Friday, February 21, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #9 RHP Connor Seabold

Please visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone.  Plus you'll get interviews as well as other exclusive content you won't be able to enjoy anywhere else.  I could use, and I would value, your backing.

Connor Seabold, image- Jay Floyd
Selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2017 draft, right-hander Connor Seabold made an immediate impact 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 as a reliever for the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters.

He followed that up in 2018 by skipping the full season Class A level completely.  Seabold took quite a jump, opening the season with Class A Advanced Clearwater. In 12 games there as a starter, 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 in 11 starts.



In 2019, Seabold was set to be Reading's opening day starter, but was sidelined with an oblique strain late in spring training.  He began making rehab appearances in the Gulf Coast League in June and followed those up with two outings for Clearwater before returning to Reading for seven regular season starts and their postseason run.

Overall, in 12 regular season games Seabold notched a 4-2 record with a 2.24 ERA, a .224 batting average against along with a 9.3 K/9 mark.


To make up for some of the lost time last year, the Phils sent Seabold to the prestigious Arizona Fall League, where he dominated.  In four starts, Seabold posted a 1-0 record with a 1.06 ERA.  He struck out 22 batters while walking three in 17 total innings. 

Command is a big positive for Seabold, who features fastball velocity that generally resides in the low 90's, a very good 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.  Said to have a great feel for pitching, Seabold mixes his offerings well and keeps the opposition guessing.

The ceiling for Seabold is a member of a big league starting rotation, which would be a valuable addition for an inconsistent club like the Phillies.  Look for the 24-year-old to open the 2020 season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.


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

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #10 LHP Erik Miller

Please visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone.  Plus you'll get interviews as well as other exclusive content you won't be able to enjoy anywhere else.  I could use, and I would value, your backing.

 Left-handed pitcher Erik Miller was a 4th round draft selection by the Phillies last year and was immediately held in regard as one of the organization's most promising up-and-coming prospects.

A starter in college, Miller struggled the previous summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League, posting a 7.71 ERA.  The Stanford product was reportedly signed for $428,300 following the draft.

Once signed, he promptly debuted in the minors and moved up two more levels.

Initially, with the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies West team, Miller allowed an earned run in three innings over two appearances.  He was then promoted to Class A short-season Williamsport.  In six games (four starts) as a member of the Crosscutters, the 22-year-old tallied a 0.90 ERA, a .176 batting average against with no decisions while striking out 29 and walking seven in 20 innings.

Miller, a Missouri native, was then promoted once more, moving up to Class A Lakewood, where he would make his final three appearances of the season.  He'd post a 1-0 record with a 2.08 ERA, and a .208 batting average against  while striking out 17 and walking six in 13 total innings.

With a sizable frame at six-feet-five, 240 pounds, Miller is an impressive figure on the mound.  His repertoire features a fastball that typically reaches the mid-90's, a change up that features a nice variance of speed and a strong slider with plus potential.  He's a guy that can add velocity as the season rolls on.

The main critique on Miller around draft time, based on his college efforts, was that he needed to become more consistent with his mechanics.  He walked 4.7 batters per nine innings over his last two college seasons. The Phillies' developmental staff would generally find that sort of concern to be a simple fix for a bright, teachable hurler such as Miller.  Evidence of that: his BB/9 was down to 3.7 as a professional.
The ceiling for the big lefty is pretty high, as some think he could develop into a number two or a number three starter in the big leagues.  

His future role may ultimately be determined by how confident the Phillies coaches are in how Miller's change up will play at higher levels.  If he is reduced to a two-pitch menu, then the most ideal path for the talented youngster would be as a reliever. 

Look for Miller to kick off his 2020 season in the Class A Advanced Florida State League with Clearwater. 

