Friday, February 15, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #21 Catcher Rodolfo Duran

Rodolfo Duran, image- Jay Floyd
Catcher Rodolfo Duran made some big impressions last season and finds himself earning recognition among the Phillies' top rising prospects.  The righty batting Dominican helped lead the remarkable pitching staff for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws and was a considerable contributor to that team's offense.

Signed as an international free agent in 2014 at age 16, Duran made his professional debut in 2015 with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.  In 36 games there, the five-foot-nine 181-pounder posted a .185 batting average with three doubles, a triple and 10 RBI.

The following year, Duran repeated the GCL, appearing in a pair of games with Class A short-season Williamsport.  In 34 combined games, he batted .315 while slamming three home runs and driving in 14 runs.

In 2017 the Santo Domingo native sported a .252 average with nine doubles, three triples and six RBI in 48 games with Williamsport.

Last year he made the jump to Class A Lakewood, where he had a breakout season.  Showing big improvements in the power department, he pounded 18 home runs.  Duran also notched a .260 average with 48 RBI through 88 games. 

In June, he hit .397 with seven homers and was named South Atlantic League Player of the Month for his efforts. 

He homered in back to back games five times during his BlueClaws campaign, including June 27-29 when he launched round-trippers in three consecutive contests. 

Duran also added three more homers during the BlueClaws' postseason run, in which they were runners up for the league championship.

The Lakewood pitching staff that Duran handled recorded a league-best 2.74 season ERA and many of the team's hurlers credited their battery mates for much of the success.

Defensively, Duran, who turns 21 years old this month, stands out as a sniper for opposing base runners.  After erasing 48% of potential base stealers in 2017, he threw out 39 of 93 (42%) with Lakewood last year, which was the highest percentage among qualified catchers and he threw out the most runners of anyone in the Sally League.

At the plate, Duran will need to improve his efforts against lefties, as he posted an OPS of just .472 against southpaws in 2018 in 98 at bats.  An .866 OPS at Lakewood's FirstEnergy Park, which has a reputation as being favorable to pitchers, shows loads of promise, however.


Duran should be expected to move up a level and start the 2019 season at Class A Advanced Clearwater.  The future is bright for the youngster, especially if he can iron out the concerns at the plate.

Track this year's complete Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #22 RHP Connor Seabold

Connor Seabold, image- MiLB.com
Selected in the third round of the 2017 MLB amateur draft, right-hander Connor Seabold made an immediate splash upon debuting as a pro and has continued to impress as he has moved upward in the developmental ranks at a swift pace.

In his college career at Cal State Fullerton, the California native tallied a 23-15 record with a save, three complete games, a 2.96 ERA and a 9.5 K/9 mark in 56 appearances (42 starts) overall.

After signing with the Phillies, Seabold posted a 2-0 record with a 0.90 ERA and a .143 batting average against while striking out 13 batters and walking two in 10 innings of work in relief for the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters.

Last season, Seabold took quite a jump, opening the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater and switching to a starting role. In 12 games there he notched a 4-4 record with a 3.77 ERA, a .213 batting average against as well as an 8.5 K/9 mark.

The six-foot-three 190-pounder earned a promotion to Double-A Reading in late June. With the Fightin Phils, Seabold would post a 1-4 record with a 4.91 ERA, a .241 BAA and a 9.8 K/9 mark.

Command is a big positive for Seabold, who features fastball velocity that generally resides in the 90 to 93 MPH range, a solid change up and a serviceable curveball. He can throw all three offerings for strikes and his walk rate is not a concern for the young hurler.

The ceiling for Seabold could be a back-end starting pitcher in the majors, which would be a valuable piece to the rebuilding puzzle that has been the Phillies of recent years.

Seabold, who turned 23 years old in January, could likely open the 2019 campaign back with Reading, where he would look to build on his success from last year and take strides toward the next level.

Track this year's complete Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.   

Friday, February 8, 2019

2019 Phillies minor league coaching staffs announcement

With select affiliates announcing their 2019 coaching staffs today, here's a complete list of the personnel for each level of the Phillies' minor leagues...

