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Frosty Phillies Favorites: 2020 Christmas Favorites Survey

Season's greetings to all!  It's that time of the year to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season.  Every year at Christmas time, I survey a group of Phillies prospects about what they get excited for during the holidays.  This year I included a throwback Phils name as well. Individuals taking part in this year's 11th annual Christmas favorites survey include former Phillies All-Star and coach Mickey Morandini as well as pitching prospects Dominic Pipkin , Erik Miller and Ben Brown along with corner infielder Matt Kroon. Inquiries and responses regarding each player's holly jolly favorites lie ahead...   -What's your favorite Christmas song and which version? Morandini- All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey. Pipkin- Blue Christmas by Elvis.  It's just unbeatable.   Miller- I don't like Christmas music, to be honest. Kroon- I am a big fan of the original Jingle Bells. It reminds me of being a kid again. It reminds me of all the holiday act

PhoulBallz Interview: LHP Erik Miller talks missed season, Instructs, repertoire, O'Hoppe

Erik Miller, image- MiLB.com Lefty hurler Erik Miller is widely regarded as one of the Phillies most promising prospects.  Selected in the 4th round in last year's draft out of Stanford, he quickly made an impact as a professional and was promoted twice in his brief stint in the minors. At three levels as a 21-year-old, Miller notched a 1-0 record with a 1.50 ERA, a .188 batting average against, a 1.11WHIP along with a 13.0 K/9 mark in 11 appearances in the minors.   Listed at six-feet-five, 240-pounds, Miller was outstanding in college as well.  In his junior season (2019), Miller was named as a Baseball America second team Preseason All-American. In 16 starts that season, he posted an 8-3 record with a 3.48 ERA, a .224 batting average against and an 11.1 K/9 mark.   Miller likely could have made it to the Double-A level this year, if the pandemic had not preempted the minor league season. Recently, I spoke with the 22-year-old Missouri native about his time at the fall Instruct

PhoulBallz Interview: LHP Garrett Cleavinger talks about his 2020, big league call up, more

Cleavinger, image- Jay Floyd This post originally appeared on my Patreon page at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz .  Readers can support my work and gain access to exclusive interviews and news along with the ability to read my other material early.  Please consider supporting my work and checking out that page.  Lefty reliever Garrett Cleavinger made his big league debut with the Phillies this year and hopes to continue his career as a big league contributor in the coming seasons.   Cleavinger, a third round draft pick of the Orioles in 2015, was acquired by the Phillies in 2017 in a swap for pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.   In his more than five professional seasons, the Oregon product sports a 19-12 record, a 4.08 ERA, a .217 batting average against and a 12.0 K/9 mark in 140 minor league appearances.   This year in his lone big league outing, the 26-year-old tossed 2/3 inning, surrendered an earned run and struck out one batter.  Recently, I talked with Garrett to get his insight on his promot

Winter League Updates

I've got a quick rundown here of how some Phillies players are performing in the off-season/Winter leagues that are underway so far.  Keep in mind that, down under, the Australian Baseball League kicks off later this month and that league is jam packed with Phils.  The Puerto Rico League is set to start action this week. Darick Hall, image- Jay Floyd In Mexico, first baseman Darick Hall is ripping up the opposition.  In 10 games, he's posted a .324/.409/.595 slash line.  The 25-year-old lefty slugger has a double, three homers and 16 RBI to date for Los Mochis.  Hall, a 14th round pick in 2016 out of Dallas Baptist, has reportedly been playing some left field in Mexico. In the Dominican Republic, for Licey, RHP Adonis Medina has appeared in two games.  In three innings of work, the 23-year-old has allowed four hits and two earned runs while striking out three and walking two.  Also with Licey, Enyel De Los Santos has also appeared in a pair of games.  He has notched 1 2/3 s

