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Phillies Minor League Hot List: Casimiro, Crawford, Eflin

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, May 26, 2015 08:00 AM Comments: 9

Here’s another dose of the Phillies minor league hot list as we rundown the organization’s top performers of late from the various levels of the developmental system.

Class A Lakewood BlueClaws-

Ranfi Casimiro, image- Jay Floyd

In his last five starts, righty pitcher Ranfi Casimiro has a 2-1 record with a 1.00 ERA.  Listed at six-foot-eight and 200 pounds, Casimiro has a 2-3 record with a 2.74 ERA, a .217 batting average against and a 0.94 WHIP in seven starts this year.  The Dominican Republic native is 22 years old.

Outfielder Herlis Rodriguez has notched three straight muti-hit games and is batting .322 in 15 May games.  The 20-year-old Venezuelan has posted a .257 average with two homers, 18 RBI and six steals in 32 overall games this season.

Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers-

Righty pitcher Mark Leiter Jr. is 2-0 with a 1.01 ERA in four outings since joining the Threshers’ rotation.  Overall in 10 games, the 24-year-old has a 3-0 record with a save and a 1.30 ERA.  Leiter was the Phillies’ 22nd round draft selection in 2013.

Prior to his 0-for-4 effort on Sunday, shortstop J.P. Crawford had gone 15-for-34 (.441 avg) in his previous eight games.  In 17 games since he was activated from the disabled list (oblique strain), Crawford has a .375 average with a home run and eight RBI.  The 20-year-old was the Phils’ top draft choice in 2013. Continue reading Phillies Minor League Hot List: Casimiro, Crawford, Eflin

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Watson progressing in rehab with Extended Spring team

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, May 18, 2015 08:00 PM Comments: 20

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Shane Watson, image- Jay Floyd

Phillies righty pitching prospect Shane Watson was back on the mound on Monday, throwing four innings worth of action for the team’s extended spring training club in Clearwater, FL.

Against the Yankees XST team, the 21-year-old tossed 12 outs, pitching three innings, but staying on the mound for an additional three outs, to reach his predetermined pitch count of 45.

Watson, who mixed in his change up for the first time, after throwing strictly fastballs in his previous two outings, walked one, struck out one and reached 92 MPH, sitting mainly at 90 MPH.

The six-foot-four 200-pounder expressed that his secondary pitch felt good, but needs a lot of work.

Watson, who underwent his second shoulder surgery last year, is slated to make three more starts in the coming weeks, in an effort to stretch him out and return his arm to full strength, before he’s eligible to be activated from a 50-game suspension for a positive banned substance test. His next start will come this Saturday in extended spring training.

Prior to being sidelined with his initial shoulder injury as a member of the Class A Lakewood rotation in July 2013, the California native posted a 4-7 record with a 4.44 ERA and a .227 batting average against in 21 professional outings.

Watson is expected to join the Lakewood staff next month.

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Underrated Canelo strong as lead-off man for Lakewood

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, May 17, 2015 04:30 PM Comments: 2

Malquin Canelo, image- Jay Floyd

With plenty of attention going to other players in the team’s lineup, Malquin Canelo has been an underrated contributor to the Class A Lakewood offense thus far this season.

Listed at five-foot-ten and 156 pounds, Canelo easily lays low, unnoticed next to over-sized teammate first baseman Rhys Hoskins, who stands six-foot-four and weighs 225 pounds while sporting a .301 average and hitting for power.  Long raved about outfield prospect Carlos Tocci and his league best .366 batting average are also overshadowing Canelo’s steady production.

Through 31 games to start the season, the 20-year-old shortstop has tallied a .315 average with a home run, five RBI and six steals for the BlueClaws.

In the top spot of Lakewood’s batting order, Canelo has been a catalyst.  Through action on Saturday, the Domincan native was batting .333 in 54 at bats when leading off an inning and posted an identical .333 average in 27 at bats in the first inning.

The determined Canelo prides himself on his simple outlook in helping his team’s offense.

“I’ve been trying to put the ball in play and not do too much,” Canelo said with the assistance of translator and team hitting coach Nelson Prada.  “When I get two strikes, I try to give the best effort that I can.  That’s pretty much what my approach is.  Just be more focused and put the ball in play and try not to swing and miss.” Continue reading Underrated Canelo strong as lead-off man for Lakewood

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Minor League hot and cold list: Franco, Nola, Crawford, Leibrandt, Tocci

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, May 12, 2015 02:30 PM Comments: 1

It’s your weekly rundown of top performers from the Phillies’ developmental ranks with some not-so-good performers mixed in as well.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs (9-23 record, last in International League North Division- worst record in the league)…

Hot:

M Franco

Maikel Franco, image- Jay Floyd

3B Maikel Franco has continued to shine on offense, as the 22-year-old has gone 12-for-25 (.480 avg) with three homers and eight RBI in his last six games. Overall, the Dominican native has notched a .341 average with four home runs and 18 RBI in 30 games this season.

RHP Phillippe Aumont sports a 1-1 record and a 1.93 ERA in three starts since joining the Pigs’ rotation. In seven appearances this year, the 26-year-old has a 1.73 ERA and a .188 batting average against.

