Thursday, January 30, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #17 Infielder Nick Maton

Nick Maton, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.

Drafted in the 7th round out of Lincoln Land Community College in 2017, shortstop Nick Maton has proven to be among the Phillies most promising prospects.

The Illinois native was previously drafted out of high school as well, but chose not to sign.  After signing with the Phillies, he got his pro career underway with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters in 2017.  In 58 games there, Maton sported a .252 batting average with nine doubles, a triple, two homers, 13 RBI and 10 stolen bases.

He followed that up with a full-season Class A campaign in 2018.  That year he was honored as a South Atlantic League All-Star with Lakewood, where he notched a .256 average with eight home runs, 51 RBI and five steals.

Last season, Maton nabbed another All-Star nod in the Class A Advance Florida State League as a member of the Clearwater Threshers.  In 93 contests there, the six-foot-one-inch 165-pounder tallied a .276 average with 14 doubles, three triples, five homers, 45 RBI and 11 steals.

In August, Maton earned a promotion to Double-A Reading, where he joined the team for the final few weeks of the regular season and their playoff run as well.  In 21 regular season contests, he posted a .210 average with a pair of homers.

Following the regular season, Maton played in the prestigious Arizona Fall League as a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions.  He was 4-for-12 with a double and a home run during his playing time there as a second baseman.  

Nick is the younger brother of San Diego relief pitcher Phil Maton and the older brother of college pitcher Jacob Maton.  Nick and his brothers check in one each other regularly, whether things are going good or bad, and offer support in order to help each brother achieve all that he can.

Power shouldn't be an expected part of the lefty batter's game, but Maton certainly has tools that could be beneficial for the Phillies.  He has a noteworthy approach at the plate and can wear down the competition by working counts. 

Defensively, Maton has become more versatile in the past couple seasons, spending time and second base and third base, while remaining primarily a shortstop.  He boasts very good hands and a solid throwing arm.

With a calm, poised approach, Maton is always focused on learning the game, doing his work and making improvements on the diamond.

Maton has been invited to big league spring training as a non-roster player.  Getting time to take reps beside big league veterans like Jean Segura and Didi Gregorius for a few weeks or more could certainly have a positive impact on a player approaching the top levels of the sport.

The ceiling for this youngster could be a utility player in the big leagues, should his offense continue to improve.  Look for Maton to get some more seasoning at the Double-A level to open this season, as he looks to earn a shot at bigger things.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.  

Sunday, January 26, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #18 1B Darick Hall

Darick Hall, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.

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.  For his remarkable output, Hall was honored as the South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player.

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 236-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.

Last 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.

Hall shared with me last off-season that he picked up a timing tip from Mets star Pete Alonso that he hoped would help him going forward.

He returned to the Double-A level in 2019 and saw improvement with his production.  In 132 games for Reading, he notched a .235 average with a league leading 38 doubles, a triple, 20 home runs (2nd in the league) and 67 RBI.  Additionally, along with helping Reading reach the postseason last year, a highlight of 2019 for Hall was taking two-time All-Star Luis Severino deep for a homer in the Eastern League playoffs while the right-hander was rehabbing with the Yankees' affiliate Trenton.  Another big moment from last season was winning the Eastern League Home Run Derby at the All-Star break in Richmond, VA.

Aside from his missile-like long balls, the 24-year-old's daily work and preparation are the things that impress Phillies developmental 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 which parts of his game he needs to improve. While recording triple digits in strike outs each of the past three seasons, the promising slugger has worked plenty on refining his approach at the plate.

He saw a considerable increase in his walk rate last year, as his 11.2% mark was a big jump from his 6.1% effort in 2018 and his 7.5% career mark heading into the 2019 campaign. 
 
On defense, Hall is solid and dependable.  He is an accurate thrower with a .992 career fielding percentage.

Not a speedster, the Arizona native has collected just seven stolen bases in his minor league career. 

The Phillies have invited Hall to big league spring training, so he'll certainly get some valuable exposure there, however, expect him to see action at the Triple-A level to open the regular season this year.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.  

Friday, January 24, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #19 LHP Zach Warren

Warren w/ Lakewood in '18, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.

Back to back outstanding full-season campaigns have propelled left-hander Zach Warren right into the discussion of young pitching prospects that could be able to help the big league club sooner than later.

