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Minor League Notebook: Hot/Cold List, Injury Updates

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, May 26, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 15

The latest semi-weekly rundown of your top performers from the Phillies developmental ranks and those that need to turn some things around includes a few injury notes on some key prospects.  Read ahead on the latest from the minors.


Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs (25-24 record, 4th place in the International League North division)-

Who’s hot…

Maikel Franco, Image- Jay Floyd

Third baseman/first baseman Maikel Franco has tallied a .301/.389/.482 slash line in 21 games this month.  The 21-year-old, who is rumored to be a candidate to join the big league roster this week, missed two games over the weekend due to a respiratory illness.

Outfielder Steve Susdorf is having quite a month, sporting a .344 average with seven doubles and nine RBI in 22 games.  The 28-year-old lefty batter went 1-for-7 in three games with the big league Phillies last season.

Who’s not…

Catcher Cameron Rupp is batting .208 with a home run in seven games since returning from the disabled list following an oblique strain.  Rupp, 25, went 4-for-13 (.308 avg) in four games in the majors last season.

In his most recent start against Toledo, righty pitcher Brad Lincoln allowed five earned runs in five innings.  While the 29-year-old has tallied a 3.71 ERA in four starts, he’s averaging less than five innings per start.  Lincoln allowed three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings for the Phillies this season.


Double-A Reading (28-19, 2nd place in the Eastern League’s Eastern division)-

Injury notes…

Lefty ace Jesse Biddle missed his start on Sunday after experiencing headaches which stemmed from being struck in the head with ice during a hail storm on Thursday. The 22-year-old has a 3-4 record with a 3.18 ERA and a 9.69 K/9 mark in 10 games this year.

Outfielder Kelly Dugan is still rehabbing his oblique strain in Clearwater and expects that he could return to game action in the coming days.  Through 14 games this season, the 23-year-old was batting .275 with a home run and five RBI. Continue reading Minor League Notebook: Hot/Cold List, Injury Updates

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BlueClaws Quotables: Coaches talk about Grullon, Walding, others

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, May 21, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 2

This week I spoke with Lakewood manager Greg Legg and team pitching coach Les Lancaster about a some Class A BlueClaws players.  Legg, who is in his 33rd year in the Phillies organization, shared some thoughts about a pair of young positional prospects, catcher Deivi Grullon and third baseman Mitch Walding.  Lancaster, who pitched in the majors for seven seasons and is coaching his fourth season in the Phils system, shared thoughts on righty starter Ranfi Casimiro and BlueClaws reliever Ulises Joaquin.

Deivi Grullon, Image- Jay Floyd

-Legg speaking about Grullon, an 18-year-old backstop who was ranked as PhilliesNation.com’s #24 prospect heading into the season…

“He’s as young as they get.  I don’t know if there’s anybody younger in the league than him.  He’s got a lot of energy back there.  He’s got a strong arm.  He’s just a young catcher with some tools.  And we’re hoping, Les and myself and Lino, that we can get him experience behind the plate on how to call a game and, especially with our young pitchers.  And he’s getting better at it every time out.”

-Legg on the 21-year-old Walding (.247 avg., three doubles, seven RBI in 20 games), who appears in great shape following surgery to remove a rib that had been a chronic problem dating back to last season…

“(He’s got) a little more experience.  He’s a veteran now and he knows what’s coming or knows what to expect and he’s been carrying himself real well.  He’s got great presence on the field and he’s got quick hands with that bat, when he uses them.  He gets us hits.”

-Lancaster spoke of  the 21-year-old righty Joaquin, who entered action on Tuesday with a 6.13 ERA, but regularly clocks 93-95 MPH with his fastball… Continue reading BlueClaws Quotables: Coaches talk about Grullon, Walding, others

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BlueClaws’ Crawford set to return Monday

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, May 18, 2014 07:15 PM Comments: 3

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JP Crawford, Image- Jay Floyd

Out of the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws’ lineup for the past five games, top prospect J.P. Crawford is set to return to action on Monday.

