Thursday, February 28, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #13 SS Arquimedes Gamboa

Gamboa with Lakewood in 2017, image- Jay Floyd
This year, shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa makes his first appearance on this countdown.  While the Venezuela native's statistics don't necessarily back up claims that he's among the Phillies' top prospects, his skill set is prevalent and he has steadily impressed many with his talent.

Signed as an international free agent in 2014 at age 16, he participated that same year in the Florida Instructional League.

The following year, he made his professional regular season debut with the short-season Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.  In 50 games there, the switch-hitter notched a .189 batting average with seven doubles, three triples, 16 RBI and eight stolen bases,

Another short-season campaign was in store for Gamboa in 2016 as he batted .200 with Class A Williamsport.  In 35 games there, he tallied six doubles, two home runs and five steals.

Gamboa took the step up to full-season A level Lakewood for the 2017 season. 

He missed time that season with a hamstring issue, but the average would climb quite a bit and eyes would begin to truly open regarding the six-foot 185-pounder.  In 79 games, Gamboa posted a .261 average with 12 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 29 RBI and eight stolen bases.

Last year, Gamboa moved up to Class A Advanced Clearwater, where he enjoyed a good first half and saw his production take a dip in the second half of the season.  In 59 first half contests, he sported a .261 average with 11 doubles, three triples, a homer and 20 RBI.  In 55 second half games, Gamboa batted .163 with three doubles, a triples, a homer and 17 RBI.

In the autumn months, Gamboa played with the Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League.  In 20 games there he batted .186 with two doubles, three RBI and two stolen bases.

Defense is where Gamboa will often shine the most.  He has great range and a plus arm that help him look impressive in the field.

Bat speed is a quality that stands out for Gamboa.  His ceiling may be as an average offensive contributor, but with his great ability to man a premium position, he could become an attractive addition to dozens of big league clubs.  In fact, I once overheard a scout from a particular American League powerhouse organization raving about Gamboa.

Quickness on the bases is a strength for the youngster who should be able to swipe more bags at the higher levels of the sport. 

The Phillies clearly see a bright future for the 21-year-old, as they added him to their 40-man roster in order to protect him from December's Rule 5 draft.  Gamboa should have time at the Double-A level in his future this year.

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #14 LHP David Parkinson

David Parkinson, image- Jay Floyd
Lefty hurler David Parkinson used a bust-out season in 2018 to propel himself into discussions about the most promising Phillies prospects.

A 12th round draft selection in 2017, Parkinson tallied an 11-6 record with a 3.10 ERA and a 7.8 K/9 mark in two college seasons at Ole Miss after transferring from JuCo.  The Phillies signed him over slot money at a reported $250,000.

He made his professional debut with short-season Class A Williamsport in 2017, notching a 1-3 record with a 2.48 ERA along with a .242 batting average against in 11 appearances (three starts).

Parkinson would open the 2018 season with Class A Lakewood where he led the starting staff, sporting an 8-1 record with a 1.51 ERA, a .210 batting average against and a 10.9 K/9 mark.

Promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater in August, Parkinson continued to display mastery on the mound.  In five appearances (four starts) with the Threshers, the Virginia native posted a 3-0 record, a 1.24 ERA as well as a .175 batting average against.

His overall 1.45 ERA for the season was the best in minor league baseball.

With the remarkable season under his belt, Parkinson was honored as the top hurler in the Phillies' developmental ranks, getting the organization's Paul Owens Award last year.

The six-foot-three 214-pounder is equipped with a pitch repertoire that features a fastball that resides in the low 90's, a very good change up, a curve ball and a slider.  With some offerings that are rated about average, his efforts play up with a deceptive delivery.  He also touts great command.

There is no fear in Parkinson.  He's an intelligent pitcher that goes right after the opposition and is confident while doing so. Parkinson always has a plan heading into any outing, maybe more so than any other pitcher.  He has an amazing feel for pitch sequences, tends to think a pitch or two ahead and can outsmart batters with ease, getting plenty of swings-and-misses.

