Sunday, July 21, 2019

Phillies minor league hot list, 7/21/19

The season's been moving by quite swiftly and as we reach the midst of the summer, I'm bringing another rundown of minor league players that are performing rather well of late.

Statistics are updated through Saturday's games.


-Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs (47-50 record, 5th place in the International League North division)...

Phil Gosselin, image- Jay Floyd
Infielder Phil Gosselin, who played in 32 games with the big league Phillies this year, has been hot during his tenure with the IronPigs.  In 38 games, the 30-year-old veteran has notched a .354/.445/.542 offensive slash line.  Gosselin is batting .400 in 10 games since the All-Star break.

Since his promotion from Double-A Reading, outfielder/corner infielder Austin Listi has been huge on offense.  In 28 games for Lehigh Valley, the 25-year-old righty batter sports a .333 average with nine doubles, eight homers and 28 RBI.  Listi was the Phillies' 17th round draft choice in 2017.

Lefty reliever Tyler Gilbert has shined for the Pigs lately.  In his last 10 outings, the 25-year-old has a 1-0 record with one save and a 1.26 ERA.  Gilbert, the Phillies' 6th round draft choice in 2015, has a 2.30 ERA in 20 overall games this season.


-Double-A Reading Fightin Phils (20-10 second half record, 1st place in the Eastern League's East division)...

Over his last nine starts, righty pitcher Adonis Medina has tallied a 2.34 ERA with a 6-1 record. Many outlets ranked Medina, 22, very highly coming into the season.  The Dominican Republic native sports a 6-3 record with a 3.53 ERA and a .230 batting average against through 15 starts this season.

Third baseman Alec Bohm has continued his charge through the Phillies' system since he was promoted to Reading in June.  Through 23 games in Double-A the 22-year-old has posted a .286 batting average with five doubles, a triples, seven homers and 19 RBI.  Overall, at three levels this year, Bohm, who was the Phillies first round draft choice last year, is batting .304 with an .860 OPS. Bohm had a big two-homer game with Reading on Saturday.

Outfielder Mickey Moniak is still hot still a dismal month of April.  Since May 1st, the 21-year-old is batting .289.  Moniak, the top overall selection in the 2016 draft has posted a .265 average with 21 doubles, a league-leading 10 triples, four homers, 42 RBI and 12 steals in 83 overall games with Reading this season.

The bullpen tandem of Addison Russ and Jonathan Hennigan have been impressive for Reading as well.  Russ, the Phillies' 19th round draft pick two years ago, has been the team's key closer.  The 24-year-old sports a 1-5 record with 15 saves, a 1.63 ERA and a 13.7 K/9 mark in 38 appearances.  Hennigan began the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater before earning a promotion to Double-A.  In 17 appearances with Reading, Hennigan, 24, has a 2-1 record with a 1.67 ERA and a .214 batting average against.

-Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers (15-16 second half record, 2nd places in Florida State League's North division)...

Outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz has shown plenty of power in the second half for the Threshers.  After slamming seven home runs in 50 first-half games, the 20-year-old righty-hitting slugger has recorded nine round-tripppers in 28 games since the Florida State League All-Star break.  In 79 total games this season, Ortiz has a .219/.289/.429 slash line.

Center fielder Simon Muzziotti has an eight-game hitting streak, heading into action on Sunday.  Over that stretch, the 20-year-old lefty batter has hit .333.  In 74 games this year, the Venezuela native has tallied a .280 batting average with a pair of homers, 24 RBI and 15 stolen bases.

Well touted pitching prospect Spencer Howard has peformed at a high level since returning from the disabled list with a shoulder strain.  The 22-year-old righty has tossed 15 scoreless innings over his past three starts while striking out 18 and walking only one.  The 22-year-old with the Phils' second round pick in the 2017 draft.  He was ranked as the Phillies' top prospect by this site prior to this season.

-Class A Lakewood BlueClaws (10-18 second half record, last place in South Atlantic League North division)...

Carlos De La Cruz, image- Jay Floyd
Outfielder Carlos De La Cruz has shown a big boost to his power recently.  The 19-year-old is batting .242 with four home runs and nine RBI in his last nine games.  De La Cruz had just one homer in his first 75 games this year.  In 84 total games, the righty youngster has notched a .228 average.

This year's 10th round draft pick McCarthy Tatum has looked solid since joining the BlueClaws this month.  In nine games, the 23-year-old Fresno State product is batting .303 with two home runs and six RBI.  Tatum, a third baseman, played in 14 games with Williamsport before his promotion.

Righty pitcher Rafi Gonell has stood out on the 'Claws' staff lately.  The 22-year-old Dominican has recorded a 3.24 ERA with a 9.0 K/9 mark over his last nine appearances.  Overall, opponents are hitting .179 in 14 games against Gonell.

-Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters (10-24 record, last place in New York-Penn League's Pinckney division)...

Speedy center fielder Corbin Williams leads the team in runs scored with 13 and is tops in the New York-Penn League in stolen bases with 18.  Overall in 27 games, the 21-year-old, who was the Phillies' 24th round pick last year, is batting .261.

Right-handed pitcher Tom Sutera possesses an incredible 27-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in six games (three starts).  The 22-year-old has a 1-3 record with 2.29 ERA and a .269 batting average against.  Sutera was an undrafted free agent signed in summer 2018 by the Phils.

Catcher Juan Aparicio's .944 OPS leads the NYPL.  The 19-year-old Venezuela native is batting .337 with eight doubles, three triples and a homer along with 11 RBI in 27 games. 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Ben Pelletier answers Nine Silly-ass Questions

Ben Pelletier, image- Jay Floyd
Recently, I talked with Class A Lakewood outfielder Ben Pelletier. The 20-year-old was the Phillies 34th round draft selection in 2015.

As a member of the BlueClaws this year, Pelletier has struggled a bit at the plate, sporting a .185 average with 11 doubles, eight home runs and 22 RBI in 74 games to date.

Overall in 216 professional games, the righty batting Quebec native has tallied a .252/.305/.401 slash line.

During out chat, which is available EXCLUSIVELY to Patreon members, Ben discussed coming up as a baseball player in Canada, how often people mispronounce his name, staples in his diet along with plenty more. Please check out this link to visit my Patreon page, support my work and enjoy the interview.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Lakewood RHP Andrew Schultz

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Andrew Schultz, image- Jay Floyd
Taken with the Phillies sixth round pick in this year's draft, righty reliever Andrew Schultz is off to a good start in his professional career.

The Tennessee product quickly signed with the Phillies last month and promptly made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League.  After putting his considerable velocity, which steadily clocks in the upper 90's, the organization promoted the six-foot-four 190-pounder to Class A Lakewood.