Cold:

Catcher Tommy Joseph is 2-for-32 (.063 avg) in his last 10 games. Overall, in 20 games this season, the 23-year-old sports a .123 average with four doubles and six RBI.

Double-A Reading Fightins (16-13, 3rd place in Eastern League Eastern Division)…

Hot:

1B Art Charles was named Eastern League Player of the Week on Monday and has gone 14-for-23 (.609 avg) over a six game stretch. In 20 games this season, the 24-year-old is batting .378 with five home runs and 18 RBI.  Read my recent feature on Charles by clicking here.

RHP Aaron Nola is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his last three starts. Overall, in six games this season, the 21-year-old is 4-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a .210 batting average against. Continue reading Minor League hot and cold list: Franco, Nola, Crawford, Leibrandt, Tocci

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PN Interview: BlueClaws OF Cord Sandberg

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, May 09, 2015 08:30 AM Comments: 0

Cord Sandberg, image- Jay Floyd

Lakewood outfielder Cord Sandberg is off to a quiet start this season in the Class A Sally League.  The 20-year-old, through 24 games, is batting .235 with three doubles, eight RBI with a stolen base.

Praised by coaches for his toolsy skill set, his leadership qualities and his professionalism, the Phillies have high hopes for the 2013 third round draft selection.

Recently, I spoke with Cord about his game, his manager, his roommate and more.  Read ahead for that full interview with the lefty batting Florida native, who is not related to Phils manager Ryne Sandberg.


-I’ve heard some great feedback on you with the coaches citing you as a leader for the team.  When you’ve the coaches really believing in you and maybe teammates looking to you, even at 20 years old, as a leader, what does that mean to you?

That definitely means a lot.  As far as other players looking up to me, I mean playing quarterback in high school, there are leadership qualities that kind of comes with playing that position.  You know, baseball..I’m in the outfield, I just try to- I’m not really a vocal guy.  I’m not really a big pump-up guy.  I try to play the game the right way and I try to lead by example and hopefully, that shows with my effort on the field.

-If you were going to scout your own game, what would you tell me?

I’m an outfield guy and I think my arm is strong enough to make the throws I have to.  It’s not unbelievable by any means, but I feel it’s good enough to get the job done out there.  From a hitting standpoint, I’m not- in little league I was a power guy, but you know as I’ve developed, I’ve kind of grown to being a gap-to-gap guy and I can be a power guy, but I’m not really focused on home runs and things like that.  I’m just trying to hit the ball hard and go gap-to-gap.  Continue reading PN Interview: BlueClaws OF Cord Sandberg

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PN Interview: Lakewood manager Shawn Williams talks Hoskins, Tocci, Tromp, more

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, May 07, 2015 08:00 AM Comments: 2

Prior to the start of the opener Class A Lakewood’s home stand on Wednesday, I sat down with BlueClaws manager Shawn Williams to chat about his club that currently has a 13-13 record and sits in fourth place in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division.

Williams remarked on reigning Sally League player of the week, Rhys Hoskins, exciting outfield prospect Carlos Tocci, outfielder Jiandido Tromp‘s lackluster production and plenty more.  Read ahead for that interview.

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Rhys Hoskins, image- Jay Floyd

-First baseman Rhys Hoskins is really posting some excellent numbers of late, 22-for-51 (.431 avg), 4 HR, 12 RBI over last 13 games heading into action on Wednesday.  What can you tell me about Rhys and how he’s helping the team?

He’s been swinging the bat, obviously, really well.  For me, it seems like every at bat he has, he’s having a quality at bat and that’s all you’re really looking for and can ask for.  For me, that’s a huge thing for anybody, especially him.  And he had a great road trip.  He’s been swinging the bat really well all year.  He had some tough luck in the early going and now, obviously with this road trip, he had some balls fall in and he had an excellent road trip and it went extremely well.

-Carlos Tocci is a guy that plenty of people expected to cool off at some point and that’s just not happening.  What are your thoughts on the high level of consistency for him?

You said it.  The big word for me is consistency.  That’s a tribute to him, day in and day out.  He’s got his routine that he sticks to and his preparation is outstanding.  Offensively and defensively, he brings it everyday.  He doesn’t give any at bats away.  He always gives you a great at bat.  Sometimes it’s almost like with two strikes, that’s when his at bat starts and he’s in there battling and having great at bats and getting his hits, running the bases, getting his bags.  He’s off to a great start. Continue reading PN Interview: Lakewood manager Shawn Williams talks Hoskins, Tocci, Tromp, more

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Minor League Hot List: Bogusevic, Nola, Leibrandt, Tocci, Crawford notes

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, May 04, 2015 08:05 AM Comments: 4

milb logoWe’re back at it with another rundown of all the top performers from the Phillies’ developmental ranks.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley-

OF Brian Bogusevic currently sports a seven-game hitting streak and is batting .346 during that stretch.  The 31-year-old is hitting .310 with a home runs and five RBI through 21 games this season.  Bogusevic batted .306 in 22 spring games with the Phillies this year.