I would expect the 23-year-old to open the 2019 campaign back with Clearwater, but if he's able to dominate A ball the way he did last year, time with Double-A Reading won't be far off.  How he performs at the upper levels of the minors should help to forecast what his future in the big leagues will hold. 

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

Monday, February 25, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #15 1B Darick Hall

Darick Hall, image- Jay Floyd
Building on a breakout initial full season that saw him honored as the Class A South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player, first baseman Darick Hall continued to prove himself worthy of regard as one of the Phillies' most promising young power hitters.

A 14th round draft selection in 2016, the Dallas Baptist product made his professional debut with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters that same year. In 57 games there, Hall tallied a .282 batting average with nine home runs and 29 RBI.  His .890 OPS led the New York-Penn League.

Hall, a left-handed hitter, moved up to full-season Class A in 2017 and with Lakewood, sporting a .272 average with 28 doubles, a triple, 27 home runs (team record) and 96 RBI (another team record) in 114 games.

He would close out his 2017 campaign with a week in the Class A Advanced Florida State League playing for Clearwater. In seven games with the Threshers, the six-foot-four 242-pounder posted a .231 batting average with a pair of homers and five RBI.

The clean-up hitter's presence in the lineup for a Lakewood club that had several teenagers that were learning what minor league life was like, playing everyday, traveling up and down the east coast, was crucial. Hall, who played three seasons of college ball helped his teammates learn what the professional athlete life is all about. Hall is an individual that can lead by example and he did just that all year long.

In 2018, Hall continued his top offensive efforts, torching the FSL for two months. In 48 games, he batted .277 with 12 doubles, 11 home runs and 35 RBI.

Promoted to Double-A Reading on June 1st, Hall would see his batting average dip in the Eastern League, but the power numbers did not fall off. In 80 games for the Fightins, Hall tallied a .224 average with 10 doubles, a triple, 15 homers and 52 RBI.

This off-season, Hall competed in the prestigious Arizona Fall League. There with the Scorpions he batted .234 while launching four round-trippers and driving in 12 runs through 18 games.

Aside from his missle-like long balls, the 23-year-old's daily work and preparation are the things that impress his coaches the most. 

From a family where two of his uncles (Ladd Hall and Shane Hall) were drafted by big league teams, Hall feels structure is important to his game. Everything from diet and practice to making a game plan and following through have been critical to his success.

Hall preaches "confidence is key" and knows where he needs to improve. While notching triple digits in strike outs each of the past two years, the talented slugger worked throughout the winter on refining his approach at the plate. Hall shared with me over the off-season that he picked up a timing tip from Mets prospect Pete Alonso that he hopes will help him going forward.

On defense, Hall is solid.  He is an accurate thrower with a .991 career fielding percentage.

Expect Hall to open the coming season back with Reading, as he looks to have another big year while striving to reach the top level of the sport.

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

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #16 2B Daniel Brito

Daniel Brito, image- Jay Floyd
Venezuelan second baseman Daniel Brito has steadily stood out as a talented performer throughout his pro career and is among the Phillies' most promising prospects.

Signed by the Phillies in 2014 at the age of 16 for a reported $650,000, Brito would participate in that year's fall instructional league.  He made his official debut the following year with the Dominican Summer League team. In 60 games there, the six-foot-one 170-pounder would tally a .269 average with 10 doubles, three triples and 19 RBI while swiping eight bases.

He debuted stateside in 2016 as part of the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies. There he batted .284 with 10 doubles, five triples, two home runs and 25 RBI while stealing seven bases in 47 games.

In 2017, Brito was able to put his skills on display in the full season Class A South Atlantic League as a member of the Lakewood BlueClaws. As a 19-year-old, Brito sported a .239 average with 15 doubles, a triple, six homers, 32 RBI and 12 stolen bases over 112 contests. The full season seemed to wear on the youngster, as his hot start (.826 OPS in April) could not be matched the rest of the way (his best OPS month after April was .618 in August).