A 14th round draft selection out of the University of Tennessee in 2017, Warren, a Vineland, NJ native, grew up as a Phillies fan.

He opened his professional career as a reliever with Class-A Williamsport, posting a 0-3 record with a 3.00 ERA, a .236 batting average against and a 10.9 K/9 mark in 13 appearances.

The following year, he spent his 2018 campaign with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, where he was a force out of their bullpen, posting a 3-2 record with 15 saves, a 1.91 ERA along with a 15.9 K/9 mark. 

In 40 relief appearance in 2019 with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Warren tallied a 1-3 record with seven saves, a 3.30 ERA and a 12.0 K/9 mark. 

This off-season Warren pitched in the prestigious Arizona Fall League.  He appeared in five games, all in relief, recording a .063 batting average against and a 3.86 ERA while striking out seven and walking four in 4 2/3 innings.

The arsenal that Warren brings to the table includes a fastball that resides in the mid-90's, an often plus breaking pitch that he describes as a combo of a slider and a curve ball, and a change up that has some plus potential.  A cutter was added to Warren's repertoire early last season, but some difficulty with command led to its regular season removal after April.  He hinted to me in September that the cutter might make a return for his AFL menu.  So, of course, if work over the fall and winter months helped Warren improve that offering, it could return to the mix.

His tall, six-foot-five, 200-pound frame allows Warren to pitch on a down hill plane, which is advantageous for the youngster. 

Coaches point to Warren's preparation and his work ethic as qualities that help him stand out.

Warren grew up in the Phillies heyday of a decade ago, or so.  His favorite player during those days was lefty pitcher Cole Hamels. 

A non-roster invitee to Phils spring training this year, the 23-year-old should get tons of exposure with big league coaches and personnel.  However, he projects to open the season at Double-A Reading as a key part of that team's pitching staff.  An arrival in the big leagues could come next year, if not sooner. 

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Patreon Exclusive: Interview with LHP David Parkinson

Parkinson with Lakewood in 2018, image- Jay Floyd
Last week I was in touch with Phillies pitching prospect David Parkinson, who was in Philadelphia in order to attend the organization's annual prospect symposium.

The 24-year-old lefty led the minor leagues in ERA with his 1.45 mark in 2018 and was honored with the Paul Owens Award that same year.  In 2019 with the Double-A Reading Fightin Phils, Parkinson notched a 10-9 record with a 4.09 ERA, a .247 batting average against and an 8.9 K/9 mark in 22 starts.

In the interview, Parkinson shares some thoughts about what he's up to this off-season, what addition he's focusing on making to his pitch repertoire, being in Philadelphia as part of the team's prospect event and more.  This complete piece is available exclusively for Patreon members.  I invite you to visit the page Patreon.com/PhoulBallz to support my work and gain access to content that is unavailable any place else. 

Parkinson, who was the Phillies' 12th round draft selection in 2017, was recently reviewed in my top prospect rankings.  You can view that post by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #20 LHP Ethan Lindow

Ethan Lindow, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work, get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.  

Lefty pitcher Ethan Lindow stood out so much among Phillies pitching prospects last year that he was honored with the Paul Owens Award, an honor bestowed annually upon the top position player and the top hurler from the organization's minor league affiliates.

Selected in the 5th round of the 2017 draft as a high schooler, Lindow would sign for a reported $500,000 and swiftly began his professional career.

In the Rookie level Gulf Coast League, the Georgie native would start eight contests, posting a 2-2 record witha 4.55 ERA and a .241 batting average against while striking out 34 and walking 12 batters in 27 2/3 innings pitched.  He would participate that year in the Florida Instructional League as well. 

The following season, Lindow opened the campaign in extended spring training, then put up exceptional numbers for the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.  In 13 starts, the six-foot-three 180-pounder tallied a 3-2 record with a 2.19 ERA, a .227 batting average against along with an 8.1 K/9 mark.  For his efforts with the 'Cutters, he was honored by Baseball America as a short-season All-Star.

Last season, Lindow really made his mark with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  In 23 appearances (13 starts), he posted a 5-2 record with a 2.66 ERA, a .208 batting average against, a 0.98 WHIP and a 9.9 K/9 mark.

