Archive for December, 2010

Year in Review: Jose Contreras

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, December 16, 2010 11:48 AM Comments: 50

When the Phillies signed Contreras last winter, it was not the most newsworthy signing of a Cuban defector blessed with a thunderbolt arm, but it may have turned out to be the most consequential. Contreras, who turned 39 last week, is the latest in a series of starting pitchers the Phillies have successfully converted to relief stalwarts, including Chad Durbin, Brett Myers, and Chan Ho Park.

Contreras had last been a top-line starting pitcher in 2006, when he went 13-9 for the White Sox. With his fastball velocity in free fall, he caught on with Colorado in late 2009, and was excellent in seven appearances, five from the bullpen. Those 17 innings were enough to convince the Phillies to plug Contreras into Park’s old spot in middle relief.

Contreras, despite originally stating a desire to start, took to his new role in middle relief with gusto. Contreras’ fastball averaged 94 mph in 2010, up 3.5 mph from 2008. With his velocity back, Contreras was able to work in hard breaking stuff to great effect, including a high-80s slider that was worth 8 runs above the league average. This translated to better than a strikeout an inning and, despite a midsummer hiccough (caused in part by some bad luck with strand rates and BABIP), the Big Truck finished second among Phillies relievers in innings pitched, third in ERA, and third in strikeouts.

With so much of the Phillies’ payroll tied up in a few superstar players, the key to building a successful team is filling in the gaps on the cheap, and this Big Truck certainly delivered.

Grade: 7.8/10–Contreras was an dependable, if not spectacular reliever all season long and earned his contract extension. He wasn’t Mariano Rivera, but it’s hard to go far in baseball without decent middle relief.


Excerpts from the Cliff Lee Press Conference

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, December 16, 2010 12:59 AM Comments: 13

Sorry we’re a little late on this, but it was a busy day. Here are some quotes from Cliff Lee during today’s presser at CBP.

Q. You’ve texted some of your teammates since you left here about wanting to come back. Is this where you were most comfortable and is this where your heart is?

CLIFF LEE: I think for me to be here kind of says enough. I mean, I never held any grudges for being traded. I understand it’s a business and things like that happen.

But from the moment I got here, from the first day, I knew it was something that was special, something that I enjoyed. You know, I wasn’t sure if I was going to get another opportunity to come back or not.

The way things played out, I got that opportunity and here I am. When you sit back and evaluate your options, you get a chance to pitch in this rotation, with Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels, I mean, that’s all I needed to see right there. Give me a real option to do that, that’s it. That was the main thing, getting a chance to be part of that rotation with this team and what they’ve kind of established in the NL East, being the leader there. With this team, it was kind of a no‑brainer for me.

Q.  Cliff, the Yankees obviously offered you a nice deal, the Rangers.  At any time in this process did you tell Darek, Try to get something done with the Phillies, make this happen, this is where I want to go?

CLIFF LEE:  Obviously since I’m here, there was some point in the process where I decided to tell the Phillies, Let’s make something happen.

But, you know, there were a lot of variables, a lot of things going on there.  Obviously, I enjoyed my time in Texas.  We had a really good team.  We made it to the World Series.  That says enough for that team.

It’s tough.  Sometimes making these kind of decisions are tough.  But when you get your family involved, let them tell you how they feel about it, you weigh the pros and cons of everything, kind of sit back and look at it from a distance, let some time expire, you weigh all your options.

For me it became an easy decision with this pitching staff and with this team and what they’ve done over the past few years.  Getting a chance to play in the National League, I prefer the National League over the American League style.  I like to hit.  I enjoy hitting.  I like to face the pitcher versus the designated hitter.  There’s definitely an advantage to that.

It’s just a good team.  It’s a good environment.  They sell out every game here.  It’s a good group of guys.  It’s a close‑knit group.  That’s what you want to be a part of.  It’s going to be a special team.  None of that is going to be given to us.  We still have to go out there and earn it.  I think with what we’ve got on paper and with the personalities that are around, the guys on this team, good things are going to happen.

