Off-season League Updates: Franco slumps, Martin deals with injury

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, November 23, 2014 11:40 AM Comments: 0

It’s time once again for another weekly review of Phillies players’ performances and progress in off-season leagues around the globe.

Dominican Winter League-


Maikel Franco, image- Jay Floyd

Third baseman Maikel Franco has been in a slump lately, going 3-for-27 (.111 avg) over his last seven games.  One positive out of that is that two of his three hits during that time are home runs.  Overall in 22 games for the Gigantes, the 22-year-old is batting .239 with six homers and 21 RBI.  This year in 133 contests with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the righty hitting Franco posted a .257 batting average with 16 home runs and 78 RBI.

Right-handed reliever Hector Neris has made 11 scoreless appearances for the Toros while striking out five and walking four in 8 2/3 innings.  The 25-year-old appeared in one game with the Phils this year, earning a win in his big league debut.

Australian Baseball League-

Power hitting outfielder Dylan Cozens has a .205 average with three homers and six RBI in 11 contests with Melbourne.  This year, with Class A Lakewood, the 20-year-old sported a .248 average with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 132 games.  The six-foot-six 235-pounder was the Phillies’ 2nd round draft selection in 2012.

Catcher Chace Numata has tallied a .295 average with three doubles and four RBI in 12 games, also with Melbourne.  Numata missed much of the 2014 season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hamate bone prior to the season.  The 22-year-old was the Phillies’ 14th round draft pick in 2010.

After opening his season 1-for-12, outfielder Brian Pointer has gone 11-for-34 (.324 avg).  Overall, Pointer has a .261 average with a home run and five RBI in 12 games with Perth.  In 123 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, Pointer posted a .246 average with 15 homers, 53 RBI and 16 steals.  The 22-year-old lefty batter was the Phils’ 28th round pick in 2010.

Third baseman Mitch Walding is batting .220 with three doubles and eight RBI in 11 contests for Canberra.  Walding sported a .237 average with seven home runs and 55 RBI in 108 games for Class A Lakewood this year.  The 22-year-old was the Phillies’ 5th round draft choice in 2011. Continue reading Off-season League Updates: Franco slumps, Martin deals with injury


Biddle headed home from PR with elbow soreness

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, November 11, 2014 03:25 PM Comments: 1

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced to reporters on Tuesday that top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle had experienced elbow soreness and would be headed to Philadelphia for evaluation.

The six-foot-five 220-pound lefty allowed seven earned runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings in his most recent outing for Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican/Roberto Clemente League on Saturday.  In his only other outing in the fall/winter league, Biddle was charged with two earned runs in three innings of work on October 31st.

Biddle, a Philadelphia native, missed considerable time during the regular season this year, as he was sidelined with a concussion while pitching for Double-A Reading.  This year Biddle sported a 5-10 record along with a 4.58 ERA and an 8.75 K/9 mark in 19 minor league starts (16 with Reading).  He struck out seven and walked four in 5 1/2 total innings.

The concern surrounding Biddle’s progress shouldn’t be too high, while the injuries have piled up.  Recent projections did not have had Biddle as a big league contributor next year and, at age 23, there is still plenty of time to get the youngster healthy and back in form.


Phillies Nation: Episode 23 – Priorities for 2015

Posted by Brian Michael, Thu, September 25, 2014 11:46 AM Comments: 0

As we near the end of the season, Pat and Corey discuss the Phillies priorities for the 2015 season. In particular, they breakdown the need for better production from the 3-4-5 positions in the lineup. With the free agent market featuring Yasmani Tomas, see who else is out there for the Phils to pursue.

We also talk with Len Epstein, the illustrator of the popular Phillie Phanatic giveaway books and former Sesame Street employee. Dr. Lenny of Summit Spine and Wellness returns to explains oblique injuries that players face, including Andrew McCutchen.

Plus we have hitting tips from Kevin Wilson and Matt Stairs and Tommy Greene explains what the legendary Harry Kalas meant to himself and the Phillies as a team.


