Monday, June 30, 2014

Impact Wrestling Basebrawl Event Images from Lakewood

On Sunday, Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park, home of the Class A BlueClaws, played host to TNA Impact Wrestling's 2014 World Tour.  For a stop in a summer series of events held at minor league baseball venues some of the most talented in-ring performers in the world took part in the company's Basebrawl show.

Gail Kim (pictured above), the world's best female professional wrestler, teamed with Madison Rayne to defeat the team of TNA Knockouts Champion Angelina Love and her partner Velvet Sky.

Madison Rayne, a former TNA Knockouts Champion, is pictured above. 


Jersey's own Robbie E and Jesse Godderz, two CBS reality competition starts, make up a tag team known as the Bro-Mans.  They challenged the TNA World Tag Team Champions, The Wolves, on the card.

Davey Richards and Eddie Edward, The Wolves, were victorious in their tag team title defense against the Bro-Mans.

Former United States Marine "Gunner" lost his bout against "The Cowboy" James Storm.

James Storm, a former World Champion and multi-time World Tag Team Champion, is shown here enjoying a refreshment on the baseball field.


TNA World Heavyweight Champion Bobby Lashley defeated former title holder "Showtime" Eric Young to retain his belt.

Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, who is Impact Wrestling's current authority figure, made an appearance in Lakewood.

"Bully Ray" was victorious in a handicapped match against Rockstar Spud and Ethan Carter III.

Bully is seen here striking considerable fear into his opponent, Spud, who begged for mercy.


Impact Wrestling airs each Thursday at 9PM EST on Spike TV.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Marquis and Sizemore look solid in IronPigs debuts

Jason Marquis, Image- Jay Floyd
Less than a year removed from elbow surgery, right-handed hurler Jason Marquis took to the mound to show the world, but mainly the Phillies, what he can do.

Marquis, who was signed by the Phillies earlier this month, made his organizational debut last weekend, earning a win with five innings of shutout baseball for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

The 35-year-old took the mound in Allentown for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Friday, taking a no decision after tossing six-plus innings, allowing three hits and one run while striking out six and walking one. If not for a troubling effort from the IronPigs' bullpen, Marquis would have notched a win.

He exited the game in the 7th inning after allowing a lead-off single, which ended a stretch of 10 straight batters retired. Jeremy Horst came on in relief and allowed that runner to score. The following frame, Ethan Martin and Cesar Jimenez let up four runs and relinquished the lead to the Twins affiliate Rochester Red Wings, who held on for a 6-5 win.

Lehigh Valley manager Dave Brundage was quite pleased with what he saw from Marquis, who threw 85 pitches, 56 for strikes.

"He felt good. I talked with him the last couple innings and he said that, 'This is as good as I've felt.' I felt like he had accomplished what we set out to do, and that was pitch six outstanding innings," Brundage stated.

After starting 20 games with the Padres last year, Marquis underwent Tommy John surgery in August.

With eight different big league teams, MArquis has tallied a 121-114 record with a 4.56 ERA. He's in the IronPigs' rotation until further notice, according to Brundage.

Grady Sizemore, Image- Jay Floyd
Another player with big league experience donned a Pig snouted cap for the first time on Friday. Outfielder Grady Sizemore, signed by the Phillies this week after he was released by Boston this month, went 1-for-4 with a single and flashed some leather on defense.

The lefty batting Sizemore, who posted a .216/.288/.324 slash line in 52 games with the Red Sox this season, was pleased with how he felt, but said he needed some time before he'll feel 100-percent.

"It's gonna be a couple of days before I get my legs back underneath me and feel normal again," Sizemore said.

There's been no exact game plan given to Sizemore, who plans to just step out on the field daily to show and prove that he can help at the big league level.

"I think (the Phillies) want to watch me and see what it looks like, so I imagine I'll just try to get out there as much as I can and give them a look and see where we're at."

The IronPigs' skipper, Brundage, gave Sizemore a full endorsement after seeing his initial 'Pigs effort, which included a tremendous diving play to rob Red Wings second baseman James Beresford of a hit in the 6th inning.

"I liked what I saw out of Sizemore," Brundage asserted. "He had very good at bats. He didn't look rusty at all. He stepped in and had very competitive at bats."

Sizemore, who played eight seasons and was a three-time All-Star for the Cleveland Indians, reportedly has an out in his contract if he's not called up to the Phillies by the All-Star break. But the 31-year-old says he's looking forward to a chance to play in front of the Philadelphia fans he's heard so much about.

"It's obviously an intense place and a good city to play for. I've never been there, I've never played there, but I hear the fans are into it. And coming from where I came from, you're excited to be a part of something like that."

Friday, June 27, 2014

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 67: Tagg Bozied Interview

On the 67th edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast, Tug and Jay are joined by former minor league slugger Tagg Bozied, who chats about his college career, his time in the Phillies system, playing in China and much more. The guys also discuss the releases of Brody Colvin and Jiwan James, Jesse Biddle's struggles as well as the hot output from the Williamsport Crosscutters' offense.

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, June 26, 2014

OF James released, LHP Biddle inactive

Jiwan James with Reading in 2012, Image- Jay Floyd
For the third straight week the Phillies have cut a former well-regarded prospect that has fizzled at the upper levels, as outfielder Jiwan James was released by the Phillies on Thursday.

The 25-year-old was a 22nd round draft choice in 2007 and was originally a pitcher, going 0-4 with a 7.71 ERA in his initial season as a pro with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. After missing 2008 with a right biceps injury, the athletic James shifted to the outfield, where he became a promising talent.

A member of the 2010 South Atlantic League champion Lakewood BlueClaws team, James set that club's hit streak record when he notched at least one safety in 24 consecutive contests.

James joins former "Baby Ace" Brody Colvin and 2008 first round draft pick Anthony Hewitt on a list of names the Phillies have given up on this month.

After returning from a knee injury that kept him on the shelf for the opening two months of the season, James went 7-for-21 (.333 avg.) in nine games for Double-A Reading. In his pro career James posted a .265 average with a .681 OPS in 466 games as an offensive player.