Q.  On the positive side, some folks have talked about the phrase ‘leaving money on the table.’  In a way, your contract ends here where you could sign another deal.  Is that an accurate statement that you left money on the table because it’s a very good contract here as well?

CLIFF LEE:  I guess I did.  I mean, I could potentially earn ‑‑ this is a shorter term, so whatever.  It’s plenty of money.  When you hit a certain point, enough is enough.  It’s a matter of where you’re comfortable, where you’re happy, where your family is most comfortable, what team gives you the best chance to win.

At this point it’s about trying to win championships.  That’s really the number one thing for me.  I think that team gives me the best chance to do that.  That’s really it.

Q.  Cliff, we’ve been hearing Rangers, Yankees for so long.  At the end the Phillies come in and get this done.  Was there a point in time where you were deciding between just those two teams or were the Phillies in it all along?

CLIFF LEE:  Going into the off‑season, I wasn’t sure how serious the Phillies were going to be.  I really didn’t know.  So I guess there was a point in time where it was just, in my mind, the Rangers and the Yankees.

This kind of developed just in the past four, five, six days I think.  I mean, there were some preliminary talks and stuff, but nothing really serious up until just the end of last week.  It kind of came together pretty quick.

In the back of my mind, I was always hoping that was a possibility.  I didn’t know how serious and how much of a possibility it was.

Q.  Cliff, you have been in a few cities in a short amount of time.  What is it about the city here, Philadelphia, maybe not so much the team, but the city itself, that brought you back?

CLIFF LEE:  I think the ‑ how do you put it ‑ intensity that you can feel when you get in the game.  You can feel the volume.  Every game has got an elevated feel to it compared to everywhere else.  It’s completely different.  I don’t know what the fans do to create that much more volume and excitement in the stadium, but it’s definitely something extra here.  I don’t know what it is, but it’s something they’re doing.

They get excited.  They’re passionate fans.  They understand what’s going on.  They don’t need a teleprompter to tell them to get up and cheer, to do that.  No, it’s exciting.  It’s an historic town.  I didn’t realize until I got here how interesting the city is.  My family really liked it.  I mean, that played a big part in it.

Yeah, you know, the feeling of playing on the field feels different than anywhere else.  I don’t know how to explain it other than you can feel the volume that’s created by the fans and their intensity.


Phils Prospect Cosart Reflects, Prepares For Future

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, December 15, 2010 02:05 PM Comments: 10

With the release of Baseball America’s list of top ten Phillies prospects on Monday, some players will be getting some much deserved attention. One in particular, Jarred Cosart, is a fireballing right-handed starting pitcher with the potential to move up the organizational rankings very quickly.

The 20-year-old Cosart has excellent command and a superior fastball that regularly hits 97 MPH. As a member of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010, Cosart posted a 7-3 record with a 3.79 ERA and 77 strike outs in 71 1/3 innings pitched. He projects to be the type of pitcher whose presence could effect the odds involved in sports betting some day, much like Cliff Lee did when news leaked that the Phillies were preparing to sign him this week.

Cosart missed much of the 2010 season with an elbow injury, but the Phillies did a superb job of catching the injury, before it was too late, and shutting him down to prevent further damage. Cosart was was back to 100% in time to spend the month after the season pitching in instructional ball at the Phillies spring training facility in Florida. While there, he experienced no hindrances. The Phillies were satisfied with the progress he made, despite being a bit rusty following the period away from game action. “There were absolutely no setbacks in instructional league, just a little bit of rust having not thrown to live competition for a few months. The arm felt great, though. And overall, the coaches were very pleased with my outings and, obviously, that the arm felt good,” Cosart said in an exclusive interview.

Despite missing time, Cosart was able to improve on various aspects of his game. The Texas native developed a better curveball and refined his delivery to enhance deception when it came to his change up. His focus on conditioning, resulting from his rehab work, is likely to keep him in better shape going forward as well.

Cosart, a 38th round draft selection in 2008, did not appear in a game after June 26th last season, when he left a road start after 2/3 of an inning with the elbow discomfort that landed him on the disabled list for the remainder of the season. Looking forward to 2011, Cosart is squarely focused on having an injury-free season and developing himself further. “The biggest goal is staying healthy. I’m 100 percent confident in my pitching ability. I just need to get over the little setbacks I’ve had. I want to establish myself as one of the best and get better each time I take the mound, every fifth day, as well as the days in between,” Cosart said.