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

Monday, February 17, 2020

Interview Excerpts: Phillies RHP prospect Luke Leftwich

Luke Leftwich, image- Jay Floyd

Recently, I wrote a feature on Phillies pitching prospect Luke Leftwich and his recovery from a shoulder ailment that he experienced last season.  That piece can be found by clicking this link

Beyond his physical situation and his delayed start to in-game action this spring, the 25-year-old also talked with me about who has helped him stay positive, if he feels undervalued, a huge life event this off-season, some considerable coach turnover in the Phils system and more. 

Read ahead for exclusive interview excerpts with Leftwich.



-(I had asked about his shoulder injury and recovering from that.  Luke offered some feedback in addition to what appears in the article.)

That brings us to now.  With the time I took to do all the physical therapy to work out all the kinks in my shoulder, I got pushed back with the start of my throwing progression.  So, I would consider myself healthy, but I'm about a month behind where I normally would be going into spring training.  I'm on my normal throwing progression, I'm just a little bit behind everyone else that's in camp, so they wanted me to come down here early and technically be in the rehab group so they can monitor my time throwing and coming back because a third occurrence of this kind of injury is really not good.  So, that's where we're at now.

-You sound like you've got a positive tone as you explain it, so you would seem to understand and accept everything and you're good with it, so that's great.  Can you share some thoughts on who has made an impact for you during all this down time?  Is there a coach, a teammate, anyone that's been key in helping you maintain a positive outlook through all of this?

Yeah, it's kind of been a couple people.  Aaron Fultz has checked in on me every few weeks in the off-season and he was always a good person to talk to about basically just, "You're fine.  I know you're behind"- 'cause I was a little bit worried at first about being behind and he put my mind at ease.  And then getting here and being around these other guys, like Trevor Bettencourt, Ben Brown, those guys that had to get Tommy John (surgery) last year.  They've been down here for so long, really grinding their butts off, trying to get back to being healthy.  Honestly, those guys kind of set a good example of getting in, getting your stuff done, because it is such a day-by-day, step-by-step process.

-The Phils' minor league coaching staff announcements came out and some of these we knew about after last season wrapped up, and typically there will be some turnover with the coaching staffs each year, but this time it seems a bit heavier, with maybe more names than normal getting let go.  As a player, do you notice that it seems that way or is the turnover just part of the business, 'cause you'll see that happen with so many players that parting ways is just the nature of the business?

I mean, you do build bonds with coaches and I love a lot of the guys that we had last year that aren't coming back this year.  And it is like you said, I don't want to say you get numb to it after a while, because it sucks every time you lose a teammate, a friend or a coach.  But it is like part of the game, part of the sport, part of the business where you know you're not guaranteed tomorrow, so you kind of have to roll with the punches.  And sometimes you lose somebody that you really like and you gotta show up tomorrow and be the best you that you can be.  You feel for the guys that you lose, but a lot of those guys, especially these coaches, have had such good careers and have worked with so many good players and have done so much that those guys are all gonna land on their feet.  They're all good.


The complete version of this post is available exclusively for Patreon supporters.  I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz to get exclusive content as well as early access to loads of Phillies prospect focused news and articles.  

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Pitching prospect Leftwich ready for 2020

Luke Leftwich, image- Jay Floyd
A tell and an injury raised concern for pitching prospect Luke Leftwich last summer, but the right-hander has a positive outlook and is confident he'll return to form in 2020.

Leftwich entered last year with a 3.18 ERA in four professional seasons including a solid campaign with Double-A Reading in 2018 in which he posted a 3-4 record with three saves, a 3.73 ERA and a .234 batting average against.  It was a scorching hot start with Reading in 2019 that opened plenty of eyes for the talented reliever.  He tallied a 2-0 record with a 1.02 ERA, a .073 batting average against and a 14.3 K/9 mark in 12 total relief appearances with the Fightin Phils.  His remarkable efforts against Eastern League competition earned him a promotion.

With Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Leftwich, who was the Phillies' 7th round draft selection out of Wofford College in 2015, appeared to experience difficulties on the mound from the start.  In 16 total appearances there, the six-foot-three 205-pounder sported a 0-1 record with an 8.28 ERA.  Fans, media members, those within the organization and Leftwich himself took notice and most would wonder if he could really handle competition at the highest levels of the sport.