By late in the season, he would be promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater.  With the Threshers, he made three starts, going winless with a 1.69 ERA, a .274 batting average against and averaging a strikeout per inning pitched.
 
He's got some intangibles that developmental personnel like to see.  Coaches admire Lindow's tendency to stand out as a leader among his peers. He also pitches like a polished, more mature hurler.  This is a quality that can be attributed to working with a well-known big leaguer, namely Tom Glavine, whose son was a travel ball teammate of Lindow.  The Hall of Famer would mentor Lindow and helped him develop insight on the game he would not have otherwise had. 

Described as a true competitor, Lindow has a great feel for the strike zone and attacks the opposition with his arsenal.  His repertoire includes a fastball that most often resides in the low-90's, a very good curve ball, a cutter and a change up.

The key quality that has people raving about the 21-year-old and calling him special is his command. 

An emerging talent, Lindow may open the 2020 campaign back with the Threshers, but he could be in line to see action at the Double-A level before long, if his success continues early on.



You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #21 middle infielder Luis Garcia

Luis Garcia, image- Jay Floyd
I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else. 

Despite a down season in 2019, Phillies infield prospect Luis Garcia is still one of the organization's most promising prospects.

After the team signed Garcia for a reported $2.5 million (second highest international signing in Phils history) in July of 2017, Garcia participated in the Florida Instructional League as a 16-year-old later that year.

The Dominican Republic native would make his official professional debut in 2018. In the short-season Rookie level Gulf Coast League, Garcia was tops in batting average with a .369 mark.  Additionally, he posted a .433 on-base percentage with an impressive .921 OPS.

The five-foot-11 170-pounder was named to the GCL’s post-season All-Star roster and was rated by Baseball America as the best prospect in the GCL at the time he played there.

Last year Garcia would play the entire season with Class A Lakewood at the age of 18.  There, he would struggle considerably at the plate.  In 127 games he tallied a .186 batting average with 14 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 36 RBI. 

Defensively, Garcia possesses an accurate, plus arm and quick feet. A smooth fielder, he was tasked with playing both middle infield spots last season with the BlueClaws.  His fielding percentages at the positions (.948 at shortstop and .944 at second base) were similarly strong.

At the plate, the switch-hitter can display a mature approach with quick hands, but he was over-matched at Lakewood.  Offensive struggles aside, Garcia's hitting coach with the 'Claws, Christian Marrero asserted that he saw improvements with the player's at bats throughout the long season last year. 

On the bases, Garcia is quick and could become a stolen base threat as a professional.  However, thus far in his career, he has been successful in just 21 of 37 stolen base attempts.  A 56.7% success rate is definitely not outstanding, but as Garcia moves up in the minor leagues, he will have more tools at his disposal to improve on that ratio and should improve.

Phils developmental coaches have noticed that Garcia, even at a young age, stands out as a leader, mainly among his fellow Latin players. 

Headed into last season, many prospect reviewers pointed toward Garcia as a young talent that could become a blue chipper for the Phillies.  The buzz surrounding him seems to have quieted a bit following his lackluster production last year.

Placing Garcia back in Lakewood to open the 2020 season may be the most beneficial next step.  The Phillies could go a more aggressive route with the infielder and promote him up one level to start the year, but he simply has not mastered the "low" Class A level and has not proven to be ready for that move based on last season's efforts. 

The ceiling for the man known as "El Flow" is unclear, but he remains a bright, exciting youngster that Phillies fans should key their eyes on. 

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Friday, January 17, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #22 LHP Kyle Dohy

Dohy with Reading in 2018, image- Jay Floyd
I ask that you to head on over the Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.  

Lefty reliever Kyle Dohy has been on the fast track since joining the Phillies organization and stands out as one of the organization's most promising young prospects.

A 16th round draft selection out of Citrus Community College in 2017, Dohy was quickly signed by the Phils and began his professional career that year in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League.

In 13 appearances with Williamsport that year, as a 20-year-old, Dohy would post a 2-1 record with a 3.60 ERA and a .182 batting average against in 13 relief outings.  Additionally, he would strike out 22 and walk 20 in 20 innings.

In 2018 Dohy really stood out, pitching at three levels, and started to make a name for himself.  In 24 appearances with Class A Lakewood, Dohy looked nearly untouchable, recording a 3-3 record with seven saves, a 0.80 ERA, a .144 batting average against and an outstanding 16.8 K/9 mark while the BB/9 rate looked much better at 4.5.