In 26 outings this year as a junior with the Vols, the 21-year-old tossed 25 innings, recording a 3-1 record, two saves, a 3.24 ERA and a 14.0 K/9 mark.

Outside of a troublesome debut with Lakewood, Schultz has looked impressive in the initial weeks of his professional career.

Recently, I spoke with Schultz about his rough debut with the BlueClaws, his notable fastball velocity, his draft experience and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.


-What was the draft experience like for you?  How did you get the news?  Were you watching it intently?

Yeah, yeah!  I was with some of my (college) teammates.  We were all watching together.  I had a decent idea of when (I would get picked).  So, I got together with a bunch of my teammates and watched it, so it was fun.

-What was the reaction from the guys around you when your selection comes up?  I imagine your heart rate goes up, maybe some adrenaline gets going for you, but what's their reaction?

I was definitely-- my heart rate was up, but I think they were more excited than I was, so it was cool.

-Did any of those other guys get drafted too?

Yeah, actually, we had a lot this year.  We had a really good team this year.  Garrett Stallings and Zach Lingenfelter, my two roommates actually.  They both got picked up, so it was pretty fun.

-Are you guys all keeping tabs on one another pretty closely from the different organizations now?

Yeah, we are still shooting texts back and forth, messing with each other, so...

-Any trash talking involved there?

No, no.  None of that.  Just good stuff.

-How has the experience been thus far?  Obviously, you go to Clearwater for a bit and you spend some time in the Gulf Coast League and then pretty quickly come here.  So, what has the few weeks been like for you?

It's been awesome.  Obviously, it's a little different than college.  There's a little learning curve but I'm getting out there, getting the hang of it and starting to feel better, so I'm enjoying it.

-I think you draw some attention for your velocity.  Does that excite you to see those radar gun readings the same as it excites the fans and maybe your teammates?

No.  The strikes excite me.  That's what I like.

-That's perfect.  You've had some good outings recently, but when you come out and have a rough debut (1/3 IP, 1H, 3BB, 4ER) and the control's not there, is that a lot of nerves for you, or something different?

No, we've been working on trying to keep a good rhythm, and I've felt better these past few outings.  The first one, obviously, was not very good, a lot of walks there.  But I've started to get in a little groove and I think it's going to be a lot better moving forward.

-What was the change there specifically?  What was it that took some getting used to, before you're good?

So, really like I just try to be quicker, because I've got a short arm action.  It's really quick and my arm moves fast, so I just try to be quick with the rest of my body.  Sometimes I'll get kind of slow with everything else, my arm kind of gets stuck, so I just try to keep that quick pace.

-What sort of impression do you have of your pitching coach Matt Hockenberry thus far?

That was actually his idea, talking about being quicker to the plate.  And I did it and immediately felt like I had better control that day.  I love talking to him, picking his brain.  And, obviously, he played and he's been through it, so he knows a lot of stuff.

-What is the vibe like with the team since you've been here?  Who are you rooming with?  Is there anybody here that you're close with?

I live with Tyler McKay and Michael Gomez.  Me and Gomez are real close.  We're right on top of each other in the room and we spend a lot of time together.  And, yeah, I'm good buddies with both of them.

-What's the night like after a day game and how do you spend your time away from the baseball field?

I think I may take a nap.  But with a little time off, maybe relax and just watch some TV.  Nothing too crazy.

-What are the normal hobbies for you?  Do you do video games or anything like that?

Yeah, I do play video games.  It's a good way to keep up with my roommates from school.  I play with them.

-What do you guys play?

Fortnite.

-Who rules?

Definitely me.

-Would they agree with that?

Yeah, for sure.

-Okay.  Let me go back to the draft day real quick.  You said you had, roughly, an idea of where you would be picked.  Were the Phillies a team that had been in touch, or did they come by surprise?

To read the remainder of this interview, support my work and contribute on Patreon.com/PhoulBallz.



Sunday, July 14, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Lakewood hitting coach Christian Marrero

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Marchan and Marrero, image- Jay Floyd
The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws are among the weakest offenses in the South Atlantic League. Overall, at the time of this writing, the team ranks last in the league in runs scored at 301 (29 runs fewer than the next closest team). The club also sits last in hits, batting average and OPS.

This week I talked with Lakewood's hitting coach and former Phillies minor leaguer Christian Marrero. He offered his thoughts on several of Lakewood's standout names including catcher Rafael Marchan, middle infielders Jonathan Guzman and Luis Garcia as well as outfielder Malvin Matos, plus his thoughts on the lineup's overall struggles.

Read ahead for that full, brief interview.


-Rafael Marchan has been solid of late. He notched three separate three-hits games recently and has been as consistent as anyone of late, batting over .400 this month. Can you share some thoughts on him?

Marchan, he’s progressed offensively and defensively. Right now, on both sides of the plate, his approach has gotten a lot better. Swinging the bat a lot better.

-What strides have you seen him take? What’s different for him between spring and now?

Just his approach at the plate. He’s getting smarter. He knows how pitchers are attacking him. He’s making adjustments in the box and he’s using the middle of the field.

-I don’t mean to imply that it should bother you...but does it bother you, as the hitting coach, when so many guys are struggling to get (above) or stay above .200 with their averages?

You know, you always want everybody doing well. But, for me, I don’t really look at that too much. I just see the quality- if they’re having quality at bats, if they’re progressing throughout the year. I think, right now, from day one almost the whole team has gotten better. And that’s the main thing, is developing these guys and making sure they’re doing the right things on the field.

-Malvin Matos got a little taste with the big club in spring training, gets up there for a game or two and hits a home run. He’s one of those guys having a tough time with the average. What have you seen from him this year?

He’s been up and down, you know, inconsistent, but as of late, you know, his (at bats) are getting better, his approach is getting better. And like I said that we still have a month and a half left and I feel like all these guys are going to finish strong.

-I wanted to also ask about the progress of your middle infielders, so can you share some thoughts about Guzman?

Guzman, from day one, he’s gotten so much better. Defensively, for me, he’s one of the top shortstops that I’ve seen in a while. And his approach in the box, he’s aggressive in the box, and he’s using the middle of the field. He’s learning, he’s learning how pitchers are attacking him and – the same thing- he’s making adjustments in the box. He’s gonna finish strong.

-What have you seen on the other side of the bag, as those guys share time at both shortstop and second base, from Garcia?

Both of them, those guys are unbelievable where ever you put them. Same with him, they’re both young kids. Their (at bats) have gotten so much better. They’re progressing and that’s the main thing with them.

-I've seen you as a player at Double-A and probably Triple-A, so seeing you in the coaching spot still seems new to me. What’s the job like for you this year?

You know, the main thing is just being there for (the players) at all times and we’ve just got to keep them positive. It’s a long year and I’ve got to keep reminding them that’s it’s an everyday grind and it’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish.