The struggles at Triple-A caught nearly as much attention as the immense success Leftwich had at the Double-A level, but the 25-year-old got it all figured.

As Leftwich tells it, he was tipping his pitches and every other team knew it.  He points out that the inability to get outs upon his arrival at the Triple-A level left him feeling down and defeated.  The keen eye of roving outfield coach Andy Abad had the remedy.

"(He) told me that I had been tipping pitches for the past month or so and that was a complete eye opener for me because I had no idea," Leftwich stated.

"Once I figured that out, it gave me a confidence boost of like, 'I'm not as bad as I look right now.  I just need to fix this one thing and then I'm good again.'  And as soon as I fixed that I went on a little roll there for a few weeks, threw really well."

Once Abad took time to review video with Leftwich and offered insight on what do stop doing and what actions to implement instead, the statistics saw considerable improvement.

Through his first eight appearances with the IronPigs, Leftwich notched a 15.75 ERA.  After the huddle with Abad, in his next eight outings Leftwich recorded a 1.38 ERA.  

His season then took another downturn as shoulder discomfort set in and Leftwich was placed on the injured list for approximately a month as a result of bicep tendinitis.  He'd ramp things up in late July for a few more games, but the pain reemerged and more time on the shelf was to come. 

"With only like a month left in the season, they didn't take any chances with anything major happening, making sure I didn't have to get surgery or anything like that," Leftwich explained.  "So, I went to see a doctor to check it out.  (I was diagnosed with a) shoulder impingement, no structural damage.  Just inflammation getting in the way of things moving the right way."

Leftwich is behind in his throwing program compared to where he might normally be at this point in the pre-season.  Delayed start to his exhibition season aside, the excitement level is still at a high degree for Leftwich, as many of his friends and teammates have been invited to big league camp this year.

"Since I'm not going to be playing, it gives me an opportunity to go watch those guys and get to see my close friends basically pitch in the big league games," Leftwich said.  "That's exciting for me.  That's exciting for all of us."

It's fair to expect Leftwich, whose father Phil Leftwich and grandfather Tom Timmermann both pitched in the Major Leagues, to get another go at Triple-A this year.  Should he reach the big leagues, he'll be just the second third-generation pitcher in MLB history.  The Phillies hope he'll take strides toward making that happen this year.
Always an optimist, Leftwich took plenty of positives from his 2019 campaign despite the considerable ups and downs.

"The improvements that I made and the mentality shift more than anything, I really knew those last few weeks that I was good enough, confident enough, every bit deserving to be there and get hitters out."

Please visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone.  Plus you'll get interviews as well as other exclusive content you won't be able to enjoy anywhere else.  I could use, and I would value, your backing.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #11 LHP Damon Jones

Damon Jones, image- Jay Floyd
Please visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone.  Plus you'll get interviews as well as other exclusive content you won't be able to enjoy anywhere else.  I could use, and I would value, your backing.

Left-handed pitcher Damon Jones used an exceptional 2019 season to catapult himself toward the top of the list of names being discussed as top options to help the Phillies' pitching pitching staff.

An 18th round draft selection in 2017, out of Washington State, Jones began his professional career as a member of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters.  In 13 appearances, all in relief, that season, the six-foot-five 238-pounder notched a 2-3 record with three saves, a 4.85 ERA, a .240 batting average against and a 13.2 K/9 mark.

The following year Jones had a strong campaign with Class A Lakewood.  In 23 games (22 starts), Jones tallied a 10-7 record with a 3.41 ERA, a .247 batting average against as well as a 9.8 K/9 mark.

In 2019, Jones opened the year with a stretch that earned him a promotion and loads of regard as a true up-and-comer for the Phils organization.  With Class A Advanced Clearwater, Jones would post a 4-3 record with a 1.54 ERA and a .188 batting average against in 11 starts.  He moved up Double-A Reading and made a splash in that rotation as well.  In four starts, Jones sported a 1-0 record, a 0.82 ERA and a .129 batting average against.