The Baseball America list of Phils prospects also included six other players that appeared with the Lakewood BlueClaws championship club in 2010. The opportunity for so many of Philadelphia’s best young talent to have bonded together while getting used to the postseason at such an early age could be beneficial to all of them in the long run, as the players move closer to the big show, according to Cosart. “I can’t even express the brotherly love that we had in Lakewood. From the coaching staff to the players, everyone got along and we all wanted to win. It would be an honor and a great experience to (some day) put on a Phillie uniform with some of the same teammates I won a South Atlantic League championship with,” Cosart said.

With plenty of minor league players’ eyes aimed toward the ultimate goal of the big leagues, it’s surely a positive thing when those hungry individuals can get to see big league talent up close in the same dugout. During the 2010 regular season, home grown Phillies stars such as Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard, both former BlueClaws, made rehab appearances in Lakewood. Ruiz and Howard were an inspiration to the Lakewood players as each one serves up proof of the organization’s ability to draft and develop key talent for the parent club.

“It’s exciting to everyone to see that the Phillies like to develop their Major League team from the minor leagues,” Cosart stated.

The off-season has brought down-time for Cosart and resulted in him missing the game of baseball. He missed the roar of the crowd so much this off-season that he set up an account on Twitter, in order to interact with baseball fans via the internet. In addition to chatting with the Phillies faithful on a regular basis, Cosart is staying busy this off-season by working out with a trainer and has continued a steady routine of stretching exercises, which he feels is key for a pitcher’s health. His throwing routine will begin this week, leading up to an early arrival at spring training on January 15th, where he hopes to prove himself worthy of a move upward in the Phils’ system.

Looking forward to rubbing elbows with some more big league talent, Cosart cites the opportunity to work closely with the parent club’s premiere pitcher in Clearwater as too good to pass up.

“I wouldn’t say I’m heading there early because I missed time, but because I’d like the opportunity to…be able to be around guys like Roy Halladay to learn anything I can that will help me become a better person and player.”


Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor.  You can read more from Jay on his site, PhoulBallz.com, and hear him on 97.3 ESPN’s Weekend Sports Guide with Tyrone Johnson on Saturday afternoon.


Even With a Spending Spree, Phils Still Ain't Yanks

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, December 15, 2010 11:35 AM Comments: 53

From an outsiders perspective it would seem as though the Phillies are slowly morphing into something different. That something different would be the Yankees, a team that likes to throw its weight around using American dollars. As the new powerhouse of the National League, the Phillies are resembling the rivals to the northeast. But let’s not get carried away – anyone who thinks the Phils are even within an arms length of the Yankees are sorely mistaken.

First off, the Phillies have built this brick by brick – they’ve used solid scouting and a stocked farm system to accomplish their goal of a World Championship while becoming a threat to win more every year. By extending their talent to long-term contracts at the right time, they’ve been able to keep a relatively modest payroll all the while.

The list of Phillies that were brought up – and not bought up – are as follows: Utley, Howard, Rollins, Ruiz, Madson, Hamels, Kendrick. Each have had their hand in the reformation of the Phillies as a legitimate contender year after year.

On the other side, the Yankees have attempted to buy their way into World Championships, and who can blame them? It’s a system that works in their favor – they should be allowed to spend all the money they want. Major League Baseball is built on a structure of revenue sharing, meaning the top teams filter down big money to the teams that don’t make as much. The Yankees are an exceptional franchise and that has benefitted the pockets of many lesser teams and their owners. So spending over $200 million every season is fine.

Just don’t say the Phillies do business the same way because they were able to land Cliff Lee.

Lee, like Roy Halladay and, to an extent, Roy Oswalt before him, took less money to play in a place he knew was a baseball hotbed. Halladay chose to take a shorter term deal and Oswalt re-worked some conditions in his contract to win here. Lee, apparently, has done the same. Instead of settling for a six-year deal worth a reported $137 million with a seventh-year option, Lee felt a connection with Philadelphia and will take a reported $120 million over five years with a sixth-year option. Not chump change by any means, but still a large sum left on the proverbial table.

