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Showing posts from 2021

News and notes: 9/9/21

For anyone wondering, "What's up, PhoulBallz.com?"... Well, interviewing players with COVID related restrictions is difficult to make happen.  I'm still not permitted on the field, in the locker room or any other place that the Phillies of the future do their things.  I still reach out to players and without knowing me, the players aren't as swift to provide me with the feedback I desire.   With that said, I don't have the stories to tell, like I once did.  I am hopeful that we'll get back to that, as things return to normal down the line.   Pitcher Adam Leverett , who has moved between levels with some frequency of late, has promised to set aside some time for me to do an interview.  We just haven't made that happen yet.   The 22-year-old right-hander was a 15th round draft choice in 2019.  Combined at three levels this year, Leverett sports a 4-5 record, a 3.54 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and a 9.6 K/9 mark in 20 games primarily as a starter.  He opened the sea

RHP Tyler Burch talks trade to Orioles

Prior to the MLB trade deadline, the Phillies sent minor league pitcher Tyler Burch to Baltimore for infielder Freddy Galvis.  Within just a few days of the swap, Burch was facing the Class A Jersey Shore roster that was made up of his former teammates. An undrafted free agent signing out of Lewis-Clark State in Idaho in 2019, Burch had begun to excel this year in his young professional career.  In 23 relief outings combined between Class A Clearwater and Class A Advanced Jersey Shore, the 23-year-old right-hander notched a 4-3 record with seven saves, a 3.98 ERA and a 15.0 K/9 mark. Following the trade, Burch was assigned to the Orioles High A affiliate the Aberdeen IronBirds.  In his debut there, facing the BlueClaws, Burch surrendered an earned run on two hits in one inning of work. This week I talked with Tyler about the transition to the new club, facing his BlueClaws teammates and more.  Read ahead for those quotes.   -Did you know any guys on the IronBirds team before joining t

IronPigs infielder Brito suffers medical emergency

Daniel Brito, image- Jay Floyd An emergency medical situation involving Lehigh Valley IronPigs infielder Daniel Brito halted a game in the first inning on Saturday in Rochester.  Brito was apparently unable to stand and was rushed by emergency services to a local hospital and underwent surgery to address the issue, per reports.   The game that was stopped was slated to be the first contest of a double header.  Both games were postponed, as was Sunday's game against the Red Wings. Brito, a 23-year-old lefty batter, was signed by the Phillies as an international free agent in 2014 at the age of 16.   He was enjoying a breakout season, earning a promotion to the Triple-A level for the first time two weeks ago.   In 63 games for Double-A Reading this year, Brito tallied a .296 batting average with 14 doubles, four triples, six home runs, 22 RBI and three stolen bases.  Since joining the IronPigs, the Venezuela native notched a .286 average with a double, a triple, a pair of homers an

PhoulBallz Interview: IronPigs' Guthrie talks success

Dalton Guthrie, image- Jay Floyd Versatile prospect Dalton Guthrie  is producing extremely well with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and has begun opening some eyes. The 25-year-old that plays various positions on defense (2b, 3b, SS, CF, LF just this season) opened the 2021 campaign with Double-A Reading, but since his promotion to the IronPigs, Guthrie has torched the opposition.  Through 27 games, he has posted a .357 average with 12 doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI and a pair of stolen bases.   Guthrie, a 6th round draft pick by the Phillies back in 2017 out of the University of Florida, is the son of former big leaguer Mark Guthrie. This week I talked with Dalton about his remarkable season, growing up around professional baseball and more.  Read ahead for excerpts of that interview. -You're having a great season.  Congratulations on your success.  What do you attribute the excellent production to with Lehigh Valley? I think I was forced to make a swing adjustment early in the year when

PhoulBallz Interview: SP Dom Pipkin talks 2021 success

Producing like an All-Star for the Class A Advanced Jersey Shore BlueClaws, right-hander Dominic Pipkin is enjoying a lot of success on the mound this year.   A ninth round draft pick in 2018 out of high school in Pinole, California, the 21-year-old sports a 4-1 record with a 4.53 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP along with a 10.4 K/9 mark through 13 games. Recently, I spoke with Pipkin, who was fresh off of back-to-back scoreless starts at the time.  He shared some insight on his production to date this year, updating his pitch repertoire, the organization's piggyback rotation with pitchers and more.  Read ahead for that interview.   -What are you thoughts on your season so far?  Are you producing at a level you would have hoped for? I’ve had a tremendous year so far, I’m hoping I can keep playing as well as I am. -Much of the Phils' minor league system works with a "piggyback" rotation for the starting pitchers, where one turn a pitcher would start, the next turn the same pitcher

