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PN Interview: Rhys Hoskins talks transitioning to pros & his knowledge of Phils history

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, April 17, 2015 08:00 AM Comments: 0

RHoskins

Rhys Hoskins, image- Jay Floyd

First baseman Rhys Hoskins was selected by the Phillies in the 5th round of last year’s amateur draft.  After debuting as a pro, the six-foot-four 225-pounder showed some nice pop, slugging nine homers while lacing 15 doubles and driving in 40 runs to go along with his .237 average over 70 games with short-season Class A Williamsport.

Thus far this season, through seven games with Class A Lakewood, the California State University-Sacramento product sports a .261 average with two doubles and two RBI.

Last week I spoke with the 22-year-old about adjusting to the minor leagues straight out of collegiate ball.  Hoskins also scouted himself, offered some thoughts on the BlueClaws’ excitement level for a new season and proudly showed off his (limited) knowledge of Phillies history.

Read ahead for those interview excerpts from Rhys.

-How do you feel college ball prepared you for the minors?

I mean it did.  It just taught me about the game itself.  You know, obviously, the more you play, the better you get.  So, I definitely wasn’t ready to play pro baseball out of high school and just getting to learn the ins and outs, the way you have to think, has really prepared me for right now. 

-You posted some good power numbers, but your average wasn’t gleaming last year.  What was the adjustment period like for you?

It definitely was not easy by any means.  It was about as I expected.  I think the biggest thing to get used to was just playing every day.  And then, obviously, with the traveling- traveling through the night and that sort of thing.  Probably, the biggest transition was, facing the quote-unquote “Friday night guy” in college, you face that guy every single night (in the pros).  And then you get to the bullpen and face a guy that throws harder.  And the next guy throws harder than that.  So, it definitely wasn’t an easy transition. I think, as a competitor, I was just trying to compete and, you know, the season, stat-wise, didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but the power numbers were there and I think that’s why I’m here, so I am satisfied with that.  We’ll see if (I) can get better this year and we’ll see what happens. Continue reading PN Interview: Rhys Hoskins talks transitioning to pros & his knowledge of Phils history

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4th Round Pick Oliver Ready to Shine for BlueClaws

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, April 16, 2015 03:40 PM Comments: 0

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Chris Oliver, image- MiLB.com

LAKEWOOD, NJ– Following a weak effort after turning pro, last year’s 4th round pick by the Phillies, right-handed pitcher Chris Oliver, has things back on track and the team has high hopes for him this year with Class A Lakewood.

Fresh out of his outstanding junior season with Arkansas in which he sported a 9-4 record with a 2.51 ERA and a .213 batting average against in 16 starts last year in the highly competitive Souteastern Conference, Oliver had a disappointing campaign in his initial exposure to the professional ranks.

In nine minor league appearances last year, the six-foot-four 170-pounder tallied a 0-2 record with an 8.66 ERA and a .321 batting average against.

The downturn in results did not concern the Phillies.  As Oliver explains, some mechanical alterations to his delivery and a switch from offering a curve ball to throwing a slider, mandated by coaches, were responsible for the dip in production.

“Mechanically, last year they wanted me to drop my arm slot a little bit.  I tried it.  It just didn’t work out for me.  Now, I’m back over the top.  The thing we really focused on this year was getting more rotation with the hips.  It’s a lot more comfortable, a lot smoother,” Oliver stated. Continue reading 4th Round Pick Oliver Ready to Shine for BlueClaws

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RHP prospect Anderson out with Tommy John surgery, more injury notes

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, April 14, 2015 07:00 PM Comments: 0

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Anderson, image- MiLB.com

Phillies director of player development confirmed to PhilliesNation’s Jay Floyd on Tuesday that right-handed pitching prospect Drew Anderson will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery recently.

Selected in the 21st round of the 2012 draft by the Phillies, the six-foot-three 185-pounder sported a 12-9 record with a 2.97 ERA and a 7.39 K/9 mark through 34 pro games before being sidelined with injury last summer for Class A Lakewood.

The Phillies’ hope was for Anderson was for the 21-year-old to rehab through the ailment, but a setback with his throwing elbow resulted in the need for surgery.

“We knew there was a slight tear in the UCL ligament  and we tried to rehab him through it, but it went ahead and blew (out), so it’s time to fix it,” Jordan stated.

In other injury news, top Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford, who is currently sidelined with an oblique strain, will return to hitting this coming weekend and could return to action in a couple weeks.

“We’re still hopeful that May 1st is realistic, it may be a few days after that,” Jordan stated of a possible activation date for Crawford.  “I think until he ramps up his activity and really swinging the bat and letting it go, until you see how his body responds, you never know for sure.”

