Friday, July 31, 2015

Revere traded to Toronto for two pitchers, Danks called up

On Friday, in the midst of the official announcement of the Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman to Texas news, another deal was made by the Phillies.  OF Ben Revere will be swapped to Toronto for two minor leaguers. 

Revere, 27, was batting .292 and had a homer along with 26 RBI and 24 steals in 96 games this season.

To fill the void on the big league roster, veteran OF Jordan Danks has been promoted to the Phils. The 28-year-old lefty batter is a career .227 hitter in 180 major league contests.

CSN's Jim Salisbury reported that the two players coming to the Phils organization are righty hurlers Jimmy Cordero and Alberto Tirado.

Cordero, a 23-year-old Dominican, tallied a save and a 2.92 ERA along with 22 strike outs and 14 walks over 24 2/3 innings in 17 games for Double-A New Hampshire. Prior to his promotion to the Eastern League, Cordero notched a 0-1 record a save and a 2.49 ERA while striking out 24 and walking six over 25 1/3 innings in 15 relief outing for Class A Advanced Dunedin this season. The six-foot-three 215-pounder sports an impressive fastball that reaches triple digits on the radar gun.

Tirado, a 20-year-old Dominican, had a 4-3 record with three saves, a 3.23 ERA and an 8.95 K/9 mark in 31 relief appearances for Dunedin. At six-feet, 180-pounds, he has potential for a steady plus fastball, already clocking in the 95-96 MPH range regularly in his young career with upside into the triple digits as well. Tirado was ranked as the number 76 prospect in the sport headed into the 2014 season.

With this duo of power arms, the Phils may have landed a couple of key bullpen contributors for the future. Fans who were excited about the prospect depth the Phils have built since the end of last season with previous trades, should be even more pumped up with the return for Revere from the Blue Jays.

PNTV episode 17: Trade deadline deals, Phils prospects and youth baseball

On this week's edition of Phillies Nation Ian Riccaboni joined hosts Rachel Micali and Corey Seidman to talk about the Phillies dealing ace hurler Cole Hamels and All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon. Minor league insider Jay Floyd also joins the panel to talk about the organization's rising prospects like Aaron Altherr, Andrew Knapp and Roman Quinn as well as members of this year's draft class such as Cornelius Randolph and Kyle Martin. Also, Timothy Parker joins the show with a profile piece on the local youth baseball RBI program.

Check out this week's episode in the media player below. Look for new episodes each Tuesday at 6PM on The Comcast Network with replays throughout the week on TCN and Comcast Sportsnet.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

PN's Jay Floyd discusses Hamels trade on KYW News Radio

This afternoon Phillies Nation's minor league insider Jay Floyd joined Matt Leon on KYW 1060 AM to speak about the widely reported trade of Cole Hamels to Texas as well as the crop of guys the Phillies are slated to receive in return, mainly OF Nick Williams and catcher Jorge Alfaro. Also discussed is the current state of the Phils' minor league system and how the organization has bounced back in regards to possessing a collection of great young talents.

Check out the media player below to listen to the segment.

A Look at the Return for Hamels

phils logoThe Cole Hamels to Texas trade is a six-for-two (plus money) deal with lefty reliever Jake Diekman joining the Phillies' former ace on his way to the Rangers in return for big league starting pitcher Matt Harrison as well as the following prospects- pitchers Jerad Eickhoff, Alec Asher and Jake Thompson, outfielder Nick Williams and catcher Jorge Alfaro.

Eickhoff, a 25-year-old righty, tallied a 1-0 record with a 2.70 ERA in two starts at the Triple-A level this year and had a 4.25 ERA and an 8.24 K/9 mark in 18 games at Double-A this season. The six-foot-four 240-pounder was a 15th round draft pick in 2011. Eickhoff throws a mid-90's fastball as well as a curve ball and a change up. It's possible his future is out of the bullpen.

Asher, a righty, tallied a 3-6 record with a 4.73 ERA in 12 games at Triple-A after posting a 1-4 record with a 3.98 ERA in eight Double-A games this season. The six-foot-four 230-pounder was a 4th round draft selection in 2012. With a (low-90's) fastball/slider/change up repertoire, the durable Floridian has a promising future.