Biddle slated to make Reading return on Saturday

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, August 16, 2014 07:00 AM Comments: 2


Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd

After a miserable stretch of starts in June, lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle was placed on Double-A Reading’s temporary inactive list. On Saturday, he’ll make his long awaited return to the FirstEnergy Stadium mound when he starts the first game of the Fightins’ scheduled double header against Binghamton.

The 22-year-old posted a 0-4 record with a 12.64 ERA in four June starts. It was clear that there was something quite wrong with Biddle, who had missed a start in late May after being pelted with hail and suffering a concussion.

A mixture of feelings including confusion and discontent were firmly settling in while Biddle’s efforts on the mound were not.

The Phils saw a need for the Philadelphia native and Germantown Friends School product to take a break. Exams discovered lasting impact on Biddle stemming from the concussion and time off was required.

“For me it was an important time not only to take a mental break and to go down to Florida and fall back in love with the game of baseball, but it was also important for me to see a doctor, go to physical therapy and get my mind right because I definitely was experiencing some symptoms and whether or not they were affecting me on the field, they just affected my day to day life and I can realize that not that I feel 100-percent better,” Biddle explained in the Reading clubhouse on Friday night. Continue reading Biddle slated to make Reading return on Saturday


PN Interview: Joe Jordan talks Phils prospects

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, August 11, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 26

On Sunday, I sat down with Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan.  As usual, I bounced as many names as I could his way until I felt as though I may be keeping the former pro catcher and longtime scout from doing the work that he was at the ballpark to do.  Topics of discussion included Adam Morgan‘s recovery from shoulder surgery, Cameron Perkins‘ slow start at the Triple-A level, Maikel Franco‘s turnaround, Dylan Cozens‘ emergence and several more prospects.

Read ahead for all of Jordan’s remarks about some well regarded prospects.

-Are there any updates you can share on lefty pitcher Adam Morgan (3rd round pick, 2011), who underwent shoulder surgery last off-season?

He’s throwing, progressing well.  You know, I mean, we’re hopeful that during instructional league we may have actually him on the mound, participating.  But really, right now, he’s doing well.

-And righty Shane Watson (supplemental pick, 2012) is completely shut down till next spring, correct?

He’s not going to throw any (more) this year.  We’re just going to try to rehab him and get him ready for spring training.

-Tyler Viza (32nd round pick, 2013) is one of the youngest pitchers in the Class A South Atlantic League.  He’s got the Lakewood record for losses.  He’s 19 and it’s his first full season as a pro.  Any concern about what sort of discouragement that claim to fame could bring for him?

No.  He’s a strong minded kid.  He gets it.  He’s getting his innings, he’s (pitching) every six days.   He’s gonna gain from this year.  Obviously, some of it’s been his doing, some of it’s not scoring runs, but he’s alright.  Continue reading PN Interview: Joe Jordan talks Phils prospects


Brignac, Lee, Nieves Activated

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, July 21, 2014 02:45 PM Comments: 14

The Phillies have announced that infielder Reid Brignac, LHP Cliff Lee, and catcher Wil Nieves have been activated for tonight’s game. To make room for the trio, the Phillies have outrighted catcher Koyie Hill to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, designated Tony Gwynn Jr. for assignment, and optioned infielder Cesar Hernandez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. None of the moves come as particular shocks, especially the since the Phillies have been carrying six outfielders since signing Grady Sizemore.


Chooch To Begin Rehab Tomorrow

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, July 16, 2014 02:15 PM Comments: 4

According to reports, catcher Carlos Ruiz will be on his way to High-A Clearwater to begin a rehab assignment. Chooch has been sidelined since June 26 with a concussion and was hitting .257/.363/.357 with two homers before the injury.