Lehigh Valley (Triple-A): Gary Jones/Manager, Greg Legg/Coach, Darryl Robinson/Coach, Steve Schrenk/Pitching Coach

Reading (Double-A): Shawn Williams /Manager, Nelson Prada/Coach, Kevin Riggs/Coach, Aaron Fultz /Pitching Coach

Clearwater (Class A Advanced): Marty Malloy/Manager, Ruben Gotay/Coach, Tyler Henson/Coach, Brad Bergesen /Pitching Coach

Lakewood (Class A): Mike Micucci/Manager, Adam Goodwin/Coach, Christian Marrero/Coach, Matt Hockenberry/Pitching Coach

Williamsport (short-season A level): Pat Borders/Manager, Greg Brodzinski/Coach, Joel McKeithan/Coach, Hector Berrios/Pitching Coach

GCL Phillies East (short-season rookie): Roly deArmas/Manager, Rafael DeLima/Coach, Charlie Hayes/Coach, Hector Mercado/Pitching Coach

GCL Phillies West (short-season rookie): Milver Reyes/Manager, Chris Heintz/Coach, Bobby Werenes/Coach, Bruce Billings/Pitching Coach

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Phillies to acquire catcher Realmuto for three players

Sanchez with Lakewood in 2017, image- Jay Floyd
We interrupt this Phillies prospect countdown to offer up some breaking news.  Reports have surfaced on Thursday that the Phils have agreed to a trade that would send highly touted pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez, big league catcher Jorge Alfaro along with hurler Will Stewart and international bonus slot to Miami for backstop J.T. Realmuto.

Sanchez, a much-raved-about 20-year-old right-hander that reaches triples digits with his fastball, was the key to the deal and had long been mentioned in trade talks.

A native of the Dominican Republic, Sanchez has missed time in each of the past two seasons with injuries and sat out of the prestigious Arizona Fall League this off-season due to an ailment.

Last season in eight starts with Class A Advanced Clearwater, Sanchez posted a 4-3 record with a 2.51 ERA and an 8.7 K.9 mark.

Alfaro, a 25-year-old righty batter, posted a .262 average with 10 home runs and 37 RBI in 108 games with the Phillies last season. He was acquired in the 2015 trade that sent Cole Hamels to Texas.

Stewart, a 21-year-old lefty, was a standout contributor for the division winning Class A Lakewood BlueClaws last season.  In 20 starts, the Alabama native posted an 8-1 record with record with a 2.06 ERA, two complete games and a .218 batting average against.   Stewart was a 20th round draft choice by the Phillies in 2015.

Realmuto has a .279/.327/.442 slash line in roughly four big league seasons with the Marlins.  The 27-year-old righty hitter was a 3rd round draft selection my Miami in in 2010. 

Realmuto was named to his first All-Star team in 2018 when he notched career highs in homers (21) and RBI (74).  The six-foot-one 210-pounder remains under team control for two seasons.  

My annual Phillies top prospects countdown will require adjustments due to this deal and will continue here on the site throughout the coming weeks.

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #23 LHP Tyler Gilbert

Tyler Gilbert with Reading in 2018, image- Jay Floyd
Left-handed reliever Tyler Gilbert took strides in the minors last year and proved to be a reliable prospect ready to take on big challenges.

A 6th round draft choice in 2015, Gilbert swiftly debuted with short-season Class A Williamsport as a starter. The University of Southern California product would post a 4-3 record with an impressive 2.79 ERA and a 9.4 K/9 mark in 10 appearances (eight starts).

That year in his junior season with the Trojans, Gilbert posted a 5-2 record with two saves and a 2.79 ERA in 22 appearances (six starts).

In 2016, his first full professional season, Gilbert moved up to Class A Lakewood, pitching the complete campaign as a starter. In 23 games, the California native had a 7-9 record with a 3.98 ERA, a .264 batting average against and a 7.3 K/9.

The following season saw Gilbert moved to the bullpen where, with Class A Advanced Clearwater, he notched a 1-6 record with three saves, a 2.95 ERA, a .271 BAA and a 7.7 K/9 mark in 35 games for the Threshers.

Gilbert opened last season with Double-A Reading, where he tallied a 4-1 record with a pair of saves, a 2.86 ERA, a .208 batting average against and a 10.6 K/9 mark in 23 contests. That effort earned him a promotion by late June to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he would continue his success. In 25 regular season outings there, the six-foot-three 190-pounder sported a 3-1 record with three saves, a 3.63 ERA, a .214 BAA along with a 7.3 K/9 mark.

In 13 appearances in the Dominican Winter League following last season, the 25-year-old posted a 3.68 ERA with no decisions, a .294 batting average against and nine strike outs over 7 1/3 innings. Used primarily as a lefty specialist with the Tigres, Gilbert enjoyed the success and feels that exposure to the league was beneficial to his progress.

Coaches like the way Gilbert, a strike thrower, challenges the opposition.

A cutter that he added, taught to him by teammate Seth McGarry in late 2017, has helped Gilbert excel. His repertoire also features a low-90's fastball, a curveball that touts nice movement and a change up.

Gilbert will be in big league spring training this year as a non-roster invitee. I would expect him to open the season back in Triple-A with the IronPigs, but if he continues to be a key part of the bullpen there, he could be one of the first guys called upon if the Phillies have a need for a lefty reliever at the top level.

