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, image- Jay Floyd|
Class A Advanced Jersey Shore pitcher Dominic Pipkin has a 2.25 ERA with a .143 BAA while striking out six and walking one over four innings of work through two outings. The right-handed 21-year-old was a 9th round draft choice in 2018.
There are some guys that are making a splash that may come as somewhat of a surprise to some...we'll reference this list as an entrigued "OH! FOR REAL?"
Class A Clearwater corner infielder DJ Stewart, the Phils' 39th round pick in 2017, is batting .367 with a pair of homers and 12 RBI in seven contests. Stewart, 22, is on a full-season squad for this first time in his career.
Three perfect innings of relief for Class A Advanced Jersey Shore on Wednesday on top of his scoreless four frames last week has Josh Hendrickson among the standout performers the Phillies have in the minors so far. That's a 0.00 ERA. And how about that 0.29 WHIP? The 23-year-old left-hander was a 38th round draft selection in 2019.
Luke Williams is off to an exciting start posting a .400/.471/.500 slash line with three doubles, seven RBI and a steal through 8 games. The 24-year-old righty hitter was a 3rd round draft pick by the Phillies in 2015. The versatile Williams has played all three outfield positions as well as three infield positions (2b, SS, 3b) this season.
Here's a list of those that aren't off to the best start...we'll call this list as a very disappointed "OH...FOR REAL?"
First baseman Darick Hall in batting .103 with a home run through seven games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Hall, a 14th round draft pick in 2016, is a slugger with a career .817 OPS in the minors.
In three appearances for Lehigh Valley, righty pitcher Ramon Rosso has tallied a 7.71 ERA with a .313 batting average against. Rosso, 24, made a scoreless appearance for the big league Phillies as well before being optioned back to the IronPigs.
Reading third baseman/left fielder McCarthy Tatum is batting .095 with a home run, two RBI and a stolen base in eight games. The 24-year-old was a 10th round pick in 2019.
Also off to an ice cold start is the entire Class A Advanced Jersey Shore BlueClaws offense. A collective league-worst .466 OPS and .128 batting average. The team has a 3-5 record so far. Remarkably, BlueClaws outfielder Hunter Hearn (26th round pick, 2019) is 0-for-19 with 13 strike outs and a walk.
First baseman/Left fielder/Designate hitter Rixon Wingrove isn't posting great numbers thus far with Class A Clearwater. Through six games the 20-year-old Australian has tallied a .150 average with a double and a walk. He has struck out 11 times in 21 plate appearances.
I expect to post more hot/cold lists throughout the season, as I have done in other seasons. Here's hoping there's more heat to report in the coming weeks and months.