He would move upward a second time in mid-July, making his final eight starts of the regular season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  The statistical production came back down to Earth a bit there, as it took longer for Jones to adjust to the highest level of the minor leagues.  He would notch a 0-1 record with a 6.62 ERA, a 1.56 WHIP and a .214 batting average against as a member of the IronPigs.

Jones continued to deliver strong strike out numbers throughout the full season in 2019, as he posted a 12.0 K/9 mark.

Despite looking like a power pitcher with considerable K numbers, Jones uses his fastball that gets up to 96 and 97 MPH to induce plenty of ground ball outs.  His strong curve ball is the out pitch that garners most of the strike outs for the big man.  He also offers a slider that has good, horizontal movement and a change up that remains a work in progress, as he tries to refine it.

In May last year, Jones described to me how working his fastball to the inside and the outside against opposing batters was changing the look they were getting and helped him keep hitters off of his breaking pitches and his change up.

Command is a big positive for Jones.  It's a part of his game that impresses his coaches the most.

Jones has been invited to big league spring training, as a non-roster player.  He'll have the opportunity to work with the big league coaches and learn from the staff there, which is a major plus for the 25-year-old.

The ceiling for Jones is expected to be a big league starter.  He could make a splash with the Phils this coming season, when an opportunity opens up, but I would expect him to open 2020 back with the IronPigs. 

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

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #12 OF Simon Muzziotti

I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone.  Plus you'll get interviews as well as other exclusive content you won't be able to enjoy anywhere else.  I could use, and I would value, your backing.

Simon Muzziotti, image- Jay Floyd
Since joining the organization Simon Muzziotti has emerged as one of the Phillies' most promising outfield prospects. 

Signing infractions by his former organization, the Red Sox, lead the talented youngster to be declared a free agent by Major League Baseball approximately a year after he signed with Boston at the age of 16.  Muzziotti was subsequently inked by the Phillies and has been an attention grabber as he has moved up the developmental ranks with quickness.

In 2016, he played in the Dominican Summer League, tallying a .256 average with six doubles, two triples and eight steals in his combined time with the Sox and Phils teams there.

The following year, at the age of 18, the left-handed hitter notched a .269 batting average with four doubles, six triples and eight stolen bases in 33 games in the Gulf Coast League.  He also recorded two hits in seven at bats as a fill-in with Class A Advanced Clearwater.

In 2018, Muzziotti missed a couple of months with a broken finger, when he was hit by a pitch in April.  Despite the physical set back, the Venezuela native made outstanding impressions and began to stand out.  In 74 games, including a rehab stint in the GCL, Muzziotti posted a .250 average with with 12 doubles, two triples, a home run, 22 RBI and 19 steals, primarily as a lead-off batter.

Last year, Muzziotti spent the regular season with Class A Advanced Clearwater, continuing to hone his craft. In 110 games, he tallied a .287 batting average with 21 doubles, three triples, three homers, 28 RBI and 21 steals.  The efforts earned him the honor of being a Florida State League All-Star. 

He was called up to Double-A Reading for their postseason run last year after Clearwater's season ended, in case his talents were needed.  Ultimately, he was never officially added to their roster at any point during the playoffs.

The hit tool for Muzziotti is what prospect reviewers tout the most.  He is said to be among the best hitters in the minors for the Phillies.  With an ability to spray the ball to all fields, the six-foot-one 175 pounder has a knack for making contact and great hand-eye coordination.  However, he will likely not ever be considered a big power threat.

Last year, his left/right splits at the plate showed plenty of room for improvement.  Against righty pitchers, Muzziotti posted a .772 OPS while he sported a lowly .434 mark against lefty hurlers.

