Thursday, April 30, 2015

BlueClaws Quotables: Non-drafted signee LHP Josh Taylor

Taylor, image- Jay Floyd
Lakewood BlueClaws hurler Josh Taylor has made an impact with the Class A club in the early going this season. Through four starts, the 22-year-old sports a 1-1 record with a 3.68 ERA while having struck out 24 and walked four in 22 innings.

After pitching in a summer showcase for college players last summer, the Phillies made an offer to the undrafted hard-throwing lefty. Once he signed, the six-foot-five 225-pounder notched a 2-0 record without allowing a run in three relief appearances for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

Recently, I spoke with Josh, an Arizona native, about how he came to sign with the Phils last year, his pitching coach with Lakewood, Aaron Fultz, and more. Read ahead for those quotes.

-Speaking on how the Phillies came to sign him...

I went to two years at junior college and then I signed with a Division II school out of Georgia, Georgia College, and they set me up with a summer league out in the Northwoods League. And, from there, I got put into a showcase game and right after the game I got a call from a scout from (the Phillies) and after that, that's what it was. I couldn't say no.

-Describing his outing that the Phils first saw him...

I was pumped, because I think it's called The Big League Dream Showcase and I got the start. My velocity was good and I think that's what really sent me there. I allowed one hit, one walk, it was only an inning of work. I mean, it was nothing special. It was just a tall lefty throwing hard.

-Sharing details on his repertoire and velocity...

My fastball (in my first start) topped out at 95, but I'm usually 92 to 94. I got a curve ball, slider, change up and two-seam.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Prospect Injury Notes: Crawford activation imminent, Watson progressing

JPCraw2
JP Crawford, image- Jay Floyd
Top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford, who has been out of action since late March with an oblique strain, is nearing a return.

After required rest, the 20-year-old is back in action, playing daily with the extended spring training team in Florida.

According to Crawford, he is feeling "ready to go", but the decision to activate him to a full-season team roster, either Class A Advanced Clearwater or Double-A Reading, will come from the team's athletic training staff, who is keeping a close eye on the youngster.

Crawford, who represented the Phillies in last year's MLB All-Star Futures Game, was the organization's top draft selection in 2013. He sported a .285/.375/.406 slash line in 123 games combined at two levels last year.

Additionally, right-handed hurler Shane Watson continues to recover from his second shoulder surgery.

According the the 21-year-old Watson, he tossed two innings of live batting practice on Tuesday. He'll continue his throwing program and anticipates competing with the extended spring training team in one week.

Watson, who last pitched in a regular season game with Class A Lakewood in 2013, was the Phils' top draft pick the year prior. He tallied a 4-7 record with a 4.44 ERA and a .227 batting average against in 21 combined games at two levels.

The goal for Watson, once he's stretched out without any setbacks this season, is for him to return to Lakewood, according to Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan.

Crawford and Watson grew up as childhood friends and were teammates at Lakewood High School in California.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Righty prospect Gonzalez gets the call for Tuesday start

SevGonzalez
Severino Gonzalez, image- Jay Floyd
The Phillies announced on Saturday that right-hander Severino Gonzalez will make his big league debut on Tuesday at St. Louis.

The Panama native was honored as the Phils' top minor league pitcher with the annual Paul Owens Award in 2013 when he posted a 7-5 record, a 2.00 ERA, a .224 batting average against along with his 10.33 K/9 and his 1.91 BB/9 combined across three levels.

Last year at Double-A Reading, Gonzalez's stats took a dip. En route to leading all Phillies minor leaguers in starts and innings, he posted a 9-13 record with a 4.59 ERA with a 6.52 K/9 mark. Not great numbers there, but he wrapped up his 2014 campaign nicely, notching a 3-1 record and a 2.53 ERA in his final five starts of the season.

This year, with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the six-foot-two 155-pounder has tallied a 1-1 record and a 3.57 ERA along with nine strike outs and two walks in 17 2/3 innings over three starts.