The next three prospects were all rated among the Rangers' top five prospects, starting with Thompson, a six-foot-four 235-pounder, who posted a 6-6 record with a 4.72 ERA while striking out 78 and walking 30 in 87 2/3 innings in 17 starts at the Double-A level this year. The 21-year-old right-hander was a 2nd round draft selection in 2012. He is equipped with a pitching arsenal that features a low-90's fastball, along with a nice slider and a change up that he's working to refine. He was part of a trade that brought him from the Tigers to the Rangers for Joakim Soria last summer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Phils acquire pitching prospect Pivetta for Papelbon

The Phillies got into the action approaching the non-waiver trading deadline on Tuesday, dealing closer Jonathan Papelbon and cash considerations to the Washington Nationals for righty pitching prospect Nick Pivetta.

Pivetta was the Nats' 4th round draft selection in 2013 out of New Mexico Junior College. The British Columbia native stands 6'5" and is listed at 220 pounds.  He is described as an innings eater and has clean arm action.

This season, the 22-year-old tallied a 7-6 record with a 3.02 ERA and a 6.9 K/9 mark in 18 games (17 starts) at Class A Advanced and Double-A.

The youngster's repertoire features a sinking fastball that ranges from 92 to 95 MPH, a decent curve ball and a developing change up that he's building consistency with. 

The Phillies often make adjustments to their pitchers' grips and deliveries, so expect the organization's coaches to take on Pivetta's offerings and mechanics as a new challenge. 

Papelbon, who posted a 2-1 record with 17 saves and a 1.59 ERA in 37 games this season, agreed to drop his 2016 salary from $13 million to $11 million in order to have the vesting option exercised, so he's under contract for Washington through next season, according to reports.  The veteran hurler recently became the Phils' all-time saves leader and now holds that record with 123.




Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hamels notches first career no-hitter in Chicago

HamelsIn what could have been a farewell by Cole Hamels to Philadelphia, the veteran lefty tossed a no-hitter on Saturday at Chicago's Wrigley Field.

En route to his first career nine-inning hitless bid, Hamels struck out 13 and walked two to move his season record to 6-7 while tossing 129 pitches to mark his first win since May 23rd.

The shutout victory could also serve as an up close audition as Hamels, who has been the subject of loads of trade talks in recent weeks, has been rumored to be of interest to the Cubs, who are 1 1/2 game out of the National League's second Wild Card spot.

The Phillies won the contest 5-0, led by Ryan Howard's 17th home run of the season, a three-run blast in the third inning.

The game marked the first time the Cubs have been no-hit since the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax accomplished the feat in 1965.

Friday, July 24, 2015

BlueClaws mascot Buster and friends perform to Silento's smash hit "Watch Me"

With over 61 million views and climbing on YouTube and a top five ranking on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Silento's blazing hot single "Watch Me" is, as some might say, all the rage among young people across America.  As the song itself is virtually only a steady reminder to view the vocalist's dance moves, its catchy lyrics and party vibe, that encourage listeners to bust a move, or seventy-five moves, have made their way to the world of professional sports.

In the video player below, Class A Lakewood BlueClaws mascot Buster and several friends get in on the Silento action and party it up between innings during a recent game.  Check it out.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

BlueClaws Quotables: Shawn Williams talks Casimiro & team's success

Shawn-Williams
Shawn Williams, image- Jay Floyd
The Class A BlueClaws are 10-3 in their last 13 games and have won 13 of their last 18 contests. Currently, Lakewood sits in 2nd place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division, two games behind the first place West Virginia Power (Pirates affiliate).

Following Lakewood's 4-0 victory over the Power on Wednesday, team manager Shawn Williams spoke with Phillies Nation about a pair of the game's winning pitcher, some of the standout offensive contributors as well as the team's recent success following some roster turnover.

I asked Williams about right-handed hurler Ranfi Casimiro, who notched the win with 7 2/3 scoreless innings on three hits, while striking out six and walking two...

He was awesome. He threw the ball really well. He's been throwing like that all year, but he put together 7 2/3 (innings) and I'm really impressed with his outing. The slider was really good. His change up is always good, but his slider was what really impressed me and over all, stuff wise and challenging the zone, he was outstanding.

Williams spoke on if the wall Casimiro hit at the end of his outing, where he allowed the last three batters he faced to reach base with a hit batter and the two base on balls he issued, could be discouraging and possibly ruin the good outing overall...

I don't think so at all. I just think he ran out of gas a little bit. It just happens. He's pitched late into the game a lot this year, but I don't think, just overall, we'll look at the whole outings and I know he is and overall it was awesome and I thought he threw the ball very well.

Monday, July 20, 2015

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws infielder Damek Tomscha

Damek Tomscha, image- Jay Floyd
Corner infielder Damek Tomscha has been a solid performer of late for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. Overall this season, the Phillies' 14th round draft choice from 2014 has posted .270 average with four homers and 32 RBI in 77 games.