In other transaction news, lefty hurler Jesse Biddle was placed on the temporary inactive list for Double-A Reading. In four June starts, Biddle has struggled mightily, tallying a 0-4 record along with a 12.64 ERA while walking 14 batters and striking out 12 in 15 2/3 innings.

Prior to the troublesome stretch in recent weeks, Biddle looked like the talented hurler that was widely ranked among the Phillies' best prospects, as he sported a 3-5 record with a 3.14 ERA and a 9.14 K/9 mark after 11 starts.

The 22-year-old did not respond to a request for comment.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mecias is Farm's Lone Bright Spot on Miserable Monday

Despite a hefty amount of bad results out of the Phillies' minor league hurlers on Monday, it was 2013's most impressive hurler who made a return to the mound and picked up right where he left off last year.

On a night when this year's top draft pick Aaron Nola made his pro debut and looked quite mortal, top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle didn't look deserving of that type of hype as he struggled mightily and recently demoted reliever Ethan Martin was touched up while another young standout in Tyler Viza had a weak effort, it was lefty Yoel Mecias' return from Tommy John surgery that should make it all seem better.

Aaron Nola's pro debut, Image- @BaseballBetsy
Nola, the 7th overall selection in this month's MLB amatuer draft, made his first professional start as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers. On the mound against the Lakeland Tigers, the 21-year-old right-hander allowed five runs (four earned) on three hits in 2 1/3 innings, while striking out three and walking three. Nola took the loss, only his second of the year, as he went 11-1 as a junior with LSU, en route to being named a First Team All-American.

Biddle continued his ugly June, as he failed to pitch more than 3 1/3 innings for the third time in four outings. The 22-year-old lefty was tagged for 10 earned runs on eight hits over three innings, as Reading was dropped by Binghamton. Biddle entered this month with a 3.14 ERA, but it has shot up to 5.03 in recent weeks.

Martin, pitching for the first time in more than two weeks, relinquished a 4-2 IronPigs lead, allowing five earned runs in 2/3 inning to Columbus, taking the loss. The 25-year-old right-hander now has a 5.56 ERA in nine games at Triple-A this year.

For Class A Clearwater, typically reliable starter Tyler Viza coughed up eight runs (seven earned) in 3 1/3 innings in a loss to Greensboro. The 19-year-old righty sported a 3.88 ERA through nine starts this season, but has tallied an 8.86 mark over his previous five appearance. Viza was the Phils' 32nd round draft pick last year.

Leave it to lefty Yoel Mecias, a Class-A All-Star last year when he posted a 4-3 record with one save, a 3.79 ERA and an 11.05 K/9 mark, to surprise and make a splash. Making his return to the mound after missing a year following Tommy John surgery last summer, the 20-year-old Venezuelan allowed an earned run in three innings while striking out five and walking none in a loss for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies. This is a great sign for the promising youngster, who was ranked as the Phillies' number 15 prospect by Phillies Nation prior to this season, and a definite positive from a night when every other widely known Phils pitching prospect disappointed.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Phils release OF Gillies

TysonGillies
Tyson Gillies, image- Jay Floyd
In unsurprising news, the Phillies announced on Sunday that they have released troubled outfielder Tyson Gillies.

Gillies had developed a reputation of having behavioral issues, in recent years, as he's been suspended multiple times during his tenure with the Phillies organization. He's also missed significant time with varied injuries since he was part of the trio acquired for Cliff Lee from Seattle in 2009.

Also, Gillies first made a name for himself when he was arrested on drug possession charges in 2010.

The 25-year-old posted a .214/.270/.289 slash line in 43 games with Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.

Marquis looks solid in Phillies organization debut

Newly signed righty hurler Jason Marquis made his Phillies organization debut with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phils on Saturday.

The following tweet features all the details:
Marquis, who has tallied a 121-114 record and a 4.56 ERA in 368 career big league games in 14 season, was inked by the Phillies earlier this month.

Last season, the 35-year-old went 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA for the Padres. Marquis was honored as an All-Star in 2009 with Colorado.

The Phillies expect Marquis to continue his warm-up efforts throughout the minors in the coming weeks.

The other name mentioned in the above tweet, third baseman Damek Tomscha, is 5-for-7 with a double, a homer and two RBI in two games since debuting as a pro player. The 22-year-old was the Phils' 17th round draft pick out of Auburn this year. With the Tigers this year in college, Tomscha sported a .313 average with five home runs and 29 RBI in 54 games.

Friday, June 20, 2014

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 66: Crawford and Green Interviews

On the 66th edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast, Jay's got exclusive remarks from J.P. Crawford and Zach Green about their progress and Jimmy Rollins' all-time Phillies hits record. Tug and Jay also talk about Nic Hanson's recovery from elbow surgery, Roman Quinn's positional switch with Clearwater, Aaron Altherr's promotion to the big leagues, Cameron Rupp's weak output this year, some World Cup action and 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.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

PNTV Episode 11: Stats, Stairs and Future Stars

If you missed it on television, check out the latest edition of Phillies Nation TV.  On this week's edition, Pat and Corey chat about Jimmy Rollins and Jake Diekman, Natalie talks with Matt Stairs, and I visit the set to discuss Kenny Giles, top draft pick Aaron Nola, Roman Quinn as well as J.P. Crawford. Check it out in the media player below.

New episodes of Phillies Nation TV can be seen each Tuesday at 6PM EST on The Comcast Network with replays throughout each week on TCN and Comcast Sportsnet.


Minor League Notebook: Greene Update, Collier & Dugan Return

Larry Greene works with a coach, Image- Jay Floyd
-Good news this week for Larry Greene Jr., who was previously said to have required surgery to repair his ailing left wrist. The 21-year-old outfielder has resumed game action after spending time in a brace and is playing intrasquad games with the group that is slated to become the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

The Phillies' top draft pick from 2011 anticipates that he could be activated for the Class A BlueClaws by July 1st. Greene's original diagnosis was a cartilage tear.

Prior to being sidelined, the Georgia native posted a .167 average with five RBI and two steals in 15 games with Lakewood this year.

The GCL kicks off its season this coming Friday. Greene could continue action there once their season begins.

