Friday, October 30, 2015

Crawford injured, replaced in Arizona Fall League by Stankiewicz

Top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford will miss the remainder of the Arizona Fall League season after suffering a small tear in his left thumb, as first reported by CSN's Jim Salisbury.

Crawford, who was the Phillies top draft selection in 2013 (16th overall), had gone 3-for-20 (.150 average) in five games with Glendale in the AFL this month.

The 20-year-old shortstop missed time early in the 2015 season with an oblique strain.

In a season split between Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading, the lefty batting Crawford sported a combined .288 batting average with a .793 OPS in 107 regular season games. He was also named a mid-season All-Star in the Eastern League with Reading and competed in the MLB All-Star Futures Game.

The ailment for Crawford does not require surgery and he is expected to be healthy for spring training.

Stankie
Drew Stankiewicz, image- Jay Floyd
Replacing Crawford with the Glendale Desert Dogs will be infielder Drew Stankiewicz, who was an 11th round draft pick by the Phillies out of Arizona State University in 2014.

The 22-year-old lefty spent time during the 2015 regular season with Clearwater and Class A Lakewood, posting a .283/.345/.368 slash line in 99 games. "Stankie", as he's referred to by teammates, splits his time on defense between shortstop and second base.

The son of former big league player and minor league coach Andy Stankiewicz, Drew attended Arizona Fall League games as a child.

"My excitement level is great," Stankiewicz expressed on Friday. "I remember watching these games when my dad was a coach back when I was little and (I) always wanted to play here."

The call to fill the void on the Glendale roster came as a surprise for Stankiewicz, but he wasn't just sitting at home on the couch getting rusty. He was already set to stay active on the diamond this autumn.

"The call came as a surprise because I was going to work out with Team USA and literally checking in and 10 minutes later I had to return all the stuff because of me playing here. I am ready for this opportunity as I have been working out regularly with my off-season program," the five-foot-nine 160-pounder said.

Stankiewicz understands the call for him to tackle this challenge was under less than ideal circumstances with a teammate getting hurt, but he's looking forward to the chance to play among some of the top prospects in baseball.

"I am honestly just really happy about my opportunity to play right now. Worked out great me being here in the off-season anyway. And (I'm) just looking to make the best of this opportunity and play hard."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dylan Cozens Interview Excerpts

Dylan Cozens, image- Jay Floyd
Recently, I spoke with Phillies outfield prospect Dylan Cozens about an injury keeping him from playing in the highly regarded Arizona Fall League (read that feature by clicking here). Below are some bonus quotes from my telephone interview with Cozens about his progress, his 2015 season, spending time last winter playing baseball in Australia and more.

- The 21-year-old talked about transitioning from the Class A Advanced Florida State League to the Double A Eastern League late in the season this year...

I felt like it was easy for me (in Double A). I felt like it was a lot easier up there to get a plan, make a plan against the pitcher. You kind of have an idea of how they are going to attack you. In High A, you don't really see that as much. Everybody's just kind of doing their own thing. I definitely felt like it was easier to get a plan. More pitchers were around the plate, which was good. Umpires were better, made it easier to lay off things, so I felt more confident laying off pitches and waiting to get my pitch. Also, I came up to more hitters' parks, which made things a lot better. I felt like it was very tough to get the ball out of the yard in the Florida State League. So, I just stopped trying to do it. I just focused on hitting line drives.

- Cozens spoke of who has helped him progress through the minor leagues thus far...

I've had some great coaches. I've had Greg Legg as my manager for two years in a row now. He's been awesome. He's helped me out a ton. This year, my hitting coach, Coach (Rob) Ducey was great. We worked on a couple different things and tried new things out. Different approaches, talking game, different things with my swing, stuff like that. He's a hell of a coach and our hitting coordinator (Andy) Tracy is always great. He's taught me a lot too. And then, going up to Double A, Dusty (Wathan) and Mickey Morandini were also great.. They were just supportive and kind of let me do my own thing. I was kind of on the right track. I've been blessed with some great Phillies coaches, that's for sure. And then, (Andy) Abad, the outfield coordinator has really helped my game in the outfield with my throwing and stuff, getting me to throw better as well. 

- I asked Cozens if he feels like he's a little underrated for his defense and speed...

I don't really pay attention to any of the ratings and all of that, but I do feel like I'm definitely one of the fastest and can get around just as good as anybody out there in the outfield. I feel like I've proved that just on the base paths and stealing bags and what not and laying down bunts. And in the outfield, I definitely need to make more of an emphasis on that and keep getting better.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Poll: What Should I Name My Son

In the coming weeks my wife and I are expecting our first child, a boy. We're just about ready for his arrival, but we haven't locked in a name for him yet. Recently, I've talked with some well-known individuals to ask for some name ideas. Phillies outfield prospect Nick Williams, fresh off being acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels trade, suggested the name Braden. Comedian, actor and TV host Hal Sparks recommended Logan. Phils lefty pitcher Mario Hollands thinks Mario is a swell option. Lastly, outfield prospect Dylan Cozens offered the name Christian as his top choice.