Add up the numbers and you’ll see that the Phillies wrangled Cliff Lee AND Roy Halladay for roughly $180 million. The Yankees paid CC Sabathia by himself $161 million. Two is better than one.

New York, while able to entice him with riches and the thought of playing in the biggest market, could not offer Cliff Lee peace of mind. Texas fell short as well in courting the prized piece of the free agent market. As an aside, it’s pretty hilarious to see how up in arms Yankees fans are about losing Lee. Over the past 36 hours, there’s been a lot of “we didn’t want him anyway” talk. Sore losers, indeed.

So before you listen to the outsiders rip the Phillies for being like the evil empire – a team that overpays for talented players as often as person brushes their teeth – realize this club has put itself in this position by making noble maneuvers.


Coming to Grips with Cliff Lee

Posted by Michael Baumann, Tue, December 14, 2010 05:13 PM Comments: 66

Last Friday, I fell, and fell hard, for a Twitter hoax orchestrated by a former writer for The Fightins that had Zack Greinke going to the Phillies for, essentially, a bag of nickels and a case of beer. Before I realized that the report had been faked, I sent a link to the tweet in an email to several Phillies fans, including Paul Boye of this site, my father, and my younger brothers, along with the following:

“I’m sitting in the Temple computer lab right now. If this is true, I’m going to scream out the news, tear off my clothes, and run down the hall stark naked, urinating everywhere from sheer joy. Until then, I’ll reserve judgment.”

You can imagine my reaction when the news broke late last night that the Phillies had signed one Cliff Lee, the Anointed One, whose brief sojourn in red pinstripes in 2009 generated the kind of devotion among Phillies fans usually reserved for prepubescent Canadian pop stars. Whose departure, the cost of acquiring the best pitcher in baseball, led to a firestorm in this area the likes of which had not been seen since the Philadelphia police bombed the MOVE house in 1985.

On one hand, this move doesn’t make much sense–the Phillies, far and away the oldest team in baseball with several holes to fill, gave the richest free agent contract in team history to pitcher in his 30s. After all, this team won the division in 2007 with Kyle Kendrick as its No. 2 starter and won a World Series with Cole Hamels and three other guys who got hot at the same time. This season, it wasn’t the starting pitching that failed the team in the playoffs, it was the offense–an offense that saw its best performer in 2010 follow the money down I-95 when free agency hit. So why splurge on a fourth top-line starting pitcher?

It turns out, this move isn’t really about rationality. This move is about parking the Death Star in orbit of Alderaan. It’s about Lee, Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt showing up for Spring Training, looking at each other, and giggling and the sheer preposterousness of what has been wrought. This is about Ruben Amaro indulging his inner 14-year-old and putting together a rotation the likes of which are ordinarily only seen in video games. Perhaps most of all, this is about Cliff Lee, once again, doing what he wants, and to hell with everyone else’s expectations.

A few quick bullet points about the Cliff Lee trade:

  • The Phillies will field two Cy Young winners in the same rotation for the third time in team history (Steve Carlton and John Denny, 1984-1985 and Lee and Pedro Martinez, August-October 2009).
  • Hamels, Halladay, Oswalt, and Lee are a combined 108-66 in a Phillies uniform, including the postseason.
  • Cliff Lee is the first pitcher to leave the Phillies, make an all-star team, and come back to the team since Andy Ashby.
  • Courtesy of Dave Cameron of FanGraphs: over the past three seasons, Halladay leads all starting pitchers in wins above replacement. Lee is second, Hamels 16th, and Oswalt 21st.
  • Each of the Phillies’ top four starting pitchers has led the league in WHIP at least once.

Cliff Lee Signs $120 Million Pact with the Phillies

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, December 14, 2010 11:30 AM Comments: 193

Originally posted December 13, 2010 at 9:40 pm.

This afternoon Jayson Stark stated on ESPN.com that the Philadelphia Phillies were the rumored “mystery team” in the mix, along with the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees, for the services of a free agent known as Cliff Lee.