To put the progress of Gonzalez, at age 22 in the big leagues this week, into perspective, there are six pitchers on the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws roster (four levels down) that are older than Gonzalez.

What to expect:
Gonzalez's repertoire includes a cut fastball that peaks in the low 90's, a curve ball that dives down and away from righty hitters as well as a a quality change up.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 76: Matt Hockenberry & Jake Fox Interviews

On the 76th edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast, Jay and Tug chat about the brand new baseball season, running down the hot starts of prospects such as Brock Stassi, Jesse Biddle, Roman Quinn, Zach Eflin, Carlos Tocci, Rhys Hoskins and others. The show also features two exclusive interviews as "El Sangre" Jake Fox talks about leaving the Phillies organization and Temple University product Matt Hockenberry participates in the fun segment Nine Silly-ass Questions.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.
You can also check out previous episodes and subscribe on iTunes.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lakewood Pitching Coach Aaron Fultz Interview Excerpts

Aaron Fultz, image- Jay Floyd
Former big leaguer Aaron Fultz is in his fourth season coaching in the Phillies' developmental ranks. In his career, the lefty Fultz tallied a 25-15 record with a 4.26 ERA and three saves over eight major league seasons. Now, the 41-year-old is leading the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws' pitching staff toward their dream of reach the top level of the sport.

Recently, I chatted with Fultz about various topics related to his young prospects. Read ahead for those interview excerpts.

-What are you impressions of your pitching staff in the early going this year?

So far, I've been really pleased with the amount of strikes that we've thrown. We haven't walked many guys. There's still some mistakes here and there, but overall very pleased with the way we're going about the game.

-Matt Hockenberry's got a true closer mentality and persona, as he mans the late innings for the BlueClaws.  He's a Temple guy with local ties.  What are your thoughts on Matt and what his ceiling could be?

You know what, he had a rough year here last year and he came to me in Williamsport and for me, he was outstanding. I loved just- he's very confident and some would say a very arrogant guy. But, I love his demeanor on the mound. He's very confident. He's goes out there and used all his pitches. I mean, so far, from last year and this year, I love what I see. And he's got the ability to be able to repeat it and do it every day.

-Out of spring and in the early portion of the season here, is there anyone on your staff that strikes you as performing at a higher level that you anticipated?

I had definitely high expectations of Ricardo Pinto. I had him last year. I picked him to be the opening day guy. A lot of the guys had good spring trainings. Alexis Rivero was a guy that made this team- he had a great spring. A lot of the guys, are doing really well. It's hard to say they're exceeding expectations, but we're off to a good start.

-Any thoughts you can share on the guys in your starting rotation?

Just going through the rotation- Josh Taylor, we got him as an undrafted free agent last year. I saw him in instructs last year and I loved his arm. He's going to be a really good one. I don't know how he slipped through, but he did. We got a good find there.

(Tyler) Viza impressed me in spring training. I hadn't seen him throw a lot before this year and he's a guy that's going to go after them and throw strikes, maybe too many strikes at times, but he's definitely learning and getting better.

Ranfi (Casimiro) had a rough (first start), but when he clicks, he's as good as anybody I've seen. We just gotta do that more often. He'll throw two out of 10 maybe that are really unbelievable. But, we just got to get him more consistent with that.

-In recent seasons we've seen Yoel Mecias in Lakewood and his change up was always raved about as big league ready. Is there anyone on your current staff that really has that standout pitch?

Pinto's got a change up that's as good as Mecias's or better. Chris Oliver throws some good change ups. Josh Taylor's got a good slider. You know, several guys with plus pitches. Again, it's still early, but Ricardo, his change up's as good as I've seen in a long time.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Minor League Hot List: Franco, Quinn, Tocci, Eflin Start Blazing

milb logoAfter roughly a week and a half of the minor league schedule has past, so here's a quick run down of the top performers from the Phillies' developmental ranks thus far in the young baseball season.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley...

