Monday, November 23, 2020

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 experience like at Instructs this year?

My experience at Instructs was a good one. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there getting back on the field.  After being gone for about six months,  it was refreshing and satisfying to finally get playing again.

-I know you got some time playing first base.  Who got that in motion and who worked with you at adjusting to the new position?

That's true, I did work at first base. It was mostly my idea. I brought  the idea up to Marty Malloy, who coached me my previous two seasons. So we decided that I could get some work over at 1st base during extra work. Shawn Williams, Marty Malloy, Andy Abad and Chris Truby all helped  me learn the position, but Shawn Williams worked with me the most over  there. I am not sure if I will (play there again), but I would love to get more work over there, as I feel like the more positions I can play can only help me.

-What has been the most important thing you learned in 2020?

Biggest thing I learned in 2020 is to not take anything for granted. I specifically mean baseball and health here. Being gone from the game and  having it taken away from you sucks. But getting back out on the field  made me realize how much I missed the competition and the camaraderie.  And my family being healthy is a blessing and something I am especially grateful for as well.


To read the complete version of this interview, visit my Patreon page at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz and support my work. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

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 outfielder Matt Vierling talking about his time at Instructs and getting some time at first base.

Pitcher Luke Leftwich is already in Australia preparing for his ABL season as a member of the Melbourne Aces.  He'll be joined on that club by familiar faces like hurler Josh Tols, catcher Chris Burke and infielder Damek Tomscha. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

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 short month we had, just  because we were excited to be back, finally. I know that’s why I tried  harder.

-I know you guys played some weekend exhibitions against the Toronto prospects.  How often were the intrasquad games?

We played a game every day some days it would be three innings and others a full nine.

-Were you satisfied with the efforts you had during games?

I’m satisfied with my performance, it could have been better but after 6 months of nothing I didn’t have my bar set too high.
 
-How would you say you benefited from Instructs this year?

I think this years instructs helped me develop my pitch arsenal a little bit more, find a “power slider” compared to my loopy one.

-Who helped with refining the slider?

I worked on the slider mostly with Brad Bergesen, AKA Viper, but our goal  was to have a distinguished difference between the slider and curve ball  to play off the running fastball and change up.

-How has your family dealt with the pandemic?  Has everyone stayed healthy and maintained employment?

My family dealt with the pandemic pretty well they all stayed employed and healthy.

 

...To check out the rest of this interview in which Dom talks about if he'll pitch in any off-season leagues, the most important thing he learned in 2020, The Mandolorian and other topics, visit my Patreon page, at Patreon.com/PhoulBallz, and support my work.  You'll gain access to loads of exclusive content and get virtually all of my other content early. 

Monday, November 2, 2020

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.

Other finalists for the NL ROY Award are San Diego infielder Jake Cronenworth, who slashed .285/.354/.477 this season as well as Milwaukee hurler Devin Williams, who sported a 0.33 ERA, a 0.63 WHIP along with a 17.7 K/9 mark in 22 relief appearances.  The winner of the NL Rookie of the Year Award will be announced on Monday, November 9th.