Day 2 Phillies Draft Notes

With their initial pick on the second day of this year's amatuer draft, the Phillies selected college outfielder Ethan Wilson.   The 21-year-old posted a .313 average with seven homers, 30 RBI and 10 stolen bases in 54 games this year in his junior season at the University of South Alabama.   Listed at six-foot-two, 213 pounds, Wilson was touted as one of the best all around hitters in the 2021 draft class.  The lefty batter is described as a contact hitter that sports a favorable strike out rate and can really unleash some raw power when he has the right approach. Chosen number 49 overall, Wilson had been considered a possible first round pick prior to the draft this year.  He projects to be a contributor in the middle of a big league batting order.   The Phils' 3rd round pick (84th overall) was high school outfielder Jordan Viars.  Another lefty batter, Viars is listed at six-foot-four 215 pounds.   The 17-year-old has a wide-shouldered frame and boasts some solid speed.   Vi

Phillies pick pitcher Painter with first round draft choice

With the 13th overall selection in the 2021 MLB Amatuer Draft, the Phillies chose Andrew Painter, a right-handed high school hurler out of Florida.   The six-foot-seven 215-pound youngster is a college commit with loads of projectability.  Credited with having an advanced gameplan while on the mound, Painter was ranked as the 18th best prospect in this year's draft.   He's equipped with an arsenal that includes a fastball with plus potential, a slider, a curve ball and a chaneup.  Known as a strike thrower, Painter draws comparisons to last year's top Phillies pick Mick Abel. Overheard on MLB Network's draft coverage... Pedro Martinez : "I really believe this kid plays exactly into the way this game is played nowadays." "He's really poised on the mound.  (He) reminds me a lot of Mark Prior in his early days.  I'm really excited about this young man." The last time the Phillies selected 13th overall was 1980, the year they won their first Worl

Wheeler and Realmuto honored as All-Stars

On Sunday, Major League Baseball announced reserves for the All-Star rosters.  The game's best players are set to descend on Denver for the annual Mid-Summer Classic slated for Tuesday, July 13th. The Phillies will be represented by their best hurler and the man widely considered the best catcher in the game.   Zack Wheeler is an All-Star for the first time, as he's in the midst of a career year.  The 31-year-old right-hander sports a 6-4 record with a 2.05 ERA and11 K/9 through 17 starts.  Wheeler leads the National League in innings pitched (114) and strike outs (139).   J.T. Realmuto is an All-Star for the third time in his career, his second as a Phillie.  In 64 games this year the 30-year-old righty batter has posted a .263 batting average with eight home runs and 31 RBI.    Wheeler remains a possibility to start for the NL club, managed by World Series champion Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts.  Realmuto is a backup to Giants catcher and NL starter Buster Posey.   This mark

Wassup with dat? Vito Friscia edition

Friscia, image- Jay Floyd What's up with that Vito Friscia guy?  Well, he's a 24-year-old righty batting catcher that was drafted by the Phillies out of Hofstra University in 2019 with the team's final selection, 1200th overall, in the 40th round. But what's his deal?  Friscia opened the season with Class A Advanced Jersey Shore, where, in 16 games, he notched a .264 batting average with a pair of home runs, five doubles and seven RBI.  Last week, when Triple-A Lehigh Valley needed a reserve backstop, Friscia was promoted to fill their void.  When Rafael Marchan returned from a short stint in the big leagues, Friscia was assigned to the Double-A Reading roster.   Is he just a backup catcher?  For now, it seems that's his role.  But check out this quote from BlueClaws skipper Chris Adamson from earlier this month when I asked him about which player stood out to him as a guy that deserved recognition, but may not be getting it. "Vito Friscia is a guy that, earl

Woodward off to solid start with Threshers

Woodward, image- BaseballBetsy Please consider supporting my work and joining my Patreon to gain access to loads of exclusive content and early access to features like this one.   A year removed from a college season and a professional draft that were shortened due the global pandemic, hurler J.P. Woodward is at perfect peace with the resulting decisions he made.  Primarily a starter in college, Woodward, a left-hander, now has a relief role with the Class A Clearwater Threshers.  Through 11 appearances this season, Woodward sports a 1-0 record, 2.63 ERA and .204 batting average against while striking out 16 and walking five in 13 2/3 innings. The six-foot-six 215-pounder didn't truly think he'd pitch in college, let alone professionally, as his velocity topped out at 80 MPH as a high schooler in Maryland.  He was a true walk-on at Lafayette College in PA and began to make a name for himself as he excelled and developed. The summer following his sophomore season, Woodward co