Recently, I spoke with the six-foot-two 200-pound righty batter about his production, transitioning to the minor league from college ball at Auburn and his unique name. Read ahead for that full interview.

-You've had some solid success recently, especially after the promotions of some teammates up to Clearwater. What can you tell me about the improved output?

I mean, you just definitely have to step up. You're given the opportunity, I just feel like you need to take advantage of it and I was kind of playing here and there at the beginning of the year and then I started hitting the ball a little better and got the opportunity to start playing a little more. So, I just feel like, for the most part, I'm making the most of my opportunity and doing what I can for the team.

-I know from talking with the coaches that you've made some improvements. What's different for you that has helped out with your offensive production?

I kind of switched a few things up with my stance with (hitting coach Nelson) Prada. We worked some things out and I got a little more upright and I feel like I've been able to get to that inside pitch a bit better and I've gotten the barrel out to those inside pitches and, you know, just going up there swinging, not so much thinking about what I need to do with the fundamentals of stuff. Just mainly going up there a getting a good swing on a pitch that I can handle.

Friday, July 17, 2015

2011 top pick Larry Greene Jr. says he’s returning to baseball

Greene-tugWith news that the Phillies' first round draft choice from last year is headed to the big leagues for his next start, it's a suitable time for another of the organization's recent top draft selections to be on the tip of people's tongues. Granted, it won't be with the same levels of gusto and excitement.

With the Phillies Nation all abuzz with anticipation as righty hurler Aaron Nola is set to make his major league debut next Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park, news of the return of the Phils' top draft pick from 2011, Larry Greene Jr., might draw more eye rolls than tickets sold.

Earlier this season it was reported here that Greene had retired, while the team insisted is was simply a break.

To clear up any confusion, the 22-year-old says that he'll be heading back to the field with the Phillies.

"I'm not done...no chance," Greene asserted on Friday.

Fans, who were frustrated with a growing list of expensive early round draft picks that had not panned out at the top level for the home team, as well as some media types, labeled the six-foot 235-pounder as a bust.

Greene, who is aware of fans' expectations of a top draft pick, feels the break from playing was necessary, due to personal concerns.

In three professional seasons the Georgia native tallied a .224 average with eight home runs and 74 RBI in 242 games. With Class A Lakewood last year, he posted a .183 average with two homers and 18 RBI through 60 games.

Signed for a reported $1 million bonus, Greene doesn't have a firm date for when he'll be back in Clearwater to relaunch his playing career, but he is excited to resume his playing days nonetheless.

"I'm not sure of a time frame, but you haven't seen the last of me. I promise you that."

This post was originally published on Phillies Nation.

Phillies announce Nola to debut in majors on Tuesday


The Phillies announced on Friday that the club's top draft pick from last year, Aaron Nola, will be called up to make his big league debit on Tuesday, July 21st against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Drafted 7th overall last year out of LSU, Nola has been on the fast track to the big league. He is the first opening round draft pick to make his major league debut with the Phillies the year after he was drafted since Pat Combs in 1989.

In 18 combined starts with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, the right-hander sported a 10-4 record with a 2.39 ERA and a .241 batting average against.

Nola's second start for Lehigh Valley on Thursday night wasn't a gleaming one. In three innings of work against the Rochester Red Wings, the 22-year-old gave up seven hits and six runs (five earned) in three innings of work en route to the taking the loss.

Twice this year, Phillies Nation's television program has profiled Nola's progress in the developmental ranks. Those features can be viewed in the media players embedded below.





Thursday, July 16, 2015

Reading's Pointer clinches Eastern League All-Star Game victory

Pointer- Tug
Pointer following a home run this year, Photo- Tug Haines
With a unique format in place to decide a regulation tie, the Eastern League's All-Star Game was decided when Reading outfielder Brian Pointer slammed a deciding home run to clinch a victory for the Eastern Division.

The Double-A league's All-Star exhibition wrapped up nine innings of play with a 4-4 tie in Wednesday's annual event held in Portland, Maine. Extra innings were not how the game would be decided and, without a way to display the method that was actually used to decide the winner, the contest's box score displays the final score as a tie.

Instead of a traditional overtime format, the league used a home run derby to determine the winning club, with the two teams taking turns with one swing each time up, to try and launch a ball over the outfield wall in fair territory. Following eleven failed attempts by the Western division All-Stars and ten missed opportunities by Pointer and his Eastern division teammates, the 23-year-old lefty batter launched a deep fly to right field that reached the stands.

For Pointer, who was the Phillies' 28th round draft selection in 2010, it was clearly a highlight to his pro career.