-Two other outfielders made their returns for the Double-A Reading Fightins on Tuesday. Former 1st round draft selection Zach Collier (back) and 2009 second round pick Kelly Dugan (oblique) were in the lineup, going 2-for-4 and 1-for-4 respectively.

The 23-year-old Collier, who drove in two runs in his return, sports a .214/.308/.282 slash line in 34 games this season.

Dugan, 23, has posted a .275/.396/.375 slash line in 14 games for Reading this year.

Collier and Dugan are each on the Phillies' 40-man roster.

-In the Class A South Atlantic League All-Star Game, the contest finished in a 4-4 tie after 10 innings. The game took place at the home of the Rangers affiliate Crawdads in Hickory, NC.

Four Lakewood BlueClaws players saw action in the event...
Lefty reliever Cody Forsythe threw a scoreless frame.
Shortstop J.P. Crawford went 0-for-4 with a walk.
Outfielder Samuel Hiciano went 1-for-3 with a double.
Catcher/first baseman/DH Willians Astudillo went 1-for-5 as the North division's designated hitter.

-For the short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters, outfielder Jiandido Tromp collected three hits, including two home runs in a 12-5 win over Jamestown on Tuesday. The 20-year-old Aruba native is 5-for-15 (.333 avg) through four games with the Cutters.

The righty batting Tromp was an All-Star for Williamsport last season, when he batted .299 with a homer and eight RBI through 33 games prior to being promoted to Lakewood. He tallied a .224 average with a home run and nine RBI in 27 games with the BlueClaws earlier this season.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Altherr makes big league debut

Aaron Altherr, Image- Jay Floyd
Called into action due to Tony Gwynn Jr. being placed on the bereavement list after his father Tony Gwynn Sr. passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer, outfielder Aaron Altherr made his major league debut on Monday.

In his first opportunity to step to the plate in the bigs, the talented righty batter, appearing as a pinch hitter, lofted a fly out with a runner on second base to end the top of the 12th inning for the Phillies, who were locked in a 1-1 tie with the Braves in Atlanta.


Altherr, the Phils' 9th round draft choice in 2009, had been scorching hot of late, tallying a .392 average with five doubles, a triple, a home run and nine RBI in 13 games this month for Double-A Reading.

Overall in 59 minor league games this season, Altherr, who opened his 2014 campaign on the disabled list with a wrist injury, posted a .246 average with four homers and 23 RBI while swiping six bags in nine attempts.

The 23-year-old outfielder entered this season ranked as the number 13 prospect in the Phillies' system according to PhilliesNation.com. 

The Phillies went on to down the Braves 6-1 in 13 innings.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Top prospect Crawford set for promotion

JP Crawford, Image- Jay Floyd
J.P. Crawford will be on the move following the South Atlantic League All-Star break. The 19-year-old shortstop is slated to join the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers later this week as the talented youngster appears ready for bigger challenges.

The Phillies’ top draft pick from a year ago has had plenty of success in his year as a professional, the Lakewood, CA native has posted a .301/.402/.403 slash line in 113 combined games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies, the short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters and the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.

Crawford was recently honored as the Phillies’ minor league player of the month in May, when he tallied a .367/.447/.522 slash line in 24 games. Of the honor, the six-foot-two 180-pounder asserted that he appreciates the recognition, but is already past it mentally.

“Being player of the month is a great honor, but…that’s over with,” Crawford asserted. “I’m just trying to get the next player of the month. I just gotta keep doing what I do, playing hard every day.”

The news of Crawford’s promotion comes a day after the organization’s big league shortstop set the club’s all-time hits record. Crawford is impressed by the feat, but doesn’t see it as something that will give him anything additional to chase.

“I’m just going to keep doing my thing. That’s great for Jimmy. It’s a great (accomplishment),” Crawford stated.

Crawford will enjoy a trip on a private flight with three teammates and some other organizational representatives to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game in Hickory, NC on Tuesday, and will join the Threshers on Wednesday, according to reports.

The move comes on the heels of leaked news that shortstop Roman Quinn would be switching back to his more comfortable position in the outfield, where he played in high school prior to signing with the Phils. Quinn, the Phillies’ second round draft selection from 2011, had a tough time adapting to shortstop as a pro, while also learning to switch hit. The move should certainly benefit the 21-year-old, who has committed 61 errors in 150 defensive games during his young career.

This entry originally appeared on PhilliesNation.com

Saturday, June 14, 2014

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws All-Star LHP Cody Forsythe

Cody Forsythe, image- MiLB.com
Lefty reliever Cody Forsythe is one of four Lakewood BlueClaws that has been selected to represent the team in the Class A South Atlantic League All-Star Game coming up next week.

Last year's 25th round draft selection by the Phillies quickly showed he could compete in the professional ranks after signing last year. With the Gulf Coast League Phillies, he sported a 3-0 record with two saves and a 2.38 ERA in 18 relief appearances. He also pitched a scoreless frame for Clearwater in a lone appearance last year.

This season, as the BlueClaws' closer, the 23-year-old Kentucky native has posted a 3-2 record with nine saves and a 2.63 ERA. Additionally, he's struck out 25 batters and walked six in 27 1/3 innings pitched.

Forsythe will be joined by J.P. Crawford, Willians Astudillo and Samuel Hiciano when the Northern Division All-Stars take on the Southern Division All-Stars in the 55th annual event in Hickory, NC on Tuesday, June 17th.

Recently, I spoke with Cody about his All-Star nod, his draft experience last year and more. Read ahead for that full interview.

-You've been honored as an All-Star here in the Sally League this year. Congratulations on that. What does this honor mean to you?

It's a great honor to be selected as one of the best players in this league. It's a pretty good league, top to bottom. I'm just excited that (in) my first full season I got this type of honor and going there with three other guys on the team is pretty special.

-You mentioned getting honored along with your teammates. Some guys will have to go to the game as their club's lone representative. What's the best part of going with some of your teammates?

It's always a great honor, I think, whether you're by yourself or with teammates, but getting to go there with some guys that you've been playing with and battling with all year and just compete with everyday, you'll have a little bit of comfort when you get there. You're not alone. I don't think it makes too much difference it's just nice to know that you've got great players around you and a few of them get to play with you.