Infielder Chase d’Arnaud is batting .324 and has four multi-hit games in nine games played this year.  The righty batting 28-year-old is the older brother of former Phils prospect Travis d’Arnaud.

Double-A Reading Fightins-

Righty starter Ben Lively has a 2-0 record with a 2.16 ERA while striking out 24 and walking seven in 25 innings over four starts thus far this season.  The 23-year-old struck out nine while allowing three earned runs in six innings when he notched his second win of the season on Sunday.  Lively was acquired last off-season from the Reds in the trade for Marlon Byrd.

Infielder Gustavo Pierre is 9-for-17 (.529 avg) in his last six games.  The 23-year-old Dominican is batting .281 with two homers, three RBI and three steals in 17 games this year.  Pierre was acquired from Toronto in a deal for John Mayberry Jr. last year.

After giving up four earned runs over 4 2/3 innings in his season debut, last year’s top draft pick Aaron Nola has allowed three earned runs in 20 innings (1.35 ERA).  Overall, the 21-year-old has a 2-2 record with a 2.55 ERA and a .222 batting average against in four starts. Continue reading Minor League Hot List: Bogusevic, Nola, Leibrandt, Tocci, Crawford notes

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BlueClaws Quotables: Undrafted LHP Josh Taylor

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, April 30, 2015 03:30 PM Comments: 0

Taylor, image- Jay Floyd

Lakewood BlueClaws hurler Josh Taylor has made an impact with the Class A club in the early going this season.  Through four starts, the 22-year-old sports a 1-1 record with a 3.68 ERA while having struck out 24 and walked four in 22 innings.

After pitching in a summer showcase for college players last summer, the Phillies made an offer to the undrafted hard-throwing lefty.  Once he signed, the six-foot-five 225-pounder notched a 2-0 record without allowing a run in three relief appearances for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies.

Recently, I spoke with Josh, an Arizona native, about how he came to sign with the Phils last year, his pitching coach with Lakewood, Aaron Fultz, and more.  Read ahead for those quotes.

-Speaking on how the Phillies came to sign him…

I went to two years at junior college and then I signed with a Division II school out of Georgia, Georgia College, and they set me up with a summer league out in the Northwoods League.  And, from there, I got put into a showcase game and right after the game I got a call from a scout from (the Phillies) and after that, that’s what it was.  I couldn’t say no. 

-Describing his outing that the Phils first saw him…

I was pumped, because I think it’s called The Big League Dream Showcase and I got the start.  My velocity was good and I think that’s what really sent me there.  I allowed one hit, one walk, it was only an inning of work.  I mean, it was nothing special.  It was just a tall lefty throwing hard.

-Sharing details on his repertoire and velocity…

My fastball (in my first start) topped out at 95, but I’m usually 92 to 94.  I got a curve ball, slider, change up and two-seam. Continue reading BlueClaws Quotables: Undrafted LHP Josh Taylor

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Prospect Injury Notes: Crawford activation imminent, Watson progressing

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, April 28, 2015 11:30 PM Comments: 0

JPCraw2

JP Crawford, image- Jay Floyd

Top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford, who has been out of action since late March with an oblique strain, is nearing a return.

After required rest, the 20-year-old is back in action, playing daily with the extended spring training team in Florida.

According to Crawford, he is feeling “ready to go”, but the decision to activate him to a full-season team roster, either Class A Advanced Clearwater or Double-A Reading, will come from the team’s athletic training staff, who is keeping a close eye on the youngster.

Crawford, who represented the Phillies in last year’s MLB All-Star Futures Game, was the organization’s top draft selection in 2013.  He sported a .285/.375/.406 slash line in 123 games combined at two levels last year.

Additionally, right-handed hurler Shane Watson continues to recover from his second shoulder surgery.

According the the 21-year-old Watson, he tossed two innings of live batting practice on Tuesday.  He’ll continue his throwing program and anticipates competing with the extended spring training team in one week.

Watson, who last pitched in a regular season game with Class A Lakewood in 2013, was the Phils’ top draft pick the year prior.  He tallied a 4-7 record with a 4.44 ERA and a .227 batting average against in 21 combined games at two levels.

The goal for Watson, once he’s stretched out without any setbacks this season, is for him to return to Lakewood, according to Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan.

Crawford and Watson grew up as childhood friends and were teammates at Lakewood High School in California.

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PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 76: Matt Hockenberry & Jake Fox Interviews

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, April 24, 2015 07:45 AM Comments: 23

On the 76th edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast, Jay and Tug chat about the brand new baseball season, running down the hot starts of prospects such as Brock Stassi, Jesse Biddle, Roman Quinn, Zach Eflin, Carlos Tocci, Rhys Hoskins and others. The show also features two exclusive interviews as “El Sangre” Jake Fox talks about leaving the Phillies organization and Temple University product Matt Hockenberry participates in the fun segment Nine Silly-ass Questions.

Use the media player below to stream the full episode, or simply download it by clicking HERE.
You can also check out previous episodes and subscribe on iTunes.

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