He opened the 2018 campaign back with Lakewood, something that coaches felt bothered the talented youngster, as he saw many of his teammates from the previous year move up a level. In 92 games for Lakewood, Brito tallied a .252 average with four homers, 31 RBI and 15 steals.

Brito was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater in August. In 27 games for the Threshers, he sported a .250 average with five doubles, two triples and seven RBI.

Organizational coaches were pleased with the progress Brito made throughout the season last year. Following a slow start (.171 avg in April), he hit at a .268 clip the rest of the way during the regular season. Lakewood's hitting coach Tyler Henson cited Brito’s progress with putting together quality at bats and not worrying about the results.

The left-handed hitter looks small and thin, but often puts the barrel to the ball and displays an ability to really drive the ball. If he adds some muscle, the power portion of his game could be quite exciting. Brito already shows an ability to make adjustments and hit the ball well to the opposite field.

With the ability to work the count, Brito can draw plenty of walks as well.  

Brito is a smooth defender. With solid range and very good hands, the 21-year-old has the tools to become very reliable for a long a time with an above average skill set. He has spent some time at shortstop during his professional career as well, so that versatility could help him obtain playing time at the upper levels.

On the bases, Brito’s got solid speed and good instincts that he could really use to contribute.

A class clown of sorts, Brito keeps the dugout and clubhouse loose. He’s a player that can pick a teammate up mentally, when needed.  He’ll also lead by example and is an individual that is easy to root for.

Former Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan offered the following endorsement of Brito in the first half of the 2017 season.

“Brito, you know, honestly, five years from now, he might be the best hitter of the bunch,” Jordan told me in relation to the Phillies’ outstanding crop of second basemen that included Scott Kingery as well as Cesar Hernandez.

Look for Brito to open this coming season back with Clearwater for a lengthier taste of the Florida State League. If what Jordan felt during his tenure in charge of the organization’s developmental ranks is on point, it may not be long before Brito is among the handful of names that fans regard as the top few in the Phils’ system with a bright future in the big leagues.

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

Friday, February 22, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #17 OF Austin Listi

Austin Listi, image- Jay Floyd
The Phillies' top offensive performer in the minors last year, Austin Listi truly made a name for himself with a bust out season.

A 17th round pick out of Dallas Baptist in 2017, Listi was a career .300 hitter with a .407 OBP in 236 career college games for the Patriots.

Generously listed at six-feet tall, 218 pounds, Listi made his professional debut with short-season Class A Williamsport in 2017, batting .293 with three homers and 17 RBI in 22 games before earning a promotion to Class A Lakewood.  There, with the BlueClaws, he sported a .242 average with four home runs and 11 RBI in 31 contests.

Last year he took a step up and opened his campaign at Class A Advanced Clearwater.  In 58 games with the Threshers, Listi notched a .344 batting average with nine home runs and 45 RBI.  Promoted to Double-A Reading in June, Listi would continue to succeed, batting .281 with nine home runs and 39 RBI in 65 games.

Listi's combined average (.312), on-base percentage (.412) and OPS (.915) were all tops in the organization for the season.

Defenisvely, he has played as many games at first base as he has in the outfield, but Listi will reportedly be used strictly in the outfield moving forward.  He hasn't been a player that stands out on defense, but he is also not a liability on that side of the game.

This off-season in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, Listi got time in both right field and left field.  In 22 games there, Listi posted a .250 average with two doubles, a triples and seven RBI.  The Texas native also represented the Phillies in the AFL's annual Fall-Stars Game. 

Speed is not a factor of Listi's game as he has just three steals in his two pro seasons. 

It's difficult to assert precisely what the future holds for Listi, but his swift rise in the system and the honor of receiving the Paul Owens Award from the Phillies last year made it impossible to ignore him on a list like this.

Listi will go as far as his bat will take him.  Fans should hope he's not another Andrew Pullin, who hit well at every level and tallied a .936 OPS at Double-A until he reached Triple-A and fizzled out (.633 OPS), ultimately retiring last season.  Listi and Pullin are approximately three months apart in age. 

