Monday, November 30, 2015

Rule 5 draft just around the corner, Phils choose first

Rule5The off-season is moving along and it’s almost time for "Hot Stove" excitement. With the Phillies not expected to be a major factor in the MLB free agent market, their time to shine at next week’s Winter Meetings will likely come in the annual Rule 5 draft.

Last December the Phils selected Odubel Herrera, in the 9th slot, from Texas and the youngster proved to be a talented contributor for the team in a clear rebuild mode. As a 23-year-old big league rookie, Herrera tallied a .297 average with eight home runs and 16 stolen bases.

Selecting first this year, the Phillies have a chance to really utilize their professional scouting department and take another player ready to impact a big league roster. Positionally, the spots to target may be the outfield or pitching, with depth or a lineup slot locked up in just about every other place on the roster.

With their eyes on finding another Herrera, some players the Phils should be considering are listed below:

Jabari Blash, OF with Seattle. Originally an 8th round pick in 2010, Blash was eligible last year but was not selected in the Rule 5 draft. Following a 2015 in which he slammed 32 homers and OPS’d at .946 in 116 combined games at Double-A and Triple-A, the righty hitter should expect to find a new opportunity next week. The 26-year-old is said to be a plus defender as well.

Tyler Goeddel, OF with Tampa Bay. The 23-year-old was selected 41st overall by the Rays in 2011. The righty batting Goeddel sported a .279 average with 12 home runs, 72 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 123 games for Double-A Montgomery. He was converted from third base to the outfield following the 2014 season.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Phillies Off-season League Updates: Cordero, MAG, Araujo, Knapp, more

Throughout the off-season, Phillies Nation be bringing you details on Phils players participating in fall and winter leagues from around the globe. Read ahead for a rundown of how various players have performed to date.

Venezuelan Winter League-

Carlos Tocci
Carlos Tocci, image- Jay Floyd
With the Tigres, outfielder Carlos Tocci is currently sidelined with a broken hand after being hit by a pitch. Prior to the injury, Tocci posted a .333 average with a triple, four RBI and two stolen bases in 11 games. The 20-year-old posted a .287/.339/.363 slash line in 127 combined games with Lakewood and Clearwater this year.

Outfielder Herlis Rodriguez is batting .196 with five RBI in 25 games for the Tigres. The 21-year-old lefty batter posted a .284 average with 10 home runs and 61 RBI in 120 games for Class A Lakewood this year.

In six starts Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez as a 0-4 record with a 4.88 ERA for the Aguilas. In his most recent appearance, MAG allowed seven runs (six earned) in 1 2/3 innings. The 29-year-old right-hander appeared in six minor league games this year after dealing with shoulder issues.

Elvis Araujo has a 3-1 record along with a 2.84 ERA and a .205 batting average against in 11 outings for the Aguilas. The 24-year-old left-hander posted a 2-1 record with a 3.38 ERA and an 8.8 K/9 mark in 40 games at the big league level this year.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Phillies acquire SP Hellickson for pitching prospect

phils logoThe Phillies' new general manager has completed his first trade. A deal announced on Saturday saw Matt Klentak send pitching prospect Sam McWilliams to Arizona for right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.

Hellickson will join a Phils pitching staff that included three rookies by season's end and is in need of some established durability. In the last five years, the Iowa native has averaged 150 innings per season.

The 28-year-old sports a 49-48 record along with a 3.94 ERA in 142 career MLB outings. Hellickson was a 4th round pick by Tampa Bay in 2005 and was the American League Rookie of the Year in 2011 when he posted a 2.95 ERA in 29 starts in his first big league season. He also won a Gold Glove Award for his defense in 2012.

McWilliams, 20, was an 8th round draft selection by the Phillies last year. In his time as a pro, the righty sported a 2-5 record with a 4.19 ERA and a 4.8 K/9 mark in 16 games (12 starts).

Klentak took over as the team's GM last month. During his tenure, the Phils have acquired two other hurlers, claiming Dan Otero off waivers from Oakland and signing James Russell to a minor league deal.

Analysis: McWilliams would not have ranked in Phillies Nation's top 25 prospects this off-season and would not have been close. With considerable pitching depth at the upper levels of the organization's developmental ranks, McWilliams, who has not pitched above the rookie level Gulf Coast League (two levels below Class A Lakewood), is very expendable. Acquiring a proven big league arm for this youngster is a steal for the Phils.

This post originally appeared on Phillies Nation

Friday, November 6, 2015

Knapp & Ramos slated to rep Phils in AFL Fall Stars Game

Knapp 1
Knapp, image- Jay Floyd
One of the biggest events of the off-season league schedule takes place this Saturday when the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars Game happens at Scottsdale's Salt River Fields.