Outfielder Kelly Dugan, who is sidelined with a right foot fracture and sent home to California to heal, is set to return to Clearwater to begin rehabbing his injury. Continue reading RHP prospect Anderson out with Tommy John surgery, more injury notes

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BlueClaws Quotables: Viza, Oliver, Hoskins excited for new season

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, April 13, 2015 07:30 AM Comments: 0

The Lakewood BlueClaws returned to action over the weekend, going 2-2 against division rival Kannapolis to start their 2015 campaign. Recently, I spoke with several of the team’s players about the start of a new year.  Read ahead for what righty pitchers Tyler Viza (32nd round pick, 2013) and Chris Oliver (4th round pick, 2014) as well as first baseman Rhys Hoskins (5th round, 2014) had to say about a brand new year in the Phillies organization.

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Tyler Viza, image- Jay Floyd

-Viza, who pitched with Lakewood last year, posting a 3-17 record, spoke about his outlook returning to the BlueClaws…

I’m extremely excited. We’ve got a great group of guys, got a great coaching staff. I’m happy to be here, to play with these guys and play for these fans again. I’m really excited to be here. Last year’s behind me and I’m ready to push forward this year.

-Viza commented on having former Phillies hurler Aaron Fultz as his pitching coach and what advantages he has with Fultz guiding his career…

I had Fultz in the instructional league. He’s a great guy, awesome! I love having him as my pitching coach.

Yeah, you know it’s kind of nice, you get to pick their brains a little bit about what works and what sort of things didn’t work. Maybe what worked for him isn’t going to work for us and vice versa, but it’s awesome to have that experience at our disposal and to know what works. Continue reading BlueClaws Quotables: Viza, Oliver, Hoskins excited for new season

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PN Interview: BlueClaws manager Shawn Williams discusses his team

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, April 10, 2015 12:30 PM Comments: 0

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Shawn Williams, image- Jay Floyd

The Class A Lakewood BlueClaws got their season underway on Thursday with a new roster and a new manager.  Shawn Williams, son of long-time big league coach Jimy Williams, takes over the reigns with the ‘Claws after a year as skipper of the Class A Short-season Williamsport Crosscutters.

Prior to their season opener on Thursday, I chatted with the 31-year-old about his club.  Read ahead for comments from Williams about several names including Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Tocci, Deivi Grullon and many more.

-Is there anyone on the roster that stood out in spring training as a guy that was a catalyst for the club?

I look at our whole lineup and, really, all the guys are catalysts.  There are guys that do the little things to help your team win.  They’re great guys in the clubhouse, they play hard, they give you 100 percent every night and they do everything to kind of help your team win.

-Carlos Tocci returns to Lakewood for his third season.  At 19 years old, he’s still one of the youngest guys on the team, probably one of the youngest guys in the league.  What do you think about where he’s at right now?

I haven’t seen him much until this year, but he has really, for me, really improved.  He’s really swinging the bat well.  He had a good spring training.  Obviously, his defense is outstanding.  He’s running the bases.  His instincts are there.  I’m looking for him- and I know he’s looking to have a great year here and see what happens. Continue reading PN Interview: BlueClaws manager Shawn Williams discusses his team

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Tocci’s three hits help BlueClaws win opener

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, April 10, 2015 07:00 AM Comments: 0

Carlos Tocci

Tocci in action last season, Image- Jay Floyd

LAKEWOOD, NJ- Three was the number.  On Carlos Tocci‘s third opening day with the Lakewood BlueClaws, the talented outfielder collected three hits to lead the way toward his team’s third-ever victorious home opener.

In their 15th opening day at the Jersey Shore town’s FirstEnergy Park on Thursday, the BlueClaws battled temperatures in the 30′s, rain and the Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox) down to the wire.  In the bottom of the 9th it was a Tocci walk-off single off of right-hander Peter Tago that gave the  Class A BlueClaws the win.

The Venezuelan born Tocci, who has cited difficulty in the past adapting to the cold early-season weather in the northeast, didn’t feel the effects of the damp and chilly night this time around.  His bat packed all the heat the team needed.

“I have two years in this league, so I know how to play with this weather and I know how to prepare for it prior to the game,” Tocci said with the help of a translator, coach Nelson Prada.

Despite being the hero for the night at the plate and on defense, having made two flat out stellar diving plays in the outfield, the 19-year-old wasn’t through with his work.  He spent an additional 20 minutes, or so, in the weight room working with the team trainer following the win.

“My plan now is to get stronger and to hit the ball (with more power),” Tocci shared.  “With the strength and conditioning, people from the organization have me working on this sort of program to improve my hitting.” Continue reading Tocci’s three hits help BlueClaws win opener

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Another retirement announced out of minor league spring training

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, March 08, 2015 10:10 PM Comments: 10

With minor league camp underway and the initial work out groups list unveiled this weekend, thanks to Jim Peyton of PhuturePhillies.com (see below), a key question arose.  Where is Larry Greene Jr?  The omission of the Phillies’ top selection from the 2011 draft (39th overall) has plenty of people wondering about his status.