Analysis: If Ruiz’s rehab goes well, he could become a hot name in the catching market. While the Cardinals have recently acquired a stopgap catcher to fill in for Yadier Molina, a few other contenders have played through their seasons with injured starting catchers, like the Braves, Marlins, and Orioles. While intra-division trades are unlikely, Chooch could be a hot name in a thin catching market at the deadline with just one year, $8.5 million left on his contract for 2015 and a reasonable $4.5 million team option for 2016. 


Notes: Chooch to DL, Collier DFA’ed, Camp Released

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, June 27, 2014 06:42 PM Comments: 0

The road to contention just got even trickier.

2008 first-round pick Zach Collier was designated for assignment today to make room on the 40-man roster for catcher Koyie Hill. The 23-year old outfielder has struggled in the minors, posting a .240/.312/.349 over his minor league career while Collier has hit just .228/.307/.316 with just one homer in his second stint with Reading. Hill, 35, has been added to the 40-man roster and was recalled to Philadelphia

Why, you ask?

To take the place of catcher Carlos Ruiz. Chooch is battling concussion-like symptoms, per reports, and has been placed on the seven-day disabled list. Hill, a 10-year MLB veteran, was hitting .240/.341/.373 with three homers for Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Additionally, RHP Shawn Camp has been released. Camp, who was released earlier this season and then re-signed with the Phillies as a minor-league free agent, appeared in three games with the Phillies, allowing two earned and a homer. Camp had appeared in 13 games for Lehigh Valley with a 4.20 ERA and his release is to make room for Jason Marquis.

Analysis: The Phillies chose the toolsy Collier 34th overall in the 2008 draft ahead of safer college arms Lance Lynn and Wade Miley. Collier never got his bat going but was seen within the organization as someone with enough tools and raw athletic ability to eventually become a Major Leaguer. Collier struggled to stay healthy, missing all of 2010 and parts of 2011 and 2012. When Collier was healthy, he showed flashes of being a potential 20/20 outfielder but missed time added up and adjustments weren’t made. Collier could remain with the Phillies if he clears waivers. 

With all of the catching movement, Sebastian Valle is temporarily Lehigh Valley’s only catcher.


Rupp Recalled, Altherr Optioned

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, June 19, 2014 12:41 PM Comments: 0

Rupp will join the Phillies for his second stint in the Majors. Photo by Jay Floyd.

In the wake of Wil Nieves injuring himself in the ninth inning of yesterday’s game, the Phillies have recalled catcher Cameron Rupp and optioned OF Aaron Altherr to Double-A Reading. Rupp, 25, hit four homers in his first four games of the 2014 campaign with the IronPigs but has only two since April 9. Rupp is hitting just .167/.295/.370 with six homers but did have a two-hit game last night.

Analysis: This will tell you all you need to know, for now, about Nieves, tweaking his quad. If this was a longer-term injury, I would have to imagine veteran MLB back-up Koyie Hill would have been added to the 40-man roster to serve as the back-up. But with a short-term injury, and no DL trip announced, Rupp won’t miss out on significant playing time he would have received in Lehigh Valley to play sparingly in Philadelphia.


Report: Pettibone to Have Exploratory Shoulder Surgery

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, June 16, 2014 05:17 PM Comments: 0

As reported by multiple outlets, RHP Jonathan Pettibone will have “exploratory right shoulder surgery” tomorrow. The 23-year old from Anaheim, CA was last seen in the Major Leagues allowing eight earned on nine hits in four innings at Colorado on April 18. Pettibone had been rehabbing at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he was 2-0 with a 3.42 ERA, but had last pitched on May 12, 2014 where he went five innings allowing two earned in a no decision against the Gwinnett Braves.

AnalysisPettibone has been out of sight, out of mind for most Phillies fans this season. Pettibone would, in my estimation, be a slight upgrade over Roberto Hernandez or David Buchanan but has been unlikely with an uncooperative shoulder. Pettibone got through six innings only once for the IronPigs this season and made only two starts for the Phils. Depending on the severity of what the exploratory shoulder surgery reveals, Pettibone could be out for any number of days, weeks, or months.

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