-You've posted some really solid stats since turning pro. Has the adjustment to the minor leagues been easier than you thought it might be?

I think the transition is tough. The transition from high school to college, Division 1, is actually pretty tough and it's a similar jump going from college to professional baseball. My whole college career I pretty much started, so coming out of the bullpen was a new challenge. You know, throwing one inning at a time instead of throwing six to nine innings is a challenge, but I like the difference and I'm starting to really feel comfortable out of the bullpen and things are starting to click for me.

-What was your draft experience like last year? How did you track it and how did you learn you were drafted?

I thought the draft was one of the crowning moments of my life. You know, it was a huge moment. I was excited. Got to share it with my family and some of my friends. But, yeah, I was just waiting for day three. I knew it was going to be day three. I didn't know where or when, but when it did happen, I was excited. I started getting a bunch of calls and text messages and Twitter updates and all that stuff, which is always cool. But, it kind of hit me quick like that and I was excited once I got the call from my scout and I just thought about playing ball the next day. I was on a plane the next day, down in Florida, getting ready for the season.

-Was it a surprise when the Phillies selected you? Were there other teams on your radar?

I didn't have any clue who it was going to be. I had a couple teams in mind. The Phillies weren't necessarily one of them. I had done some stuff for them and talked to them a little bit, but not too much. So any team it was going to be, it was going to be a little bit of a shock. You know, I'm excited to be here. It's a great organization and I'm just looking forward to the future.

-What is your pitch repertoire like and what do you consider your out pitch?

I just throw a fastball, slider, change up. Slider's probably my out pitch at this point. But, I use it all quite a bit. Throw them all for strikes, when I can and just try to mix it up early in the count, late in the count, any time.

-Who were some player you looked up to prior to turning pro?

I always liked watching Randy Johnson. I don't know that I throw too much like him, but I just liked the way he competed everyday and when Schilling was making his postseason runs there, I just liked the way he pitched, so I just tried to compete like he did every day. He's just a gamer. So, I go out there and do my best.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Phillies release former top pick Hewitt

Anthony Hewitt with Lakewood in 2011, Image- Jay Floyd
Six years after he was their top draft selection, the Phillies have finally pulled the trigger and cut disappointing outfielder Anthony Hewitt.

Hewitt had struggled mightily in his pro career, but looked outmatched this season with Double-A Reading where he posted a .140 batting average in 34 games before a recent demotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater. In eight games since the move, the 25-year-old went 4-for-31 (.129 avg). He walked only once this season.

Hewitt, who signed for over $1 million in 2008, batted .223 with a .634 OPS in six years since he was drafted 24th overall by the Phillies.

It was time to cut their losses and the Phillies did just that.

In an exclusive interview with PhoulBallz.com last month, Hewitt was not discouraged and, in fact, was very optimistic, asserting that his output would turn around.

"It's a game of failure," Hewitt stated. "Just, right now, no hits are falling. No luck's turning my way, but I'm sure that tomorrow, today, whenever it's gonna happen, good luck's gonna fall my way, hits are gonna start falling my way. Everything comes in bunches and I can wait till the bunches start coming my way."

The offense might bounce back for Hewitt, but, when it does, it won't be in the Phillies organization.

PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast Episode 65: Impact Wrestling Star Gunner Interview

On the 65th edition of the show, Tug and Jay are joined by Impact Wrestling superstar Gunner to chat about his career and the upcoming BaseBrawl event at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park later this month. The guys also talk about the progress of prospects such as Joey Gallo, J.P. Crawford, Tyler Knigge, Roman Quinn, Aaron Altherr and others. The Phillies' 2014 draft approach is also discussed.

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, June 11, 2014

Minor League Hot/Cold List: Lincoln, Altherr, Perkins, Quinn, Franco, Rupp

The latest semi-weekly rundown of your top performers from the Phillies developmental ranks and those that aren't doing so well is back. In this edition we look at all four full-season clubs.


Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs-

Who’s hot...

Right-hander Brad Lincoln has pitched 13 scoreless innings over his last two starts while allowing just four total hits in those outings. The 29-year-old allowed three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings this season in relief with the big league team. Lincoln was the 4th overall draft selection by the Pirates back in 2006.

Through his first seven games since earning a promotion to Lehigh Valley, OF Cam Perkins posted a .308 batting average. With Double-A Reading this season, the 23-year-old sported a .342/.408/.495 slash line. Perkins was the Phillies’ 6th round draft choice in 2012.

Who’s not...

Third baseman Maikel Franco entered action on Tuesday batting .103 with a home runs and five RBI in nine June games. Overall this season, the 21-year-old Dominican was batting .212 with five homers and 25 RBI in 60 games. Franco entered the 2014 campaign ranked widely as the Phillies’ top prospect.

Catcher Cameron Rupp entered action on Tuesday batting .152 with two homers and seven RBI over his previous 20 games. Since going 4-for-16 with four home runs in his first four games of the season with the IronPigs, 25-year-old is batting .158 with two homers in 25 games. Rupp was the Phillies’ 3rd round draft choice in 2010.


Double-A Reading Fightins-

Who’s hot...

Infielder Carlos Alonso entered action on Tuesday sporting a .452/.553/.774 slash line in eight June games. Through 55 games this season, the 26-year-old was batting .282 with six homers and 18 RBI. Alonso, a University of Delaware product was the Phils’ 32nd round draft pick in 2010.

Outfielder Aaron Altherr was batting .414 through his opening eight games this month. The 23-year-old began the season with a wrist injury and is batting .230 with three home runs and 18 RBI through 47 games with Reading this season. Altherr was selected by the Phillies in the 9th round of the 2009 draft.

Who’s not-

Lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle suffered a tough loss last week, as he allowed seven earned runs in 2 1/3 innings against Richmond. Biddle tallied a 1.97 ERA over his previous three starts. Overall this season, the Phils' top draft pick from 2010 sports a 3-6 record with a 3.99 ERA and a .239 batting average against in 12 starts for Reading.

Since earning a promotion to Reading, OF Peter Lavin has batted .107 with two doubles and five runs driven in through seven games. The lefty batting 26-year-old was a 20th round draft choice by the Phils in 2011.


Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers-

Who's hot...