With those choices, it's time for you, readers and friends, to weigh in on what the world's newest baseball fan should be called.  Vote in the poll below.

What should I name my son?

Braden
Logan
Mario
Christian
Other
Please Specify:
Quiz Maker

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Reports: Klentak to be new Phillies general manager

News broke on Saturday that the Phillies have decided on their next general manager with Matt Klentak in line to take on the role. First to report the decision was the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo on Twitter.

Many considered Klentak as a front runner for the gig as he has previous ties to current team president Andy MacPhail while both were with Baltimore.  Klentak held the title of director of baseball operations with the Orioles and most recently was the assistant GM with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Klentak played baseball in college for Dartmouth University where he was a shortstop and the team's captain as a senior.  Out of college, Klentak worked for the Colorado Rockies in their baseball operations department and later spent four years working for MLB's labor relations department.

Varied reports have Klentak as either 34 or 35 years old.  Either way, he's a young man in an evolving pro baseball world, which can certainly play in the Phillies' favor.

Also first reported by Cafardo is the destination for the Phillies’ previous GM Ruben Amaro Jr., who will be manning the first base coach’s box for the Boston Red Sox. Amaro was let go by the Phils late last season after spending nearly seven years in the role.

This post was originally published on Phillies Nation.

Promising OF prospect Cozens missing Fall League with arm injury

Dylan Cozens, image- Tug Haines
An attempt to show off in front of various team coaches and front office personnel seems to have cost Phillies outfield prospect Dylan Cozens a chance to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. A week prior to heading out to take part in the highly regarded autumn exhibition league that features many of baseball's top minor league talents, the skilled slugger hurt his arm during routine drills in Clearwater, FL, at the organization's spring training facilities.

"My first throw I went to make from right field I went to throw it and I was trying to throw it pretty hard, and I was trying to show off a little bit, like maybe show off the arm, and it just like grabbed on me and tightened up real bad," Cozens confessed in a phone interview on Friday. "And then, I overthrew the guy a little bit and they made me do another throw and I went to throw that one and it hurt pretty bad and I was like, 'I'm shutting it down.'"

Medical examinations, including an MRI and x-rays, followed for the 21-year-old, who wrapped up his 2015 regular season with the Double-A Reading Fightins. The diagnosis was a forearm strain and swelling of the UCL in his left arm.

Initially, it was unclear how much time Cozens would miss, so he flew out to Arizona to join six other Phillies minor leaguers as members of the Glendale Desert Dogs for the month-long AFL schedule. After further evaluation, the imposing six-foot-six 235-pounder was ordered to return to Clearwater for rehab work with the organization's training staff.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Phillies off-season league updates

Off-season leagues are underway for many Phillies players including some stateside in the Arizona Fall League, but with several players taking the diamond abroad. Read ahead for a complete rundown of how your Phils are doing across the globe. Stats listed are current through Saturday's games.

Arizona Fall League-

jp craw
JP Crawford, image- Jay Floyd
In two games, shortstop J.P. Crawford is 1-for-8 (.125 avg) with a walk and a strike out. The 20-year-old was the Phillies' first round draft selection in 2013. In 86 games with Double-A Reading this year, Crawford posted a .265 average with five home runs and 34 RBI.

Catcher Andrew Knapp is 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in one game played as a designated hitter. The 23-year-old was the Phils' second round draft selection in 2013. With Reading this year, Knapp sported a .360 average with 11 homers and 56 RBI in 55 games.

Edubray Ramos allowed an earned run in 1 1/3 innings while allowing a hit and striking out a batter. The 22-year-old righty tallied a 4-6 record with a 2.07 ERA and an 8.4 K/9 mark in 47 combined games with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Reading this year.

Lefty Tom Windle tossed a scoreless frame and notched two strike outs. The 23-year-old, a second round pick of the Dodgers in 2013, was acquired as part of the Jimmy Rollins trade last off-season.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Winter Leagues under way with Tocci, Lino and more

Carlos Tocci
Carlos Tocci, image- Jay Floyd
Just as the big league postseason is heating up, minor league players have gotten action rolling in the international off-season leagues, with top outfield prospect Carlos Tocci and promising backstop Gabriel Lino leading the way in the Venezuelan Winter League.