3B/1B Maikel Franco- The righty hitting slugger sports a .386 average with a homer and eight RBI through 10 games. After going 0-for-3 on opening day, the 22-year-old has put together a nine-game hitting streak with at least one extra-base hit in eight of those games.

RHP Phillippe Aumont- In three appearances, the 26-year-old has allowed one earned run in eight innings (1.13 ERA) while striking out 10 and walking four. Aumont has a career 6.13 ERA in 45 big league outings.

Double-A Reading...

RHP Zach Eflin- In two starts, the 21-year-old right has a 2-0 record while throwing 14 scoreless frames, having struck out seven and walked two. Eflin was acquired over the off-season from the Dodgers in the Jimmy Rollins trade.

LHP Jesse Biddle- The 23-year-old has allowed two earned runs in 11 innings (1.64 ERA) while striking out 12 and walking three to notch a 1-0 record in two starts. Biddle was drafted by the Phillies in the opening round in 2010.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

PhoulBallz Interview: Phils Director of Player Development Joe Jordan

Jordan
Joe Jordan, image- Jay Floyd
Recently, I caught up with the Phillies' director of player development Joe Jordan to discuss several key subjects throughout the minor leagues. Jordan, who took over his current role following the 2011 season, commented on pitching prospects Adam Morgan and Ricardo Pinto as well as outfielders Cord Sandberg, Roman Quinn, Cam Perkins and Aaron Altherr along with catcher Tommy Joseph. Also a topic of discussion is the realignment of some minor league coaches this year plus field coordinator Doug Mansolino.

Read ahead for the comments from Jordan and click here for his exclusive injury updates from last week.

-Adam Morgan (0-1, 5.00 ERA in two starts) is back in action at the Triple-A level for the IronPigs. What's the outlook for Adam right now?

Adam had a good camp. He just progressed all the way. We got him built up there at the end, so he was ready to go to Lehigh. Adam looks good, you know. He’s fine. He just needs to pitch. He needs to compete. He hasn’t been able to do that for a while. He got his feet wet in the fall league a little bit, which is what he needed. But, he had a good spring training and he just really needs to continue to get mound time, for me. His execution (in his first start) in Lehigh wasn’t very good, but the weather wasn’t very good. But, he’s fine. He just needs to get out and compete.

-I talked with Lehigh Valley pitching coach Ray Burris last week and he asserted that Adam's shoulder injury, which needed surgery, resulted from his mechanics and Ray saw it coming. Is it common that this sort of thing is noticed well in advance and it ends up with such a negative result anyway?

I think a lot of times what happens- yeah, we try to identify things early that we feel might become a problem. Now, if a pitcher’s having success, sometimes they’re not real open to change. You know, they’re being successful and things are going well and, so there are opportunities maybe after a guy is hurt for them to be a little more receptive. You know, this is going to happen again unless we can adjust a couple things.

Friday, April 17, 2015

PhoulBallz Interview: Rhys Hoskins talks transitioning to pros & his knowledge of Phils history

RHoskins
Rhys Hoskins, image- Jay Floyd
First baseman Rhys Hoskins was selected by the Phillies in the 5th round of last year's amateur draft. After debuting as a pro, the six-foot-four 225-pounder showed some nice pop, slugging nine homers while lacing 15 doubles and driving in 40 runs to go along with his .237 average over 70 games with short-season Class A Williamsport.

Thus far this season, through seven games with Class A Lakewood, the California State University-Sacramento product sports a .261 average with two doubles and two RBI.

Last week I spoke with the 22-year-old about adjusting to the minor leagues straight out of collegiate ball. Hoskins also scouted himself, offered some thoughts on the BlueClaws' excitement level for a new season and proudly showed off his (limited) knowledge of Phillies history.

Read ahead for those interview excerpts from Rhys.

-How do you feel college ball prepared you for the minors?

I mean it did. It just taught me about the game itself. You know, obviously, the more you play, the better you get. So, I definitely wasn't ready to play pro baseball out of high school and just getting to learn the ins and outs, the way you have to think, has really prepared me for right now.