"That was unbelievable! Just awesome! One of my best moments that I've been a part of," Pointer excitedly said on Wednesday night.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Phillies Nation Episode 15: Cooney, Leiter, Wilson

On this week's edition of Phillies Nation, Corey and Rachel are joined by Phillies beat writer Kevin Cooney. The trio chats about the Phils' extremely poor record though the opening half of the season, Maikel Franco being the team's bright spot and possible upcoming trades. PN's minor league insider Jay Floyd caught up with Reading hurler Mark Leiter Jr. and also joins the panel to discuss some rising prospects such as Aaron Nola, J.P. Crawford, Andrew Knapp and Rhys Hoskins.

The episode, featured in the media player below, also includes a segment with hitting instructor Kevin Wilson, fantasy baseball tips and more.

New episodes of Phillies Nation premiere each Tuesday at 6PM on The Comcast Network and replay throughout each week on TCN and Comcast Sportsnet.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Crawford impresses for US Team in All-Star Futures Game

jp craw
JP Crawford, image- Jay Floyd
In Cincinatti on Sunday afternoon, top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford contributed to the offensive barrage for the United States Team in the MLB All-Star Futures Game, going 1-for-3 with a run-scoring single while scoring a run himself.

The US Team was up 5-1 when Crawford exited the game following the 5th inning. Led by key hits from Rockies prospect Trevor Story and Mets prospect Brandon Nimmo, the club would double their score and increase their lead to 10-1 over the World Team in the 6th inning.

Crawford also impressed on defense, nabbing a liner on a leaping catch and turning a slick double play in the 5th frame.

This was the 20-year-old lefty batter's second trip to the Futures Game. He went 1-for-2 with a stolen base in last year's contest, just 13 months after he was drafted 16th overall in the 2013 draft.

Another Phillies prospect honored to be on the US roster in this year's annual exhibition was starting pitcher Aaron Nola, who did not pitch in the game, after throwing six innings for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday.

In 17 starts combined for Double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley this season, the 22-year-old LSU product has tallied a 10-3 record with a 2.03 ERA and a 7.53 K/9. Nola was drafted 7th overall last year by the Phils.

The game was still in progress at the time this post was published.

This post was originally published on Phillies Nation.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

4th Round Pick Martin Living Dream in Phillies System

K Martin 4
Kyle Martin, image- Jay Floyd
LAKEWOOD, NJ- Drafted by the team he grew up rooting for, first baseman Kyle Martin has found the transition to professional baseball to be an easy one, in the midst of living a dream.

Through 15 games with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, the left-handed hitting Martin has had early success, sporting a .322 average with seven doubles, a triple and a homer with eight RBI.

A lifelong southerner, the six-foot-two 225-pounder followed in his father's footsteps, cheering for the Phillies from far away.

"South Carolina born and raised, but my dad's family and my dad was born up around the Philly area, so I kind of grew up following in his steps since there's nobody to pull for down in South Carolina," Martin shared in the FirstEnergy Park home dugout this week.

Martin happily described the moment in which his family's favorite team drafted him 114th overall just last month.

"I was with my whole family, my mom, my dad, some close relatives and all my family and friends. It was an exciting moment, a great moment, very unscripted that you can't really write up," Martin said.

"I mean the whole house kind of erupted with excitement. I think my dad may have shed a tear. I think he was more happy I got a job more so than anything. But other than that, it was just full of happiness and joy. It was a great moment."

Living far away, the Martins didn't attend too many Phillies games as Kyle grew up, but one Phillie in particular stands out as making a hefty impression on the young prospect during his formative years.

"I grew up a huge Jim Thome fan," Martin said. "He was a big inspiration. His swing, the way he went about the game was a big part of it.

"Great guy. A very good guy to look up to, on or off the field, he did everything the right way, played the game the right way and it rewarded him in the end."

Martin, who wears a steady expression of seriousness and determination whenever he's near the field, has quickly asserted himself as a key contributor for Lakewood by notching seven multi-hit games in his last 12 contests. His abilities at the plate have impressed his coaches.

"One thing I really like on him is his pitch selection," BlueClaws hitting coach Nelson Prada stated. "He, for a big boy, he doesn't strike out too much. Coming from college to play pro and to become a clean up guy for a professional team, you know, getting some RBI's already and some good at bats is a plus for him. I think he's going to be a good hitter. "

This year in his senior season with the South Carolina Gamecocks, the 22-year-old notched a .350 average with 14 home runs and 56 RBI in 57 games.

Four years in a tough collegiate conference was key for Martin's transition into affiliated professional baseball.