Dohy would earn a promotion to Class A Advanced Clearwater at the Sally League's All-Star break in June.  His brief stint there was just as successful as the first half of the season had been, as he tallied a 2-1 record with a pair of saves and a 1.64 ERA, striking out 18 and walking three in 11 innings over seven appearances for the Threshers.

The Phillies then promoted the youngster once more and he looked a bit more human out of the bullpen with Double-A Reading for the remainder of the season.  In 18 games Dohy sported a 2-5 record with a save, a 5.56 ERA and a .165 batting average against.  He would strike out 30 and walk 22 in 22 2/3 innings pitched.

Last year, Dohy opened the campaign back in Double-A and appeared to have mastered that level.  In six games, he notched a 1-0 record with two saves, a 0.82 ERA, a .059 batting average against and stuck out 22 while walking five in 11 innings of work.  He'd move to Triple-A Lehigh Valley before April was through.

As a member of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the 22-year-old would collect a 6-5 record with a save, a 6.19 ERA, a .253 batting average against while striking out 83 and walking 54 in 56 2/3 innings over 41 appearances.

The pitch repertoire for Dohy, who is listed at six-feet-two, 182 pounds, features a trio of offerings with plus potential.  He features a mid-90's fastball that touched up to 97 MPH, a premier slider that has a lot of movement and a change up that could use some refinement and additional consistency.

Command has been a area of concern through Dohy's first few seasons in the minors.  It's an area that will be a big focus for coaches and instructors, as they work with the pitcher to get his mechanics and delivery in check.

A sticking point for several pitchers last year was the usage of a different baseball, the type used at the MLB level, at the Triple-A level.  It has been a learning process and the Phillies' developmental coaches feel it's something that a talented individual like Dohy will work through and emerge from with a promising future.

It was recently announced that Dohy, who is now 23 years old, will be in big league spring training as a non-roster invitee this year.  The Phillies will be watching this talented hurler closely, as he has the potential to be a big contributor out of their bullpen sooner than later.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #23 OF Jhailyn Ortiz

Jhailyn Ortiz with Lakewood in 2018, image- Jay Floyd
The Phillies signed outfielder Jhailyn Ortiz, who was the top ranked international free agent, at the age of 16 in 2015 for a reported $4 million. Teams don't make that sort of investment or shell out the largest signing bonus for an international player in organization history without a boat load of high hopes.  With four years in professional baseball down, Ortiz still has a very long way to go.

The powerful Dominican Republic native made his regular season pro debut as a member of the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2016. In 47 games there, Ortiz batted .231 with eight home runs, 27 RBI and eight stolen bases.

In 2017 Ortiz was with the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. He sported a .302 batting average with 15 doubles, a triple, eight homers and 30 RBI in 47 contests en route to an All-Star nod.  His .961 OPS would have been good enough to lead the league if he has notched enough plate appearances to qualify.

In 2018 with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws, as a 19-year-old, Ortiz notched a .225 batting average with 18 doubles, two triples, 13 homers and 47 RBI in 110 games.

In Ortiz’s first taste of a full-season league, a sluggish second half sandbagged his overall stats, as he would post a .258/.320/.399 slash line in the 1st half and a .202/.283/.360 slash line in the 2nd half.

Coaches have expressed that the right-handed batting Ortiz is a special talent with a very bright future. Hitting coach Tyler Henson told me after watching Ortiz play for more than five months in the South Atlantic League in 2018 that, “For me, he's got more ability than anybody in this league.”




Last season in 115 games with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, Ortiz posted a .200 batting average with 15 doubles, three triples, 19 home runs and 65 RBI. 

Working on plate discipline will be key for Ortiz, as he’ll need to reduce his strike outs. At roughly a 30% strike out rate while drawing walks about 8% of the time in the minors, he has a lot of work ahead. 

The Phillies expect Ortiz to develop a better understanding of how the opposition is trying to pitch to him and improve his ability to interpret the strike zone.  Should that happen, then watch out!  Ortiz reportedly underwent laser eye surgery over the 2018/2019 off-season, so the thinking was that improved vision would be evident at the plate, but his offensive numbers did not see any sort of jump start last season.