With Aragua on Wednesday, the 20-year-old Tocci went 3-for-6 with a stolen base. All of his hits were singles. Tocci, widely ranked among the Phillies' top 10 prospects, posted a .287/.339/.363 combined slash line in 127 games with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater in 2015.

Also for Aragua in the VWL, outfielder Herlis Rodriguez went 1-for-1 with two RBI as a pinch hitter and later played right field. The 21-year-old lefty batter tallied a .284 average with 10 home runs, 61 RBI and 16 steals in 120 games for Lakewood this season.

Lino, who was acquired from Baltimore in 2012 for Jim Thome, went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strike out for Lara in the VWL on Wednesday. The 22-year-old sported a .234 batting average with three homers and 30RBI in 85 combined games for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year.

Multi-positional standout Willians Astudillo went 1-for-4 as the first baseman for Anzoategui on Wednesday. Astudillo was the Class A Advanced Florida State League batting champion this year with his .314 mark, also hitting three homers and driving in 49 runs.

Additionally, infielder Edgar Duran was 1-for-4 with Margarita as their shortstop on opening night. Duran missed a majority of the season with a pair of injuries as a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs this year.

Opening days for other off-season leagues are coming soon enough with action starting in Mexico on Friday, October 9th, Arizona Fall League is under way on October 13th while the Dominican league starts October 15th and the Australian Baseball League begins on October 23rd.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

LHP Prospect Biddle to have Tommy John surgery

J Biddle 2
Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd
The Phillies announced on Sunday that lefty pitching prospect Jesse Biddle will require Tommy John surgery after suffering damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm.

The 23-year-old has been plagued with injuries in recent seasons after missing considerable time with a concussion last year with Double-A Reading, he was shut down with elbow soreness during the off-season while playing in Puerto Rico and was shelved with what was said to be a shoulder strain this year while with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

In split time with Reading and Lehigh Valley this season, Biddle tallied a 9-6 record with a 4.95 ERA and a 6.4 K/9 mark over 24 starts.

The Philadelphia native was the Phillies' top draft selection (27th overall) in 2010. He'll turn 24 years old later this month.

Another Phillies left-hander underwent UCL reconstruction this year. Reliever Mario Hollands is progressing well after going under the knife in April. Rehabbing in Clearwater, Hollands is currently on a throwing programs in which he plays catch every other day and has been doing so for a month thus far. Throwing off a pitching mound is something that is on the horizon for Hollands, although he's not sure how soon that change to his workload will pop up.

In 50 games as a big league rookie in 2014, Hollands posted a 2-2 record along with a 4.40 ERA.  Hollands was the Phils' 10th round draft choice in 2010.

Hollands, a close friend of Biddle, has offered guidance to the younger hurler.

"I've been talking to him since his first doctors visit about the process and what he should expect," Hollands said on Sunday.

The feedback is something that Hollands is pleased to share with Biddle, who is facing a troubling time.

"I'm happy to do it, but surgery and recovery aren't too fun to talk about," Hollands, who didn't have anyone to offer similar insight, stated.

The UC-Santa Barbara product, Hollands, expects to remain in Florida throughout the off-season in order to aggressively complete his rehab program and make a return early in 2016, barring any setbacks.

Phils clinch worst record in MLB, lock down top draft pick

phils logoGetting swept in a double header at home has likely never had such a positive spin as it did for the Phillies on Saturday as they lost a pair of contests against the division rival Marlins.

In the opening game of the twin bill, the Phils would lose for the first time this season when leading after eight innings as flame throwing closer Kenny Giles blew just his second save opportunity since taking over the duties at the back end of the bullpen after the trade of Jonathan Papelbon.

In the night cap, rookie hurler Alec Asher, acquired from Texas in the Cole Hamels deal, surrendered three earned runs in two innings of work to fall to 0-6 on the season in the big leagues. The Marlins were victors by scores of 7-6 and 5-2.

The Phillies solidified their worst record since 1969 with their 99th loss of the season. With one game remaining this season, the century mark isn't out of the question in the loss column. They've not lost 100 or more games since 1961 when the club dropped 107.

It wasn't all bad news for the home club at Citizens Bank Park, however, as the Phillies locked in the top spot in next year's MLB amateur draft.

In their history, the Phillies have had the first overall draft pick only once. They selected Miami third baseman Pat Burrell with the top selection in 1998.

The top name rumored to be drawing the most interest as the first overall pick come next June is local standout, Jason Groome, a lefty hurler out of Barnegat High School in New Jersey. Groome, a senior, was clocked at 96 MPH in a late-summer showcase game at Petco Park prior to his 17th birthday. He is said to throw heat effortlessly and features outstanding secondary pitches as well.