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Archive for February, 2012

Prospect Nation 2012: #8 RHP Julio Rodriguez

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, February 23, 2012 08:00 AM Comments: 5

Right-handed pitcher Julio Rodriguez has quietly become one of the Phillies’ most promising prospects in recent years. Without the hype and buzz that has surrounded other well-regarded youngsters within the Philadelphia organization, the Puerto Rican born hurler has proven himself worthy of being held in considerable regard by the Phils, their fans and talent evaluators alike.

Drafted in the 8th round of the 2008 amateur draft as a 17-year-old, Rodriguez made his professional debut that same year, throwing in 7 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies. However, the 6-foot-4-inch 200-pounder struggled, as he sported a 12.19 ERA and a .383 batting average against.

The following season, back in the GCL, Rodriguez added some strength and made some serious improvements in the GCL, posting a 1-2 record with a 3.08 ERA and a .197 batting average against in 11 games (8 starts).

In 2010, as a 19-year-old, Rodriguez began the season in extended spring training, but joined the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws in May. He spent time with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters as well that year, and finished with an overall record of 7-3 with a 1.89 ERA and a .175 batting average against in 20 outings (12 starts). Continue reading Prospect Nation 2012: #8 RHP Julio Rodriguez

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Wolever Takes Assistant GM Post with Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 22, 2012 05:31 PM Comments: 0

Marti Wolever (CsnPhilly.com)

A statement from the Phillies:

Marti Wolever has been promoted to Assistant General Manager, Amateur Scouting, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.

Wolever had been the Phillies’ director of scouting since October 2011.  Prior to this role, he served as the club’s national cross-checker and scouting coordinator for nine years.

“Marti has played an instrumental role in securing some of our top talent since joining the club,” said Amaro.  “We are pleased to recognize his numerous contributions with this promotion.”

Wolever oversaw the drafts that brought Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and pitchers Cole Hamels, Kyle Kendrick, Vance Worley and Mike Stutes to the team. Those drafts also supplied the players who would go on to be used in trades to acquire pitchers Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Jamie Moyer, Brad Lidge and Joe Blanton and outfielders Hunter Pence and John Mayberry Jr.

Prior to joining the Phillies in November 1992, Marti was a Midwest cross-checker with the White Sox (1991-92). He began his scouting career as an area scout with the Tigers (1984-88) and the Yankees (1989-90).

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Howard Swings in Cages; Feels “40 Percent Healthy”

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, February 22, 2012 02:30 PM Comments: 46

(Photo: Ryan Lawrence, Delco Times)

Ryan Howard joked during his press conference in Clearwater today that he’d done a lot of searching. For the remote.

Knowing that his surgically-repaired achillies would keep him on the couch, his fiancee, Eagles cheerleader Krystle Campbell, made him watch “Housewives” shows, as he put it. Unable to put up a fight, Howard actually took a liking to the reality TV programs that I make fun of my own girlfriend for watching. But I digress.

Howard said his time off was a good way to refresh his mind and body. With that, he’ll have a lot of recovery to do as he diagnosed himself at about 40 percent healthy currently, according to Comcast SportsNet’s Michael Barkann.

While taking random trips to the grocery store, Howard says he encountered many people who had the same injury. He’d even compare scars with those in the produce section.

From the way he spoke on Wednesday afternoon, he’s prepared for a long battle back, but does say he’s getting there. During morning BP, Howard took live swings for the first time since the injury. That mammoth strength was still apparent, as many reports said he hit a few balls out of the park at Bright House Field.

One thing Howard would not do is put a time on a return to the Phillies lineup. His manager, Charlie Manuel, believes he’ll be back before May, which is just about two months from today. Howard did say he didn’t think he’d be playing in any Spring Training games, so the team will continue to take a cautiously-aggressive approach with the Big Piece.

And that’s fine. There’s no need to rush him back. Sure, the division is stronger and teams are gunning to unseat the incumbent champions of the NL East. That’s no reason to push Howard past his limits. The Phillies know that, Howard knows that. Howard understands his full power might not be back until around the All-Star break in July. If he’s 100% for the second half of the season, look out.

I’m also interested to see how the fans will react to Ryan Howard once he returns. Will they give him leeway, knowing this is a serious and sometimes career-altering injury? Or will they continue to ride him hard as he enters year one of a five-year contract extension worth $125 million?

Video below is from Ryan Lawrence of the Delco Times:

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Prospect Nation 2012: #9 RHP Jonathan Pettibone

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, February 22, 2012 11:02 AM Comments: 0

Right-handed pitcher Jonathan Pettibone, a third round selection in the 2008 amateur draft, was among the excellent starting rotation with Class A Advanced Clearwater that became known as “The Baby Aces” last season. As he has taken strides to improve his skills, Pettibone has begun to earn an increased amount of recognition in the Philadelphia developmental ranks.

The 6-foot-5-inch 200-pound Pettibone made his pro debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2008, recording an inning of work. The following season, the Esperanza High School (California) product joined the starting rotation for the Williamsport Crosscutters of the short-season New York-Penn League. In 9 games, Pettibone went 2-4 with a lackluster 5.35 ERA and a .261 batting average against. He was then sidelined with an injury and missed time in the latter portion of the season.