At roughly six-feet-three and 258 pounds, Ortiz is a hulking, strapping, young man that has power for days, but he'll need to take serious strides at this dish and avoid further regression in order to avoid having the "bust" label attached to him.

The energetic Ortiz, who will be 21 years old for the entirety of the 2020 season, is a quality defender with a very strong arm.  Defensively, he played some center and left last year with the Threshers after having only played right field entering the 2019 campaign. 

As a base runner, Ortiz will not be a regular stolen base threat, but he is quick-footed enough that he won't be a detriment to his club.

For me, he has not graduated out of the Florida State League, as far as development and maturity go, but I could see the Phillies pushing him to the Double-A level this season.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospect Countdown: #24 LHP JoJo Romero

JoJo Romero, image- Jay Floyd
Despite a lackluster 2019 season, left-handed pitcher JoJo Romero remains a promising prospect that the Phillies hope can contribute at the big league level very soon.

The five-foot-11 200-pounder was the Phils’ 4th round draft selection in 2016. That year he helped Yavapai College, the same school that the Phillies drafted Kenny Giles from in 2011, clinch the JuCo World Series, leading the way with an 11-5 record, a 3.64 ERA and a 10.2 K/9 mark. He also tossed a complete game gem to earn the win in their title game.

After signing with the Phillies, Romero made his professional debut as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters. There, he notched a 2-2 record with a 2.56 ERA while striking out 31 and walking 11 in 45 2/3 innings.

In 2017, he got off to a terrific start with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws. In 13 starts, Romero collected a 5-1 record with a 2.11 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 mark and was honored as a South Atlantic League mid-season All-Star.

Romero, who hails from the same hometown as former Phils hurler Justin De Fratus, Oxnard, CA, was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater in late June, that year. In 10 starts for the Threshers, Romero posted a 5-2 record with a 2.24 ERA, a .223 batting average against and an 8.4 K/9 mark.

Overall for his 2017 campaign, Romero led all Phillies full-season minor leaguers in ERA with a 2.16 mark (minimum 100 innings).

In 2018, Romero posted a 7-6 record with a 3.80 ERA, a .241 BAA and an 8.4 K/9 mark through 18 Double-A starts for Reading. He really bounced back following a troublesome start for the Fightin Phils. After an April that saw him Romero go 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA and a .305 BAA, the talented youngster posted a 7-3 record with a 3.01 ERA and a .225 BAA the rest of the way until an oblique injury ended his season in July.

Last year Romero struggled throughout much of the season.  After opening the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he had tallied a 9.64 ERA through his initial seven starts.  The Phillies demoted him back to Reading where he where he would post a 4.84 ERA and a .261 batting average against over 11 starts.  Two months after the move, Romero was returned to Lehigh Valley and had a 3.86 ERA over his final six appearances of the season there.

Overall in 24 starts at two levels in 2019, Romero sported a 7-9 record, a 5.82 ERA, a .286 batting average against and a 1.55 WHIP while striking out 92 and walking 47 in 111 1/3 innings pitched. 

His initial efforts in the International League did not seem promising, but 2019 IronPigs pitching coach Steve Schrenk asserted to me that he saw considerable improvements for Romero between his initial stretch in Triple-A and his second stint with the 'Pigs.  Velocity on his fastball was reportedly down early on, but returned over the course of the season, getting back into the mid-90's. 

The 23-year-old's pitch repertoire also features a curve ball, a quality slider and a change-up that certainly plays better when velocity on the fastball is up.  Romero has built a reputation of being a guy that can command the corners as well.

Romero, a member of the Phillies' 40-man roster, tends to draw a lot of ground ball outs. Also, he seems to steadily have a good plan and is confident on the mound, throwing each of his pitches in any count.

A ball of energy off-the field, Romero is a guy that teammates enjoy being around and can help the club by being a motivator of those around him, even when he’s not in the game.

The Phillies likely plan to have Romero stick as a starter, with a potential ceiling possibly as a mid-rotation guy.  Look for him to gain some opportunities to impress new big league manager Joe Girardi and his staff during spring training.

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #25 LHP David Parkinson

David Parkinson, image- Jay Floyd
David Parkinson used a bust-out season at Class A in 2018 to propel himself into discussions about the most promising Phillies prospects. The left-hander then followed that up in 2019 with a full season at Double-A Reading.

