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Off-season league updates: Ruf, Perkins, Quinn, Altherr

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, October 21, 2014 09:00 AM Comments: 1

Here’s another weekly roundup of how various Phillies players are performing in off-season leagues around the globe.

In the Venezuelan Winter League-

CameronPerkins

Cam Perkins, image- Jay Floyd

With La Guaira, OF Cam Perkins has gone 2-for-12 (.167 avg) with an RBI in four contests. The 24-year-old was drafted by the Phillies in the sixth round in 2012 out of Purdue. In 126 combined games at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this season, Perkins posted a .271/.326/.384 slash line.

In nine games with Zulia, OF Aaron Altherr is 8-for-25 (.320 avg) with two doubles, two HR and six RBI. Altherr served as a big league roster filler at times this year, going 0-for-5 in two games. The 23-year-old was a ninth round pick in 2009.

Also with Zulia, OF Wilmer Oberto is batting .269 with an RBI in nine games. The 21-year-old Venezuelan split time this season between Class A full season Lakewood and short-season A level Williamsport, posting a .226/.301/.355 slash line in 75 total games.

Lefty hurler Lino Martinez allowed an earned run in two innings of work in a lone outing for Zulia thus far. The 22-year-old posted a 0-6 record with a 5.32 ERA in 37 appearances with Clearwater this season.

Alexis Rivero, a right-hander, has allowed two earned runs in 2 1/3 innings of work for Aragua while striking out three and walking three in a trio of appearances. The 19-year-old sported a 2-0 record with one save and a 2.62 ERA in 12 games for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies this year.

19-year-old infielder William Cuicas is 0-for-1 in two games played for Aragua. Cuicas posted a .310 average with an .864 OPS in 42 GCL games this year. Continue reading Off-season league updates: Ruf, Perkins, Quinn, Altherr

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PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 72: Jake Fox Interview

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, October 20, 2014 10:15 PM Comments: 0

The baseball season seems long gone for Phils fans, but luckily two local prospect heads are still doing their things.  On the 72nd edition of the PhoulBallz Minor League Podcast, Reading Fightins team photographer Tug Haines and Phillies Nation’s minor league insider Jay Floyd are joined by cerebral slugger Jake Fox, who talks about his time in the Phillies’ organization this year,negotiating his release in order to play with the independent Somerset Patriots, helping younger players with their mental approaches and plenty more. The guys also discuss the postseason success of the Kansas City Royals as well as some Phillies playing in off-season leagues.

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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PNTV: Jesse Biddle Profile Segment

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, October 19, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Lefty pitching prospect Jesse Biddle missed considerable time this season after suffering a concussion, but the Philadelphia native returned to action late in the season and is now back to full health.

The Phillies’ top draft pick from 2010 has long been a highly regarded prospect, but due to his lack of output in recent years and the portrayal of his time off this year as a mental break, rather than necessary due to his health, Biddle has slipped on some player rankings.

Biddle, who posted a 5-10 record along with a 4.58 ERA in 19 minor league games this season, took the mound for the Phillies in the closing game of the Fall Instructional League and is slated to pitch in the Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico this off-season to make up for missed time.

The ailment for the youngster was a result of being pelted in the head with hail during a storm in Reading this past May.

Prior to his injury this season, along with the guys at 20/20 Visual Media, I produced a profile segment on Biddle for Phillies Nation’s weekly TV program.  While the 22-year-old was sidelined, the segment was shelved and did not air, but we’re now bringing it to you as an online exclusive outtake from the show.  Check out the media player below to view the piece.

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Arizona Fall League Interviews: Logan Moore

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, October 15, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 0

On Monday October 13, I had some time to kill after arriving in Scottsdale for business and wandered over to Scottsdale Stadium, just a block from my hotel, where the Arizona Fall League was taking place. As luck had it, the Scottsdale Scorpions were playing and I was able to get press credentials. I conducted a number of interviews with some of the Phillies’ players and coaches who were in attendance. Come back each day to see the latest interview!

Logan Moore is a 24-year old catcher who spent time in Clearwater before being promoted to Reading. A ninth-round selection out of Northeastern Junior College in Colorado,  Moore is known for his defensive work behind the plate but has been steadily improving with his bat, reaching career highs in homers, RBI, and SLG% in 2014.

Ian Riccaboni, Phillies Nation: What’s it like being selected to play in the Arizona Fall League with some of the top prospects in baseball?

Logan Moore: It’s a dream come true to be getting to the next level, the next step career-wise. It’s pretty awesome being with everyone here. Everyone’s really good competition and it’s been a lot of fun so far and I’m real happy to be here.