In big league camp with the Phils as a non-roster invitee this spring, the 25-year-old will get the opportunity to impress the team's coaching staff.  It's possible Listi could open the season at the Triple-A level, though some time back in Double-A may be more likely.

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

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #18 OF Jose Pujols

Jose Pujols, image- Jay Floyd
Thanks to the return of his power stroke, outfield prospect Jose Pujols finds himself back among the Phillies most promising prospects this year. Fresh off a season that saw him honored as the Class A Advanced Florida State League’s Player of the Year, the 23-year-old looks like he could have a very promising future.

The Dominican native was signed by the Phillies in 2012 at the age of 16. That year he participated in the Florida Instructional League after the regular season.

Opening his official playing career as a member of the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2013, Pujols sported a .188 batting average with six home runs and 18 RBI in 45 games.

The following year, Pujols split time between the GCL and short-season Class A Williamsport. In 57 combined games, the righty batter posted a .226/.273/.377 slash line.

In 2015, Pujols continued to show improvement with a .241 average, four homers and 30 RBI in 66 games for Williamsport.

He followed up that campaign by breaking out and setting the single-season home run record for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws with 24, which has since been broken by Darick Hall. Additionally, Pujols would post a .241 average with 21 doubles, three triples and 82 RBI in 128 games.

In 2017, Pujols struggled in Class A Advanced. With Clearwater in 90 games he tallied an unimpressive .194/.247/.305 slash line while striking out at an alarming rate (roughly 43% of the time).

Things clicked in a repeat effort with the Threshers last year. In 95 games in the FSL, Pujols would post a .301 batting average with 18 home runs and 58 RBI. He was promoted to Double-A Reading in August and notched a .270 average with four homers and 18 RBI in 26 games there. His strike out numbers saw an improvement as well, with his K rate dipping to around 33% in 2018.

In an interview with me last year, Pujols cited an adjustment with where he holds his hands as something that has helped him improve at the plate, but stated the bigger impact came from between his ears. Having a plan, knowing what the pitcher is trying to accomplish and having a more solid approach are things made the most difference for the youngster.

Strictly a right fielder, Pujols gets solid reads and can track down fly balls at a better than average rate, displaying the range of a typical center fielder. He has a strong arm and is an asset to his team on defense.

With just 17 steals in his pro career to date, speed on the bases is not necessarily a weapon for Pujols.

Coaches view him as a leader, something Pujols is conscious of, as he does his best to be an exemplary teammate and lead by example.

With a lean six-foot-three 185-pound frame, Pujols still has room to add some muscle. If he does, watch out, because he has already shown he can be a formidable power threat.

Pujols should open the 2019 season back with Reading.  How he fares in a longer stretch at Double-A could help determine his true ceiling in the sport.  For now, he appears to be a promising offensive threat worth keeping an eye on.

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #19 LHP Cole Irvin

Cole Irvin, image- Jay Floyd
A swift ascent in the organization has helped left-handed starting pitcher Cole Irvin show that he is one of the Phillies’ top pitching prospects.

A 5th round pick in the 2016 draft, Irvin had undergone Tommy John surgery, missing the 2014 college season, and recovered enough to earn first team all-conference honors as a red shirt junior, posting a 6-4 record with a 3.17 ERA and a 7.9 K/9 mark in 17 contests for Oregon.

Irvin was the first of the Phils’ 2016 draft selections to reach the Double-A level and has enjoyed notable success at every level of his career to date.

The 25-year-old made his professional debut shortly after signing with the Phillies as a member of the Class A short-season Williamsport roster. In 10 outings there (seven starts) he sported a 5-1 record with a 1.97 ERA while striking out 37 and walking just eight in 45 2/3 innings of work.

In 2017, Irvin opened the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater. In 12 games (11 starts) he posted a 4-6 record with a 2.55 ERA while striking out 52 and walking 14 in 67 innings. He earned a promotion to Double-A Reading in June. In 13 starts he would notch a 5-3 record with a 4.06 ERA with 66 strike outs and 24 walks in 84 1/3 innings. Once promoted to the Eastern League that year, Irvin held opposing lefties to a .148 batting average.