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 junior college.  The Phillies signed him over slot money at a reported $250,000.

Parkinson would open the 2018 season with the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws where he led the starting staff, sporting an 8-1 record with a 1.51 ERA, a .210 batting average against, a 1.05 WHIP 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 and a 0.90 WHIP.

His overall 1.45 ERA for the 2018 season was the best in all of minor league baseball.

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

Last year, Parkinson spent a complete season at Double-A as a starter for the Reading Fightin Phils.   The 24-year-old notched a 10-9 record with 4.08 ERA, a .247 batting average against, a 1.23 WHIP and an 8.9 K/9 mark in 22 games.

Parkinson, listed at six-foot-two, 210 pounds, 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 hurler in the system.  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.

It is likely that Parkinson will get to try his luck at the Triple-A level to open the 2020 season. 

Projections for the Virginia native place him as a back end big league starter, a spot that very much needs his brand of consistency at the big league level with the Phillies.  

You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Patreon Exclusive: Some news and notes from the farm

As another baseball season draws near, it's time for the frequency of content to pick back up.  My latest post for Patreon supporters features details on next week's prospect symposium in Philadelphia, early arrivals for spring training in Clearwater, some updates on MLB's Rookie Orientation happening this week and more!  These are details I won't publish elsewhere.

Please consider supporting my work by becoming a patron via my Patreon page in order to enjoy exclusive news and updates as well as interviews, plus get early access to virtually all of my other content. 


Thursday, January 9, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospect Countdown Prelude

I encourage you to head on over the Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone else and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.  

Each winter I compile prospect rankings and count down the Phillies organization’s top 25 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 each 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, hurlers such as Edgar Garcia and Cole Irvin as well as outfielder Adam Haseley will not be considered for this year's rankings.  Additionally, Austin Listi, an outfielder/corner infielder that won the Phillies' Paul Owens Award in 2018, has fallen out of my top 25, as he turned 26 years old in November.  Lefty reliever Tyler Gilbert, ranked 23rd here last year, has also aged out of my rankings.

Players that garnered consideration for this list but missed ranking among the top 25 names include some promising upstarts with high ceilings as well as some names fans may have already begun hearing about.

Kendall Simmons, image- Jay Floyd
Kendall Simmons, an All-Star outfielder for the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters last season, is as promising as they come.  The righty batting shortstop was a 6th round draft selection by the Phils in 2018.  In 2019, Simmons notched a .234 average with 12 home runs, 34 RBI and five stolen bases in 51 games and was honored as an All-Star.  His .854 OPS ranked 5th highest in the New York-Penn League.  Fans can look for the talented 19-year-old to see time with Class A Lakewood this year.

Johan Rojas has drawn some solid attention in recent months.  The 19-year-old outfielder made stops at two short-season levels last year, in the Gulf Coast League and with Williamsport.  Overall in 60 combined games, the right-handed hitting Dominican posted a .265 batting average with 11 doubles, 11 triples, two homers, 15 RBI and 14 stolen bases.  Superior defense and great speed along with highly encouraging offensive results against plenty of elder pitching have prospect heads very excited about this youngster. 

Catcher Rodolfo Duran, ranked 21st here last year, fell out of the top 25 for 2020.  The righty batting Dominican, who turns 22 years old in February, followed up his exceptional effort at Lakewood in 2018 with a dip in offensive numbers for Clearwater in 2019.  Duran tallied a .240/.273/.369 slash line in 66 contests before his season was cut short due to injury in July.  A solid contributor behind the dish, Duran remains a player worth keeping an eye on. 

Left-handed hurler Garrett Cleavinger was added to the Phillies' 40-man roster this off-season in an effort to keep him protected from the Rule 5 Draft.  The 25-year-old was the Orioles' 3rd round draft selection in in 2015 and was later traded to the Phils in the 2017 Jeremy Hellickson deal.  With Double-A Reading in 2019, the Oregon product notched a 3-2 record with a 3.66 ERA, a .172 batting average against, a 1.28 WHIP and a remarkable 14.5 K/9 mark.  