IR, PN: Hitting-wise, you took a big step forward in 2014 (four homers in Reading after being promoted, career-high .358 slugging). What do you attribute that to? Does it change from level to level?

LM: I think, as you keep playing in the system, you learn things, what you need to do. You come to the field, compete, and work. Basically, knowing and having a routine is a big thing for me. I mean, you can always be better. I just stick to a plan and work through it, try to get better.

IR, PN: The Phillies have drafted a few catchers in recent years with high draft picks including yourself. Is there any pressure knowing that there are other talented players, like yourself, Cameron Rupp being someone in the Triple-A level down through Andrew Knapp and Gabriel Lino?

 

Continue reading Arizona Fall League Interviews: Logan Moore

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Arizona Fall League Interviews: Ryan O’Sullivan

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, October 14, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Ryan O'SullivanOn Monday October 13, I had some time to kill after arriving in Scottsdale for business and wandered over to Scottsdale Stadium, just a block from my hotel, where the Arizona Fall League was taking place. As luck had it, the Scottsdale Scorpions were playing and I was able to get press credentials. I conducted a number of interviews with some of the Phillies’ players and coaches who were in attendance. Come back each day to see the latest interview!

Ryan O’Sullivan is a 24 year old pitcher who the Phillies received from the Dodgers in exchange for Joe Blanton in 2012. O’Sullivan was the Dodgers’ fourth-round pick in 2011 and spent all of last season with the Reading Fightins where he went 7-8 with a 3.91 ERA with improved BB/9 IP and K/BB ratios.

Ian Riccaboni, Phillies Nation: What’s it like playing in the Arizona Fall League with some of the top prospects in baseball?

Ryan O’Sullivan: It’s fun. It’s funny, you know, I was talking to some of the guys, when you’re going through the season as a starter, you worry about the one through four or one through five hitters and you see the seven, eight, nine guys and you think “Ok, I might be able to cruise through this part of the line-up” but here, (seven, eight, nine) is a one, two, three, four hitter somewhere else so you really have to concentrate on every pitch. It’s been a lot of fun so far.

IR: Now, for baseball fans and folks who write about baseball, the opposing hitters’ names are really familiar. As a pitcher, do you have any concept of the other hitters as top prospects?

ROS: I mean, you kind of know who people are. The players that are here, you’ve played against at some point, some of them you’ve played with on different teams and things like that. Everybody’s here because their organization likes what what they are doing and everybody here is a prospect in a way so you know who they are. Some people you don’t know but those are the guys you know as this league goes along. I think everybody here has the ability to play in the Big Leagues and that’s what this league is for.

IR: Ray Burris is here of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (pitching coach). How nice is that to be able to work with someone in the organization while you’re getting work in in the fall?

ROS: Oh, it’s great. He’s a great guy; he’s awesome. He knows a lot about pitching but it’s not all about pitching with him. He pitched for I don’t know how many years; he pitched for a long time! Not only that but he’s a good guy off the field, too. He’ll take time to talk with you, very approachable and it’s huge that he’s with the Phillies so that while we’re out here we can showcase to him, especially because he’s the Triple-A guy and he’s been in the Big Leagues we can showcase our talent a bit. Hopefully, we can get to know him so that when the team needs to make a decision, he’s knows who we are.

IR: Logan Moore is here, your catcher. Do you have any special connection with Logan because he’s in the system or is the same as maybe working with a catcher from another system where you have to walk through your repertoire and your out pitch?

ROS: No, him and I definitely have a very close relationship. We were together this past season and the season before so there’s definitely a connection there. The other catchers here definitely have to learn what kind of stuff you have and what your tendencies on the mound are and stuff like that but when he’s catching me, it’s kind of like we’re back in season so we just get in the groove and go with it. He knows what I pitch and what I like to throw so it clicks a little faster.

The other catchers here are great, too. It doesn’t take long for a catcher to get to know his pitchers and we’re lucky to have the catchers we have.

IR: What’s the one thing you’re really focused on working on here in Arizona?

ROS: Here? Pound the strike zone. I’m a sinker ball pitcher and it’s not going deep into counts, just trying to get balls put in play early, throwing a lot of strikes, pounding the strike zone, being aggressive. I mean, stats count here a little bit but it’s not all based on that. It’s based on trying to get better with what you’re doing, get better at your craft, and get seen by some people.