PhoulBallz Interview: Jersey Shore BlueClaws manager Chris Adamson

On Thursday, I spoke with Class A Advanced Jersey Shore BlueClaws manager Chris Adamson .  In the one-on-one interview, the man known as "Tank" talked about the origins of his nick name, the team's offensive struggles as well as several of his players including Victor Santos , Josh Hendrickson , Adam Leverett , Hunter Markwardt , Jonathan Guzman, Vito Friscia , Logan O'Hoppe and others.   Full audio of the interview is available exclusively on my Patreon page, Patreon.com/PhoulBallz .   Below are a couple of excerpts from the interview, where Adamson offers his thoughts on a pair of his standout hurlers, right-hander Victor Santos and left-hander Josh Hendrickson.   I asked about Santos...the 20-year-old Domincan Republic native sports a 1-1 record with a save, a 0.73 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP and a 10.9 K/9 mark in six relief appearances this season.  Adamson had the following to say-  He's really impressive.  I didn't actually have a hole lot to do with him during sp

Series Preview: Nats at Phillies, June 4th - June 6th

Attendance returns to full capacity in Philadelphia this weekend as the Phillies host the Nationals in a three-game set beginning on Friday, June 4th.   Announced last week, the city is easing nearly all of its COVID-19 related restrictions and the Phils will be able to host a full house for the first time since 2019.   The Phillies are 2-1 against the Nats this season, having won their previous series in Washington during the month of May.   With a home record of 15-10, the Phils have had success this year at Citizens Bank Park.  The Phillies are averaging 4.2 runs per games at home, compared to 3.7 runs per game on the road, heading into Monday.  The team also sports a 3.66 home ERA compared to their 4.71 mark on the road, prior to this week. And we know that the Phillies are in the top three clubs to win the National League East. Their odds are definitely better now (+600) than they were a few months ago in February (+900). Maybe that's why the total revenue from both online an

Stott promoted to AA Reading, Haseley in action at XST

Bryson Stott, image- Jay Floyd To the surprise of not one single person, shortstop Bryson Stott has been promoted from Class A Advanced Jersey Shore to Double-A Reading.   The Phillies' first round draft pick from 2019 was outpacing the opposition in the High A East League, posting a .288 average with five home runs, 10 RBI and three steals in 22 games.   An offensive spark will be welcome for a Reading team that has recorded the worst record in the Double-A Northeast League at 4-20.  The club's .644 OPS ranks 11th in the 12-team league.  Stott's 1.001 OPS to date this season is tops among Phils minor leaguers.   The 23-year-old was the 14th overall draft selection two summers ago.  Upon debuting as a professional that year, he was honored as a short-season Class A All-Star as a member of the Williasmport Crosscutters.  A personal friend of Phillies slugger Bryce Harper, the Las Vegas native spent time last year with the organization's Taxi Squad in Lehigh Valley. This

Oh for real? Phillies minor league hot/cold list, 5/13/21

We're more than a week into the minor league season and there are some players performing at a level that is what one may expect based on a guy's previous performance and reputation.  There are also players widening eyes and tilting heads...some in a good way...others not in a good way.   Here's a list of names doing well, as should be expected...we'll call this list an excited "OH, FOR REAL?!" Left-hander Damon Jones is doing Damon Jones things with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.  Two appearances, 3 1/3 innings, one hit allowed, zero runs, one walk surrendered, five strike outs.  The Phils' 18th round pick from 2017 has a 3.29 career ERA, a .218 batting average against and an 11.1 K/9 mark in his professional career to date. Matt Vierling is off to a great start.  In eight games with Double-A Reading, the righty hitting outfielder sports a .310 average with two homers and two stolen bases.  He was a 5th round draft selection by the Phillies in 2018.   Pipkin,

PhoulBallz Interview: Clearwater OF Hunter Markwardt

On Saturday night, outfielder Hunter Markwardt capped off an exciting 4-3 comeback win with a walk-off hit for the Class A Clearwater Threshers.   The team entered the bottom of the 9th trailing 3-0, but a convincing four-run outburst notched an impressive victory for the Phillies affiliate over Lakeland.   Thus far on the young season, the 23-year-old lefty batter has posted a .375 batting average through three games.  Markwardt was the Phils' 13th round draft selection out of Oklahoma Christian University in 2019. Last week I spoke with the promising outfielder about his excitement level for the new season, among other things.  Read ahead for that interview. -What's your level of excitement to get this season started?    Having not played in an official game since 2019, it's crazy to say the least.  With all the work put into the extended off-season, it's been super exciting to see how it's going to pay off in the the near future.  The excitement level is defini

PhoulBallz Quotables: Williams, Brown and Appel

This weekend over on Patreon.com/PhoulBallz I've featured some exclusive quotes from around the Phillies minor leagues.   Among the latest on the Patreon page, are Double-A Reading manager Shawn Williams talking about pitching prospect Francisco Morales among other topics, righty pitching prospect Ben Brown discussing his return to the mound following Tommy John surgery and right-hander Mark Appel sharing thoughts on his return to professional ball after taking a leave of absence a few years ago.  Additionally, you find the latest on injured pitching prospect Erik Miller .   Please consider joining the Patreon site and contributing toward my work in order to gain access to exclusive content like this all season long.  