Later in the evening, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal cofirmed via Twitter that the Phillies are involved in the pursuit of Lee.  Other info via the likes of Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman (yes, the real one) and others state that the Yankees still have the edge on the monetary value of the contracts offered.  However, if location means enough, as Lee stated in the past that he loved his time in Philadelphia, the Phils are certainly a contender to be high on Lee’s list of desired destinations.

Other reports state that the Phillies have touched base with multiple teams in an effort to trade Joe Blanton, which would help to free up money in the team’s ever-rising payroll.  Blanton is owed $8.5 million ($17 million total) in each of the 2 years remaining on his contract.

If the Phillies do re-acquire Cliff Lee, plenty of Phillies fans will be overjoyed.  However, it will still stand to be mulled over by some that the Phillies gave up several top prospects for Lee, later gave Lee away for very little to Seattle and then spent more money than they’ve ever given any pitcher to bring him back.

UPDATE, 10:20 pm: The twitter comments are coming too quickly to keep posting on here from the big guns, but in summation, it seems to be getting closer and closer to become a reality. Let’s not jump ahead of ourself because NOTHING is even close to done. However, by the sounds of the tweets from Jon Heyman and others, the Phillies may have jumped into the lead.

These “sources” are saying that it is probably not going to happen tonight, but there are so many factors at work tonight. Heyman has said Lee could leave as much as $70 million on the table to sign with the Phillies. Wow. We’ll have more as it comes.  -Pat Gallen

UPDATE, 11:35: Do yourself a favor and read the twitter of Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He’s summing up everything beautifully over a series of tweets (so make sure you read them backwards, of course). – Pat Gallen

UPDATE, 11:55 pm: Jon Heyman says the Yankees have been told they are out of the Cliff Lee dealings. – PG

UPDATE, 11:58 pm: Sources tell T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com (Rangers beat writer) that Cliff Lee is coming to Philadelphia, it is a done deal. – Pat Gallen

UPDATE, 12:04 am: The deal is done! Cliff Lee is a Philadelphia Phillie according to multiple sources. Unbelievable. Welcome to the big time, folks. Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt, Lee. Have fun and Happy Holidays all! – PG

UPDATE, 12:17 am: The terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but word is it’s a five-year, $100 million deal. Lee reportedly leaves a seven-year deal on the table from the Yankees that would have been worth more than $150 million. -PG

UPDATE, 12:35 am: Todd Zolecki of MLB.com says the deal is for five years with a vesting sixth-year option. The deal could be worth up to $120 million. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets that the Phillies are working to trade Joe Blanton to free up some salary space. – PG

UPDATE, 1:28 am: Joel Sherman of the New York Post says Lee left a seven year, $154 million pact on the table from the Yankees to join the Phillies. – PG

UPDATE, 10:32 am: Jerry Crasnick has crunched the numbers and this is what it comes down to.

Lee’s deal includes a $27.5 million option that vests if he pitches 200 innings in 2015 or a total of 400 innings over the 2014-15 seasons. If the option doesn’t vest, the deal includes a $12.5 million buyout.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems as though the five years equal out to $107.5 million with the guaranteed buyout in 2015 pushing the grand total to $120 million. The sixth year option, should it vest, would make the deal six-years, $135 million or the same as what the Yankees and Rangers offered as their base salary before options were included.

So yes, it’s a deal. However, Lee is still making plenty of bank, bro. -PG

UPDATE, 11:00 am: Crasnick tweets that he may not be leaving much on the table after all. -PG


Report: Blanton to Red Sox Being Discussed

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, December 14, 2010 09:37 AM Comments: 48

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says that late last night, the Phillies and Red Sox were discussing a deal that would send innings-eater Joe Blanton to Boston. No word on what the Phillies would be getting in return besides payroll relief.

Jon Heyman of SI.com has just tweeted a few minutes ago that Blanton to Boston is all but done.

We’ll keep you posted on this as Blanton is clearly the odd man out in the wake of the Phillies acquiring Cliff Lee last night.