Crawford, the Phillies’ top draft choice last year (16th overall), has been sidelined since injuring the index finger on his left hand during a routine team workout last week.  Sporting a bandage beneath his batting glove, Crawford, a shortstop, took pregame batting practice on Sunday and was available for the team’s contest against the Rome Braves if he was needed.

The 19-year-old lefty batter sports a .328/.421/.481 slash line in 34 games this season with Lakewood. Crawford has been hot of late, tallying a 1.110 OPS in 12 May games.

The BlueClaws continue their home stand with two more games against Rome on Monday and Tuesday with first pitch slated for 6:35 PM each night.

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Minor League Notes: Hot and Cold List

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, May 11, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 0

Here’s a brief rundown of some top performers and some that aren’t doing too well from throughout the Phillies developmental levels, in no particular order.


Double-A Reading Fightins-

Who’s hot…

Catcher Tommy Joseph, who was batting .359 with four home runs and 13 RBI in his last 10 games, left Friday’s game with a left wrist issue.  The 22-year-old sat out Saturday and wore a brace on the ailing joint.  Jose Mayorga, who was with Lakewood last week, was with the Reading team on Saturday, seemingly in case further evaluation on the often injured Joseph results in another trip to the disabled list.

Infielder Cesar Hernandez is staying hot at the plate while he adapts to third base in the Eastern League.  With two hits in a game that was suspended due to rain on Saturday, the Venezuela native who turns 24-years-old later this month, extended his hitting streak to nine games.  He’s batting .455 during that stretch.  Overall in 24 contests at Reading, the switch hitting youngster is sporting a .355 average with three homers and 14 RBI.

Despite taking the loss in his most recent outing (5 1/3 IP, 5R/3ER, 6K, 3BB) on Friday in Trenton, Jesse Biddle‘s numbers still look solid this season.  In eight starts, the lefty sports a 3-4 record with a 3.63 ERA, a 10.28 K/9 mark and a .224 batting average against. 

Who’s not…

Outfielder Anthony Hewitt, the Phillies’ top draft pick (24th overall) from 2008, looks outmatched in the Eastern League this year.  The 25-year-old is 3-for-31 (.097 avg) in his last eight games and is batting just .138 overall in 21 contests.  In 116 games with Reading last year, Hewitt posted a .244/.296/.430 slash line. Continue reading Minor League Notes: Hot and Cold List

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Greene to have surgery, will miss two months

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, May 07, 2014 04:13 PM Comments: 3

Following up with more exclusive details on news that was broken here last week, outfield prospect Larry Greene Jr. is expected to miss two months, as he is slated to undergo surgery to repair his injured left wrist.

Greene, who initially injured the wrist on a diving play in the outfield, is scheduled go under the knife on Thursday, May 15th.  The surgery to repair torn cartilage for the 21-year-old will be conducted by Dr. Randall Culp in King of Prussia, PA.

The Phillies’ supplementary round draft selection (39th overall) from 2011 was batting .167 with two doubles, one triple and five RBI in 15 games this season.

Since turning pro, the once highly touted slugger has tallied a .231/.326/.326 slash line in 196 games.

Image- Jay Floyd

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Larry Greene Jr. out with wrist tear

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, May 01, 2014 06:45 PM Comments: 2

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Larry Greene Jr. works with coach Lino Connell prior to a recent game, Image- Jay Floyd

Sidelined since last week with a left wrist issue, Larry Greene Jr. was originally listed as day-to-day by the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws after he was injured on a diving play in the outfield. Further evaluation has turned up a diagnosis of a cartilage tear for the Phillies’ top draft pick (39th overall) from 2011.

Greene, who last played on Wednesday, April 23rd, had posted a lackluster .167 average along with two doubles, a triple and five RBI in 15 games for the BlueClaws prior to being injured, this season.