PhoulBallz Interview: OF Matt Vierling talks Instructs & more

Matt Vierling, image- Jay Floyd I invite you to check out my Patreon page , where you can read exclusive interviews and get early access to other posts, news and information from the Phillies minor league levels. Phillies prospect Matt Vierling was among the minor leaguers that participated in this year's Florida Instructional League, which an annual series of exhibitions and training with team coaches. While there, Vierling, an outfielder, got a chance to add first base to his skill set.   In two pro seasons in his career, the 5th round draft choice out of Notre Dame in 2018 sports a .263 average with 12 HR, 72 RBI and 29 stolen bases.  He spent the 2019 campaign with Class A Advanced Clearwater and likely would have opened this year with Double-A Reading if the season had taken place. Recently, I talked with Matt about his time at Instructs, trying first base, how his family has done in the face of the pandemic and more.  Read ahead for that interview.   -What was your experien

Randolph among many Phillies minor leaguers set for ABL action

Cornelius Randolph, image- Jay Floyd On Sunday, the Adelaide Giants of the Australian Baseball League announced that Phillies outfield prospect Cornelius Randolph will be part of their team for the coming season. Supporters of my Patreon site were aware of that news nine days ago.   The 23-year-old Georgia native was the Phils' first round draft selection in 2015.  In his five minor league seasons, Randolph sports a .255 batting average with 31 home runs, 190 RBI and a .719 OPS.   Randolph's 2018 and 2019 seasons were spent playing for Double-A Reading. Randolph will join several other Phils prospects on the Giants roster this coming season, including native Australians Rixon Wingrove and Mitchell Edwards as well as New Zealander Kyle Glogoski .  A list of seven other American Phillies prospects set to be part of the Adelaide roster is available by supporting my work over at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz .   Also available on the Patreon page is a recent exclusive interview with

PhoulBallz Interview: RHP Dom Pipkin talks Instructs & more

Dom Pipkin, image- Jay Floyd Righty pitcher Dominic Pipkin spent the 2019 season with the Class A BlueClaws.  In 24 appearances he tallied a 3-4 record with a 5.15 ERA, a 1.62 WHIP along with a .261 batting average against. Pipkin was a 9th round draft selection in 2018 and is among the organization's most promising hurlers. This week I spoke with the 21-year-old (his birthday is today!) California native about his time at Fall Instructs and more.  Read ahead for that interview. -What can you share about the benefits of Fall Instructs this year following a cancelled regular season?   Instructs after a cancelled season allowed the few players that went to  get live reps in after 6 months of nothing, it was good to get the rust  off and feel that first inning jitter again. -Did you or other players there go harder during your month at Instructs as opposed to a regular fall exhibition schedule that follows an action-packed regular season? We definitely tried a little harder for the

Phillies' Bohm among finalists for Rookie of the Year Award

In news that likely surprised nobody, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that Phillies first baseman/third baseman Alec Bohm is among the finalists for this year's National League Rookie of the Year Award.   Bohm, who entered the 2020 season as the Phillies top-ranked offensive prospect, performed extremely well following his promotion to the big league's from the club's alternate training site.  In 44 games the 24-year-old tallied a .338 batting average with four home runs and 23 RBI.  The average and RBI total ranked first among all NL rookies, as did his on base percentage (.400), slugging percentage (.481) and hits total (54).   Impressive in clutch situations, Bohm notched a .452 batting average with runners in scoring position, which was best in baseball.  Even more outstanding, the talented youngster struck out just four times in those situations. The six-foot-five 225 pounder was the Phils' first round draft selection out of Wichita State in 2018. Othe

BlueClaws re-brand as Jersey Shore

The BlueClaws has long claimed to be the Jersey Shore's baseball team and on Wednesday they made it official, as the Phillies' Class A affiliate re-branded itself.  Changing their name from the Lakewood BlueClaws to the Jersey Shore BlueClaws, the team made the announcement at Asbury Park's Convention Hall. Per a release from the team: "This is truly a banner day for the BlueClaws and the Jersey Shore,” said Art Matin, managing partner of Shore Town Baseball, the partnership that operates the BlueClaws. “Shore Town Baseball has added a mini golf course, boardwalk game area, and Biergarten to FirstEnergy Park over the last several seasons to help bring the ‘Shore feeling’ to the ballpark. The Jersey Shore BlueClaws is the natural next step. We couldn’t be more excited.” While the club keeps its nickname of the BlueClaws, they unveiled new logos, updated caps and a fresh home uniform . Image via BlueClaws Ironically, I have talked to many players over the years tha