One Year Later, Lee Rejoins the Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, December 14, 2010 02:59 AM Comments: 73

December 14, 2009, the Philadelphia Phillies made a splash. Like a whale jumping into a pool, Ruben Amaro changed the face of the Phllies franchise by acquiring arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball; Roy Halladay. In doing so, he felt the only way to repair his decimated farm system was to unload Cliff Lee.

At the time, the town was up in arms about losing Lee at the expense of Halladay. So enticing was the thought of a Halladay/Hamels/Lee trio – however, it wasn’t to be.

And then it was. Exactly one year later – December 14, 2010 – Cliff Lee rejoins the Phillies. It’s the circle of life, except no one saw it coming. During the baseball Winter Meetings, the Phillies lost their starting right fielder after being outbid by the Washington Nationals, of all clubs. It appeared Amaro had run out of tricks to pull out of his sleeve.

And then he did this. He was able to sway Cliff Lee away from the bright lights and bigger bucks of the Big Apple to join a crew of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, and Roy Oswalt and in the process, assembling perhaps the greatest rotation in baseball history. Let that sink in for a second. This rotation could be the best in major league baseball history. Here in Philadelphia.

Remember when the biggest free agent signings were Lance Parrish, Gregg Jefferies, Benito Santiago, and Danny Tartabull. Those days are long, long gone. This is a special time to be a Phillies fan.

Welcome back, Cliff Lee.


Winter League Updates

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, December 13, 2010 06:30 PM Comments: 23

Sure, free agency and the Hot Stove can provide plenty of news at this time of the year, but there are actual games being played…somewhere. Let’s take a look around the varying “Winter” leagues that are going on all over the world, to review how players with current Phillies ties are performing.

In the Dominican Winter Baseball League…

Domonic Brown was a member of the Escogido Leones, but left the team last week. After struggling in 9 games for the Leones, Brown’s Winter league stint was cut short. He went 2-for-29 (.069 avg) with 1 double and 8 strike outs

2010 Phillies rookie hurler David Herndon has looked sharp thus far out of the bullpen for the Cibao Gigantes. In 6 games, Herndon has thrown 6 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .167 average without allowing a run.

Phillies lefty reliever Antonio Bastardo is also a member of the Gigantes relief corp. In 7 games, Bastardo, a native of the DR, has a 0-1 record with 7 strike outs and 1 walk in 9 innings. He has held opponents to a .100 batting average while not allowing any earned runs.

Juan Perez, a lefty pitcher signed by the Phillies this off-season, is another member of the Gigantes pitching staff. In 22 games, Perez, a native Dominican, has a 1-1 record with a 6.55 ERA. In his last 10 outings, Perez has a 1.50 ERA and has held opponents to a .091 batting average.

Timo Perez, a one-time New York Metropolitan, who was signed by the Phillies in July and assigned to the Double A Reading club, is posting good numbers for the Licey Tigres. In 36 games, Perez is batting .293 with 2 HR and 18 RBI.

Yohan Flande has not appeared in a game for the Toros since he was released by the Phillies last week. It is possible that the Dominican native has put his Winter league activity on hold until he re-signs with a Major League organization. In 6 games, the lefty Flande was 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA and 13 strike outs in 18 1/3 innings.

In 15 games for the Aguilas, Derrick Loop has a 1-1 record with a 3.24 ERA. Opponents are batting .289 against Loop, who pitched for both Clearwater and Lehigh Valley in 2010.

Switch-hitting infielder Ozzie Chavez, who played for Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2010, is having a rough time in the Dominican league. In 13 games, Chavez is batting .130 with a .416 OPS.

In the Mexican League…

Highly regarded prospect Sebastian Valle is putting up decent numbers for his hometown Los Mochis Caneros. Valle, a righty hitting catcher, has a .243 average with 4 doubles, 3 HR and 12 RBI in 39 games. Valle was ranked number 6 on Baseball America’s top ten Phillies prospects released on Monday.

Angel Chavarin, a 20-year-old catcher, played in two games with the Aguilas, but has not seen action in over a month. There is no official word on his status.