The BlueClaws return home from a road trip to Lexington and Asheville next Wednesday. At that time, more examinations will take place for the six-foot 235-pounder. In the meantime, the left fielder Greene will wear a brace on the ailing wrist and remain out of action.

In other injury news, righty pitching prospect Nic Hanson spent his 22nd birthday on the operating table a couple weeks back to remove a bone spur from his throwing elbow. The Phils’ 16th round draft pick from 2012 expects to begin a throwing program in two weeks.

Hanson, who is currently on Class A Advanced Clearwater’s disabled list, sported a 2-3 record with a 3.31 ERA and a 5.77 K/9 mark in 22 outings at three levels last season.

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Versatile Astudillo standing out for BlueClaws

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, April 30, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Willians Astudillo, Image- Jay Floyd

For Willians Astudillo, it doesn’t matter what position he’s assigned to on defense, as long as his name is written in the lineup.  His coaches find a way to make that happen.

Astudillo is most often manning first base for the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws this season, but he is listed on the club’s roster as a catcher.  The Venezuela native, who entered the season without a definitive position locked in place, has earned playing time at the plate as the ‘Claws’ most consistent batter.  As a pro, he has played every infield position as well as right field and left field.

“Whatever (position) I have a chance to play, I want to help,” Astudillo asserted through an interpreter, coach Lino Connell.   “I’ll feel the same about any position.  Before I signed, I played a lot of infield, so changing from catcher to the infield, it’s not really a big deal.”

What is a big deal is the 22-year-old’s offensive output.  Sporting a sizzling  .406 average following Tuesday’s 9-4 win at Lexington, Astudillo has made it nearly impossible for the team’s manager Greg Legg to not find a spot for him on a nightly basis.

“He puts the ball in play, gives himself a chance every at bat,” Legg stated about Lakewood’s versatile leader.  “He stays inside the ball.  He’s found some holes.  He gives you at least two good at bats every night.  He’s a hot hitter right now.”

On top of his South Atlantic League leading batting average, Astudillo, who was signed as an amateur free agent in 2008, has also laced four doubles and a home run while driving in 11 runs in 17 games.  His .931 OPS is also among the league leaders. Continue reading Versatile Astudillo standing out for BlueClaws

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Minor League Hot List: Franco, Leiter, Joseph & More

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, April 29, 2014 10:05 AM Comments: 11

It’s another edition of our weekly minor league round up, where we take a look at the hottest players in the Phillies system.  Read ahead for all the notes on your standout prospects and a shining pro vet.


Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs-

Maikel Franco, Image- Jay Floyd

Third baseman Maikel Franco is 9-for-31 (.290 avg) with three doubles, a homer and five RBI in his last seven games.  The 21-year-old Domincan was batting .111 on the season prior to that stretch of games.

Righty hurler Greg Smith has been on fire in his past three starts, posting a 2-0 record with a 0.90 ERA while striking out 15 and walking one in 20 innings during that stretch.  Smith tallied a 3.31 ERA in 23 games with the IronPigs last season.  The 30-year-old has pitched in the big leagues with Oakland and Colorado.

Double-A Reading Fightins-

Outfielder Cam Perkins has maintained his strong output since the start of the season and, after notching his 12th multi-hit game of the year on Monday, is batting .375 through 21 games.  The Purdue product was a 6th round draft choice in 2012.  Perkins, 23, sports a 1.013 OPS, which is 4th best in the Eastern League.

Prior to landing on the disabled list with concussion complications last weekend, catcher Tommy Joseph was heating up considerably.  The 22-year-old had gone 12-for-33 (.367 avg) with two doubles, three homers and 13 RBI in the eight games prior to his latest injury.  Don’t be surprised if the backstop changes positions, as the wear and tear behind the dish won’t help him stay healthy. Continue reading Minor League Hot List: Franco, Leiter, Joseph & More

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BlueClaws Quotables: Legg, Connell and Viza Speak

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, April 28, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 0

This weekend I spoke with Class A Lakewood manager Greg Legg about several of his players.  I also got insight from BlueClaws hitting coach Lino Connell on the Phillies’ supplementary round (39th overall) draft choice from 2011 Larry Greene Jr.’s progress this year and the team’s best hitter thus far, Willians Astudillo.  Additionally, righty pitching prospect Tyler Viza spoke on how he stays focused and more.  Read ahead for all those quotes.