-You posted some good power numbers, but your average wasn't gleaming last year. What was the adjustment period like for you?

It definitely was not easy by any means. It was about as I expected. I think the biggest thing to get used to was just playing every day. And then, obviously, with the traveling- traveling through the night and that sort of thing. Probably, the biggest transition was, facing the quote-unquote "Friday night guy" in college, you face that guy every single night (in the pros). And then you get to the bullpen and face a guy that throws harder. And the next guy throws harder than that. So, it definitely wasn't an easy transition. I think, as a competitor, I was just trying to compete and, you know, the season, stat-wise, didn't go the way I wanted it to, but the power numbers were there and I think that's why I'm here, so I am satisfied with that. We'll see if (I) can get better this year and we'll see what happens.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

4th Round Pick Oliver Ready to Shine for BlueClaws

C-oliver MiLB
Chris Oliver, image- MiLB.com
LAKEWOOD, NJ-- Following a weak effort after turning pro, last year's 4th round pick by the Phillies, right-handed pitcher Chris Oliver, has things back on track and the team has high hopes for him this year with Class A Lakewood.

Fresh out of his outstanding junior season with Arkansas in which he sported a 9-4 record with a 2.51 ERA and a .213 batting average against in 16 starts last year in the highly competitive Souteastern Conference, Oliver had a disappointing campaign in his initial exposure to the professional ranks.

In nine minor league appearances last year, the six-foot-four 170-pounder tallied a 0-2 record with an 8.66 ERA and a .321 batting average against.

The downturn in results did not concern the Phillies. As Oliver explains, some mechanical alterations to his delivery and a switch from offering a curve ball to throwing a slider, mandated by coaches, were responsible for the dip in production.

"Mechanically, last year they wanted me to drop my arm slot a little bit. I tried it. It just didn't work out for me. Now, I'm back over the top. The thing we really focused on this year was getting more rotation with the hips. It's a lot more comfortable, a lot smoother," Oliver stated.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

PNTV: Aaron Nola MLB Spring Debut Feature

On the latest television episode of Phillies Nation, Pat and Corey discuss the opening week for the Phils, including the good and the bad. Rachel jumps in with trending topics and the weekly fan question. The guys offer their weekly Draft Kings fantasy baseball picks and Jay Floyd brings viewers a feature on top pitching prospect Aaron Nola.

Check out the media player below for my segment on Nola and click here to see the full episode online.

New editions of Phillies Nation debut each week on The Comcast Network on Tuesdays at 6 PM and replay throughout the week on TCN and Comcast SportsNet.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

RHP prospect Anderson out with Tommy John surgery, more injury notes

D-anderson
Anderson, image- MiLB.com
Phillies director of player development confirmed to PhilliesNation's Jay Floyd on Tuesday that right-handed pitching prospect Drew Anderson will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery recently.

Selected in the 21st round of the 2012 draft by the Phillies, the six-foot-three 185-pounder sported a 12-9 record with a 2.97 ERA and a 7.39 K/9 mark through 34 pro games before being sidelined with injury last summer for Class A Lakewood.

The Phillies' hope was for Anderson was for the 21-year-old to rehab through the ailment, but a setback with his throwing elbow resulted in the need for surgery.

"We knew there was a slight tear in the UCL ligament and we tried to rehab him through it, but it went ahead and blew (out), so it's time to fix it," Jordan stated.

In other injury news, top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford, who is currently sidelined with an oblique strain, will return to hitting this coming weekend and could return to action in a couple weeks.

"We're still hopeful that May 1st is realistic, it may be a few days after that," Jordan stated of a possible activation date for Crawford. "I think until he ramps up his activity and really swinging the bat and letting it go, until you see how his body responds, you never know for sure."

Outfielder Kelly Dugan, who is sidelined with a right foot fracture and sent home to California to heal, is set to return to Clearwater to begin rehabbing his injury.