Keep tabs on this year's complete Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #24 Catcher Deivi Grullon

Deivi Grullon, image- Jay Floyd
At the time of his signing with the Phillies at the age of 16, backstop Deivi Grullon was one of the top baseball prospects in the Caribbean. Following six years in the minors, the 22-year-old is still looked at as a very promising player.

Grullon, who signed for a reported $575,000 in July 2012, looked very good upon making his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2013, posting a .273 batting average with eight doubles, a home run and 14 RBI in 41 games at the Rookie level.

He followed up that campaign with a season in which he split time at three levels in 2014. Grullon started his season in mid-April with Class A Advanced Clearwater out of extended spring training. He notched two hits in ten at bats in two games there. A move to Class A Lakewood, where he would get more playing time, followed. In 24 games as a BlueClaw, Grullon posted a .237 average with five doubles, a home run and seven RBI. Grullon would be demoted once more to short-season Class A Williamsport when their season began in June. With the Crosscutters, he batted .225 with nine doubles, a triple and 18 RBI in 53 games.

In 2015 back with Lakewood, the Dominican Republic native tallied a .221 batting average with eight home runs and 50 RBI in 107 games.  He closed out his season on a positive note, posting a .301/.370/.470 slash line in 25 August games after struggling at the plate for much of the summer.

The following year, Grullon repeated Lakewood, posting a .256 batting average with six home runs and 45 RBI in 87 games.

In 2017 he would open his campaign with Clearwater, sporting a .255 average with eight homers and 24 RBI in 71 games there, earning a promotion to Double-A Reading.  He did fairly well at the higher level, as Grullon would notch a .229 average with four home runs and 13 RBI in 23 games.

Last year, Grullon would spend the full season at Reading, standing out as an All-Star and winning the Eastern League's Home Run Derby, putting some power on display.  In 90 games for the Fightin Phils, the talented youngster sported a .273 average with a career-high 21 homers and 59 RBI.

Grullon went 0-for-16 in eight Dominican League games this off-season before he was removed from the Aguilas' roster.

A right-handed batter, Grullon generally hits better against lefties (.969 OPS in 2018) than he does against righties (.778 OPS in 2018). 

Coaches view Grullon as an all-around strong leader, one of the key qualities for a catcher in the professional ranks. A player that teammates go to for assistance, Grullon is highly valuable to his club.  Additionally, the youngster himself is hungry to learn and has improved his English in an effort to better communicate with his pitching staff.

With a frame that is well suited for the position, the six-foot-one 180-pounder has excellent tools on defense, is a great receiver and features an extremely strong arm that keeps opposing runners reserved.

The upside for Grullon at this stage may be a big league back up catcher, but with the improvements he has made at the plate, he could be pushing for more than that.  

Expect Grullon to open this year with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  He could be an easy call up this year if the Phils catchers experience any injuries at the top level.   

You can keep tabs on this year's complete Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link.  

Monday, February 4, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #25 OF Cornelius Randolph

Cornelius Randolph, image- Jay Floyd
Upon being selected with the 10th overall selection in the 2015 MLB amateur draft, outfielder Cornelius Randolph quickly placed among the Phillies' top ranked prospects.

After being drafted out of Griffin High School in Georgia as a shortstop, the five-foot-11 205-pounder was converted on defense to the outfield, where he has looked comfortable and capable

During his senior season in high school, Randolph drew considerable attention from professional organizations, posting great offensive numbers with a .533 batting average, seven home runs, 33 RBI and a 1.631 OPS in 26 games, leading his team into the state tournament.

As an 18-year-old, the man who goes by the nickname "C" had a tremendous professional debut in 2015, posting a .302/.425/.442 slash line in 53 games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

In 2016 as a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, Randolph would tally a .274 average with a pair of homers and 27 RBI in 63 games. The youngster missed more than two months of action with an injury (muscle strain in back/shoulder blade area) from April to June, but he finished the season healthy. He spent time during the following off-season working with a strength coach as well as former big league outfielder Mike Cameron at his training center in Georgia.

The following year as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Randolph sported a .250 batting average with 13 home runs and 55 RBI in 122 games. The Florida State League gave Randolph the kind of challenge the Phillies had hoped for. He improved month to month, seeing his batting average rise a great deal with each turn of the calendar until he cooled off in August.

Over that off-season, Randolph played in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. In 19 games with Glendale, he batted .239 with four doubles, a triple and eight RBI.

Last year, the 21-year-old posted a .241 average with five homers and 40 RBI in 118 games for Double-A Reading.  There seemed to be a learning curve for Randolph, as he really improved his production after the All-Star break (.217/.309/.270 in 77 games prior to the break vs. .286/.352/.415 in 41 games after the break).

Touted by Phils scouting director Johnny Almaraz as the top high school hitter in the country at the time he was drafted, Randolph was an exciting choice by the Phillies. Armed with a quick bat, the left-handed hitting Randolph has the ability to hit for average as well as power. A Clemson recruit out of high school, he is described as a patient hitter that has a good approach at the plate.