"Playing in the SEC, it's the top level, it's top notch programs," Martin shared. "Playing against them, you see the kind of pitching in the SEC that you see here and it's really prepared me. It's gotten me in the zone, it's gotten me in the moment and has helped me evolve as a hitter and a fielder in this type of play."

Now, playing in an area in which he has family ties, Martin will get the support he thrived on throughout his college playing days in order to continue thriving on the diamond.

"I've got some family, and friends who have family, up here and I've gotten to see them a good bit, so that's really kind of helped me out so far and will be nice going forward."

Thursday, July 9, 2015

BlueClaws Quotables: Coaching staff talks prospects

This week I chatted with Class A Lakewood manager Shawn Williams and pitching coach Aaron Fultz about several young players currently in the thick of things with the BlueClaws. Williams, in his first season with Lakewood, spoke about new additions and 2015 Phillies draft picks Scott Kingery and Kyle Martin along with June's Sally League player of the month Herlis Rodriguez. Fultz took time to comment on hurlers Elniery Garcia, Ranfi Casimiro, Alexis Rivero plus more. Read ahead for comments from both coaches.

Shawn Williams:

-Speaking on 2nd round draft choice Scott Kingery and his impressions of the youngster thus far...

He's an exciting player. He's a baseball player. He fits in with the rest of us here and he's an exciting player out there, especially defensively. He's outstanding at second, turning double plays. He can run. He puts together great at bats every game. He's had some tough luck where he's had a lot of hard outs. Jut looking forward to a couple of those falling, 'cause with a couple of those falling (in), who knows what's going to happen, he's really swinging a good stick here.

K Martin
Kyle Martin, image- Jay Floyd
-Offering thoughts on 4th round selection Kyle Martin's early contributions for the team...

Martin is another guy who has fit in right away. He swings the bat very well. He's putting together good at bats. The thing that has impressed me most is that he's a hitter. Very good two strike approach. He hits the ball hard consistently, he barrels it up. It looks like he's got some big power too, but probably more importantly, he is a hitter and he's fun to watch out there with his at bats. He's good defensively.

-Speaking on outfielder Herlis Rodriguez and his terrific production (.373, four HR, 15 RBI in June)...

He's- in a positive way- he's a very annoying player. He is 'cause I think he's got like 15 bunt hits on the year. So, you got teams that if they play him in, he pulls the ball very well, so if the first baseman's playing in, he hits a double past him or hits a double in the gap. Obviously, there's some power that and he's hit some home runs. But if they ever play him back, he gets his bunt hits. He's very good at bunting. He's, like I said, in a positive way, he's very annoying, he's dangerous, he can run, just everything. He's been swinging the bat very well and he's helped us in all areas, defensively, everything.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

PN Interview: 2nd round draft pick Scott Kingery

S Kingery
Scott Kingery, image- Jay Floyd
With their second round pick (48th overall) this year, the Phillies drafted second baseman Scott Kingery out of the University of Arizona. The 21-year-old quickly signed his first professional contract and was assigned to the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.

In college this year, Kingery sported a .392 average while being named Pac-12 player of the year.

In 13 games since making his professional debut, the righty batting speedster has posted a .200 average with a double, a triple and four RBI.

This week I spoke with the Arizona native about his draft experience, how college ball prepared him for the minor leagues, his impressions of the Phillies and much more. Read ahead for that interview.

-What was your draft experience like? How did you track it and how did you celebrate?

It was a pretty crazy experience, a lot of stuff going on, seeing what pre-draft workouts you're going to go to, all the scouts are calling you seeing what you're signability is. It was a really crazy process leading up to the draft and just, really, I was just really nervous the whole time watching the draft, not knowing where you're gonna go, not knowing if you're going to get a call or not. But once it happened, it was fantastic. I had my friends with me, so they all got excited, I got excited. I was just really happy I got picked up.

-Was there any level of surprise that the Phillies took you? Had you been in touch with them a lot?

Well, my area scout, the night before the draft, called me and said in an ideal world we can get you and (Kevin) Newman, my double play partner at the University of Arizona, so I had a hunch that they were going to go after me, if I was still there, so I was there and they took me. I'm glad.

-I want to get you thoughts on how you feel playing college ball prepared you for the next step of playing in the pros.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Biddle promoted to Triple-A, Buchanan to return to majors

J Biddle 2
Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd
One of the Phillies top pitching prospects will make his Triple-A debut on Wednesday, as it was announced on Tuesday night that left-hander Jesse Biddle has been promoted to Lehigh Valley.

This season with the Double-A Reading Fightins, the 23-year-old sported a 7-2 record with a 4.34 ERA and a .288 batting average against in 15 starts.