Monday, April 13, 2015

BlueClaws Quotables: Viza, Oliver, Hoskins excited for new season

The Lakewood BlueClaws returned to action over the weekend, going 2-2 against division rival Kannapolis to start their 2015 campaign. Recently, I spoke with several of the team's players about the start of a new year. Read ahead for what righty pitchers Tyler Viza (32nd round pick, 2013) and Chris Oliver (4th round pick, 2014) as well as first baseman Rhys Hoskins (5th round, 2014) had to say about a brand new year in the Phillies organization.

Tyler Viza 4
Tyler Viza, image- Jay Floyd
-Viza, who pitched with Lakewood last year, posting a 3-17 record, spoke about his outlook returning to the BlueClaws...

I'm extremely excited. We've got a great group of guys, got a great coaching staff. I'm happy to be here, to play with these guys and play for these fans again. I'm really excited to be here. Last year's behind me and I'm ready to push forward this year.

-Viza commented on having former Phillies hurler Aaron Fultz as his pitching coach and what advantages he has with Fultz guiding his career...

I had Fultz in the instructional league. He's a great guy, awesome! I love having him as my pitching coach.

Yeah, you know it's kind of nice, you get to pick their brains a little bit about what works and what sort of things didn't work. Maybe what worked for him isn't going to work for us and vice versa, but it's awesome to have that experience at our disposal and to know what works.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New Lakewood manager Williams following his lineage

Shawn Williams, image-Jay Floyd
LAKEWOOD, NJ- Following in his father's footsteps is precisely the route that Lakewood BlueClaws manager Shawn Williams is taking these days.

Shawn is the son of former Phillies coach Jimy Williams, who had a brief playing career prior to turning to the coaching ranks and managing in the big leagues with Toronto, Boston and Houston.

After taking the step from coaching to managing the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters last season, Williams was promoted to take the reigns of the full-season A level BlueClaws for the 2015 campaign.

"They came to me with the managerial position last year in Williamsport, which was awesome to be asked to do that at a younger age. I'm just learning everyday and trying to get better," the 31-year-old Williams said during a recent interview.

Williams' older brother Brady is also a minor league skipper, at the helm of the Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (Rays).

The learning process is a daily one for Williams, who is regularly in touch with his father and his brother in an effort to improve as the guy in charge of the Phillies organization's future stars.

"They're great for me to learn from, day in and day out," Williams stated. "I talk to them daily, both of them. They're teaching me things, I'm asking questions."

A key to learning the game as a youth was the inside exposure Williams got by being close to his father while he was coaching at the big league level.

"Growing up around the game and being around major league players, especially when I was younger, getting to learn from them, how to go through a daily routine and what's expected and to see how my dad worked. I just try to be like him, the best I can be," Williams asserted with an expression of admiration for his dad.

As a player, Williams was a fair performer, batting .283 with 17 home runs and 183 RBI over seven seasons in affiliated and independent minor league ball, but the Phillies saw his highest ceiling around the diamond as a coach. The Phils invited Williams, at the age of 29, to take off the spikes and begin teaching the game to their prospects.

"When they asked me to start doing it, I couldn't turn it down, even though I felt like I still could have been playing some more. This was an opportunity with a great organization that I was looking forward to and it's been great being with them. A lot of great people to learn from and it's been outstanding so far," Williams stated.

With Williams much closer in age than a great majority of other coaches, BlueClaws players, who mainly range from 19 to 23 years old, find it easier to bond with their manager.

A strong desire to develop his teacher skill set and his eagerness to help develop each of his players helps the skipper, who reads the baseball rule book during team bus trips, build a rapport with his players.

"I love playing for him," said slugging first baseman Rhys Hoskins. "I definitely think he's a players' coach and the fact that he's recently removed from the game as a player really helps us connect with him as a coach and as a person. He gets it. He knows what we're going through and he knows the game. He loves the game. He eats, sleeps, breathes the game."

Williams took over for Greg Legg, who managed and coached in Lakewood for a majority of the past decade. Legg was promoted to manage Class A Advanced Clearwater in the Florida State League.