-How much do you enjoy the role?

Oh, I love it! It’s a lot of young kids. They keep me energized. They give me energy and I’m having fun.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Reading slugger Hall wins Eastern League HR Derby & Fightins All-Star Quotables


For the second straight year a Reading Fightin Phils slugger has won the Double-A Eastern League All-Star Home Run Derby.  Slugging first baseman Darick Hall locked down the walk-off victory in Richmond, VA on Tuesday night.

Hall, a lefty batting prospect, tallied 175 points (25 points per homer with distance bonuses) in a 90 second round to cement the title.  He sent a deep fly out to right-center field to clinch the victory.

The 23-year-old will be among four players slated to represent Reading in Wednesday's EL All-Star Game.

Hall, the Phillies' 14th round draft selection from 2016, leads the league in RBI with 55 and sports a .240 average with 14 home runs in 83 games thus far this season.



Last year, catcher Deivy Grullon was victorious in the EL Home Run Derby in Trenton, NJ.

Along with Hall, relief pitcher Addison Russ, outfielder Mickey Moniak and starting pitcher Adonis Medina were honored as EL All-Stars as well. Moniak is currently sidelined with a hamstring strain. To replace him on the Eastern Division roster by outfielder Grenny Cumana.

In 35 appearances, the right-handed Russ sports a 1-5 record with 13 saves, a 1.77 ERA and a 14.1 K/9 mark.  The 24-year-old was the Phillies' 19th round pick in 2017. 

Moniak, who was the top overall pick in the 2016 draft, is batting .266 with four homers, 38 RBI and nine stolen bases through 75 games.  There is no clear time table for when the injured 21-year-old will return to action.

Medina, a righty, has a 5-3 record with a 3.90 ERA and a 6.2 K/9 mark in 14 starts.  The 22-year-old has a 2.77 ERA over his last eight starts.

Cumana, a right-handed batter, has a .323 average with two home runs and 22 RBI in 48 games with Reading.  The 23-year-old has also played at Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season.

Recently, I talked with Hall, Russ and Moniak about the All-Star honors and those quotes lie ahead...


DARICK HALL...

-When the news comes your way that you've made the All-Star team, how do you find out?

I think they come out with the All-Star rosters and the news kind of just trickles down. When it’s official, the manager will usually just pull us together and let us know and tell us who. It was awesome to hear and get the news. Any time you’re honored with that, it’s a blessing and a good opportunity.

-What does it mean to be going with a few teammates?

Oh, it’s gonna be so much fun. We’re excited and we’re just looking forward to continuing playing baseball and just having a good time. I think with this team, we have a lot of fun and we enjoy being around each other and I think that’s a real positive that we have in our clubhouse and we’re just going to keep it rolling.

-You guys were in a playoff race in June and lost out to Trenton for the first half title.  The split half division winners is a new rule this season.  What was that like?

I think the halves are fun because it’s a little more instant gratification with the early playoff hunt, like you said. And I think, honestly, it was a playoff atmosphere. That game was a must-win game. We all felt it. There was a lot of good energy in the clubhouse around it and it was fun.

-It's a pretty good team here with a lot of names on this team.  Does anyone stand out as a leader on the team?

I don’t think we have necessarily a leader on the team. I think Shawn (Williams) is the guy, ‘cause, our manager, he just does such a good job. He’s a players’ guy. You know, he keeps the vibes good. Obviously, we have a mix of young and old, but everybody works hard and I think that because of that culture, it keeps everybody else in check. We have I would say as a group, we are very hard workers and are very similar in that culture and I think that because of that, there’s not necessarily a leader with the players. It kind of follows suit with Shawn and I think that’s who really leads this team.

-With a good amount of success this year, what type of feedback are you getting from the coaches?

You know, I think that the vibes I get are just, “Keep doing what you’re doing, and keep growing.” There were some things that I needed to learn here, at the dish, approach wise that I’m going to keep working on and understand and try to craft into my game.

-Is there anything you're working on specifically?  Average? Strike outs?  Is there anything that's a big focus for you to improve on?

You know, obviously, I’m trying to hit balls hard. I’m trying to eliminate soft outs early in the count. I’m trying to get deeper into counts, trying to draw a few more walks, you know, and things like that. ‘Cause usually soft outs early in the count indicate that you’re not swinging at the right pitch, because—if you eliminate that, then that will lead to more walks. As a power hitter that’s kind of what you want to do because they’re going to pitch you differently and you’ve got to craft your approach to where you’re going to hit the ball hard, walk and that sometimes comes with a strike out, because that’s kind of how it is. But that’s what I’m trying to do is kind of find that approach and to be able to make it transfer to the next level.

-Is there a spot in the batting order that you've seen more success with or found more comfortable?

This year I’ve hit 3, 4 and 5 and each time it’s worked because of who else we have in the lineup at the time. Who was hot, who wasn’t, like and that’s kind of how the lineups work out and I think—last week I was hitting third a lot. That was fun. I like hitting in the first inning. But it doesn’t matter to me. I feel like I’ve been a middle-of-the-lineup guy and any time I get a chance in any hole to drive in runs is obviously okay.

ADDISON RUSS-

-What is it like getting the news that you're an All-Star?

It’s fun. I feel like anytime you get nominated to be in an All-Star Game it shows that you’re doing something right. The best thing I can hope for is to continue to do that and keep riding out the season.

-That coaching staff has had good things to say about you and clearly there's a vote of confidence that comes with being the team's closer, but what does it mean to you when the manager and coaches rely on you and speak highly of you?

It’s always a good thing especially when our coaching staff depends on you like that and trust to hand the game over to you and they know you’re going to do everything you can to make sure they win. I mean, we’ve got a great group of guys behind me that, defensively if the (opposition)’s going to hit the ball they’re gonna go get it for me. And I’ve got a great coaching staff that’s going to make sure I’m ready to pitch every game if I need to be and every other day when they need. I feel like I’m in a really good place right now.

-Will the experience at the All-Star Game be better with some teammates going with you?

It's always fun to have teammates with you, especially going there. Adonis has pitched great. Mickey and Darick, offensively and defensively, have been awesome. So, being able to share it with some guys that you've spent the year with is very fun.

MICKEY MONIAK-

-What is it like for you to be honored as an All-Star here in the Eastern League?

It’s exciting. I think coming into this year it was definitely one of my goals and with the development I’ve made the past three years and to know that the little stuff, the adjustments I’ve made things are kind of just paying off and this is kind of a reward I guess you could say. But there’s still a lot of work to do. And it’s something super cool, man.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Threshers OF/1B/3B Luke Miller

Luke Miller, image- Jay Floyd
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After opening the 2019 campaign in Extended Spring Training, Luke Miller joined Class A Lakewood and quickly proved to be a steady contributor.  After roughly a month of success with the BlueClaws, Miller was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater, where he has played like an All-Star.