Defensively, Muzziotti boasts remarkable range and has a strong arm.  He is a plus contributor on that side of the ball and should be able to stick in centerfield as he moves upward in the system, though he does have some time in both right field and left field during his career in the minors.

On the bases, Muzziotti possesses excellent speed.  He's got some good instincts as well and is already a stolen base threat.

The ceiling for the 21-year-old may be questionable, but I would feel comfortable asserting he has a high floor, which would see him as a big league contributor in the coming years.

Look for the exciting speedster to see action with Reading this year and fully put on display what he can do at the higher levels of the minors.

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

Friday, February 7, 2020

Phillies 2020 Player Development Field Staff Announced


I invite you to visit Patreon.com/PhoulBallz in order to support my work and get access to material like this before anyone, plus you'll get interviews as well as other exclusive content you won't be able to consume anywhere else.  I could use and I would appreciate your backing.

At long last, Phillies minor league coaching staffs began to trickle out via each team's news feed on Friday with a few notable additions to the organization's developmental field staffs.  Here is a complete rundown of each team's coaching staff.

The Class A Short-season Williamsport Crosscutters will be headed by Milver Reyes.  The 37-year-old Venezuelan played as high as the Triple-A level during his playing career before turning to coaching.  Reyes played with the CrossCutters in 2003 and 2004 as a member of the Pirates organization, before Williamsport was affiliated with the Phillies.

The Cutters' pitching coach is set to be a returning Hector Berrios while hitting coach duties will go to Joel McKeithan.  Berrios, a Puerto Rico native, is an eight-year minor league veteran hurler with a coaching career that dates back to 1998, including the most recent four seasons with Williamsport. McKeithan, an infielder during his playing days, McKeithan played collegiate ball with Vanderbilt and NC State before moving on to play professionally in the independent Frontier League.  The 28-year-old spent his first season as a pro coach, last year, with Williamsport as well.

Chris Adamson joins the Phillies organization to take the reigns as manager of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws.  He'll be joined by a pair of returnees as well, in pitching coach Matt Hockenberry and hitting coach Christian Marrero.  Additionally, coach Geoff Jimenez will join the group as well.

Adamson is currently the skipper for the Adelaide Giants in the Australian Baseball League, where he manages a few Phils minor leaguers including catcher Logan O'Hoppe, outfielder Ben Aklinski and others.  Adelaide is currently playing in the ABL championship series.

The 31-year-old Adamson was mainly a catcher in his playing days and has professional experience as a player in the ABL.  Hockenberry and Marrero will each be entering their third season coaching in the system and their second year with Lakewood.  

At Class A Advanced Clearwater, Pat Borders will make the jump from Williamsport to take over as manager while Hector Mercado will be pitching coach and Chris Heintz takes on the hitting coach duties.  Mycal Jones is in place as the team's extra coach.

Borders, a former World Series MVP with Toronto, had managed Williamsport for the previous five seasons.  Jones, a former 4th round pick of Atlanta, played seven seasons in the minors and independent ball and previously coached in the minors with Houston.  Mercado has big league pitching experience with the Phillies and Cincinnati.  Heintz played parts of three season in the majors with Minnesota as a catcher. 

For Double-A Reading, Shawn Williams will return as the manager while Tyler Henson and Nelson Prada are back as hitting coach and assistant coach respectively.  Brad Bergesen moves up from Clearwater to join Reading as the pitching coach.

Prada has been coaching with the Phillies organization dating back to 2013.  Henson, previously a player in the Phils system, has coached with the Phils since 2016.  Bergensen has big league pitching experience with Arizona and Baltimore.  

At Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Gary Jones will be back as the team's manager.  Former Phils bullpen arm Aaron Fultz joins the IronPigs as pitching coach following a year with Reading.  Darryl Robinson, who played professionally for 12 seasons, joins the club as hitting coach.  Greg Legg returns as a coach as well.

For Jones it's his third season in that role and his 30th as a coach or manager.  Legg's tenure as a Phils developmental coach dates back to 1994.  Fultz has coached at A ball, Advanced A, Double-A and now Triple-A in the Phillies system.