Biddle was selected 27th overall by the Phillies in the 2010 MLB first year player draft. He'll make his IronPigs debut when the team hosts Pawtucket (Red Sox) at 7:05 PM on hump day

Right-hander David Buchanan threw three innings for Lehigh Valley Tuesday night and will be called upon to start for the Phillies on Saturday.

The 26-year-old posted a 0-5 record along with an 8.76 ERA in five starts with the big league club earlier this year. He missed time recently with a severe ankle sprain, but has tallied a 2.96 ERA in five starts for the IronPigs.

Monday, July 6, 2015

PhoulBallz Interview: Phillies Director of Player Development Joe Jordan

On Sunday, Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan took time to answer questions about many topics throughout the minors, including injured players Jonathan Pettibone, Roman Quinn, Zach Green and Aaron Brown. He also provided feedback on the rise of pitching prospects Aaron Nola and Franklyn Kilome, the return of 2012 top draft pick Shane Watson and the release of lefty pitcher Yoel Mecias.

Read ahead for the full interview with Joe...

R Quinn
Quinn, image- Jay Floyd
-Outfielder Roman Quinn was having a great season in Double-A prior to missing time to due a hip tear. He's been named an Eastern League All-Star. Will he have to stay in Florida and continue rehabbing during the All-Star festivities?

He's staying in Florida to continue his rehab. Very disappointing that it happened, 'cause he, I mean everything was coming together for Roman. He was starting to figure himself out as a player. But, you know, he's getting better. It's going to take a few more weeks. He's gonna need some time and we will not put him out there, obviously, before we know he's ready.

-Corner infielder Zach Green has been out of action with a broken wrist for Clearwater. Do you have any updates on his progress?

He's still a ways away. The point of his injury and they had to do a little bone graft and it's a part of the wrist and hand where there's not a lot of circulation and it takes longer (to heal) than if it was another part of the body, so he's a ways away.

-Clearwater outfielder Aaron Brown left a recent game with an undisclosed ailment. What's his situation?

Browny's got a little tightness, got lower back tightness. We don't think it's a big deal, but it's gonna be a few days, just trying to give him some time. Hopefully, he just misses three or four games.

-What's standing out about the Threshers club lately?

I think the whole club is really- it's- they're all doing well. Hoskins has settled right in. You know, Moore was an All-Star, he's doing a good job for them. Canelo is playing well. You know, Tocci has swung the bat good the past few nights and, hopefully, he gets going. But, it's a good club right now. They put a pretty good lineup on the field every night.

-Back to injury questions...is there any chance we see Jon Pettibone (shoulder surgery) pitch this year?

There is. I saw Jon pitch a bullpen two days ago when I was in Florida and he is pain free. He's trying to work through the mental block of, you know, "I feel good. I'm healthy. I've got to let the ball go." He will at times, but he's got to get comfortable enough to say that it's not going to break anymore and let the ball go. But, he looked good.

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Watson, image- Jay Floyd
-Another guy that underwent shoulder surgery, righty Shane Watson, is making his return to Lakewood. Thoughts on him?

Well, no one's more excited than I am. Well, maybe Shane. But, I've seen him twice down in Florida since spring training ended. The last outing was rain shortened, but he finished up underneath. He's healthy. His velocity is fine. I saw a good breaking ball- one that reminded me of what he had a couple years ago. He just needs innings. It's good to get him out of Florida, under the lights. Shane just needs to get out there and compete. He's healthy. His arm strength is good. I don't now that he is totally comfortable with everything- delivery and execution. You know, he needs to get out there and compete outside the complex where there's people in the seats. He's been a great worker, rehab wise. He's has a lot of people down there helping him. He's ready to go!

-With Shane's return comes the exit of another pitcher, lefty Yoel Mecias, who was looked at as a very promising prospect. What was the deciding factor in that decision?

Well, it's unfortunate because two years ago we was someone we were very excited about. We just felt like he didn't come back and execute and perform, post-injury and post-surgery, the way that we had hoped. And our talent level has gotten better. It was a tough decision to make, but he was the one that we took off the roster for Shane.

It's easy to forget what you once thought of guys, but that's- as our talent gets better and our rosters become stronger, we have to make more of these types of decisions. It's sad, but it's also a positive in the sense that I do think that we're headed in that direction.

-A guy that has become a favorite of prospect fans is right-hander Franklyn Kilome. With great success at Williamsport, he's a guy that could pitch for Lakewood sooner than later. What are your thoughts on him?

