draft pick in 2011.

In 14 games for Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin is batting .273 with a double and two RBI. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Catcher Rene Garcia has a .286 average with a home run and five RBI in eight games with Carolina. The 24-year-old righty hitter was signed by the Phillies recently as a minor league free agent.


This post was originally published on PhilliesNation.com.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Off-season League Updates: Franco slumps, Martin deals with injury

It's time once again for another weekly review of Phillies players' performances and progress in off-season leagues around the globe.

Dominican Winter League-

MaikelFranco
Maikel Franco, image- Jay Floyd
Third baseman Maikel Franco has been in a slump lately, going 3-for-27 (.111 avg) over his last seven games. One positive out of that is that two of his three hits during that time are home runs. Overall in 22 games for the Gigantes, the 22-year-old is batting .239 with six homers and 21 RBI. This year in 133 contests with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the righty hitting Franco posted a .257 batting average with 16 home runs and 78 RBI.

Right-handed reliever Hector Neris has made 11 scoreless appearances for the Toros while striking out five and walking four in 8 2/3 innings. The 25-year-old appeared in one game with the Phils this year, earning a win in his big league debut.

Australian Baseball League-

Power hitting outfielder Dylan Cozens has a .205 average with three homers and six RBI in 11 contests with Melbourne. This year, with Class A Lakewood, the 20-year-old sported a .248 average with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 132 games. The six-foot-six 235-pounder was the Phillies' 2nd round draft selection in 2012.

Catcher Chace Numata has tallied a .295 average with three doubles and four RBI in 12 games, also with Melbourne. Numata missed much of the 2014 season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hamate bone prior to the season. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 14th round draft pick in 2010.

After opening his season 1-for-12, outfielder Brian Pointer has gone 11-for-34 (.324 avg). Overall, Pointer has a .261 average with a home run and five RBI in 12 games with Perth. In 123 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, Pointer posted a .246 average with 15 homers, 53 RBI and 16 steals. The 22-year-old lefty batter was the Phils' 28th round pick in 2010.

Third baseman Mitch Walding is batting .220 with three doubles and eight RBI in 11 contests for Canberra. Walding sported a .237 average with seven home runs and 55 RBI in 108 games for Class A Lakewood this year. The 22-year-old was the Phillies' 5th round draft choice in 2011.

Mexican Winter League-

Victor Arano has allowed seven earned runs in 10 1/3 innings (6.10 ERA) while striking out eight and walking one in eight appearances for Obregon. The 19-year-old right-hander was acquired was the player to be named later in the Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers trade this year. With Class A Great Lakes this year, Arano tallied a 4-7 record with three saves and a 4.08 ERA and an 8.69 K/9 mark in 22 games.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League-

Righty pitcher Yacksel Rios has a 0-1 record after allowing two earned runs in three innings of work for Santurce. The 21-year-old posted a 6-2 record with one save and a 3.69 ERA in 33 games (13 starts) for Lakewood this year. Rios was the Phillies' 12th round draft pick in 2011.

In 12 games for Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin is batting .294 with no extra-base hits and two RBI. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Venezuelan Winter League-

EthanMartin3
Ethan Martin, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Ethan Martin has not pitched since making his VWL debut for La Guaira with two scoreless innings on November 4th. The 25-year-old righty has been sidelined with a back ailment but is expected to return to action this week after pitching some live batting practice as recently as Wednesday. Martin, who was acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 Shane Victorino trade, appeared in two games with the Phillies this year, allowing two earned runs in four innings.

For La Guaira, righty Mike Nesseth made his VWL debut this week, tossing a scoreless appearance in his first outing, then allowing four earned runs in 1/3 inning in his second appearance. The 26-year-old posted a 2-7 record with a save and a 5.60 ERA in 42 combined outings at Double- Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. The six-foot-five 210-pound Nesseth was the Phils' 17th round pick in 2010.

Also, Cam Perkins has remained inactive for La Guaira since returning to the United States for a reported Phillies-ordered reason early this month.

Outfielder Aaron Altherr is batting .286 with four home runs, 27 RBI and a stolen base in 31 games for Zulia. The 23-year-old righty hitter played in two games with the big league Phillies this year. In 127 minor league games in 2014, the Phillies' 9th round pick in 2009 posted a .237 average with 14 HR, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

In 26 games with Zulia, shortstop Freddy Galvis sports a .257 average with seven doubles, a homer and seven RBI. In 43 big league contests this year, the 25-year-old switch-hitting infielder batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

Recent free agent acquisition Elvis Araujo sports a 2-0 record with a 1.00 ERA in eight relief outings for Zulia. The 23-year-old left-hander posted a 2-1 record with 11 saves, a 3.42 ERA and a 9.00 K/9 mark in 43 combined games with Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron this year.

Infielder Cesar Hernandez has been playing third base for Lara. In 15 games, the 24-year-old is batting .310 with four doubles, eight RBI and a stolen base. In 66 games with the Phillies this year, the 24-year-old switch-hitter batted .237 with a homer, four RBI and a stolen base.

Catcher Gabriel Lino is batting .308 with four doubles and three RBI in 12 games for Lara. The 21-year-old, who was acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade, played in 90 combined games with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, posting a combined .215 average with five home runs and 34 RBI.

In nine appearances with Lara, lefty hurler Cesar Jimenez has a 2-4 record with a 3.42 ERA while having struck out 27 and walked six in 26 1/3 innings of work. The 29-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games with the Phillies this year.

Infielder Andres Blanco is batting .367 with three doubles, six RBI and a stolen base in eight games for Magallanes. The 30-year-old recently re-signed with the Phillies after batting .277 with a homer and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club in 2014.

In three appearances with Aragua, righty Manny Martinez has pitched two scoreless frames. Combined with Class A short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood this year, the 22-year-old posted a 1-4 record with a 5.01 ERA while striking out 34 and walking 17 in 32 1/3 innings over 26 contests.