The BlueClaws will continue their season-opening home stand on Monday when they host the Greensboro Grasshoppers for a three-game set at FirstEnergy Park. Game time Monday and Tuesday is 6:35 PM with Wednesday's series finale slated at 11:05 AM.

This article originally appeared on ShoreSportsNetwork.com.

Friday, April 10, 2015

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws manager Shawn Williams discusses his team

Shawn-Williams
Shawn Williams, image- Jay Floyd
The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws got their season underway on Thursday with a new roster and a new manager. Shawn Williams, son of long-time big league coach Jimy Williams, takes over the reigns with the 'Claws after a year as skipper of the Class A Short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.

Prior to their season opener on Thursday, I chatted with the 31-year-old about his club. Read ahead for comments from Williams about several names including Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Tocci, Deivi Grullon and many more.

-Is there anyone on the roster that stood out in spring training as a guy that was a catalyst for the club?

I look at our whole lineup and, really, all the guys are catalysts. There are guys that do the little things to help your team win. They're great guys in the clubhouse, they play hard, they give you 100 percent every night and they do everything to kind of help your team win.

-Carlos Tocci returns to Lakewood for his third season. At 19 years old, he's still one of the youngest guys on the team, probably one of the youngest guys in the league. What do you think about where he's at right now?

I haven't seen him much until this year, but he has really, for me, really improved. He's really swinging the bat well. He had a good spring training. Obviously, his defense is outstanding. He's running the bases. His instincts are there. I'm looking for him- and I know he's looking to have a great year here and see what happens.

Tocci's three hits help BlueClaws win opener

Carlos Tocci
Tocci in action last season, image- Jay Floyd
LAKEWOOD, NJ- Three was the number. On Carlos Tocci's third opening day with the Lakewood BlueClaws, the talented outfielder collected three hits to lead the way toward his team's third-ever victorious home opener.

In their 15th opening day at the Jersey Shore town's FirstEnergy Park on Thursday, the BlueClaws battled temperatures in the 30's, rain and the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox) down to the wire. In the bottom of the 9th it was a Tocci walk-off single off of right-hander Peter Tago that gave the Class A BlueClaws the win.

The Venezuelan born Tocci, who has cited difficulty in the past adapting to the cold early-season weather in the northeast, didn't feel the effects of the damp and chilly night this time around. His bat packed all the heat the team needed.

"I have two years in this league, so I know how to play with this weather and I know how to prepare for it prior to the game," Tocci said with the help of a translator, coach Nelson Prada.

Despite being the hero for the night at the plate and on defense, having made two flat out stellar diving plays in the outfield, the 19-year-old wasn't through with his work. He spent an additional 20 minutes, or so, in the weight room working with the team trainer following the win.

"My plan now is to get stronger and to hit the ball (with more power)," Tocci shared. "With the strength and conditioning, people from the organization have me working on this sort of program to improve my hitting."

First-year Lakewood manager Shawn Williams stressed importance of the ability to come through in bone-chilling conditions as being critical to moving up toward the big leagues for a guy like Tocci.

"Your goal down the road is to play in Philly and it's going to be cold there too, so anytime that you can play in it and learn to play in it, obviously, he had a huge night and it's a good start for his season," Williams stated.

Kannapolis kicked off the scoring in the top of the 7th inning, when backstop Deivi Grullon was charged with a passed ball that allowed catcher Brett Austin to score. Lakewood tied the game in the bottom of the inning, when Tocci, who had doubled, scored on a Brad Salgado balk.

Right-handed starting pitcher Ricardo Pinto threw six scoreless innings in his BlueClaws debut, striking out two, while allowing two walks and three hits, but did not factor in the decision. Last year's 16th round draft selection, righty reliever Calvin Rayburn tossed a scoreless inning for the win.

The BlueClaws and the Intimidators will continue their three-game set when the teams meet at 7:05PM on Friday.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lehigh Valley & Reading pitching coaches discuss their staffs

The minor league regular season gets under way on Thursday with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs hosting the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Double-A Reading Fightins hitting the road to take on the Portland SeaDogs.