PhoulBallz Interview: Connor Hinchliffe answers Nine Silly-ass Questions

Connor Hinchliffe, image- GoExplorers.com I invite you to check out my Patreon page , where you can read exclusive interviews and get early access to other posts, news and information from the Phillies minor league levels. Promising pitcher Connor Hinchliffe took time to answer questions for me recently, providing insight on how he has dealt with missing the full 2020 season due to the global coronavirus pandemic.  While I was interacting with the Pottsville, PA native, he also responded to some non-baseball related inquiries, answering Nine Silly-ass Questions for me. Signed as an undrafted free agent last year out of LaSalle, Hinchliffe was assigned to the Rookie level Gulf Coast League where, in 16 outings, the right-hander posted a 1-1 record, a save, a 1.82 ERA, a .163 batting average against along with a 1.26 WHIP. Read ahead for my latest interview with Connor as we talk hard-hitting topics such as Star Wars, Halloween costumes and music! -Who is your favorite non-baseball at

Notes from Phils fall instructs

Subscribers of my Patreon site have gotten some details from the Phillies' Fall Instructs in recent days.   The Florida Instructional League is an annual month-long off-season combine that will feature workouts as well as practices and regularly pits players from different organizations against one another in exhibition games.  This year's version in a pandemic impacted world won't see different teams facing one another, but the Phillies' players will see exhibition competition, as the organization is slated to have some intrasquad games in the coming weeks. Players that are currently in Clearwater, FL seeing some long overdue time on the field include this year's first round draft selection Mick Abel.  The high school hurler inked a deal for over $4 million dollars after  being taken with the 15th overall pick in June. Francisco Morales, image- Jay Floyd Highly touted Venezuelan pitcher Francisco Morales is also in attendance.  The 20-year-old right-hander enter

PhoulBallz Interview: Connor Hinchliffe talks cancelled 2020 season

LaSalle University product Connor Hinchliffe was a noteworthy acquisition in the Phillies' developmental ranks last year when he posted standout numbers after signing as an undrafted free agent.   In 16 appearances in the Rookie level Gulf Coast League last year, the right-hander notched a 1-1 record, a save, a 1.82 ERA, a .163 batting average against as well as a 1.26 WHIP. Last week I talked with Connor, who is not in attendance for the Phils' Fall Instructional League in Florida, about missing an entire year of competing, how he's staying in shape and more.  Read ahead for that interview.   -How has the year been for you?  Staying healthy?   My year has been great despite everything going on.  Feeling great.   -Have you been able to find any silver lining in this missed 2020 season? COVID has impacted the lives of many since its arrival. For myself, it meant a lost year of playing time with the Phillies. While it is true I won’t get this year back, that does not mean i

Series Preview: Phillies at Rays, 9/25- 9/27

The Phillies enter the final weekend of the regular season clinging to postseason hopes as they travel to St. Petersburg to take on the American League East Division champion Rays in a three-game set. Losers of six of their last 10 games, the Phillies urgently need wins in order to qualify for the expanded 16-team playoff format.  The enter the weekend 1/2 game behind Miami for second place in the National League East and they trail San Francisco by 1/2 game for the last NL Wild Card spot.    Read ahead for a rundown of the pitching match ups and other key statistics for this series. Friday, 6:40pm.  Vince Velasquez (1-1, 5.46 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.64 ERA).   Velasquez notched a win in his last outing against the Blue Jays, going six innings while allowing one earned run on two hits.  Velasquez is averaging 12.1 K/9 in eight appearances this season.  Velasquez has allowed eight earned runs in 8 2/3 innings on the road this season.  Since his first start of the season in whi