Other minor league team staffs are as follows...

Gulf Coast League East:
Manager- Roly de Armas
Pitching coach- Pat Robles
Hitting coach- Rafael DeLima
Coach- Adan Ordonez
Coach- Mac Seibert

Gulf Coast Leage West:
Manager- Bobby Wernes
Pitching coach- Bruce Billings
Hitting coach- Zack Jones
Coach- Angel Peguero
Coach- Ray Ricker 

Dominican Summer League Phillies Red: 
Manager- Waner Santana
Pitching coach- Alex Concepcion
Asst pitching coach- Feliberto Sanchez
Hitting coach- Samuel Hiciano
Coach- Cristino Henriquez
Coach- Jesus Tiamo

Dominican Summer League Phillies White:
Manager- Orlando Munoz
Pitching coach- Les Straker
Hitting coach- Homy Ovalles
Coach- Felix Castillo
Coach- Silverio Navas

Other roving staff and instructors:
Field coordinator- Chris Truby
Director pitching development- Rafael Chaves
Asst pitching coordinator- Travis Hergert
Hitting coordinator- Jason Ochart
Asst hitting coordinator- Rob Segedin
OF coordinator- Andy Abad
Infield coordinator- Marty Malloy
Catching coordinator- Ernie Whitt

In other news, Reading announced on Friday that former Phillies backstop and 2008 World Series champion Carlos Ruiz will return to Baseballtown on May 30th to be present for a ceremony in while the team will induct him into the Reading Baseball Hall of Fame.  Tickets, which are sure to be a hot item, are already available to purchase at the following link.

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #13 RHP Connor Brogdon

Connor Brogdon, 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 and get access to interviews as well as other exclusive content you can't get anywhere else.

Relief pitcher Connor Brogdon propelled himself into discussions about the Phillies' tops prospects with another strong campaign in 2019 and could be on the verge of reaching the top level of the sport. 

A Lewis-Clark State product, Brogdon was drafted by the Phils in 2017 as a 10th rounder.  That year, the right-hander began his professional career as a member of the Class A short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.  

In 16 relief appearances for the 'Cutters that year, Brogdon would post a 3-1 record with three saves, a 2.34 ERA, and a .177 batting average against while recording an 11.7 K/9 mark.

In 2018, his first full professional season, the six-foot-six 192-pounder tallied a 5-3 record with five saves, a 2.47 ERA, a .228 batting average against and a 10.3 K/9 mark in 31 games (seven starts) with Class A Lakewood.  Since moving to the bullpen and working in that role exclusively after May that year, Brogdon has truly thrived in the relief role.

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

He was soon promoted to Double-A Reading, where the stellar numbers continued.  Brogdon would post a 1-1 record with a pair of saves, a 2.65 ERA, a .150 batting average against along with a 14.8 K/9 mark in 15 appearances.  

Before July, Brogdon earned his second promotion of the year, joining the pitching staff of the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.  In 26 outings in the International League, the California native tallied a 3-1 record with two saves, a .193 batting average against and a 12.2 K/9 mark.   

Time with the IronPigs didn't go smoothly from the start.  Having posted a 7.71 ERA through his first six outings, Brogdon breezed through his next 20 appearances, as he notched a 1.78 ERA the rest of the way.

Brogdon, a slugging catcher and third baseman in his little league and youth baseball days, grew up as a fan of Barry Bonds, so he's got a great appreciation for the minds and bats of his opposition.
Described as a power pitcher, Brogdon can bring the heat and miss a ton of bats.  With a fastball that tops out around 97 MPH, a slider with good movement, a terrific change up and a spike curve ball which was a pitch with a refined grip that he learned from teammate Zach Warren in 2018.  

The approach for Brogdon is a simple one...come into the game, attack the strike zone and get outs.  With his long-armed, lean build, Brogdon gets a lot of extension and releases the ball closer to home plate than many pitchers, which is advantageous, as the offering appears harder to the hitter. 

