Monday, October 29, 2018

Listi named to AFL Fall Stars Roster

Austin Listi, image- Jay Floyd
As the big leagues' Fall Classic wrapped up on Sunday with another championship for Boston, the baseball community's attention can shift toward off-season leagues.  The lone domestic offering that fans can gravitate toward is the Arizona Fall League, which announced the rosters for its annual Fall Stars Game on Monday.

Outfielder Austin Listi will represent the Phillies, as he was named to the East division roster.  The righty batting outfielder was honored as the Phils' top offensive minor leaguer this year, when he was named as the recipient of the Paul Owens Award.

In the regular season Listi split time with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading.  In 123 games in 2018, the Dallas Baptist product tallied a .312 average with 18 home runs and 84 RBI.

The six-foot 218-pounder has displayed light hitting to date in the AFL, posting a .175 average with a double and three RBI in 12 contests with Scottsdale.

Much like at the top level of the sport with the All-Star Game, the AFL is promoting a "final vote", where fans can cast their ballot to add each roster's final player.  Phillies infield prospect Arquimedes Gamboa (12g, .235 avg, two double, three RBI, two stolen bases) is a candidate worthy of your consideration.  CLICK HERE to vote.

Also set to appear in the exhibition is baseball's top overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero of the Blue Jays organization.  

The game with air live on MLB Network this Saturday, November 3rd, at 8PM Eastern. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Phils find new farm director

As the organization continues to move toward a revitalization, the Phillies have named their new director of player development, plucking a rising leader from the one of the major leagues' newest forces, the Houston Astros.

Per TheAthletic.com and other outlets, former professional player and manager Josh Bonifay has locked down the position of the "general manager" of the Phils' farm system. 

Bonifay's father, Cam Bonifay, was general manager of the Pirates from 1993 to 2001.  While in charge of the Pittsburgh club, Cam drafted Josh twice (in 1996 out of high school, when Josh chose not to sign, and in 1999 as a junior out of UNC Wilmington).

The younger Bonifay played eight seasons in the minors, posting a .284 batting average and an .842 OPS, reaching as high as the Double-A level.  The year he signed, Bonifay played with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, which has since changed from a Pittsburgh affiliate to a Phillies affiliate.  

In recent seasons, Bonifay was a coach in the lower levels of the minors for the Astros.  He also spent time as field coordinator for the Texas Rangers in 2017 and filled that same role for the Astros' minor league levels this year.

Bonifay replaces Joe Jordan, who resigned from his position toward the end of the 2018 minor league season.  Jordan had filled the role for roughly seven years.

There are reportedly still key vacancies to fill throughout the Phillies' developmental ranks including the role of field coordinator.  Doug Mansolino, who was considered, more-or-less, the "second in command" of the Phils' farm for the better part of a decade was relieved of his duties following the regular season.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Phillies Fall/Winter League Updates

I'll be posting rundowns throughout the off-season to shine a light on Phillies prospects making an impact in various leagues around the world.  This is the first of my regular updates throughout the colder months touching on action in the Arizona Fall League, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and other places.  Statistics are current through games on Saturday.

Arizona Fall League (all Phillies representatives here play for the Scottsdale Scorpions)-

Luke Leftwich, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Luke Leftwich has not allowed a run in 5 2/3 innings over four appearances.  He has notched eight strike outs and surrendered two walks.  Leftwich, 24, posted a 3.73 ERA in 44 appearances for Double-A Reading this year.  The Wofford College product was a 7th round draft choice of the Phils in 2015.

Lefty hurler Jonathan Hennigan has allowed two hits and an earned run in three innings of work.  He tallied a 2.39 ERA in 37 combined games for Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year.  Hennigan was a 21st round draft choice by the Phillies in 2016.  The Texas State product is 24 years old.

Right-handed reliever Seth McGarry has tossed 5 1/3 scoreless frames in the AFL.  He posted a 3.99 ERA in 45 contests at the Double-A level this year.  The 24-year-old was an 8th round pick by Pittsburgh in 2015 and was traded to the Phillies last year for Joaquin Benoit.