In 21 games for Lakewood, the 22-year-old tallied a .260 average with two doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI.  Since joining the Threshers, Miller sports a .325 average with two doubles, two homers and five RBI in 11 games.

The righty batting Miller was the Phillies' 22nd round draft choice last year out of Indiana.

Around the time of his promotion to Clearwater I chatted with Miller about his season thus far, lessons from his coaches, early memories of baseball including the 2008 and 2009 World Series that features the Phillies, another pro player in his family and more.  Read ahead for that complete interview.


-It's been a big year for you despite starting the season in extended spring training.  You joined Lakewood, spent about a month there, then earn a promotion to Clearwater.  What are your thoughts on the year so far?

I started in extended, and it felt like I hit pretty well through extended.  I tried to bring that (to Lakewood) when I got promoted.  I was just trying to stay with my approach and do what I was doing down there, which was just basically "hit the ball hard and see what happens" and it worked out for me.  

-Starting out in extended spring, what's that like. Obviously, everyone would want to open April with a full-season club.  So what was the spell in extended like for you, then the satisfaction of getting to come to Lakewood after some time?

In extended, it's a grind.  Waking up early in the morning and then working out, then have a full practice and then play a game after that.  So, it's a grind going through that.  But, getting (to Lakewood) was really good for me.  I felt like I needed it and I came up and played well.

-What was it like on the Lakewood team?  What was the vibe like around the clubhouse and with that team?

It's good.  You know, it's like a big family, just growing together and learning how to play the game together.  As you could see, we were starting to win games late and be able to stay in game and come back and win, so just continuing the growth and building with the team is important. 

-When you get news that you're going up, whether it's to Lakewood or to Clearwater, what is that like to get the promotion news?

The manager usually calls you in (his office) to tell you and after that, everyone else usually finds out and everybody comes up and congratulates you.  They just tell you, "Good luck" and everything.

-What was your exposure to or knowledge of the Phillies before becoming a player in the organization?  Did you have much exposure to the team in the past?

I mean I watched the 2008 Phillies.  I watched baseball growing up, so I saw that and saw how great they were back then and the dynasty they had.  But other than that, I wasn't really a huge Phillies fan or anything like that. But coming into the organization, it's a great organization to play for, so...

-What was your favorite team growing up and what are some of your early baseball memories?

I was a big Yankees fan.  Obviously, there's no Major League team in Indiana, so I grew up watching Derek Jeter.  So, I loved watching Jeter play, just how he handled himself.  Them winning the World Series, I think it was 2009--

-Against the Phillies!

Against the Phillies, yeah.  That was one of my biggest memories of watching baseball as a kid.

-How old were you then?

2009?  I was...that's 10 years ago, so I was 12.  But those were some of my earliest baseball memories, those post-seasons.

-Were there any other players that, into high school or college, that you would take hints from or watch and want to emulate or try to focus on to learn stuff from?

I mean, my cousin was a first rounder out of high school.  He was five years older than me, so he taught me a lot, just about the process and everything.  That and what to expect, so that was really helpful.

-What is his name and what team did he go to?

His name's Justin O'Conner.  He was a first rounder with the Rays and he's with the White Sox now.

-So he's still playing?

Yeah, he was a catcher, but they're switching him to a pitcher now.


***To read the rest of this interview, visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz and become a patron to enjoy exclusive content!  (Direct link to interview at THIS LINK)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Dominic Pipkin answers Nine Silly-ass Questions

Dominic Pipkin, image- Jay Floyd
In the first half of the season Class A pitcher Dominic Pipkin showed why he has gotten attention as one of the Phillies' most promising young prospects.  Since the Sally League's recent All-Star break, it's been a bit different for the talented hurler, who features high 90's velocity.

In 12 outings (six starts) prior to the break, the 19-year-old right-hander posted a 3-1 record with a 3.29 ERA, a .255 batting average against along with a 5.9 K/9 mark.  In three appearances (two starts) following the mid-season mark, Pipkin has struggled with a 0-1 record, a 27.00 ERA, a .478 batting average against while walking five batters in 3 2/3 frames.

Pipkin, who was the Phillies' 9th round draft pick in 2018, has kept his head high, despite his difficulties on the mound.  Following one of his recent poor efforts, a start in which he last just 1 1/3 innings, I found Dom in good spirits.  He spent time talking to me, answering Nine Silly-ass Questions, sharing some thoughts on music, profanity and so much more.  To listen to that complete interview head on over to Patreon.com/PhoulBallz by clicking here.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Moniak showing progress with Double-A Reading

Mickey Moniak, image- Jay Floyd

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Mickey Moniak continues to be aware that the expectations of him are high, even three years after the Phillies made him the first overall selection in the MLB amateur draft.  Now, in the Double-A Eastern League, he's starting to show some considerable progress and may be proving some haters wrong.

Following a difficult April that saw the lefty batting outfielder post a .195 average with two home runs and 11 RBI in 19 games, Moniak has come on strong, tallying a .295 batting average with two homers and 27 RBI through his next 55 games.

Part of the recent success may be attributed to the spot where Moniak starts his hands in the batters box.

"You go back to Lakewood and the GCL year and in high school, I kept my hands low.  You know, it worked in GCL and worked to an extent in the beginning at Lakewood," Moniak explained following a recent road series at Trenton. "I think just, gradually, since then (they've) kind of just creeped up and up.

"For me, it's never so much, 'Your hands need to be here, so they can do this,' or something like that. It's whatever feels comfortable when I'm in the box and just little things to tweak when you're in (batting practice) is what I'm looking to do."

After debuting in 2016 in the rookie level Gulf Coast League, Moniak would tout a .284 batting average along with a homer and 28 RBI in 46 games.

With Class A Lakewood in 2017 he notched a .236 average with five homers and 44 RBI in 123 contests overall.  That year, he saw his production tail off after the All-Star break, going from a .270/.328/.392 triple slash line in the first half to a .201/.237/.288 slash line in the second half.

Last year, with Class A Advanced Clearwater, Moniak batted .270 with five home runs and 55 RBI in 114 games.  He took some time to get going in 2018, collecting a .592 OPS in the first half and a .774 mark in the second half.
  
With consistency a key focus for the talented prospect, he's shown improvements according to his coaches, who see tons of progress and a hitter with a ceiling worthy of the "1:1" spot in the draft.

For his offensive improvements, Moniak would prefer to credit those around him in the Phillies developmental ranks with the strides he has taken of late.