This week, I spoke with IronPigs pitching coach Ray Burris as well as Fightins pitching coach Dave Lundquist, who each commented on several of their respective teams' hurlers. Read ahead for these exclusive quotes about the Phillies' top pitching prospects at the upper levels of the developmental ranks.

Burris, image- Jay Floyd
Ray Burris-

-On LHP Adam Morgan, who missed the entire 2014 season following surgery to repair his throwing shoulder, and his potential to live up to being an early round draft pick...

I'm confident (that he can). I think he feels that way now, because he understands and knows how his delivery is supposed to work. When you have that knowledge inside of you and when you throw the ball incorrectly, you know that didn't feel right, so you immediately go to what caused it and you go to correct it on the next pitch. That's half the battle in anything.

-Speaking about Morgan's work ethic...

He's the type of guy that's going to outwork everybody that puts the uniform on because that's what he has to do to get that job done.

-On injured pitcher Miguel A. Gonzalez...

Well, I had a little time with him last year in the 2014 season. Some of the things that I got to see him do, we worked on improving those things in spring training. So, it'll be interesting to see how he goes about his business this year as well, based on what we talked about in spring training.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Phillies Opening Day schedule of events

Opening day is here.  With another baseball season ready to get under way in Philadelphia, check out the schedule for the Phillies' opener with Boston in town at Citizens Bank Park on Monday.

8:00 a.m. Majestic Clubhouse Store opens.

12:00 p.m. Citizens Bank Way Opening Day Party and concert. Features entertainment, food and drinks. Free to all fans. Plus, live performance by Go Go Gadjet.

12:13 p.m. Phillies batting practice.

12:35 p.m. All gates open.  All fans will receive a 2015 Phillies Schedule & Car Magnet, compliments of Nemours.

1:13 p.m. Red Sox batting practice.

2:13 p.m. Line up on 10th Street! Fans who have not yet entered the ballpark gates are invited to line up on 10th Street and cheer on the 2015 Phillies as they make their “Leadoff Walk” into the ballpark – escorted by the Cardinal O’Hara High School Marching Band.

2:22 p.m. Must-see pre-game ceremony. The 2015 Phillies will make their grand entrance into Citizens Bank Park from a 10th Street Leadoff Walk.

2:34 p.m. “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful” will be sung by the Philadelphia Boys Choir and Men’s Chorale, as representatives from all of the Armed Forces including the Pennsylvania Army and Air National Guard unfurl a large American flag. State flags will be carried onto the field by Philadelphia Police and Fire Department personnel.

2:40 p.m. Team introductions- Red Sox

2:44 p.m. Team introductions- Phillies

2:50 p.m. National Anthem: Performed by Barnegat Light, NJ native Matt McAndrew who was runner-up on the top-rated NBC show The Voice.

2:53 p.m. The United States Navy Parachute Team, the Leap Frogs, will parachute onto the field delivering the first balls.

3:00 p.m. The first balls: Thrown by Philadelphia University men’s basketball coach Herb Magee, NJ native and cancer survivor Julie Kramer and representing Nemours, Kyle Shanahan.

3:07 p.m. Play Ball!  Game time.

5th Inning…the Phanatic will head uptown and channel his inner Bruno Mars for a very special performance.

If you've heard about the new food options available and other new additions at CBP this season, click here for all the details.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

2015 Phillies affiliate full season minor league rosters

The Easter Bunny brought minor league rosters to Phillies prospect fans everywhere this year.

See below...