Addison Russ, another talented Reading reliever last season, was also close to making the list.  The right-handed 25-year-old proved to be reliable in the closer role in 2019, sporting a 5-6 record with 22 saves, a .223 batting average against, a 1.18 WHIP as well as a 12.9 K/9 mark.  I would expect Russ, a Phillies 19th round draft choice in 2017, to see some action in big league spring training this year.

Righty pitcher Andrew Schultz made a considerable impression on me during his time with Class A Lakewood last year.  The organization's 6th round draft pick in 2019 signed quickly right after his college season with Tennessee was complete.  Schultz made one appearance in the Gulf Coast League then joined the BlueClaws' bullpen.  In 12 total appearances, the 22-year-old tallied a 0-2 record with a 6.55 ERA while striking out 15 and walking nine over 11 innings of work.  Equipped with a high 90's fastball that can reach triple digits, Schultz, whose command needs refinement, could be a reliever on the fast track up the developmental ladder.

Another Lakewood hurler from 2019 with a high ceiling is Kevin Gowdy.  The Phillies' 2nd round draft pick from 2016 had missed more than two years following UCL reconstruction.  While battling to knock the rust off and regain the consistency that earned him a high draft position, the righty would post a 0-6 record with a 4.68 ERA while striking out 53 and walking 51 in 77 innings over 24 outings.  The upcoming season will be key for the 22-year-old to take some strides and prove to still be a valued big league prospect.

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

Sunday, January 5, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: Off-season Check In with LHP Keylan Killgore

Keylan Killgore, image- @BaseballBetsy
Lefty pitcher Keylan Killgore had an outstanding season in 2019.  In his first full professional season, the 23-year-old notched a 1-3 record with 11 saves, a 3.57 ERA, a .234 batting average against as well as a 10.4 K/9 mark in 36 relief outings with Class A Advanced Clearwater.

As one of the Threshers' primary relievers, the six-foot-three 185-pounder contributed in recording a combined no-hitter in June, along with teammates Kyle Glogoski and Tyler Carr.

Killgore, a Wichita State product, was selected by the Phillies in the 17th round of the 2018 draft.

Last month, Keylan took time to answer some questions from me about his off-season, workout routine, being a newlywed and more.  Read ahead for that interview.

-What have you been up to since the season wrapped up? Did you participate in any of the Phillies' activities or seminars in Clearwater?

I've really tried to spend as much time with family as possible. I got married in December of last year and then left for six months, so I've been trying to make up that time with my wife. I didn't go to any of the off-season camps or workouts this year, but I did go last year and that gave me a great idea for how to shape this off-season.

-How long do you rest and avoid picking up a baseball? And during that downtime what does your workout or fitness routine consist of?

I only took about a month and a half off of throwing this year. When I started throwing again, though, it was extremely light and trying to lean more towards keeping mobility more than anything. Most of my workouts have been geared towards strength and flexibility. I have always been tall and skinny, putting on weight was never a strong suit for me. To add to that, I'm not crazy flexible either, so I have put extreme focus into those two aspects of my game.

-Any goals for this off-season? Like, was there anything you've tried to accomplish such as adding muscle, learn more Spanish, anything else?

I have just tried to push myself as hard as possible in the weight room. I want to go into Spring Training in the best shape that I can.

-Are you working or employed anywhere over the fall/winter months?

I decided not to work this off-season. Main reason being that I worked last off-season and felt like I could have done more baseball activity than I did. So, this off-season I decided not to work and put everything I have into workouts and my throwing program.

-What facility are you getting most of your work in at and who do you work with the most- any trainers, coaches or other players?


Luckily for me, I grew up and still live in the same city that I played college ball in. I do all of my workouts at Wichita State University. They have top of the line facilities and everyone there is like family now after my time there.

-Any big things planned or already completed this off-season? Travels or vacations...that sort of thing?

My wife and I are going to see some family in Idaho, which will be a blast. We'll spend about a week there with them and I know they have some big things planned already. Other than that, it has been nice just being home for a while.

-What do you think your biggest takeaway from the 2019 season was?

Honestly, the biggest thing that I've learned so far in pro ball altogether is that you can learn from every single person on the field. Everyone has a different way of doing something or has seen something in their time that can give you an advantage. I've really just learned to always be listening, because things are always flying around a clubhouse or a field that can help you.


***Please head on over the Patreon.com/PhoulBallz to support my work and get early to content and exclusive access to interviews like this along with content you can't get anywhere else.