Catching prospect Marchan makes big league debut

Rafael Marchan, image- Jay Floyd With an injury to J.T. Realmuto , the Phillies were forced to call up a promising young prospect to fill a void on the big league roster.   In his big league debut on Monday at Miami, Rafael Marchan went 1-for-3, as he singled in his first at bat to notch his first hit in the majors. Marchan, 21, was ranked at the Phils' number 16 prospect heading into the 2020 season.    Signed in the same off-season that the Phils dished out a $4 million signing bonus to outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, Marchan inked a deal for a reported bargain price of $200,000, as a 16-year-old in 2015. Last year, Marchan, a native of Venezuela, played much of the season with Class A Lakewood.  In 63 games, he tallied a .271 batting average with 16 doubles and 20 RBI.  He would miss a few weeks with an injury in May, but bounced back to complete the season, earning a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater at the end of July. Wrapping up his 2019 campaign as a member of

Phillies at Marlins series preview: 9/10- 9/14

Much is being made of the Phillies' upcoming seven-game series at Miami.  A potentially season-defining weekend that will feature two separate double-headers pit the Phils (21-18) against their pesky division rival, the germ sharing Marlins (19-19). The teams will meet for a lengthy series due to both clubs missing considerable time after the Marlins dealt with a coronavirus outbreak when the season got underway in July and the Phillies were the last team they faced.   If the Phillies can't secure a series win against a Marlins team that is in the midst of a rebuild, media types and baseball fans alike have been critical in stating that the big-budget Phils (2020 team salary was slated to be 6th highest in the big leagues while Miami was set to be fourth lowest) likely won't have a place in the postseason.   Read ahead for a rundown of the pitching match ups as well as some key statistics from this series.  Thursday, 6:40pm.  Jake Arrieta (3-4, 5.67  ERA ) vs. Sandy Alcan

RHP Tyler Burch Interview Excerpts

The complete version of this post is available over on Patreon.com/PhoulBallz . Recently, I wrote a feature on promising Phillies minor league Tyler  Burch  and his diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes.  The righty pitcher was an  undrafted free agent signing last year.  To date in 12 professional  appearances the 22-year-old holds a 4-1 record with a 1.51 ERA and an  8.6 K/9 mark.   Included below are some excerpts from my  discussion with Tyler in which he offers his thoughts on his own  pitching repertoire, minor league teammates Logan  O'Hoppe and Albertus  Barber , college pal Connor Brogdon and more. Chatting about developing his pitch repertoire from college to the minors... I throw a  four-seam, two-seam, slider, change up.  It's kind of a slurve, it's not  a true slider, but it has a little depth in it. It was more so tweaking my grips to make them more effective.  Hector Berios, the  pitching coach in Williamsport, we worked super hard that summer to work  on my slid

PhoulBallz Interview: Jimmy Smith on his March on Washington experience

For an extended version of this interview, please consider supporting my work by subscribing to my Patreon page .  Members get exclusive interviews and early access to my other work. Jimmy Smith, image- Jay Floyd Former Phillies minor leaguer Jimmy Smith , along with some family, participated in the recent March on Washington and spoke about his experience at the event and what it meant to him to be there.  The march, set up by Reverend Al Sharpton's National Action Network, was designed as a way for citizens to stand up to racial injustices in our country. Prior to his release by the Phillies last year, the Central Washington University product tallied a .250/.305/.337 slash line at two levels.  Read ahead for my interview with Jimmy.  -Why was it important to you to be present for this Commitment March, as it was called? It was the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s "I Have a Dream" speech. Growing up, my parents shared how impactful the original March on Washin

Phillies minor leaguer Burch to use health scare as fuel

Tyler Burch, image- MiLB.com I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to exclusive interviews plus early access to features and news such as this. A missed baseball season wasn't the only challenge facing righty pitcher Tyler Burch this summer.   With persistent symptoms that began prior to spring training it was ultimately discovered, after the 2020 season was shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic, that the 22-year-old had developed an autoimmune disease.   As symptoms that included dry mouth and frequent trips to the bathroom worsened, Burch's situation left his doctor puzzled.  And even the physician that conducted his team physical examination at the outset of spring training jokingly referenced diabetes, but did not take the possibility seriously.    The physical impacts subsided somewhat during spring training, as being more active and adhering to the team diet helped alleviate what he was experiencing. Once the base