Infielder K.C. Serna is 15-for-40 (.375 avg) in 10 games this month. The 24-year-old righty hitter is batting .292 on the season in 62 games. Serna was signed as a minor league free agent in February.

Shortstop Roman Quinn is 8-for-20 (.400 avg) in his last five games to boost his season batting average 62 points up to .250. The switch-hitting 21-year-old was the Phillies' 2nd round pick in 2012.  Quinn got a late start to his 2014 campaign after recovering from a ruptured right Achilles tendon.

Who's not...

Outfielder Anthony Hewitt is really struggling greatly since being demoted to Clearwater recently. The 25-year-old is batting .109 in eight games with the Threshers. Earlier this season, Hewitt, who was the Phillies' 1st round draft choice in 2008, posted a .140/.146/.180 slash line in 34 games with Reading. Hewitt has walked just one time in 42 games this season.


Class A Lakewood BlueClaws-

Who's hot...

Lefty reliever Cody Forsythe is looking sharp as Lakewood's closer. In 20 games this season, the 23-year-old South Atlantic League All-Star sports a 3-1 record with eight saves and a 1.90 ERA while striking out 22 and walking five in 23 2/3 innings pitched. Forsythe was selected in the 25th round of last year's draft.

Who's not...

Shortstop J.P. Crawford, last year's 1st round draft pick, has cooled off a bit following an excellent month of May. After posting a .367/.447/.522 slash line in 24 games last month, the 19-year-old lefty batter sports a .162/.311/.216 line in 10 games this month. Overall, Crawford is batting .299 with three homers, 18 RBI and 10 steals in 56 games for the 'Claws.

Third baseman Mitch Walding is batting .121 with three RBI in 11 games this month. The 21-year-old sports a .560 OPS in 41 games this season after producing a .609 mark at the same level last year. Walding was the Phils' 5th round pick from 2011.

Monday, June 9, 2014

"Phillies Today" segment with Corey Seidman

On Monday, I guested on Corey Seidman's HD radio show on the Phillies 24/7 channel. During my interview segment, we talked about some promising names in the Phils organization including Kenny Giles, J.P. Crawford, Cam Perkins and Maikel Franco. Top draft pick Aaron Nola and a pair of troubling Canadians in Phillippe Aumont and Tyson Gillies were discussed as well.

To hear my segment with Corey on Monday's edition of "Phillies Today", click here and skip to the 9:00 mark of the show to get right to me.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Giles promoted to majors, Adams to the DL

Kenny Giles, image- Jay Floyd
In a week packed with Phillies organizational transactions, one of the most anticipated ones occurred.  With veteran right-hander Mike Adams sidelined with shoulder concerns, the Phillies promoted promising reliever Kenny Giles to the big leagues.

Giles is an overpowering right-hander whose fastball is often clocked at 100 MPH or higher.  Additionally armed with an improving slider, Giles has the making of a back-end-of-the-bullpen hurler.

In 24 games combined with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, the 23-year-old tallied a 2-0 record with 12 saves, a 1.88 ERA and an 11.93 K/9 mark.

The Phils' 7th round draft pick from 2011, Giles, was the focus of a recent feature on Phillies Nation TV.  Check that out in the media player below.



Adams, who missed time earlier this season with a shoulder strain, has a 2-1 record with a 2.12 ERA in 19 games this season.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

This week's news nugget that tops all others

For a Phillies team that has struggled to spark much interest lately, the developmental ranks were packed with news that was worthy of hefty attention this week. Some of the stories were good...like OF Cam Perkins being promoted to Triple-A in his second full season as a pro and reliever Tyler Knigge joining him there. Another positive was certainly the Phillies' refined approach in the MLB first year player draft. Plus, the tale of Lakewood manager Greg Legg retaliating and throwing out an umpire who had ejected him from a game on Tuesday was an instant classic. Other news was disappointing...like 2008 first round draft choice Anthony Hewitt being demoted from Double-A Reading to Class A Advanced Clearwater and first baseman Chris Serritella joined him. Also, Darin Ruf hit the disabled list again after being demoted to Triple-A. But, worst of all was the report that stud OF prospect Domingo Santana was mistakenly included on the list the Astros chose their player-to-be-name-later from following the Hunter Pence trade in 2011.

There's one nugget out of the Phillies' minor league system this week, however, that blows all of those stories away. The blossoming relationship between a player and a mascot will surely have the region abuzz.

Lakewood's All-Star first baseman/catcher/designated hitter Willians Astudillo shows us why you can't spell his name without S-T-U-D in the animated image below.


While BlueClaws mascot Buster appears to be caught off guard by Astudillo's pelvic attention, don't let the shy yella fella fool you. Buster is all about the love and rumor has it there are plans for Astudillo to meet the big guy's fuzzy parents very soon.

H/T- @mistertug for the .gif assistance.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Gillies outrighted off Phillies' 40-man roster

From PhilliesNation-

Tyson Gillies, image- Jay Floyd

Outfielder Tyson Gillies cleared waivers and was outrighted off the the Phillies’ 40-man roster. He will remain on the Triple-A Lehigh Valley roster.


PhilliesNation’s minor league insider Jay Floyd contacted Gillies, who was one of three players acquired in the 2009 trade that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle, for comment today, but the 25-year-old British Columbia native declined to offer any thoughts.

Gillies, who has had repeated disciplinary concerns since joining the Phillies organization and reportedly had a verbal bout with coaches over being removed from a game last week, is batting .217 with two homers and 10 RBI in 37 games with the IronPigs this year.

- See more at: http://philliesnation.com/#sthash.R2Ao9Cpc.dpuf

Phillies Day 2 MLB Draft Running Updates

The Phillies continued their new approach on the second day of the MLB amateur draft, taking college players with their opening three selections of the day.

Taken in the 3rd round (81st overall) was outfielder Aaron Brown, out of Pepperdine.  In his junior season this year, the California native posted a .310/.349/.539 slash line with team highs in homers (12) and RBI (47) for the Waves.  Also a lefty hurler, Brown tallied a 12-1 record with a 2.07 ERA and an 8.28 K/9 mark in 16 games.  Brown, a left-handed batter, was drafted by Cleveland last year and by Pittsburgh out of high school, but did not sign.