Last year, the six-foot-four 220-pounder took the step up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he had an outstanding campaign, earning the honor of being his division’s All-Star starting pitcher. In 26 outings (25 starts), Irvin sported a 14-4 record with a 2.57 ERA, a .227 batting average against as well as a 7.3 K/9 mark.

The repertoire for Irvin includes four-seam and two-seam fastballs, a strong change up that he can throw in any count, a slider and a curve ball. The fastball has movement with velocity that can range 93-95 MPH. Overall, the pitch offerings may not stand out, but Irvin is smart and knows how to use what he has.

Former Phillies pitcher Dan Plesac talked about Irvin on Twitter this week, calling him a "pitcher, not a thrower", citing that he has a good feel for pitching as a strike thrower.

Irvin works quickly on the mound and has excellent command. He likes to take charge and dictate the pace of a game. While possessing a great understanding of the game and displaying mature instincts, he studies the opposition and will have a solid plan each time out and has an ability to adjust on the fly.

A native of the Anaheim, CA area, Irvin grew up as a big fan of Jim Edmonds of the Angels. He would also watch former Phillies lefty Cole Hamels and sees a reflection of Hamels’ mechanics and demeanor in his own approach. Irvin stays reserved with comparisons to the other Cole, but hopes to take the same path to the diamond at Citizens Bank Park.

The talented prospect will be in big league spring training for a second straight year, getting a chance to impress the Phils' coaching staff.  His ceiling could be as a mid-rotation guy with an estimated time of arrival in the big leagues being as soon as the Phillies have a vacancy this coming season.

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

Sunday, February 17, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #20 RHP Mauricio Llovera

Mauricio Llovera with Lakewood in 2017, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Mauricio Llovera stood out in 2018 as an extremely promising prospect in the Phillies system. Signed in 2014 as an 18-year-old, Llovera has steadily progressed through the Phillies developmental ranks since turning pro.

The Venezuela native began his professional career in the Venezuelan Summer League in 2015, recording a 2-3 record with a 3.23 ERA and a .209 batting average against in 11 games (10 starts).

The following year, the five-foot-11 216-pounder was outstanding in the Gulf Coast League, sporting a 7-1 record with a 1.87 ERA, a .205 batting average against and a 9.5 K/9 mark in 11 games (10 starts). The win total was tops in the league. Additionally that season, Llovera allowed one or no runs in eight of his 10 starts.

Moving to Class A Lakewood in 2017, the man who is affectionately known as “MoYo” around these parts would tally a 2-4 record with a save, a 3.35 ERA, a .250 BAA and a 9.8 K/9 mark, splitting time as a starter and as a reliever in 30 appearances (10 starts). The move into relief seemed quite successful, as his ERA splits favored his shorter outings (4.31 ERA as a starter/2.13 ERA in relief).

Last season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, Llovera moved back to a full time starting role, posting an 8-7 record with a 3.72 ERA, a .221 BAA and a 10.2 K/9 mark through 23 games (22 starts).

He wrapped up his 2018 campaign with a string of six outstanding starts in which he notched a 5-0 record with a 0.96 ERA while striking out 48 batters in 37 2/3 innings.

Llovera possesses a repertoire that features a fastball which typically ranges from 94-96 mph and can touch higher. His fastball features some movement that can tail up and in to right-handed hitters. He also touts a very good slider and change up combination that keeps the opposition off balance.

Control is not a concern for Llovera, who stays around the zone. The talented hurler averages 2.8 BB/9 in his minor league career to date and he tossed just a pair of wild pitches in 121 innings last year.

The next step in progression for Llovera will be tackling the Double-A Eastern League this upcoming season. It remains to be seen if his future is as a starter or a reliever, but we should find out what the Phillies’ thoughts on that matter are with the role that the 22-year-old is in, for the Reading Fightins Phils, at the start of the 2019 season.

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

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.