Tyler Viza has pitched seven scoreless innings over two starts.  The righty, who turned 24 years old on Sunday, was a 32nd round pick of the Phils in 2013.  He spent time with both Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2018.

Outfielder Luke Williams is 1-for-7 in two games for the Scorpions.  The 22-year-old was a 3rd round draft choice in 2015.  With Clearwater this year, Williams tallied a .245/.319/.353 slash line over 110 games.

First baseman Darick Hall is batting .292 with a pair of homers and seven RBI in six games.  Hall, 23, was the 14th round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Dallas Baptist.  Hall blasted 26 homers and drove in 87 runs in 128 combined games with Clearwater and Reading this year.

Outfielder/first baseman Austin Listi is batting .261 with an RBI in seven games in the AFL.  The 24-year-old was a college teammate of Hall and was drafted in the 17th round last year.  Listi won the Paul Owens Award this year, as he posted a .312/.412/.502 slash line in 123 combined games with Clearwater and Reading.

Third baseman/shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa is batting .208 with a home run and seven RBI in eight games with the Scorpions.  The 21-year-old sported a .214 average with two homers, 37 RBI and two steals in 114 games with Clearwater this year.  Gamboa, a native of Venezuela, is a switch-hitter.

Dominican League-

Austin Bossart, image- Jay Floyd
Catcher Austin Bossart is 2-for-6 with a double and an RBI in two games for the Leones.  The righty batting 25-year-old was a 14th round selection in the 2015 draft. Bossart, a U Penn product, tallied a .273 average with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 54 Double-A games this year.

Also with the Leones is 2018 IronPigs closed Pedro Beato.  The 31-year-old righty has allowed two earned runs in three innings over three games.  This year he notched 35 saves with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Lefty reliever Tyler Gilbert has surrendered two runs (one earned) in 1 1/3 innings for the Tigres, though he has not allowed a hit while walking two.  The 24-year-old was a 6th round pick in 2015.  He tallied a 3.25 ERA over 48 combined appearances with Reading and Lehigh Valley this year.

Ranfi Casimiro allowed and earned run without recording an out in his loan appearance thus far with the Aguilas.  The 26-year-old right-hander split most of his time with Reading and Lehigh Valley this year.

Catcher Logan Moore is hitless in six at bats in two games with the Aguilas.  The 28-year-old lefty batter was a 9th round selection of the Phils in 2011.

In six games with the Aguilas, catcher Deivi Grullon is 0-for-15 with a walk.  Grullon, 22, was an Eastern League All-Star with Reading this year. 

In five games with the Toros, shortstop Malquin Canelo is batting .250 with a pair of RBI and three steals.  In 2018 the 24-year-old batted .251 with nine homers and 32 RBI and 24 steals in 128 games for Reading.

Venezuelan League-

Infielder Raul Rivas pinch ran and scored a run in his only appearance for the Bravos.  The switch-hitter, who turns 22-years-old next week, batted .242 with three homers in 104 games with Clearwater this year.

Gustavo Armas, a 22-year-old righty that appeared in 12 total games with Class A short-season Williamsport and Class A Lakewood this year, threw two scoreless innings in one game for the Tiburones.

Left-hander Josh Tols has pitched three scoreless frames in three appearances with the Tigres.  The 29-year-old Australian pitched with both Clearwater and Reading out of the bullpen this year.

Right-hander Luis Carrasco, a key member of this year's Lakewood bullpen, struck out four and walked one in 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the Navegantes.  In 30 appearances for the BlueClaws, the 24-year-old sported a 3.11 ERA and notched four saves.

Leonel Aponte is a right-hander that competed with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies (4.40 ERA in 12g) this year.  As a member of the Cardenales, the 19-year-old has tossed two scoreless innings in one appearance.

Luis Cedeno, a 24-year-old righty, has allowed an earned run in 3 2/3 innings for the Aguilas in one appearance.  Originally from the Yankees system, Cedeno was signed as a free agent this June by the Phillies and pitched with Lakewood.

Mexican League-

OF/1B Joey Meneses in four games with the Tomateros, is 5-for-12 with a home run and six RBI.  Meneses was the International League's Most Valuable Player as a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs this year.