I mean Franklyn is one of our young very, very exciting pitching prospects. He is making great progress. His body is filling out and getting stronger. He's just arms and legs and he's got a terrific arm. I don't know that we have one with as much top side if all the stars align. So, he's where he needs to be right now and hopefully he can stack a few more good starts and it's not out of the question that he gets some time (in Lakewood this year). It would be a good experience. It's not necessary. But, it could happen.

-That short-season Williamsport team has had a lot of success in the early going. Is there a lot of excitement about that club?

They're pumped up and I'm gonna be up there in about three nights and I'm looking forward to seeing them. They've gotten off to a great start, everyone knows that. They're pitching well, they're playing the game. They had a couple night where they ran into a good pitcher maybe and didn't swing the bats, but they're finding a lot of different ways to win. Good club!

-Lots of attention surrounding top pitching prospect Aaron Nola, who dominated the Eastern League and is now having similar success in the International League. Talk about him a bit...

I pretty much have said the same things every time I've been asked about Aaron. He's been pretty much every five nights since we got him. I really like what he's doing. The Triple-A competition is better, just more experienced. Strike three is harder to come by than it is in Double-A. He's had a couple of five, six inning outings where he pitched fine, just maybe didn't finish guys as well as he did at Double-A. He's fine. I just think it's a great experience for him. I've never been around one that, really- he's the same guy, very focused. Knows what he is, knows what he wants to do and trusts it. All the stuff you want.

Additionally, for those looking for an update on injured Clearwater outfielder Dylan Cozens, here you go...

Watson takes loss, impresses in return to Lakewood

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Shane Watson, image- Jay Floyd
In a return two years in the making, right-hander Shane Watson returned to the mound for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws on Sunday night. Going 3 2/3 innings, the 21-year-old gave up seven runs (one earned) while striking out seven, walking none and surrendering seven hits. He was also charged with an error in the field.

Watson has been sidelined since he went down with a shoulder injury on July 4th, 2013. He has undergone two shoulder surgeries since that time.

The visiting Hagerstown Suns (Nationals affiliate) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening frame and held off a BlueClaws rally, locking down a 7-5 victory at FirstEnergy Park.

Despite being tagged with a loss, Watson impressed BlueClaws manager Shawn Williams, who had not seen the youngster pitch before.

"This was the first time I've seen him pitch and I was very impressed with what I saw," Williams stated. "I thought he threw the ball very well. If you look at the line, maybe not so much, but overall I mean it impressed me. No walks and seven strike outs. He had a good fastball and threw some really good curve balls. I mean, it was a nasty curve ball. So, for the first start out, I thought he threw the ball really well. He had some tough luck, but overall it was solid."

Watson was quite pleased with his efforts and credited the coaches throughout the Phillies' developmental ranks with helping him make a full recovery and getting ready to compete.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Phillies deal prospects for international signing cash

LAKEWOOD, NJ- It was no surprise when the Phillies announced a trade on Sunday, but the players that we dealt weren't ones that fans were expecting to hear.

In a swap that saw two of Class A Lakewood's six starting pitchers leaving the organization, the Phils acquired the number 1 overall international signing slot for the 2015-16 signing period in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The deal helped the Phils gain a load of funds for future international signings.

Coming to the Phillies is Arizona's top slot, a budget of $3,590,400 for the 2015-16 international signing period. Going to the Diamondbacks are right-hander Chris Oliver and lefty Josh Taylor as well as the team's number 9 overall signing slot ($1,352,100).

The deal would allow the Phillies to ink 16-year-old Dominican slugger Jhailyn Ortiz and avoid any penalties that would prohibit the club from signing other international players for more than $300,000 until for the next two years, according to Phillies.com's Todd Zolecki. Teams that exceed their designated pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods.

The Phillies have been long rumored to be interested in acquiring prospects the old fashioned way, by trading proven starts like Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon. It's certainly possible those individuals could be parting ways with the team soon enough as well.

According to Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan, the teams had been working on the deal for some time, with Arizona notifying the Phillies of what it would take to make the deal in recent days.

"I've had the names for a day or two and we've been kind of going back and forth as far as just how we felt about it," Jordan said in an exclusive interview with Phillies Nation at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park on Sunday. "I mean, we did pick up a sizable amount of money and it's, listen, it's unfortunate. Just from the standpoint of our relationships with the two guys that are no longer part of our organization. We were invested in them, their development and so that part of it you hate to see that happen. But, for us, we felt it was the right thing for us to do this year and this next year as well. We lost two assets, but we picked up some flexibility."