The Phils' 4th round selection (112th overall) was Chris Oliver, a right-handed pitcher out of Arkansas.  In his junior season, the six-foot-four 180-pounder posted a 9-4 record with a 2.51 ERA and a 5.69 K/9 mark in 16 starts.  Oliver was in the news recently, as he was charged with DWI just a couple days ago.  A 20-year-old, Oliver is likely in store for some considerable legal concerns stemming from this week's arrest.

In the 5th round (142nd overall) the Phillies took Rhys Hoskins out of Sacramento State.  In 59 games this year, the six-foot-four 225-pounder sported a .319/.428/.573 slash line as a junior.  Hoskins, who was a top performer in the Cape Cod League last summer, graduated from Jesuit High School in California, the same school attended by two other Phillies prospects, Dan Child and Zach Green.

In the 6th round, the Phillies chose left-hander pitcher Brandon Leibrandt, son of former big leaguer Charlie Leibrandt, who is best remembered for his time with the Royals. The younger Leibrandt, a six-foot-four 205-pounder, missed most of the season this year after being hit in the knee with a line drive. In six games as a junior, Leibrandt posted a 4-1 record with a 1.83 ERA. Its likely the Georgia native would have been drafted earlier if he had been healthy this season.

The Phillies' 7th round pick was shortstop Emmanuel Marrero out of Alabama St.  Touted for his defense, the Puerto Rico native is not known to possess much power.   In his junior season, Marrero batted .329 with four home runs, 58 RBI and eight steals.

For more of these running draft updates, check out the full/original post over on PHILLIESNATION.COM.

Phillies Refine Draft Approach, Take Two College Pitchers Early

The Phillies altered their typical early round approach this year, going with college hurlers for their top two selections. Choosing 7th overall, their highest pick in 13 years, the Phils chose LSU junior righty Aaron Nola. Additionally, in the 2nd round, the team picked lefty Matt Imhof out of Cal Poly with the 47th overall pick.

Nola, a First Team All-American, posted an 11-1 record along with a 1.47 ERA and a 10.37 K/9 mark in 16 starts. The Louisiana native enjoyed a tremendous college career, twice winning SEC Player of the Year honors while compiling a 30-6 overall record with a 2.09 ERA in three seasons. Nola, 21, stands six-foot-one and weighs 196 pounds. He is often praised for his precision control and is projected as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher.

Nola was previously selected out of high school in the 22nd round of the 2011 draft by Toronto, but did not sign. His college coach, Paul Mainieri, also coached Brad Lidge at Notre dame.

Recent players selected with the 7th overall pick include the Mets' Matt Harvey in 2010, the Braves' Mike Minor in 2009, the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw in 2006 and Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies in 2005.

Readers can view video footage of Nola by clicking here.  Check out the media player below to see Nola and his loved ones watching his draft announcement.



After he was drafted by the Phillies, Nola had the following to say to the LSU Sports website:

"My heart has never beaten so fast in my life. I’m glad everything has been lifted off my shoulders, and I’m excited to go wherever they send me. It means so much to be a part of the Philadelphia Phillies organization. They have such a great history. Everyone knows Roy Halladay, one of the Phillies’ great pitchers. I’m excited to work with the staff and meet a lot of new people."

No word on who broke the news of Halladay's retirement from the game to the youngster.

Imhof, who stands six-foot-five and weight 230 pounds, posted a 10-4 record with a 2.45 ERA and an 11.24 K/9 mark in 15 starts for the Mustangs this year. Imhof is praised for his fastball command. The offering is most often clocked in the low 90's range. The 21-year-old reportedly also throws a slider and a change up.  Additionally, a key for Imhof is the deception in his delivery, which keeps opponents off balance.

Readers can view video footage of Imhof on the mound by clicking here

In recent years, the Phillies have often selected "toolsy" high school batters early.  Top selections that have yet to pan out include outfielder Larry Greene Jr., the first round pick from 2011, who has a .652 OPS in 196 career minor league games and 2008 first rounder Anthony Hewitt, an outfielder who was demoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater this week after batting .140 through 34 games with Double-A Reading.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 64: Andrew Knapp Interview

On the 64th edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast, Jay chats with catching prospect Andrew Knapp (heard at 42:30) about his return from Tommy John surgery, his draft experience last year, his demotion to Lakewood, and plenty more. Tug and Jay also talk about Lakewood manager Greg Legg's legendary ejection with quotes from the baseball lifer himself (heard at 37:00), Anthony Hewitt's disappointing production, Cameron Perkins' promotion to Lehigh Valley, Jonathan Singleton reaching the big leagues and tons 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.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Four BlueClaws honored as All-Stars, Manager Legg offers his thoughts

The Lakewood BlueClaws will have four representatives when the Class A South Atlantic League holds its 55th annual All-Star Game on June 17th in Hickory, NC.

Standout performers for the BlueClaws all season, J.P. Crawford, Willians Astudillo, Samuel Hiciano and Cody Forsythe were selected to represent the team.

Crawford, a shortstop, was the Phillies top draft choice a year ago when he was selected 16th overall. Through 49 games, the lefty batting 19-year-old has posted a .319 average along with three homers, 17 RBI and 10 steals.

Astudillo, a Venezuela native, currently sports an 18-game hitting streak and is batting .341 with two homers and 32 RBI this year. The 22-year-old plays first base and catcher.

Hiciano, the Claws' left fielder, is batting .273 with six home runs and 24 RBI. The 20-year-old is a native of the Dominican Republic.

Forsythe, last year's 25th round draft pick by the Phillies, has been excellent as Lakewood's closer this season. The 23-year-old lefty has posted a 2-0 record along with eight saves and a 1.83 ERA while striking out 18 and walking four in 19 2/3 innings.

The South Atlantic League All-Star Game, which dates to 1960, will be held at Hickory's LP Frans Stadium for the second time, and first since 1994. The Hickory Crawdads are the Class A full-season affiliate of the Texas Rangers.

The BlueClaws also had four representatives in the Sally League All-Star Game when they hosted the event at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park last year.

I spoke with BlueClaws manager Greg Legg about each of his All-Stars. The skipper had the following to say...