2010 Lehigh Valley IronPig pitcher Brian Mazone pitched in 3 games early in the season for the Aguilas, but his time there is likely over after allowing opponents to hit .390.

In the Puerto Rican League…

Righty prospect Julio Rodriguez, who pitched with Williamsport and Lakewood in 2010, is looking solid in PR action with the Carolina Gigantes. In 9 games (8 starts), Rodriguez has a 3-1 record with a 2.20 ERA. Rodriguez also pitched for Puerto Rico in the Pan-American qualifying tournament this off-season.

In the Venezuelan League…

Infielder Freddy Galvis batted .188 in 21 games with the Magallanes Navegantes. Galvis, a switch-hitting 21-year-old, has not played in more than a month.

Harold Garcia is posting decent stats with the Zulia Aguilas. The 24-year-old, who made headlines in 2010 by setting the Florida State League hitting streak record at 37 games with Clearwater, is batting .286 with just 1 extra base hit (a double) in 28 games played. Garcia stole 42 bases with Lakewood in 2009, but is just 1-for-5 in stolen base attempts in the Venezuelan League.

Another member of the Aguilas is 24-year-old Fidel Hernandez, who is batting .200 with 2 doubles and 2 RBI in 32 games. Hernandez, an infielder, was signed at age 17 in 2003 by the Phillies and played with Clearwater and Reading in 2010.

Venezuela native Sergio Escalona has looked quite solid with the exception of one game. Escalona has no decisions and a 5.19 ERA in 14 games with the La Guaira Tiburones. He had one poor outing in which he allowed 4 walks and 5 earned runs in 2/3 of an inning, but has held opponents scoreless in his other 13 relief appearances.

28-year-old infielder Melvin Dorta, who played for Reading and Lehigh Valley in 2010 has picked up his production lately, batting .333 in his last 10 games. Dorta has a .196 overall average in 17 games with the Aragua Tigres.

Luis Unda, a 20-year-old outfielder, played in 4 games with the Lara Cardenales and went 3-for-9. Unda has not played in over a month. In 2010, Unda was a member of the Gulf Coast League championship Phillies team.

2010 Lehigh Valley IronPig Andy Tracy is batting .314 with a HR and 3 RBI in 14 games as a member of the Margarita Bravos. Tracy initially began playing in the Dominican Winter Baseball League, but moved on after his dismal production got him benched. Tracy posted Dom Brown numbers, going 2-for-29 in 8 games, in the DWBL.

Also on the Bravos roster is 20-year-old second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who is a native of Venezuela. Hernandez spent the 2010 season with the Williamsport Crosscutters, where he batted .325 with 32 steals. In 13 games with the Bravos, he is batting .286 with no extra base hits and no stolen bases.

In the Australian Baseball League…

Alan Schoenberger, who played with the Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010, is an Australia native. With the Brisbane Bandits, Schoenberger is batting .227 with 4 doubles and a triple in 13 games.

Jay Floyd is PhilliesNation’s minor league contributor.  You can read more from Jay on his site, PhoulBallz.com.


Domonic Brown Sits Atop BaseballAmerica's Top Phillies Prospects

Posted by Paul Boye, Mon, December 13, 2010 02:32 PM Comments: 52

Surprising no one, Phillies right field super prospect Domonic Brown topped BaseballAmerica’s list of the best players the Philly farm has to offer.

For the second straight year, Brown was named the organization’s best, topping a list of prospects that has seen its share of turnover in recent years. Brown, who hit .327/.391/.589 in the minor leagues in 2010, is the favorite to inherit the starting right fielder’s spot for the big league club out of spring training.

Second on the list was teenaged rising star Jonathan Singleton, who turned heads with a white-hot start to his 2010 season. In fact, spots two through seven on the list are all guys who played on the Lakewood BlueClaws in 2010, further cementing that team’s stacked legacy.

Jesse Biddle, the team’s first-round draft pick this past June, debuted at number eight. None of the prospects from the Cliff Lee trade made the list.

The entire list can be found after the jump, as well as BA’s “Best Tools” picks and 2014 projected lineup.

Continue reading Domonic Brown Sits Atop BaseballAmerica's Top Phillies Prospects

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