Phillies at Nationals series preview, 8/25-8/27

The Phillies (10-14) will visit the Nationals (11-15) for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday evening. Read ahead for a quick rundown of the pitching match ups and some key statistics from this series. Tuesday, 6:05pm.  Jake Arrieta (1-3, 4.95  ERA ) vs. Erick Fedde  (1-1, 2.55  ERA ).  Arrieta has gone more than five innings in just one of his four starts this season.  In 16 career starts against the Nats, Arrieta has notched a 1-3 record, a 4.61 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.  Asdrubal Cabrera is 6-for-16 (.375 avg) with two homers and four RBI in his career against Arrieta.  Fedde, a right-hander, was Washington's first round draft pick in 2014.  In five appearances (four starts) against the Phillies, Fedde sports a 2-1 record with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP.  Scott Kingery is 3-for-7 with a double and a home run in his career when facing Fedde.  Wednesday, 6:05pm.  Aaron Nola (2-2, 3.10  ERA ) vs. Patrick Corbin (2-2, 3.99  ERA ).  Nola, in 19 career starts against Washington, s

Phils make pair of trades, say goodbye to pair of prospects

The Phillies initiated steps to begin a necessary makeover of their troubling bullpen on Friday as the team made two trades to help improve the relief corps that had posted MLB's worst ERA (8.07) heading into action that day. In a pair of trades, the Phillies acquired right-hander David Hale from the Yankees as well as righties Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree from the Red Sox.  Originally a 3rd round draft pick out of Princeton University by the Braves in 2009, Hale has posted a 4.23 ERA with a 6.0 K/9 mark and a 1.43 WHIP in 95 career big league appearances.  Hale had been designated for assignment recently by the Yankees. In 195 big league games dating back to 2013 Workman has notched a 24-16 record with 20 saves, a 3.75 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. Workman ranked first in MLB last year in opponents' xSLG (.238), which measures exit velocity and launch angle of each batted ball in an effort to remove defense and ballpark factors from the equation.   Hembree sports a 3.60 ERA,

Phillies at Braves series preview: 8/21- 8/23

Another series, another preview.  The Phillies head south to take on their divisional rival Braves in a three-game series beginning Friday night.   Atlanta at 14-11 sit atop the National League East Division.  Fresh off getting swept in a double header at the Blue Jays on Thursday, the Phillies and their 9-12 record reside at the bottom of the division.   A brief rundown of the pitching match ups and other key notes from this series are ahead. Friday, 7:10pm.  Aaron Nola (2-1, 2.05 ERA) vs. Max Fried (3-0, 1.24 ERA).  In 19 career starts against Atlanta, Nola has an 11-5 record with a 2.82 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.  Ronald Acuna Jr. is 7-for-22 (.318 avg) with two home runs and four RBI in his career when facing Nola.  In 2019 Nola had a 4.75 ERA in six starts against the Braves.  Fried allowed two earned runs in his first start this season and in four starts since then he has allowed just two total runs, both earned.  The lefty Fried has a 2-2 record with a 4.55 ERA in 10 career appe

Phillies at Blue Jays double header preview

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic the Blue Jays are playing their home games at Buffalo's Sahlen Field, the home of Toronto's Triple-A affiliate, the Bisons.  They'll host the Phillies for a double header on Thursday afternoon. Here's a quick rundown of the pitching match ups and some other key notes from this pairing. Game 1, 1:05PM.  Spencer Howard (0-1, 7.88 ERA) vs. Chase Anderson (0-0, 3.00 ERA).  Howard, a righty, was the Phils' 2nd round draft selection out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo back in 2017.  In two MLB starts to date, the rookie Howard, who entered the past two seasons as the Phillies' top prospect , has notched six strike outs and three walks over eight innings.  The right-handed Anderson joined the Blue Jays this year after spending the last four seasons with the Brewers.  In six career starts against the Phils, Anderson has a 1-3 record, a 6.75 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.  Jay Bruce is 1-for-18 (.067 avg) in his career against Anderson.   Game 2.  Vi