 

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Lakewood manager Greg Legg, Image- Jay Floyd

Greg Legg-

Asked about how fans might be wondering when Larry Greene Jr. (.176/.237/.241 in 15 games this year) is going to show and prove why he was the Phils’ top draft choice three years ago…

“Well, this would be a good year for him to do it.  Kinda expect it.  Right now, he hurt his wrist, so his wrist has been bothering him.  He hurt it on a diving play out in the outfield.  So, he’s a little banged up right now.  He’s shown some signs of all that earlier in the season.  The numbers aren’t there yet.  He got off to a pretty good start.  He’s hit a couple balls good and they haven’t found holes.  But, this wuld be a good year to do it.  I hope his wrist’s okay.”

On third base prospect Zach Green‘s hip injury that led to his demotion to the extended spring training roster…

“We got good news.  He’s not hurt as bad as we thought.  He went and saw a doctor.  He’s okay.  We’re making sure…it’s early in the season.  We think a lot of Zach Green.  We’re making sure he’s okay.  We’re protecting him a little bit.  He would try to play.  We’re trying to get him 100-percent.”

On second baseman Andrew Pullin, a 5th round pick in 2012 who is off to a slow start, posting a .211/.299/.276 slash line in 22 games…

“Well he’s hit a lot of balls hard that haven’t shown up in the box score as hits.  Especially the last few games.  he’s been smoking some balls right at people.  And he hit a homer the other day.  He had another (one) well hit that the guy’s played up against the fence (Thursday) night.  So, I look for him to kind of keep doing what he’s been doing and the ball’s he’s hit will find some holes and that average will go up.” Continue reading BlueClaws Quotables: Legg, Connell and Viza Speak

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PN Interview: 3B Prospect Zach Green

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, April 26, 2014 03:00 PM Comments: 0

Zach Green, Image- Jay Floyd

Third base prospect Zach Green was selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Jesuit High School in California.  Since then, the six-foot-three 205-pounder has shown great potential and has impressed many.

After signing his first professional contract in 2012, Green sported a .284 average with three home runs and 21 RBI in 47 games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

Last season, as a 19-year-old in the Class A short-season New York-Penn League, Green led the league in homers (13), doubles (20) and runs scored (52) while batting .252 and driving in 41 runs in 74 games with the Williamsport Crosscutters.

Through 15 contests this season with Class A Lakewood, Green was off to a slow start, posting a .186 batting average with two doubles, four RBI and three steals.  A right hip injury put Green out of action and a roster move was made, demoting the 20-year-old to extended spring training.  A reversal of the transaction could be made sooner than the required seven days if he had been placed on the disabled list.

I spoke with Zach this week about the ailment, his draft experience, representing the ‘Cutters as an All-Star and plenty more.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-What can you tell me about your hip injury and the roster move that came along with it?

It’s like a nerve issue and nothing serious.  I think they just put me on the (extended spring) roster so they didn’t have to burn a DL…be on there for seven days and maybe I can come back the fifth or sixth day.  It’s kind of like they’re just giving me rest and it’s one of those things I was playing from the beginning of spring training so they want to just make sure it’s fully healed before I go back on the field.

-So is it still possible that you’re back more quickly than seven days?

Anything is possible at this point.

-What’s the severity of the issue?  You said you were playing with it for a while.  When did the pain become too great to play?

About last week- last Saturday, the game in Hagerstown.  It really hurt and that’s why I got scratched right before game time on Monday. Continue reading PN Interview: 3B Prospect Zach Green

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