"The coaching staff, the front office, the coordinators, you name it...they've always been supportive, they've always been there to kind of help me, whether I was struggling or to point out what I was doing bad or what I was doing good.  They've definitely been a huge part of my progress the past few years." Moniak said.

A primary critique of the talented California native is that he doesn't draw enough walks.  The Reading coaching staff feels as though the 21-year-old regularly has quality at bats, despite any lack of free passes.

Of late, though, Moniak has turned things around in that regard.  He enters action on Sunday having increased his walk rate, recording seven walks in his past nine games after having walked just 16 times in his first 65 contests this season.  The recent success in this part of the game has seen Moniak's season on-base percentage jump 22 points.

In his third full season in the minors, the six-foot-two 185-pounder knows what fans all around the sport ultimately expect of him.  He's working to achieve the greatness that those people would hope to see, even if there are people along that path that would prefer to address that process with hostility from the stands or through social networking mediums.

Moniak, who regularly shines with the glove and puts his outstanding defense on display at all three outfield positions, admits that in his first year as a professional player he would invest time in considering and reading the negative buzz online surrounding his efforts or his future.  While there's unfavorable feedback that can come in an endless fashion, Moniak has seen the benefits in seeking out more preferable and positive insight.  He stays in house for feedback that assists with and reinforces his development.

"One thing I've always said about that is the people that really matter, the people that are going to make or break my career are with the Phillies and in the front office and the coaches.  The fact that they see what I'm seeing and the fact that they share high praise is very exciting," Moniak stated.

Exciting is the right word for not only how Moniak feels about the support of the Phillies' personnel, but also precisely applies toward the type of player that Moniak is becoming as he moves toward the pinnacle of the sport.


Bonus quotes...Moniak also spoke on the rivalry within the Eastern League's Eastern division with the Yankees affiliate, Trenton-

"Going into it, they edged us out in the first half...obviously, they're a great team and they proved that in this series, beating us two out of three. It's going to be fun to play them further down the road. I wish we got more of a chance to play them in the second half to kind of settle (the division standings). But, I'm excited for the series to come and they're obviously a great team and it's going to be a dog fight. The funny thing is we play the Yankees from the GCL all the way throughout the minors leagues. So we've gotten to know a lot of their players and we play each other numerous times and it's always fun."

Friday, June 28, 2019

Bettencourt joins the ranks of Tommy John surgery patients

Trevor Bettencourt, image- Jay Floyd
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Add right-hander Trevor Bettencourt to the list of Phillies prospects that have undergone UCL reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) this year.  The 24-year-old went under the knife earlier this month and is expected to miss roughly a year while her recovers.

The California native appeared in two games with Double-A Reading this year before he was sidelined with elbow pain.  In his three years in the pro ranks, Bettencourt sports a 7-3 record with a 2.40 ERA and a .208 batting average against in 69 regular season appearances.

In 2017 Bettencourt participated in the prominent Arizona Fall League and last off-season he pitched in Puerto Rico.

Bettencourt, the Phillies' 25th round draft selection in 2016 out of UC Santa Barbara, was in a cast until this past Monday.  He will soon travel to the organization's complex in Clearwater, FL, where he will rehab and work toward recovery.

The list of Phils minor leaguers that have also undergone Tommy John surgery this season includes lefty Kyle Young and righty Ben Brown.

Another injured pitcher is on the mend and close to a return.  Right-hander Spencer Howard saw action on Thursday with the Phillies' rookie level Gulf Coast League West team.  In three innings of work, the 2017 second round pick allowed just one hit, walked one, did not allow a run and struck out five.

The 22-year-old, who has been sidelined due to shoulder soreness since April 23rd, threw 24 pitches and 20 of those were strikes.  According to a source, his fastball was in the 93-95 MPH range.

In four starts with Class A Advanced Clearwater this season, Howard notched a 1-1 record with a 2.25 ERA with 30 strike outs and four walks in 20 innings.

Howard tossed a no-hitter in the playoffs last year with Class A Lakewood.  He was ranked as this outlet's top Phillies prospect entering this season.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Pair of IronPigs honored as AAA All-Stars, GCL No-no and more notes

Deivi Grullon, image- Jay Floyd
It was announced on Thursday that catcher Deivy Grullon and LHP Austin Davis will represent the Lehigh Valley IronPigs as International League All-Stars next month.

Grullon, one of four catchers on the IL team, has had a strong season for the 'Pigs.  The 23-year-old righty batter sports a .307 average with 14 doubles, 10 home runs and 44 RBI in 64 games.  Grullon was signed by the Phillies as an international free agent in 2012.

Davis, who has spent time with the big league Phillies this season and last season, sports a 2-0 record with two saves, a 2.64 ERA, an 11.2 K/9 mark in 20 relief appearances for the IronPigs. Davis was a 12th round draft selection in 2014.  In 38 career big league appearances to date, the 26-year-old has notched a 1-2 record with a 4.33 ERA.

The annual Triple-A All-Star Game is set to take place on July 10th in El Paso, TX, home of the Chihuahuas, the Padres' affiliate.

The winning team earns the right for its league's representative to play as the home team in September's Triple-A National Championship Game.

In somewhat of a silly situation, the Gulf Coast League Phillies had a tremendous day and were on the receiving end of that same stifling effort.  With two teams competing in the Rookie level GCL, there are times when those two clubs face one another.  Imagine what it might be like to completely shut down your fellow organization mates.  Well, that happened on Wednesday, as the GCL Phillies West team sent four pitchers to the mound to combine for a no-hitter against the GCL Phillies East team.

Right-hander Brandon Ramey, 18, tossed four innings.  He was relieved by Taiwanese righty Hsin-Chieh Lin, a 20-year-old that tossed 3 2/3 innings.  Philadelphia native Brian Marconi, 22, recorded one out to wrap up the 8th innings and 21-year-old righty Tyler Burch closed things out for the final frame.

Left fielder Keaton Greenwalt, the Phillies' 20th round pick in this year's draft, paced the offense in that one, recording two hits, including a homer, two RBI and a walk to help the West team lock down a 5-0 victory.

Last year's Phillies first round pick Alec Bohm is set to make his Double-A home debut on Thursday, as he was promoted during Reading's recent road trip last week.  The 22-year-old righty hitter is 3-for-20 (.150 avg) in five games since joining the Fightins.

Bohm, a third baseman, opened the 2019 campaign with Class A Lakewood, was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater and has torched the competition, posting a noteworthy .342 batting average through those first two levels.

Outfielder Adam Haseley will see his rehab stint with Reading continue on Thursday.  The Phils' first round pick from 2017 went 2-for-8 with a triple and a home run in two games with the Fightins this week.  Haseley, 23, had been promoted to the big leagues for the first time this month and played in two games before he succumbed to a groin injury.