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Quinn’s Speed Propels Scottsdale to AFL Win

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, October 14, 2014 12:53 AM Comments: 0

Center Fielder Roman Quinn

In front of a crowd with as many scouts as fans, speedster Roman Quinn led off, played center field, and went 1 for 4 with a stolen base en route to a 2-1 win for the Scottsdale Scorpions at Scottsdale Stadium.

Before the game, I talked to Quinn, who stated that his Achilles is “100%” and that he was looking forward to facing the best competition he has ever faced. Quinn had two at-bats from each side of the plate, helping him address his main goal of the AFL: becoming a switch hitter.

Quinn’s lone hit came in his second at-bat from the right side, a dribbler about five feet up the third base line, the first hit for the Scorpions. Quinn would get an amazing break on two straight pitches, one a foul ball, the second a walk for the Scorpions. Quinn would misread a flyball to center from second base but was able to tag anyways and easily beat out a throw from center. Quinn scored easily on passed ball to put Scottsdale up 1-0.

Quinn looked solid in the field, taking a great route to a sixth inning ball hit to the left center field gap, cutting what should have been a sure triple and keeping it to a double. Quinn took a solid route to a fly ball and fielded another can of corn. Quinn’s speed was on full display in the bottom of the seventh with Quinn stealing second easily with a good jump and a bad throw.

Quinn wasn’t the only Phillie to get in on the action. Colton Murray, a 2011 13th rounder out of the University of Kansas, got out of a jam created by Tyler Mizenko in the bottom of the eighth inning, retiring the only hitter he faced, earning a hold and preserving the Scorpions 2-1 lead.

Phillies pitcher Adam Morgan is scheduled to pitch Wednesday night for Scottsdale. Please check back tomorrow for the first of our five exclusive Arizona Fall League interviews.

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LHP Loewen is a candidate for Phils rotation next season

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, September 20, 2014 12:00 PM Comments: 18

Adam Loewen, image- Jay Floyd

With a considerable level of anticipation that the Phillies will experience some turnover with their pitching staff leading to next season, it feels as though fans and media alike have begun to say goodbye to certain hurlers. Who replaces those arms promises to be the focus of the team’s offseason.

A candidate to fill a void in the Phillies’ rotation next is former big leaguer Adam Loewen, who the Phillies acquired earlier this season as a free agent.

Loewen, a left-hander, has been to the majors twice.  His initial ascension to the big leagues was as a pitcher with the Baltimore Orioles after he was selected as the fourth overall draft pick in 2002, two places before Zack Greinke and three spots prior to Prince Fielder.

He last pitched in the majors in 2008 as a 24-year-old.  After suffering a stress fracture in his throwing elbow, having a four-and-a-half inch long titanium screw surgically inserted into the joint and dealing with lasting complications from the ailment, it became apparent, at the time, that Loewen’s pitching career was finished.

The British Columbia native would spend that following off-season working on his offense and showed enough to the Toronto Blue Jays that they offered him a contract to begin a new path to the big leagues, as a position player.

As an outfielder, Loewen again reached the top level of the sport, playing in 14 games with the Blue Jays in 2011, batting .188 with a home run and four RBI.  After a couple more years in the minors trying to climb the developmental ladder with in the Mets’ and Blue Jays’ systems, he was told his time was up as a hitter.  Last winter, however, Loewen got the itch to pitch and his career was reborn once again.

“I wanted to continue at the time, but the decision was made for me,” Loewen stated.  “But, I’m not bitter about it anymore.  I love pitching and maybe it’ll work out for the better.” Continue reading LHP Loewen is a candidate for Phils rotation next season

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PN Interview: Reading hitting coach Rob Ducey talks prospects

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, September 03, 2014 09:00 AM Comments: 0

Ducey

Rob Ducey, image- Tug Haines

Prior to the end of the minor league season on Monday, I spent some time with Double-A Reading hitting coach Rob Ducey about several of his players’ progress this season.

Ducey, who played in the big leagues with the Phillies, Blue Jays, Rangers, Mariners, Expos and Angels, joined the Phillies organization as a coach this year.

The former outfielder spoke about the Phillies’ collection of rising young outfielders including Aaron Altherr, Zach Collier, Kelly Dugan, Cam Perkins and Peter Lavin.  He also offered insight on talented infielder Carlos Alonso.  Read ahead for that full interview.

-Aaron Altherr has an exciting year with time spent at the big league level.  What are your thoughts on Altherr’s season?

Well, he’s obviously in the development part of his career and is trying to iron some things out mechanically, mentally, things that young players go through while they’re trying to establish themselves as professional players.  I see worlds of opportunity for him going forward.  He’s got tremendous athleticism, he’s got a very good aptitude to work with and he’s really good to be around.