The "Fall Stars" exhibition marks the 10th annual event and will be nationally televised at 8PM Eastern on MLB Network and will stream live online at MLB.com.

Representing the Phillies will be righty hurler Edubray Ramos and catcher Andrew Knapp, who were part of the Double-A Reading team that went to the Eastern League Championship Series this year.

Ramos, a 22-year-old Venezuelan, was a stand out performer this year, when he tallied a 4-6 record with eight saves, a 2.07 ERA and a .196 batting average against in 47 games in relief for Class A Advanced Clearwater and Reading. As a member of the Glendale Desert Dogs in the AFL, Ramos has allowed seven earned runs in 6 2/3 innings (9.45 ERA) while striking out eight and walking none.

The switch-hitting Knapp, who turns 24-year-old next week, entered AFL action on Friday with a .214/.361/.321 slash line in nine games with Glendale. He was honored as the Phillies' top minor league player this season with the Paul Owens Award. Also having split time with Clearwater and Reading, the man known as "The California Kid" sported a .308 average with 13 homers and 84 RBI in 118 combined games.

Knapp was named to the club as a first baseman, where he's been getting playing time in the field to enhance his versatility, when Houston's A.J. Reed was shut down with soreness by the Astros.

Salt River Fields serve as the spring training home to the Rockies and the Diamondbacks.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Morandini added to Phillies coaching staff

M Morandini
Mickey Morandini, image- Jay Floyd
The Phillies announced on Monday that former infielder Mickey Morandini would be added to their staff next year as the team's first base coach.

Morandini spent the last five seasons coaching in the minor leagues in the organization that drafted him in the 5th round in 1988. He began his coaching career as the manager of the Class A short season Williamsport Crosscutters in 2011. He would go on to manage Class A Lakewood the following season, spending two seasons there. He coached at the Triple-A level in 2014 and at Double-A this year. In those roles with Lehigh Valley and Reading, Morandini spent time overseeing base running and assisted with hitting as well.

Previously, the 49-year-old was a guest instructor for the big league team in spring training in 2009 and 2010. As a coach in the higher levels, he was utilized in recent seasons during big league spring training as well.

During his playing career, Morandini, a second baseman, represented the Phillies as an All-Star in 1996 and was a member of the beloved 1993 National League Championship club. He was best known for turning the ninth unassisted triple play in MLB history in 1992. Morandini was a .268 hitter in 1,298 big league games, also playing with Toronto and the Cubs.

Replying via text message, the Indiana native offered his thoughts on the promotion.

"At this stage of my life, I'm just as excited (for a promotion to the major leagues) as I was as a player," Morandini stated. "I consider myself very fortunate to get this opportunity again."

With the addition of Morandini at first base, Juan Samuel is slated to move across the diamond to coach third base.

Other recent additions to the coaching staff for next year include John McLaren as catching coach and Rick Kranitz as the bullpen coach.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Off-season League Notebook: Sandberg, Arano, Knapp stay hot

Throughout the off-season, we'll be bringing you details on Phillies players participating in fall and winter leagues from around the globe. Read ahead for a rundown of how many players have performed to date. Stats are current through games played on Friday except ABL notes, which include stats for Saturday's games.

Australian Baseball League-

cord2
Cord Sandberg, image- Jay Floyd
Outfielder Cord Sandberg is hitting a lofty .444 with a double, four walks and a steal in six games for Canberra. The 20-year-old was one of nine minor league Gold Glove Award winner as a member of the Lakewood BlueClaws this year. Sandberg was a 3rd round draft selection in 2013.

Through seven games for the Sydney Blue Sox, first baseman Rhys Hoskins is batting .240 with five doubles, a homer and five RBI. In a double header on Saturday, Hoskins went 3-for-6 with two doubles and a home run. The 22-year-old was a 5th round draft pick by the Phils last year. He batted .319 with 17 home runs and 90 RBI in 135 combined games for Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year.

Mexican Winter League-

For the Yaquis, right-handed pitcher Victor Arano has a 2-0 record with a 1.00 ERA in eight relief outings. He has struck out nine and walked none in nine innings of work. The 20-year-old had a 4-12 record with a 4.72 ERA in 24 games with Clearwater this year.

Arizona Fall League-

Catcher Andrew Knapp is batting .296 with eight RBI in six games. "The California Kid" has played catcher, first base and designated hitter for the Desert Dogs thus far. The 23-year-old was the Phils' second round draft selection in 2013. With Double-A Reading this year, Knapp sported a .360 average with 11 homers and 56 RBI in 55 games.