PhoulBallz Interview: Reading RHP Connor Brogdon

Connor Brogdon, image- Jay Floyd
Righty reliever Connor Brogdon is having another stellar season following a campaign last year that saw him post exceptional numbers. 

In 2018, his first full professional season, the six-foot-six 192-pounder tallied a 5-3 record with five saves, a 2.47 ERA, a .228 batting average against and a 10.3 K/9 mark in 31 games (seven starts) with Class A Lakewood.

This year, Brogdon opened the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, where he posted a 2-0 record, a 1.80 ERA, a .164 batting average against and a 10.4 K/9 mark in 10 contests. 

Since earning a promotion to Double-A Reading, the 24-year-old has been a key contributor out of the team's bullpen.  In 15 appearances, Brogdon sports a 1-1 record with two saves, a 2.66 ERA, a .150 batting average against and a 14.8 K/9 mark. 

A product of Lewis-Clark State, Brogdon was the Phillies' 10th round draft pick in 2017. 

I talked with Connor about his approach with his role, this week's series against division rival Trenton and plenty more.  Head on over to Patreon.com/PhoulBallz and support my work to hear this exclusive interview!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Four Fightins honored as Eastern League All-Stars

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Mickey Moniak, image- Jay Floyd
The Double-A Eastern League All-Star rosters were announced on Monday and four Reading Fightin Phils have been honored and will represent the Eastern division.

Righty pitchers Adonis Medina and Addison Russ will be joined by slugging first baseman Darick Hall and outfielder Mickey Moniak when the game takes place on Wednesday, July 10th in Richmond, VA.

Medina, 22, has been on a roll of late and closed out the first half of the season with five straight wins, notching a 1.24 ERA over that stretch.  In 12 starts for Reading, the Domincan Republic native sports a 5-3 record with a 4.05 ERA and a .235 batting average against.

Russ, 24, has been consistent as the team's closer this year, tallying a 1-3 record with 10 saves, a 1.57 ERA and a 12.9 K/9 mark in 28 appearances.  He was the Phils' 19th round draft choice in 2017.  Russ was an All-Star last season for Class A Lakewood.

Hall, a lefty batting 23-year-old, leads the league in RBI with 51 through 69 games.  The Phils' 14th round pick in 2016 is batting .234 and is one homer shy of a tie for the league lead in that category as well with 14.  Hall was also named as an All-Star last year with Clearwater in the Class A Advanced Florida State League. 

Moniak, 21, is batting .264 with 18 doubles, a league leading eight triples, four homers and 36 RBI in 69 games.  Moniak was the first overall pick in the 2016 draft.

I spoke with Reading manager Shawn Williams on Monday about each of his All-Stars.  Read ahead for those exclusive quotes.


Williams on Moniak...

Yeah, he just keeps getting better.  Every year he keeps getting better.  His ceiling is extremely high.  And you're seeing a lot of it with how he finished last year in Clearwater and he's progressed into this year, doing the same thing.  Just having really good at bats.  He's extremely dangerous in there hitting and he's having a good year.

Williams sharing thoughts on Medina...

He's been really aggressive the past month and the numbers are showing it.  He's pitching deep into games.  He's picking up big wins.  All three pitches, he's throwing them for strikes and when that is happening, you're not going to hit him.  And he's been doing really well.

The skipper with remarks about Russ...

With Russ, he's been very consistent in the back end of our bullpen, closing games out, pitching big innings, 'cause we've played a lot of tight games.  He's been a main reason why we're at where we're at.

I asked Williams if having Russ as his closer makes the jobs of the coaching staff a little easier...

It just helps your team period.  And we have a bunch of guys in the bullpen that are like that, but he's definitely one of them to go with the others ones, but yeah that's always great when you have a bullpen that's been pitching like our's has.

 I asked if Williams was excited for Hall to be named an All-Star...

Absolutely.  He's very well deserved, had a great year.  He's really put up some big numbers here recently and is driving in a bunch of runs. I think he's leading the league in RBI's.  Hitting some big homers and more importantly, he's becoming a hitter and hitting really well.

Monday, June 24, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Tyler Carr talks Clearwater's combined no-hitter

Tyler Carr, image- Jay Floyd

Righty reliever Tyler Carr was already enjoying a very successful season in the Phillies' organization when he contributed three frames to the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers' no-hitter on Saturday night.  Now, even the organization's big league manager is recognizing his efforts.

After opening the season with Class A Lakewood and looking strong out of that club's bullpen, the 23-year-old was promoted to Clearwater, where he has continued to shine..

Carr, who was the Phillies' 31st round draft selection last year out of South Alabama, helped starter Kyle Glogoski and bullpen mate Keylan Killgore in tossing the team's first nine inning no-hitter since July 2016.

In 20 total appearances this season, Carr, who is listed at five-feet-10, 175 pounds, sports a 3-1 record with two saves, a 1.25 ERA, a .197 batting average against and a 9.0 K/9 mark.

I talked with Carr about the Theshers' no-no, where it ranks among highlights of his playing career, hearing from Phillies manager Gabe Kapler about the huge game and more.  Read ahead for that interview.

-What are your thoughts on being part of this no-hitter for the Threshers.

I thought it was a great game.  Kyle Glogoski came down, it was his first start for the Threshers, and obviously it was a great one.  Five innings, no hits.  I didn't notice we had it going on until I threw my (first) inning.  Bottom of the 6th is kind of when I just looked up there (at the scoreboard), of course, couldn't get it out of my head (after that).  But I executed my pitches and the defense did a great job behind me.  I got through it and Killgore has been great all year.  He just came in and did his thing like he's done all year, like he always does.  Just a quick inning.  We did our thing and it was a great game all around. 


-So, yeah, absolutely a big team effort with three of you guys combining on the pitching side, Matt Vierling makes what is said to be an amazing catch on the final out, the bats do their thing with Jhailyn Ortiz hitting a homer and Simon Muzziotti collecting four hits.  Does that make it more special when so many guys can take some credit for the win?

Yeah, I would say so when, like you said, the offense scores runs, and does their job, which they're happy about, and the defense, like you said, Matt he ran half a mile to catch that last ball and made a great play and there were some other great plays around the infield as well and all around from everybody.  And of course the pitchers.  You want to help out the guy who pitched in front of you and we can all say we contributed and have a great time and the whole team's happy, so it was a good one.

-What is it like after the game?  Do you guys go all out and party for hours or is it like a half hour of celebrating and calm it down because it's just one game and you've got to get back at it for a day game the next day?

Yeah, I would say it's more of-- it's not a crazy long excitement.  I'd say it's more like you probably have a good time for a couple hours and then after that you switch it back to, "It's another day, another game.  We've got to get back on track."  