Stewart hits walk-off grand slam for Clearwater

Stepping up to the plate with the bases loaded, trailing by a pair of runs in the 11th inning, Clearwater first baseman D.J. Stewart did so 0-for-5.  His focus at the plate was no different that time than it had been the previous handfull of turns.  Make loud contact was the approach.  The contact was loud, the reaction from his team and the approximately 1,100 fans in attendance was louder.   A convincing round-tripper in that moment plated Edgar Made, Johan Rojas, Luis Garcia and Stewart.  It gave the Class A Threshers their first win on the young season by a score of 13-11 over the Tigers affiliate Lakeland.  The grand slam was the 22-year-old's first ever four-run homer as well as his first ever walk-off hit as a professional. Describing the feeling of walking a game off in such a remarkable fashion as unreal and realizing that his teammates were as hyped for him as he felt personally, Stewart also described the "loud contact" mindset as a new focus. "This year I

BlueClaws victorious in Jersey Shore and High A debut

Ben Brown, image- Jay Floyd LAKEWOOD, NJ- In the inagural contest under their new moniker and their initial contest as a Class A Advanced level club, the Jersey Shore BlueClaws were victorious, as they downed the Hudson Valley Renegades by a score of 6-2 on Tuesday night. Starting pitcher Ben Brown, who underwent Tommy John surgery in the summer of 2019, tossed four scoreless frames, striking out six and walking one.   After the Renegades took a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by third baseman James Nelson off of reliever Tyler McKay in the top of the 5th inning, the BlueClaws did not wait long to clap back.   A looping opposite field single by right fielder Jhailyn Ortiz plated two runs to give the BlueClaws the lead.  Catcher Logan O'Hoppe launched a homer in convincing fashion, plating Ortiz, to pad the home club's lead. Jersey Shore's third and fourth batters in the lineup lead the offense again in the 7th inning when Ortiz plated another run on a single and O'Hoppe laced

Rosters, rosters, rosters- 2021 opening day is almost here

With the minor league season set to get started on Tuesday, May 4th, the Phillies' four full-season teams unveiled their initial rosters today. Of note is the absense of rising infield prospect Kendall Simmons, who is apparently sidelined with an undisclosed injury.  The middle infielder was active in spring training action in recent weeks, but was contributing as a designated hitter.  He's likely being kept at the Phillies' complex in Florida in order to focus on recovery and limit unnecesary travel. Also, as reported recently on my Patreon page , pitcher Albertus Barber got a late start to his spring season due to an unspecified nerve issue.  He's healthy, but needs to ramp up his efforts in order to get game-ready before he joins a team. One of the Phils' most promision pitching prospects, Erik Miller, is also absent from these lists.  No word yet on what the situation is with this hard throwing 24-year-old, who was ranked as the organization's 5th best prosp

2021 Phillies Top Prospect Countdown: #1 RHP Spencer Howard

Spencer Howard, image- Jay Floyd Right-handed pitcher  Spencer Howard  is, once again, the Phillies’ top overall prospect. Howard was the team’s second round draft selection in 2017 (45th overall) out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has proven to be an exceptional hurler in his time as a professional hurler. In his draft year/sophomore season, Howard notched an impressive 8-1 record with a 1.95 ERA and a 10 K/9 mark over 17 appearances (12 starts) for the Mustangs. As a red shirt freshman the previous year, he posted a 2.95 ERA in 21 appearances (two starts). After signing his first pro contract, Howard debuted with Class A short-season Williamsport, where he tallied a 1-1 record with a 4.45 ERA and a .214 batting average against while striking out 40 and walking 18 in 28 1/3 innings over nine starts. Following the regular season, he participated in the Florida Instructional League. In 2018, Howard felt great levels of comfort with his Lakewood teammates, describing his situation as be

2021 Phillies Top Prospects Countdown: #2 RHP Francisco Morales

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.  Morales, image- Jay Floyd Right-handed pitcher  Francisco Morales  has emerged as not only one of the Phillies' best prospects but quite possibly one of the best young arms in the sport. Inked by the Phils in 2016 at age 16, for a reported $900,000, the Venezuela native participated that year in the Florida Instructional League. He made his regular season minor league debut the following year with the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.05 ERA, a .225 batting average against and a 9.6 K/9 mark in 10 games (nine starts). In 2018 the six-foot-four 185-pounder stepped up to the Class A short-season New York-Penn League.  There, in 13 starts for Williamsport, Morales collected a 4-5 record with a 5.27 ERA, a .244 batting av