-Zach Collier didn’t have a great season, but got considerably hot in early August.  He’s a guy that people had high expectations for, based on being an early round draft pick.  What can you share with me about Zach’s progress?

Obviously, this being my first year here, I didn’t have an opportunity to see him prior to this year, but he’s come a long way with the understanding of what he needs to do to prepare to play the game and get ready and compete at this level and, hopefully, at a level higher. Continue reading PN Interview: Reading hitting coach Rob Ducey talks prospects

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PN Interview: RHP Colton Murray

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, September 02, 2014 12:00 PM Comments: 41

ColtonMurray- Tug

Colton Murray, image- Tug Haines

This season right-hander Colton Murray made some solid impressions, earning his way to Double-A and solidifying himself as a key piece at the back end of the club’s bullpen.

A 13th round pick from 2011, Murray had spent time with the big league club in spring training each of the previous two seasons prior to this year. Following a 2013 campaign in which he tallied a 5-7 record with 11 saves and a 5.07 ERA in 47 games with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers. Those efforts were not enough to earn an invitation back to big league spring training this year. However, with the numbers he posted this season, the 24-year-old Murray is likely a lock to be among pitchers showing up early to big league camp next year.

Following 11 appearances while posting a 2.04 ERA with Clearwater this year, Murray, whose fastball is regularly clocked around 95 MPH, was promoted to Double-A Reading where he sported a 1-5 record with six saves, a 2.29 ERA and a 9.15 K/9 mark.

This weekend, I spoke with Colton about his season, his relationship with former teammate Kenny Giles and more. Read ahead for that interview.

-You’ve had a really nice season. What’s your level of satisfaction with your 2014 campaign?

I’m really satisfied with it. I mean, I feel like I had a really good year. I feel like I had a complete turnaround of last year and I feel like I’ve shown the organization who I am and what I have to offer.

-You’ve spent some time with the big league club in spring training in previous seasons. How do you feel like that time spent there around some of the big league veterans might help you in the long run?

It was a lot of fun and it’s a great experience for guys like me just to be around those guys and be able to speak to them. Being in the bullpen, you’re just able to talk a lot to the guys and get inside their heads a little bit. It’s great seeing (Jake) Diekman and stuff and talking to him. Continue reading PN Interview: RHP Colton Murray

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Fightins Quotables: Nola, Lundquist, Altherr, Moore

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, August 30, 2014 11:05 AM Comments: 0

AaronNola-TugHaines

Aaron Nola, image- Tug Haines

Top Phillies draft pick Aaron Nola tossed a gem of an outing in Trenton on Friday night, in what will be the final appearance of his first pro season. Over five innings, the 21-year-old allowed just four hits and surrendered no runs while striking out two and walking none. He notched the win, as the Reading Fightins downed the Thunder by a score of 3-0.

In 12 professional outings, since he was selected 7th overall in this year’s MLB amateur draft, Nola tallied a 4-3 record with a 2.93 ERA while striking out 45 and walking 10 in 55 1/3 innings combined between Double-A Reading and Class A Advanced Clearwater.

After the game, I spoke with Reading pitching coach Dave Lundquist and Nola himself about the outing and more. I also spent time chatting with Nola’s backstop Logan Moore about his season as well as his pitching staff. Additionally, I chatted with outfielder Aaron Altherr about his time with the big league club this year. Read ahead for loads of exclusive quotes…

-Dave Lundquist on Nola’s effort on Friday night…

It was outstanding. You know, five innings, with no runs, 62 total pitches. You know, the thing that was really impressive was, in the fifth, he had (runners on) 2nd and 3rd with nobody out and got a pop up in the infield, a strike out and a ground ball and really showed a good feel for pitching and working himself out of a jam. He did a nice job.

-Asked Lundquist if there’s any temptation to let Nola go beyond his innings limit when his pitch count is low…

No, not right now. Not this year. Not with where he’s at. Total wise, through college and here, no. We just want him to get to that one point and that’s it. His pitch count was really low and he definitely could have continued going and it’s good to know he could have continued going, but at this point in the year, no that’s it.

-Also asked Lundquist for his thoughts about righty reliever Colton Murray, who notched his fifth save of the season for Reading in their win over Trenton on Friday…

Power guy that goes right after people. One thing he’s done is he’s really improved his curve ball as a pitch he can throw in and out of the zone. It’s become a quality swing and miss pitch for him. Very aggressive and he goes right after people. It’s what you look for in a reliever. Continue reading Fightins Quotables: Nola, Lundquist, Altherr, Moore

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