-Do you feel bonded with those other two guys now, because this is a landmark thing that will be mentioned in Threshers history for a long time?  

Well, I was good friends with them before that.  It's definitely cool to be friends and good buddies with the guys that we all threw it together.  It's awesome already being friends and it makes our friendship a little bit better. 

-I feel like your season is a little underrated.  There's other guys you'll hear about, but you've been doing so well all year.  A month or so with Lakewood, then earn a promotion to Clearwater and now helping to lock down a no-hitter.  You're not quite a buzz name yet, but the numbers are buzz worthy.  Do you feel like a best kept secret in the Phils' system this year?

I honestly don't pay attention to a whole lot of the publicity stuff.  I don't look at the prospects lists or anything like that.  I like to go out and do my job and let it ride.  I pay attention to what I have to do and that's about it.

-What was it like to get that promotion early on in the season?  

It was awesome.  I had some good friends in Lakewood.  Jack Perkins and Ethan Lindow and (James) McArthur and them.  And we were having a fun time but I had more friends down in Clearwater and I'm from Florida, so I was pretty excited to get back to Florida, out of the cold weather and to be around even more friends.

-Yeah, New Jersey sucks in April, weather wise, for baseball.

It was cold!

-Being from Florida, do you get a lot of friends and family coming to see you play with Clearwater?

Yeah, quite a few family members and family friends and people that know my mom.  Like a lady last night swung by, she got to see the game, and she said, "I'm friends with your mom!"  I had no idea who she was, but people get to come and watch.

-That's cool.  What was the response from loved ones after the no-hitter?  In the age of Facebook, everyone probably knew about it in an instant.  Did you get a lot of calls and messages? 

Not too much.  Just a couple messages here and there and then some mentions in the comments, but it's a good feeling.  Like I said, I'm glad that-- as a team, it was a huge team effort and I'm glad we can all celebrate.  It's not just a spotlight on one person, you know?

-Did you hear from some high-ups in the Phillies' organization after a game like that?  Does the general manager or anyone else reach out to talk about it?

Yeah, they called and said "congrats" and "great job" and "all the hard work pays off" and everything like that. So, they definitely recognize you for a game like that.  

-Who did you hear from?  Josh Bonifay?  Matt Klentak?  Anyone else?

It was Bonifay and Gabe Kapler. 

-What did Kapler have to say to you guys?

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Trio of Threshers combine for no-hitter

Kyle Glogoski, image- Jay Floyd
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For Kyle Glogoski, his Class A Advanced debut on Saturday will be one that he and many others remember for a long time, as he combined, along with relievers Tyler Carr and Keylan Killgore, to toss a no-hitter against division rival Daytona.

In five innings, the 20-year-old right-hander struck out five Tortugas batters and walked a pair.  He threw 64 pitches, 45 for strikes.

The New Zealand native, Glogoski, made way for 23-year-old righty Tyler Carr, who worked the next three frames.  Carr, the Phillies' 31st round draft pick last year out of South Alabama, struck out four, while walking one.

Left-hander Keylan Killgore tossed the last inning to close it out with a one-two-three effort thanks to a remarkable catch on the final out by right fielder Matt Vierling.

"Watching Matt run that ball down to end it was an adrenaline rush to say the least but there was never a doubt in my mind he wasn't going to make the play," said Killgore.

"Being a part of something like that is unbelievably special," Killgore added.  "Kyle Glogoski made his first start tonight and he was electric from the beginning.  He pounded the zone and mixed his pitches really well. Tyler Carr came in and just did what he always does. He filled up the zone and induced ground balls with a plus change up. He's just been as consistent as you can be all year."

The 22-year-old was inspired by the two hurlers that preceded him in the contest. Killgore simply wanted to do right by them and the rest of the team to make sure everyone could enjoy and savor an incredible team effort.

Killgore, the Phils' 17th round draft selection out of Wichita State last year, sports a 1-0 record with seven saves, a 1.73 ERA along with an 11.5 K/9 mark in 17 outings this season for the Threshers.

Carr, who opened the 2019 campaign with Lakewood, has a combined 3-1 record with two saves, a 1.25 ERA and a 9.0 K/9 mark in 20 appearances. 

Glogoski started his week by notching the victory in the Class A South Atlantic League All-Star Game with a scoreless frame of work on Tuesday.  He returned from the mid-season break to learn on Thursday that he would be promoted to Clearwater.

To pace the offense and help the team earn a 5-0 win, center fielder Simon Muzziotti collected four hits in five trips to the plate and designated hitter Jhailyn Ortiz launched his 12th home run of the year while driving in two runs and walking once.

The win put Clearwater's second half record at 5-1.  Last week they finished the first half of the season in second place in the Florida State League North division, 5 1/2 games behind division champion Dunedin.

Friday, June 21, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: BlueClaws manager Mike Micucci talks win over WV

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 Following the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws' exciting walk-off victory in the 10th inning against West Virginia (Mariners affiliate) on Thursday night, I spoke with the team's manager Mike Micucci about several of his team's standouts including starting pitcher Dom Pipkin, who had a less than ideal performance, middle infielder Luis Garcia, who notched the game's big hit and others.  Micucci also talked about the recent promotion of top prospect Alec Bohm, who opened this season with Lakewood and is headed to Double-A Reading.  Read ahead for those interview excerpts.

Dom Pipkin, image- Jay Floyd
-Not a very good start from Dominic Pipkin, who only lasts an inning and a third, gave up three earned runs and threw more balls than strikes...

He looked a little rusty (coming off of the All-Star break), I thought.  Had a hard time getting in rhythm out there on the mound.  His delivery looked a little slow.  He was was having a tough time with it and was kind of fighting against himself.

-How will a guy move forward, following a start like that?

I think it's just one of those starts you just chalk up and he gets to work tomorrow on his next four days, preparing for his next start.

-The frown gets turned upside down, when Luis Garcia comes through with a huge hit- a grand slam to put the team up in the third inning.

Yeah, I mean we're down three runs and we're able to get some guys on base and Garcia gets to a good count and puts a good swing on a good pitch and was able to drive it out of the yard and really put some life into the club, which I thought really helped.  And I thought the bullpen did an outstanding job. 

-How about Gilmael Troya's efforts on the mound tonight?  Really good outing from him, getting the win in relief.

He did really, really well and (Luis) Carrasco did a good job too.  And then we get to (Jhordany) Mezquita.  I thought (he) threw the ball well, you know, he left the change up (up in the zone) and that really- uh, (Julio) Rodriguez hit it out of the ballpark.  He's a really good player, sometimes you make mistakes to him.  That's what happens.  At least he made him hit it out to the deepest part of the yard and he really earned it that way.  But, we were fortunate to play some good defense and come back and make some big pitches when we needed to.