Friday, July 3, 2015

PhoulBallz Interview: Reading Fightins All-Star Brock Stassi

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Brock Stassi chats with a teammate, image- Jay Floyd
First baseman Brock Stassi has been a top offensive performer all season long for the Double-A Reading Fightins. While helping to keep his team in the Eastern League playoff hunt, the 25-year-old lefty batter has posted a .317 average with seven home runs while leading the league in RBI with 52.

Stassi,the Phillies' 33rd round draft pick in 2011, entered the 2015 season as a .246 career hitter with 15 homers in four professional seasons.

Recently, I spoke with Stassi about his solid success at the plate this year and plenty more. Read ahead for that interview.

-You've had quite a season to date and have really increased your offensive numbers compared to previous seasons. What do you attribute to the improvements you've made?

This off-season it all started with breaking down my swing from the ground up. Me and my brother Max, who's with the Astros, live together and the way last year ended, and the way last year ended made me want to work harder this off-season than I ever had before. And Max was noticing some things online and some videos from guys and we ended up breaking our swings down from the ground up, so it's basically a new swing that I'm working with. I give a lot of the credit to that, really slowing things down for me, so it's going well so far.

-Was there someone the Max linked up with for assistance with breaking down the video?

There's a guy, Bobby Tewksbury is his name and we came across him and he had some different hitting philosophies that nobody has ever really be taught. It's really some kind of revolutionary stuff that's starting to catch on. We got in touch with him, sent him some video and he sent us some video back, telling us what we saw and what we should be doing.

Max was- I substitute teach in the off-season and he'd be up till 2, 3 in the morning just online looking at stuff and it was actually Josh Donaldson, Max played with him when he was with Oakland and stuff like that and it was on his Twitter that Max saw him going back and forth with Bobby Tewksbury and Max ended up following him and got in touch with him and talked to Josh about it too and that's his guy that he goes to with his hitting stuff and so we kind of hopped on board with that.

Phillies Nation TV Episode 14: JP Crawford, Diamonds and Denim

On this week's edition of Phillies Nation, Pat and Corey talked about the resignation of Ryne Sandberg as the Phils' manager, movement in the team's front office, Chase Utley's injury and the hot bat of rookie third baseman Maikel Franco. The episode also features a profile on top prospect J.P. Crawford with remarks from Reading coach Mickey Morandini as well as a segment from the Hamels Foundations' Diamonds and Denim charity event featuring comments from Ryan Howard, Cody Asche and Cole Hamels.

Check out the full episode in the media player below. New episodes premiere each Tuesday at 6PM on The Comcast Network.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Five Fightins honored as Eastern League All-Stars

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Brock Stassi, image- Jay Floyd
The Reading Fightins will be well represented at the 2015 Eastern League All-Star Game later this month in Portland, Maine when five members of the team head to the annual exhibition. Shortstop J.P. Crawford, outfielders Cam Perkins and Roman Quinn along with starting pitcher Zach Eflin as well as first baseman Brock Stassi have been named to the Eastern Division roster for the game set to be played on July 15th.

Crawford, the Phillies' top prospect, joined Reading just over a month ago and has posted a .267/.377/.405 slash line in 31 games with the Fightins. The lefty batting 20-year-0ld was the 16th overall draft pick in 2013.

Perkins, who is currently on the disabled list with a back issue, has a .252 average with eight home runs and 33 RBI in 61 games. The 24-year-old was the Phillies' 6th round draft choice in 2012.

Quinn, also on the disabled list, sported a .306 average with four homers and 15 RBI along with a league-leading 29 stolen bases when he tore his hip flexor in mid-June. The switch-hitting 22-year-old was the Phils' second round pick in 2011.

Eflin, the prized prospect acquired in the Jimmy Rollins to Los Angeles trade, has a 5-4 record with 2.88 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 14 games started. The 21-year-old righty sports a 1.80 ERA over his last five outings.

Stassi, the league leader in RBI with 52, is also among the top ranking players in average (.317), OPS (.856), and hits (82). The 25-year-old has been the offensive catalyst all season long for the Fightins. Stassi was a 33rd round draft selection by the Phillies in 2011.

Speaking recently with Phillies Nation on the possibility of being honored as an All-Star, Stassi was reserved on the topic.

"It'd be an honor," Stassi said. "I haven't made an All-Star team in my career yet and, you know, I don't even know how to put it. I'm not trying to look that far ahead. I really take pride in taking it one pitch at a time, one game at a time, one day at a time. I mean that would be a huge honor, definitely the biggest one in my career thus far, besides being drafted."

Reading's five All-Stars are tied with Portland, Trenton, Akron, and Altoona for most players from one team slated to play in this year's contest.