Confirmed by manager of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers, the 22-year-old Greene has retired from professional baseball.

In three pro seasons, the six-foot-one 225-pounder posted a .224 average with eight home runs and 74 RBI in 242 games.

Greene, a Georgia native, signed for a reported $1 million following the 2011 draft.  The Phillies retain the rights to Greene, if and when he decides to return to baseball.

Also of note from the list, per Legg, Andrew Pullin, who made an impact as the second baseman for Class A Lakewood last year (.270/.333/.394 in 129 games), will officially move forward as an outfielder, the position he played prior to being drafted as a 5th rounder in 2012 out of high school.

Additionally, multi-positional batsman Willians Astudillo, who was second in the Class A South Atlantic League in batting last year with a .333 mark, is listed as a catcher, where the Phillies hope he can catch on. Last season with Lakewood, the 23-year-old Venezuelan played first base, left field and catcher.

In recent days it was announced here on PhilliesNation.com that minor league slugger Jim Murphy’s playing career was likely done after he was not offered a deal by an affiliated team this off-season.

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The Top 25 Phillies Prospects

Posted by Brian Michael, Mon, March 02, 2015 08:10 AM Comments: 3

Since 2009, each off-season we’ve compiled a detailed list of the top up-and-coming Phillies. Last week, our minor league expert Jay Floyd completed the latest installment of “Prospect Nation” by naming J.P. Crawford as the top Phillies prospect. His in-depth research combined with first-hand player interviews means you’re getting the complete picture of these aspiring talents. No one knows the Phillies minor leagues better than Jay.

The basis of the list takes into consideration a player’s age, minor league performance relative to levels played, value to the organization as well as future potential and proximity to the big leagues. The rankings do not include players over 25 years old or individuals that have spent lengthy stretches in the major leagues.

For your reference and reading enjoyment, here is the complete list of the Phillies top 25 prospects:

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Prospect Nation 2015: #9 OF Dylan Cozens

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, February 09, 2015 08:00 AM Comments: 1

Dylan Cozens

Dylan Cozens, image- Jay Floyd

Raw power is what scouts, media members and the Phillies alike covet with outfielder Dylan Cozens.  Loads of pop combined with a strong adaptability as well as remarkable athleticism have Cozens rising toward the top among the team’s best prospects.

At six feet six inches tall and 235 pounds Cozens has an imposing frame that was well-suited for the grid iron, as he was a two-sport star during high school.  Already touting a great ability to drive the ball, the Arizona native has 30-plus homer potential.  Last season marked just the second calendar year that Cozens had devoted all of his time to baseball, no longer competing in football after signing with the Phillies.

After he was selected in the second round of the 2012 MLB amateur draft, Cozens debuted in the minors with the rookie level Gulf Coast Phillies.  In 50 games there, the lefty hitting youngster notched 15 doubles, two triples, five homers and 24 RBI. Cozens also participated in the Florida Instructional League in 2012.

After a productive spring in 2013, Cozens was retained in extended spring training and made his official season debut with the short-season Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League when they kicked off in June.  Cozens was among the league leaders in many categories that year, placing second in the league in doubles (19), extra base hits (30), and runs (50) while ranking third in slugging percentage (.469).  Additionally, he batted .265 with two triples, nine home runs and 35 RBI in 68 games for the Cutters.

In 2014, with Class A Lakewood, Cozens took strides had a good season, posting a .248 average with 16 homers and 62 RBI.  He followed that up with a solid campaign in the Australian Baseball League this off-season.  In 45 games with Melbourne, he tallied a .255 average with eight home runs, 23 RBI and 11 steals. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #9 OF Dylan Cozens

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Watson begins throwing program after second surgery

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, February 08, 2015 04:55 PM Comments: 0

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Shane Watson, image- Jay Floyd

Righty hurler Shane Watson is on the road to recovery once again.

Following his second shoulder surgery in a year, the Phillies’ first round draft choice from 2012 began a throwing program on Friday under the watchful eyes of Phillies trainers and coaches in Clearwater, FL on Friday.

Watson threw 25 pitches from 60 feet and stated via text message on Sunday that he feels good.  The California native will throw again on Monday.  Going forward, his throwing program will consist of throwing two consecutive days, followed by one day off, throwing two days and so on, as he works to build arm strength.

Currently, the six-foot-four 200-pounder is also working on strengthening modalities with the Phils’ training staff as well as “dry mound work” with minor league pitching coach Steve Schrenk. Continue reading Watson begins throwing program after second surgery

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