-Hunter Stovall has helped the club here and there.  The numbers aren't astounding, but I think he's really been helpful to the team, playing infield and outfield.

He does a really good job.  He plays multiple positions like a lot of our guys do, you know.  I know he wants to be in there more than he gets in there.  Sometimes that makes it a little tough with the consistency of the at bats, but when he gets in there he usually puts together a couple good at bats.

-Who has been standing out on this team as leaders, to you?

Yeah, we're starting to see some guys.  I think both of our catchers (Abrahan Gutierrez and Rafael Marchan) are stepping up to be leaders. I think it helps they're both bilingual.  From the starting staff, you're looking at guys like Ethan Lindow and James McArthur are stepping up to be leaders on the club.  And there's little pockets all around, from the relievers to a couple starters, to some of the position guys, but really you can see the catchers really growing into that leadership role.

-News broke during the game that Alec Bohm gets promoted to Double-A.  Are you happy to hear that?

Yeah, absolutely.  He started here, but that was kind of the internal goal.  We hoped he'd finish the year in Double-A.

-You sounded sure of that in April, when we first talked.

Hey, he's a good player and that's what good players do.  You know, they kind of just do their thing and they go where they need to go. 

Bohm and other Phils minor leaguers on the move

Alec Bohm, image- Jay Floyd
News landed on Thursday evening that third baseman Alec Bohm would be moving up from Class A Advanced Clearwater to Double-A Reading.

Bohm, the Phillies' first round draft choice last year, opened the season with Class A Lakewood and was promoted to Clearwater after a scorching April in which he batted .367 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 22 games.  In 40 games with the Threshers, the 22-year-old batted .329 with four homers and 27 RBI. 

At the rate he is progressing, it won't be long before Bohm is making an impact with the best sportsbooks.

A move to make room with Reading saw Austin Listi moving up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Overall this season, Listi's offensive efforts (.220/.339/.364) aren't great, but he has been hot in June, slashing at a .328/.406/.552 clip in 19 games this month with the Fightins.

The 25-year-old righty hitter was a 17th round pick by the Phillies in 2017.  Listi was honored as the Phils' top positional minor league player last year with the Paul Owens Award, when he posted a .312 average with 18 homers and 84 RBI in 123 games across Class A Advanced and Double-A. 

Moving up from Class A Lakewood to Clearwater are right-handed pitcher Kyle Glogoski and corner infielder Luke Miller.

Glogoski was the BlueClaws' lone All-Star representative this year and earned the win in the South Atlantic League's annual exhibition this week. In eight regular season appearances, the 20-year-old New Zealand native has tallied a 3-1 record with a 1.80 ERA and a .144 batting average against.

Miller, a 22-year-old righty batter, opened the season in extended spring training and has performed well since joining the BlueClaws.  In 21 games he has posted a .260 average with three home runs and 12 RBI.  He's also notched a .372 on base percentage.  Miller was the Phillies' 22nd round draft pick last year.

The Phillies released Damek Tomscha and Gift Ngoepe.  Both players had been on the Lehigh Valley roster this season. Right-handed pitcher Ismael Cabrera, in his fourth season with Lakewood, was also released from his contract, per a source.

Bohm is expected to make his Eastern League debut on Friday with Reading on the road in Portland for three days.  The team then opens a three-game set on Monday at Trenton, before heading home to open a homestand next Thursday, June 27th.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

PhoulBallz Interview: Cole Stobbe answers Nine Silly-ass Questions

Recently I was lucky enough to have Class A Lakewood infielder Cole Stobbe spend a few minutes with me to answer nine silly-ass questions.

The 21-year-old, who was the Phillies 3rd round draft selection in 2016, has been performing very well of late for the 'Claws, posting a .300 average with a pair of homers and three RBI in his last 10 games.

In this interview that is designed to get to know and have fun with the player, Stobbe, a Nebraska native, spoke about hip hop music, junk food, a missed employment opportunity and plenty more.

The audio, located over at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz, is available exclusively for patrons that support my work. Contribute, help me keep exclusive content coming your way and check it out!

Direct link to Cole's interview right here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Draft 2019: Day two Phillies review

Here is a quick rundown of the Phillies' activity on day two of this year's MLB draft...

With the 91st overall pick in the draft, the Phillies selected shortstop Jamari Baylor.  The righty hitting high school senior out of Benedictine School in Virginia he is scouted as a five-tool player.

In his scholastic season this year, Baylor sported a .412 batting average with seven home runs and 21 RBI, per Richmond.com.

Reportedly, Baylor worked out for the Phillies and the Nationals last week.  The 18-year-old looks to have a strong build and is listed at five-feet-11, 190 pounds.  He is a Louisburg College commit, but has expressed interest in playing professionally.

In the 4th round, the Phillies chose Erik Miller, a lefty pitcher, with the 120th pick in the draft.  Miller, a junior at Stanford, tallied an 8-2 record with a 3.15 ERA and 10.9 K/9 mark in 15 starts. 
Miller is listed at six-foot-five, 240 pounds.  The 21-year-old was previously ranked as a 2nd or 3rd round pick by at least three national outlets.  His efforts in the Cape Cod League last summer (7.71 ERA, 1.99 WHIP) could certainly be a reason that he fell to a later spot. 

In the 5th round, the Phillies selected Gunner Mayer, a righty pitcher out of a junior college in California.

At six-foot-six, 190 pounds, the freshman posted a 4.78 ERA and an 11.5 K/9 mark in 25 relief appearances during the college season.

The Phils took two more right-handed pitchers in rounds six and seven.  Tennessee junior Andrew Schultz, who sports an upper 90's fastball that has touched 101 MPH throughout this season, and Minnesota junior Brett Schulze, who has mid-90's velocity, were those selections.

In round eight, the Phillies took George Washington University shortstop Nate Fassnacht.  The righty hitting 21-year-old posted a .372 average with a 1.108 OPS in 54 games during the college season.

Rudy Rott, a left-handed hitting first baseman from Ohio University was the Phillies' selection in the 9th round.  The 22-year-old senior tallied a .382 average with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 54 games during the college season this year.  His grandfather of the same name pitched professionally.

In the 10th round, the Phillies picked McCarthy Tatum, a righty hitting third baseman out of Fresno State.  Tatum sported a .356 average with 13 home runs and 77 RBI in 57 games this year for the Bulldogs.  

Rounds 11 through 40 will take place on Wednesday beginning at noon Eastern.  

Current Phillies drafted after the 10th round include Yacksel Rios, who was the Phils' 12th round pick in 2011, Jerad Eickhoff, a 15th rounder of the Rangers from 2011, Austin Davis, the Phillies' 12th round pick in 2014 and J.D. Hammer, who was a 26th round pick of the Rockies in 2016.