Class A Lakewood (via a press release)-
Catchers - Joel Fisher, Deivi Grullon
Infielders - Derek Campbell, Malquin Canelo, Grenny Cumana, Rhys Hoskins, Damek Tomscha, Tim Zier
Outfielders - Herlis Rodriguez, Cord Sandberg, Carlos Tocci, Jiandido Tromp
Pitchers - Ranfi Casimiro, Austin Davis, Joey DeNato, Elniery Garcia, Matt Hockenberry, Chris Oliver, Ricardo Pinto, Calvin Rayburn, Alexis Rivero, Josh Taylor, Jesen Therrien, Tyler Viza, Jason Zgardowski

Shawn Williams, who managed Williamsport last year, takes over as BlueClaws manager in 2015. He is joined on the staff by hitting coach Nelson Prada and pitching coach Aaron Fultz.
Pitchers Drew Anderson, Scott Harris, and Nick Rodesky, as well as outfielder Samuel Hiciano, will open the season on the disabled list.

Class A Advanced Clearwater-

Catchers - Andrew Knapp, Willians Astudillo, Jose Mayorga
Infielders - Zach Green, Jesmuel Valentin, Drew Stankiewicz, Devin Lohman, Angelo Mora, Mitch Walding, J.P. Crawford (DL) 
Outfielders - Dylan Cozens, Aaron Brown, Andrew Pullin, Chase Harris
Pitchers - Cody Forsythe, Matt Imhof, Ulises Joaquin, Colin Kleven, Brandon Leibrandt, Mark Leiter, Jr., Lino Martinez, Miguel Nunez, Edubray Ramos, Lee Ridenhour, Kevin Walter, David Whitehead 

Double-A Reading- 
Catchers - Logan Moore, Gabriel Lino
Infielders - Gustavo Pierre, Art Charles, K.C. Serna, Brock Stassi, Edgar Duran, Carlos Alonso, Harold Martinez
Outfielders - Roman Quinn, Brian Pointer, Cam Perkins, Aaron Altherr
Pitchers - Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, Ethan Stewart, Elvis Araujo, Nefi Ogando, Zach Eflin, Tom Windle, Ben Lively, Mike Nesseth, Ryan O'Sullivan, Stephen Shackleford, Anthony Vasquez

From the Fightins: Manager Dusty Wathan returns to the club for his fourth season as skipper. Joining Wathan with be pitching David Lundquist, who is back for his second season in Reading, and longtime hitting coach Frank Cacciatore, who is back with the team for his seventh year after spending 2014 with Clearwater. Interim coach Mickey Morandini will begin the season with Reading as he fills in for Cacciatore, who is away for personal reasons.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley- 

Catchers - Tommy Joseph, Rene Garcia
Infielders - Chase d'Arnaud, Maikel Franco, Tyler Henson, Chris McGuiness, Chris Nelson, Cord Phelps
Outifelders - Darin Mastroianni, Russ Canzler, Brian Bogusevic, Jordan Danks
Pitcher - Phillippe Aumont, Berken, Clemens, Miguel Gonzalez, Severino Gonzalez, Tyler Knigge, Adam Loewen, Adam Morgan, Colton Murray, Hector Neris, O’Sullivan, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Rosin

Francoeur, Hernandez make Phils opening day roster

Every beats writer in the greater Delaware Valley tweeted the Phillies' opening day roster this afternoon. A couple surprises were included among the 25 active players with outfielder Jeff Francoeur and infielder Cesar Hernandez making the cut.

Francoeur posted a .227 average with three doubles and two RBI in 15 Grapefruit League contests this spring. The 31-year-old played in 10 games with a Padres last season, sporting a .083 batting average in that stint. Francoeur was last a big league regular in 2012 with Kansas City, when he tallied a .235 average with 16 homers and 49 RBI.

Hernandez could be the first player to go if and when outfielder Domonic Brown (left Achilles tendinitis) returns from injury. Hernandez posted a .143 batting average in 27 spring games for the Phillies. The switch-hitting 24-year-old is out of options.

Outfielder Jordan Danks, who batted .256 with two doubles, a home run and five RBI in 27 spring games, was optioned to Triple-A.

Righty relievers Luis Garcia and Jeanmar Gomez will be in the bullpen and newly signed starter Dustin McGowan will be on the roster when the Phillies kick off their 2015 season on Monday afternoon at home against Boston.

Click here to view the full Phillies opening day roster.