On the defensive side, Randolph has played left field exclusively. He has a strong arm and is athletic enough to display quality range in the outfield. He would likely classify as an average defender.

Speed wise, Randolph can be quick but with just 26 steals in 45 attempts in his professional career to date, he doesn't appear to be a runner that will strike fear into opposing batteries as a notable threat.

I would predict Randolph repeating Reading, at least to open the coming season.  The Phillies will want to see more power on display in 2019, in order to prove that he is on the right path.  At such a young age, the youngster has plenty of time ahead to develop into an offensive threat.

Keep tabs on this year's complete Phillies prospects countdown by clicking this link

Sunday, February 3, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospect Countdown Prelude

Each year I compile my annual prospect rankings and count down the Phillies organization’s top 25 rising minor league players. In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting reviews for each of the top developmental talents that appear to have the brightest futures for the Phils organization.

Taken into consideration when compiling the list is age, minor league performance relative to levels played to date, value to the organization as well as the player’s future potential along with proximity to the big leagues.

These rankings will not include players over the age of 25 or individuals that have already spent lengthy stretches in the big leagues.

For example, pitchers such as Victor Arano and Yacksel Rios, who exceeded rookie qualification limits last season will not be considered for this year's rankings.  Additionally, a hurler like Austin Davis that did not exceed rookie caps, but appeared in more than 30 big league contests will not be ranked here. Individuals that had short stints in the majors will retain their prospect status, for the purpose of these rankings.

Players that garnered consideration for this list but missed ranking among the top 25 names include a remarkable backstop as well as some talented hurlers, among others.

Catcher Rafael Marchan made an impact during his time with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters in 2018.  In 51 games for the 'Cutters last year, the 19-year-old switch-hitter notched a .301 average with eight doubles, two triples and 12 RBI and was recognized as a New York-Penn League All-Star.  The Venezuelan's skill set was said to look well-rounded as he impressed many at the Fall Instructional League last year.

Kyle Dohy took huge strides last season, earning two promotions in the process.  The 22-year-old lefty was the Phillies' 16th round draft choice in 2017.  Opening the 2018 campaign with Class A Lakewood, he helped that club lock down the first half division title by posting a 0.80 ERA and a 16.8 K/9 mark in 24 relief appearances there.  After moving up to Class A Advanced Clearwater, the six-foot-two 188-pounder would notch a 1.64 ERA and a 14.7 K/9 mark in seven outings.  He closed out the season on the Double-A Reading roster, where he would tally a 5.56 ERA and an 11.9 K/9 mark through 18 contests.  Dohy may open this year back with Reading, in order to see if his Class A dominance can translate to the higher level.

Edgar Garcia, image- Jay Floyd
Another reliever who narrowly missed making the Phils' top 25, for me, is righty reliever Edgar Garcia.  The 22-year-old Dominican native was honored as a Double-A All-Star with Reading last year, notching a 7-2 record with eight saves and a 3.32 ERA in 47 appearances.  After earning a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Garcia would record a 0-1 record with a 7.71 ERA in five games.  Coaches like his fastball-slider combination and feel it could translate well to a big league bullpen in the future with some more minor league seasoning. 

Lefty pitcher Kyle Young is a talented hurler that will garner attention on similar lists this year.  The 21-year-old is listed at six-feet-10, 205 pounds and is known to his teammates as "Stretch".  The Phillies' 22nd round draft selection from 2016 missed time due to injury and made just nine regular season starts for the Class A BlueClaws last year along with four rehab outings at lower levels.  Overall he sported a 3-3 record with a 2.73 ERA and a .222 batting average against.  Young features excellent control with a low 90's fastball and some quality secondary offerings that keep opponents guessing.

Center fielder Simon Muzziotti spent time last season with Class A Lakewood and looked like a very promising prospect.  The 20-year-old Venezuelan missed two months after suffering a broken finger after being hit by a pitch in April.  In 68 contests with the BlueClaws, Muzziotti tallied a .263 average with 12 doubles, two triples, a home run, 20 RBI and 18 stolen bases.  Speed and defense are strengths for this lefty batting youngster, who is bound to climb future versions of this list.


One additional pitcher that many fans may not have heard of yet, but could make big moves toward becoming a considerable prospect is Rafi Gonell.  The 21-year-old right-hander made his professional debut last year as a member of the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies West team.  In 10 games (eight starts) the promising Dominican tallied a 5-1 record with a 4.65 ERA.  Gonell struck out 41 and walked 20 in 40 2/3 innings there.  He should continue to work on his outstanding offerings at the Class A level this year.

Check back here on PhoulBallz.com often, as the new season approaches, for the unveiling of this year’s top 25 ranked prospects within the Phillies organization.