(Crawford)'s had a pretty good first half for us. Defensively, offensively, played all around, started to show leadership qualities for us. Well deserved. Somebody told me he got the most votes. I don't know. But, well deserved. I think he's only gonna get better as time goes on.

Hiciano, kind of was Mr. Consistency for us. No matter what, he just kept playing and banging out some hits. Works his butt off defensively. Worked his butt off, where they recognize him a little bit there. Solid first half, you know.

Astudillo started the year on the bench. We put him in there to DH a game here and there and he starts driving in runs and you say, "Well, shoot. Let me play him at first." And he keeps hitting, so you say, "Let me see if he can catch." And he's caught pretty good too. So, he's kind of a unique player. He has a great feel for the game. He has the ability to barrel up the ball every night at least twice, sometimes three times. And his catching, through the work of Ernie (Whitt) and Les (Lancaster) and himself, he's always catching bullpens, even when he starts game at first. I gotta tip my hat to him for all the work he's done to get better behind the plate. We knew the bat was there, everybody knew that.

Forsythe, the (second) game he pitched for us wasn't pretty, but after that, he's just been lights out. And we've put him in some of the worst positions you could possibly put a guy into, and he's came through every time for us, so when I heard he was on (the All-Star) team, that probably made me happier than the other three, because he did it the hard way. Kind of like Astudillo.

I'm proud of all of them. Well deserved by all of them.


In other All-Star news, Class A Advanced Clearwater first baseman Art Charles was named a Florida State League All-Star as well. The 23-year-old sports a .246 average with three homers and 19 RBI. Charles was acquired in a trade with Toronto for Michael Schwimer last year.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Minor League Rundown: Reviewing Last Year's Draft Class

As this year's amateur draft draws near, this week's minor league rundown will focus exclusively on last year's draft selections.

With only a portion of the 2013 class actually playing with full-season clubs, many of the Phillies' 2013 picks will be slated to open their season with short-season Class A Williamsport or possibly with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies later this month, after spending the past eight weeks or so in extended spring training. Players on that list include 3rd round pick Cord Sandberg, 4th round selection Jake Sweaney as well as 7th rounder Trey Williams.

Here's a look at how the active draft class from last year is performing this season.

JP Crawford, Image- Jay Floyd
Last year's top draft choice (16th overall) J.P. Crawford has quickly shot to the top of Phillies prospect rankings and will be among the top 25 prospects in all of baseball as those lists get refined and updated in the coming weeks and months. The 19-year-old shortstop has looked tremendous in his time as a pro. Less than one year removed from high school, the lefty hitting Crawford is batting .322 with 14 doubles, three home runs, 17 RBI and nine steals in 47 games with Class A Lakewood. Having shown well-rounded defensive skills as well, the California native appears to be quite a get by the Phils, who selected Crawford with their highest pick in 12 years.

Second rounder Andrew Knapp, a catcher, is still recovering from Tommy John surgery that took place last October and hasn't played defense this season. The 22-year-old has struggled as a designated hitter for Class A Advanced Clearwater, sporting a .157/.222/.205 slash line through 23 games. Knapp, a UC Berkley product, is a leader on the field and should be able to turn things around at the plate as his overall health improves.

Third baseman Jan Hernandez (first name pronounced like "John"), taken in the 3rd round (96th overall), spent a short stint with Class A Lakewood this year as injuries dictated a brief need. The 19-year-old righty batter posted a .145/.217/.255 slash line in 17 games before being reassigned to extended spring camp. Expect to see the Puerto Rico native with Williamsport later this month.

Outfielder Justin Parr was moved to extended spring training after an awful start to his season with Clearwater. The 23-year-old posted a .118/.163/.132 slash line in 22 games with the Threshers. The lefty batting Parr was the Phils' 8th round pick in 2013.

Pitcher Shane Martin, the Phils' 9th round pick, appeared in seven games (three starts) for Lakewood this season before being reassigned to extended spring training. The 23-year-old right-hander tallied a 0-2 record along with a 10.45 ERA while striking out 10 and walking five in 20 2/3 innings. The Southwestern Oklahoma State product should be a part of Williamsport's rotation.

Righty hurler Jon Prosinski, taken in the 10th round, was recently demoted to Lakewood after beginning the season with Clearwater. With the Threshers in the Florida State League, the 23-year-old sported a 0-4 record with a 6.56 ERA and a .343 batting average against in nine starts. In his lone appearance with the BlueClaws, Prosinski, a Seton Hall product, threw six scoreless frames.

Lee Ridenhour, a righty hurler taken in the 16th round last year, has a 1-4 record with a save and a 4.91 ERA through 15 relief outings for Clearwater. The 24-year-old pitched at three levels last year and could make the move to Double-A Reading this season, if a suitable need pops up.

With a 3.78 ERA and a save to call his own through 12 games, righty reliever Daniel Child, who opened the season in extended spring, has held a spot in the Clearwater bullpen. Additionally, though, the 21-year-old has posted a .328 batting average against and has struck out eight and walked 12 in 16 2/3 innings, which isn't very appealing. Child was the Phils' 18th round pick last year.

Catcher Corey Bass, the team's 20th round pick, made his season debut over the weekend, going 0-for-3 for Clearwater. The promotion for Bass, 23, was made necessary when Reading backstop Lars Davis hit the disabled list this week and Threshers catcher Logan Moore was promoted in order to fill his spot.

Mark Leiter Jr., the team's 22nd round pick, has had a tough time lately after getting off to a great start for Lakewood this year. After posting a 1.97 in five April starts, Leiter has tallied a 7.39 ERA in seven starts since then. Overall, the right-hander has a 4-5 record with a 4.69 ERA and an 8.86 K/9 mark in 12 starts.

Left-handed pitcher Christopher O'Hare, last season's 23rd round pick, also made his season debut this past weekend, allowing an earned run while striking out two and walking two in 1 1/3 innings for Lakewood. The 23-year-old appeared in five games at three levels last season.

Cody Forsythe, a 25th round draft choice, has looked extremely solid as Lakewood's closer this season. In 18 games, the 23-year-old lefty sports a 2-0 record with eight saves and a 1.83 ERA while striking out 18 and walking four through 19 2/3 innings.