In 2010, Pettibone improved his velocity and effectiveness by working closely with pitching coach Steve Schrenk to adjust his mechanics and extension. Pettibone’s results on the mound became increasingly solid as his remarkable campaign progressed. After posting a 5.04 ERA in 12 games through the end of June, Pettibone served up a 2.37 ERA over his final 12 appearances of the regular season with Class A Lakewood. That terrific performance down the stretch helped the club win its second straight South Atlantic League championship. Overall, Pettibone recorded an 8-6 record and finished among the league leaders in ERA with a 3.49 mark.

Continue reading Prospect Nation 2012: #9 RHP Jonathan Pettibone

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Pierre, Pineiro Were Top-3 Minor League Signings

Posted by Corey Seidman, Wed, February 22, 2012 08:45 AM Comments: 0

Juan Pierre was voted the second-best minor-league signing of the off-season by MLB Trade Rumors.

The Phillies enter Spring Training with arguably more depth, both positionally and in the starting rotation, than any team in baseball. It doesn’t mean Ruben Amaro assembled the most talented bunch, pound for pound, but the Phils have enough quality bodies (really, Corey?) to push each other in an attempt to make the 25-man roster.

Two of Amaro’s better signings this Winter were Juan Pierre and Joel Pineiro to minor-league deals. MLBTradeRumors released its Top-10 Minor League Deals of the Off-season on Tuesday and Pierre and Pineiro checked in at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Fronting the list is Reds left-hander Jeff Francis.

As MLBTR founder Tim Dierkes notes, Pierre has declined but is still valuable, more so than Nate McLouth or Mark Kotsay, who were each given major league deals. And Pineiro, despite his ineffectiveness in Anaheim last season, is only a season removed from posting a 2.71 strikeout-to-walk ratio, a 55% ground ball rate, a 3.84 ERA and 2.5 wins above replacement in the tougher league.

Before the off-season started, MLBTR recognized Pierre as the 43rd-best available free agent and Pineiro as the 46th.

Continue reading Pierre, Pineiro Were Top-3 Minor League Signings

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Clearwater Notes: Halladay & Snakes, Qualls in Camp

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, February 21, 2012 11:20 PM Comments: 4

DOC IN THE AMAZON

The tall tale was just that. While in the Amazon over the winter, Roy Halladay and friends (including Chris Carpenter and B.J. Ryan) came across a local man whose boat had been overturned by a large snake – the mighty anaconda, to be specific.

But the legend of Halladay wrestling the snake in the muddy waters of the rainforest was false. In fact, Halladay said he hates snakes. Here’s Roy’s version of the story (from David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal):

Continue reading Clearwater Notes: Halladay & Snakes, Qualls in Camp

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De Fratus Diaries: J-Bone Zone Goes to Clearwater

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, February 21, 2012 02:55 PM Comments: 3

Ladies and gentlemen, join us in welcoming Phillies pitching prospect Justin De Fratus, who will be taking time this preseason to offer rare and unique glances inside spring training.

De Fratus, an 11th round draft pick from 2007, has been one of Philadelphia’s fastest rising relief pitchers over the past couple of seasons. After posting a combined 6-3 record with 15 saves and a 2.99 ERA at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley last year, De Fratus earned a promotion to the majors and appeared in 5 games for the Phillies.

This year, as the 24-year-old De Fratus battles for an opening day roster spot, he’ll share all sorts of thoughts and inside looks at camp in Clearwater, FL exclusively with you, Phillies Nation. Read ahead for your first dose of The J-Bone Zone.

I left for Florida from my off-season home in California back in late January. I drove cross-country with my buddy Jameson and I’ve just been down here since then, soaking in the baseball. I got to work at the complex from day one. Continue reading De Fratus Diaries: J-Bone Zone Goes to Clearwater

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Shane Victorino on “Hawaii Five-0″

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, February 21, 2012 12:26 PM Comments: 6

Shane Victorino on Hawaii Five-0. (CBS)

Did you miss Shane Victorino’s performance on CBS’s “Hawaii Five-0″ on Monday night? Fear not, it has been uploaded by someone named “BadazzTUBE” by the Phillies on YouTube.

Victorino’s cameo is quick, however, he does an OK job in what I believe is his acting debut.

All footage is owned by CBS.

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The Turnover of a Championship Team

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, February 21, 2012 10:00 AM Comments: 20

Brad Lidge and Jayson Werth have gone south. (AP)

It is now common knowledge that Ruben Amaro Jr. was engaged in negotiations to essentially turn Joe Blanton into Bobby Abreu, then turn Abreu into AJ Burnett. I have a soft-spot for Blanton: the big Kentuckian was perfectly serviceable during the 2008 championship run and, like Cole Hamels, did not register a loss in the postseason that year.

Blanton is affable and epitomizes the imperfections of Philadelphia that fans can relate to. Is Blanton the biggest or strongest pitcher? No. Is he the fastest to the plate or does he have the best repertoire? No. But what Blanton does posses is an intangible likability and projects an image of a workman who packs his lunch. As a fan, it would have hurt to see Blanton, a member of said championship team, gone.

Then it hit me: they’re almost all gone already.

Continue reading The Turnover of a Championship Team

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Play Fantasy Baseball with Phillies Nation

Posted by Brian Michael, Tue, February 21, 2012 08:15 AM Comments: 0

With the 2012 season just around the corner, it’s time to start another Phillies Nation fantasy baseball season, where it’s free to enter and winners of each division win a Phillies Nation Prize Pack at the end of the season!

If you are interested in playing this year, sign up below and we’ll email you an invitation to join one of our leagues. Invites will be sent out in March, but you can certainly start thinking of funny team names now.

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