He possesses very good control and has walked just 2.9 batters per nine innings in his minor league career.

Invited to big league spring training as a non-roster player, the 25-year-old has a true shot at making an impact with the Phillies this year, possibly to open the season if his Grapefruit League season goes well.

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

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #14 RHP Mauricio Llovera

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.  


Mauricio Llovera, image- Jay Floyd
Righty pitcher Mauricio Llovera was signed by the Phillies in 2014 as an 18-year-old for a reported $7500.  Since then, Llovera has ascended at a steady pace through the developmental ranks and could prove to be a hell of a bargain at that price.

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 that coaches call “MoYo” 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).

In 2018 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.

Last season, Llovera opened the season with Double-A Reading.  The 23-year-old would notch a 3-4 record with a 4.55 ERA, a .243 BAA, a 1.35 WHIP along with a 9.9 K/9 mark in 14 games (12 starts).  His season was cut short in mid-July, as Llovera suffered an injury.

Llovera possesses a repertoire that features a fastball which typically resides in the mid 90's and can get up to 97 MPH. His fastball features some movement that can tail up and in to right-handed hitters. He also touts a very good slider, a nice change up and a curve ball to keep the opposition guessing.

Control is not a concern for Llovera, who keeps his offerings around the strike zone. The talented hurler averages 2.9 BB/9 in his minor league career to date.

Added to the Phils' 40-man roster over this off-season in order to protect him from December's Rule 5 draft, Llovera will be among the team's collection of hurlers in big league spring training this year.  He is, in fact, already in Clearwater getting in work and has been throwing bullpen sessions in recent weeks.

It's possible that Llovera could open the season in Triple-A with Lehigh Valley.  Some say his path to the majors is likely to be quicker as a reliever, but the Phillies may still want to give him a shot at proving himself in a starting role. 

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

Monday, February 3, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #15 LHP Cristopher Sanchez

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.  

Cristopher Sanchez, image- MiLB.com
Acquired in an off-season trade, lefty pitching prospect Cristopher Sanchez looks to be a possible contributor for the big league team in the near future.

The Phils sent infielder Curtis Mead to the Rays in a November trade in exchange for the promising native of the Dominican Republic.

Signed for a reported $65,000 by Tampa Bay in 2013 at age of 16, Sanchez would go on to make his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League the following year.  In 13 outings that season, he notched a 7.77 ERA.  The Rays would have him repeat the league twice.  In 41 total appearances there, Sanchez collected an 8-7 record with a 4.15 ERA, 6.1 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. 

In 2017 Sanchez split time between starting and relieving in the Rookie level Appalachian League.  With Princeton, he sported a 1-6 record with a 10.01 ERA and a .353 batting average against.

The following year, he opened the year back in extended spring training and went the short-season route with Princeton once more.  Pitching exclusively as a starter at this point, as a 21-year-old, Sanchez looked better, tallying a 3-2 record with a 4.60 ERA over 10 outings.  The Rays would promote him to wrap up there season and he joined Hudson Valley of the New York-Penn League.  In two regular season starts, he went 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA.  Overall that season, Sanchez collected a .302 BAA, a 7.8 K/9 mark and a 4.7 BB/9.

Last year, Sanchez played full-season ball for the first time.  He opened the 2019 campaign with Class A Bowling Green, where he again split time as a reliever and a starter.  In 11 games (four starts), he had a 3-1 record with two saves, a 2.01 ERA, a .190 batting average against and a 0.97 WHIP.  He would earn a promotion to Class A Advanced Charlotte and posted a 1-0 record, a 1.85 ERA, a .231 batting average against, as well as a 1.21 WHIP in 12 appearances (six starts).  He ended the season with an appearance at Triple-A Durham.  Overall, in 24 games, Sanchez recorded an 8.7 K/9 mark and a 3.1 BB/9 mark.