Righty pitcher Chris Burgess appeared in eight games with Clearwater this season, but was reassigned to extended spring training after posting a 12.91 ERA and a .405 batting average against while striking out two and walking four in 7 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. The 23-year-old Oklahoma Christian University product was the Phillies' 26th round pick last year.

Right-handed reliever Tyler Buckley, the 27th round pick, has a 0-1 record along with a 6.28 ERA in 11 games this year with Lakewood. The 23-year-old also sports a 9.42 K/9 mark and a 6.91 BB/9 average this season.

Tyler Viza (pronounced VY-za) has been a bright spot for the Lakewood staff this year. The right-handed starter's 2-6 record and 4.66 ERA don't accurately reflect the progress he has shown and the way he has kept his team in games through 10 starts. A surprise to open the year on a full-season roster, the 19-year-old displays solid poise and great mental toughness for such a young pitcher. Viza was taken in the 32nd round.

Note: The Phillies failed to sign four of their top 14 (5th, 6th, 12th and 13th round) draft selections last year. Several others, such as 14th round selection Sam Dove and 15th round pick Logan Pierce, have already been released by the club after unimpressive stints in the pro ranks.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

PhoulBallz Interview: 1B Prospect Chris Serritella

First baseman/designated hitter Chris Serritella joined the Phillies as the team's 4th round draft selection in 2012. Since then, the lefty batting Southern Illinois University product has had some ups and downs, but he's working hard to improve his game.

After debuting as a pro in his draft year with Class A short-season Williamsport, the six-foot-three 205-pounder impressed, posting a .297 average with six homers and a league leading 47 RBI. Serritella followed up that great effort with a more modest campaign with Class A Advanced Clearwater in 2013. In 126 games with the Threshers, the 24-year-old tallied a .247 average with 12 home runs and 53 RBI.

This season, Serritella has struggled as a member of the Double-A Fightins, as he's batting .186 with two home runs and seven RBI in 35 games.

Recently, I spoke with Chris about his production this year, his roommates, getting drafted by the Phillies and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.


-Just looking at your stats, it's been a slow start for you in 2014. What can you tell me about your season thus far?

Yeah, a slow start for me, but I feel good at the plate and I'm working on a couple things with (hitting coach Rob) Ducey during BP and stuff, so I think it's just a matter of time till I start seeing results in the field and I'm just taking it day by day and, hopefully, I'll start putting together some better at bats here.

-You were an early round draft pick two years ago. What was your draft experience like?  How did you track the draft and how did you celebrate?

That was definitely a fun day for me. Looking back on it, I can remember just sitting in front of the computer, watching the draft go by, which I was advised not to do. And it kind of made me go crazy, but, I got a call from Dave Seifert, a scout with the Phillies, and he told me they wanted to pick me up late in the 4th round. I was all-hands-on-deck. I was really excited, once I got the phone call, so later that day I signed the contract. I just remember a lot of madness that day. The phone never stopped ringing and stuff like that. So, definitely a fun day for me and a fun process overall.

-Was it a surprise that the Phillies selected you or did you know you were really on their radar?

You know, it was surprising, because I talked to Dave, the scout, a lot the first month of the season and I didn't hear from him ever again, so I was like, "Oh, I guess Philadelphia's not a team for me." I thought maybe Seattle or Detroit was high on me. The Phillies came out of left field a little bit, but luckily, I'm excited to be a Phillie and I'm working every day and we'll see how it goes.

-You mentioned being excited to be a Phillie. Playing locally, the Reading team will get a lot of support even on the road in a town like Trenton. Did that catch you by surprise, all the support for a road series?

I was definitely surprised. On the bus ride (there), some of the guys were talking about how there's going to be more Phillies fans than Yankees fans and it's funny when you look outside the dugout, all you see is red and it's like you're playing a home series, almost.

The support's great. I know Philly's close by, so the Phillies get a lot of great fan support and it definitely shows in Trenton.

-The Reading team has a really good vibe this year. There's a lot of positivity throughout the clubhouse. Is that something that can help you guys throughout the long season?

Definitely. I think we all know we have a good club here. We started off really hot and kind of slowed down a little bit, but it's a long season and you go through these stretches, but we've got a veteran club here and we all realize that and we all know what kind of potential we have. I think one through nine, we've got really good hitters and starting pitching's great and our bullpen was doing phenomenal for a little bit there. But, it's a long season and we're doing work everyday.

-Who are you rooming with this year and do you guys have any hobbies as a group to pass the time when you're not at the field?

I'm living with Carlos Alonso and Brock Stassi right now and hobbies wise, it's kind of tough because we're at the field day and night, so, I guess, on our days off we just try to lounge around. Nothing too exciting. We're at the field from 11 to 10.

-I know Perci Garner and Austin Wright are big into video games. You guys don't get into that, like those guys?

We have an X-Box in the apartment, (but we're) not as big as Perci and Austin. Those guys are hardcore gamers. But, we watch a lot of movies. We're big on Netflix and we kind of just hang out and lounge around, because we're always so tired after a day at the field.

-I wanted to also ask you here, who were some of your favorite players to watch before you turned pro?

For me, I was a big Cubs fan. I always watched the Cubs, being from Chicago, and growing up, Sammy Sosa was big with the home run hop and I liked Derek Lee because I was a first baseman and I watched him a lot. Those two were probably my favorite. And, actually, I used to be a pitcher, so I liked Mark Prior a lot and Kerry Wood and those guys. But, being a Cubs fan, it was easy to root for those guys.

-Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms for game day?

The one thing I am superstitious about is if I have a good game, I'll try to do the same thing. Whether it's facial hair wise or whatever it is, but no big routines or anything like that.

-If you had the chance to give advice to young players that were hoping to play baseball beyond high school, whether it was in college or the pro's, what would you tell those youngsters?

I'd just say keep working hard. I was always loved the game and I was always begging my dad, "Let's go hit. Let's go take some flips. Let's go throw a bullpen", or whatever it was. But, just keep working hard and if your dream is to play professional baseball one day, go pursue it. Don't let anything hold you back. Just- work ethic's big with me. I think if you work hard, everything will pan out.