His splits last season did not clearly favor one role over the other, as with Bowling Green he tallied a 0.83 ERA out of the bullpen and a 3.38 mark as a starter.  Then with Charlotte his ERA was just about a full run better in the rotation (1.54 ERA as a starter, 2.53 ERA in relief).

Sanchez also played this off-season in the Dominican Winter League for the Toros.  He made just five relief appearances, none of which came after he was acquired by the Phillies. 

A valued talent, Sanchez was somewhat buried in a Rays farm system that is deep with promising arms.  Tampa Bay feared Sanchez could be lost at the Winter Meetings' Rule 5 Draft, so trading him made more sense.  The hurler with the lean six-foot-five frame quickly ranked among the top prospects for his new organization.

Opponents don't generally go deep off of Sanchez, as he's notched a 0.4 HR/9 mark in his minor league career to date.

He touts an exciting skill set highlighted by fastball velocity that steadily resides in the high 90's and features remarkable movement.  He regularly clocked triple digits last summer as well.  He also has a change up and a slider in his repertoire that he is looking to refine and get to a big-league-ready level.

A member of the Phils' 40-man roster, the 23-year-old will be in camp with the big league team in spring training this year, so he'll get plenty of opportunities to impress important team personnel.  He'll have a chance to make the team, but it is more likely to see him get additional time at the Triple-A level with Lehigh Valley, to open the 2020 regular season.   

It remains uncertain what role Sanchez will move forward with, but the Phils may want to see what he can do as a starter.  If so, his path to the majors may be a bit longer than if he was pitching in relief. 

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

Saturday, February 1, 2020

2020 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #16 Catcher Rafael Marchan

Rafael Marchan, 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.

At a valued position, backstop Rafael Marchan is one of the Phillies' most valued prospects as he builds a reputation as an intelligent and physically talented player.

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.

He made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2016, posting a .333 average with seven doubles, a triples and 34 RBI in 44 games.

In 2017, Marchan notched a .238/.290/.298 slash line in 30 games in the short-season Rookie level Gulf Coast League.

The following year as a 19-year-old, the Venezuela native played with Class A short-season Williamsport and began making a name for himself.  In 51 games there, Marchan tallied a .301 average with eight doubles, two triples, 12 RBI and nine stolen bases.  He was named a New York-Penn League All-Star for his efforts.

Last year, Marchan played much of the season with Class A Lakewood.  In 63 games, he posted 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.

As a member of the Threshers, the five-foot-nine 170-pounder would tally a .231 batting average with four doubles and three RBI in 22 games.

Splits would show plenty of room to improve for the switch-hitting Marchan.  He was 0-for-8 from the right side while with Clearwater last year and OPS'd over 200 points lower (.739 as a LHB vs .535 as a RHB) from that side with Lakewood.

Generally, Marchan possesses a line-drive approach with minimal power.  He has not homered as a professional hitter.  However, his hitting coach with the BlueClaws, Christian Marrero, saw loads of improvement throughout the season last year.  He asserted to me that he noticed progress with Marchan's approach, as the youngster displayed advancements with an ability to make adjustments in the box, evidence of being smarter as a hitter. 

Defensively, Marchan is a standout.  He has a strong arm with a quick release, he blocks balls well and he displays solid footwork.  With an outstanding knack for calling games, pitchers really like throwing to Marchan.  He had been a shortstop before signing with the Phillies, though he hasn't played any position besides catcher since coming to the States.

Coaches describe him as toolsy and athletic with big upside.  He's also made fans out of developmental personnel based on standing out with his leadership qualities, especially among his fellow Latin players.

Speed won't be a featured part of Marchan's game, but I also don't think he'll be a detriment to his team on the bases either.  Plenty of catchers happen to run like catchers. 

Marchan's ceiling could very well be an everyday big league catcher, if his offensive production can continue to develop.

It should be expected for Marchan, who will turn 21 years old this month, to return to Clearwater in the Florida State League to open the 2020 campaign.

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