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Minor League Notes: Henson, Franco, Fox, Mecias, Others Heat Up

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, July 21, 2014 10:05 AM Comments: 9

We’re back with another rundown of top performers from the Phillies’ developmental ranks, with some less than stellar performers mixed in for good measure.


Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs…

Tyler Henson with coach Mickey Morandini

Infielder Tyler Henson is batting .448 with a home run and eight RBI over his last 10 games played. In 90 games this season, the 26-year-old sports a .282 average with six homers and 36 RBI.

3B/1B Maikel Franco has tallied a .365 batting average with nine doubles, two triples, a homer and 15 RBI in 15 games played this month. Franco went 0-for-2 in last week’s All-Star Futures Game. The 21-year-old Dominican has a .236/.286/.370 overall slash line in 96 contests this season.

Tyler Knigge let up 10 earned runs over five innings (18.00 ERA) in his most recent four games with the Pigs. The troublesome stretch earned Knigge a demotion back to Double-A Reading this weekend. The 25-year-old sported a 2.69 ERA in his first 11 Triple-A appearances.

Double-A Reading Fightins…

Outfielder Aaron Altherr is 11-for-30 (.367 avg) with five extra base hits over his last nine games. Altherr, a righty batter, has a .255/.309/.416 slash line in 78 games with Reading. The 23-year-old was the Phillies’ 9th round draft choice in 2009.

Corner infielder Jake Fox has hit 10 home runs while batting .333 and driving in 31 runs in 34 games with Reading. The righty hitter, who turned 32 years old on Sunday, played in Mexico prior to signing with the Phillies last month. Continue reading Minor League Notes: Henson, Franco, Fox, Mecias, Others Heat Up

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Trio of Fightins honored as Eastern League All-Stars

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, July 08, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 1

Three players will represent Reading in the Double-A Eastern League’s All-Star Game later this month in Curve, PA.  Infielders Carlos Alonso and Albert Cartwright along with lefty hurler Hoby Milner were honored and will participate in the annual event on July 15-16.

Carlos Alonso, Image- Jay Floyd

Alonso, a minor league Gold Glove winner last season, is batting .271 with eight homers and 25 RBI in 77 games this year.  The 26-year-old University of Delaware product was a 32nd round pick by the Phillies in 2010.

Cartwright, who also dabbles in the outfield, sports a .257 average with three home runs, 12 RBI and 15 steals in 71 games this year.  The 26-year-old was also an All-Star last season with Reading.

Milner sports a 5-5 record with a 4.55 ERA and a .252 batting average against in 16 starts.  The 23-year-old University of Texas product was a 7th round draft choice in 2012 by the Phillies.

The Altoona Curve, an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, will host the 2014 Eastern League All-Star Stop, which will feature the Ghostman Games & Hitting Challenge on July 15 before the All-Star Clash on July 16 at 7 P.M. to wrap up the two days of festivities.

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Minor League Notes: Franco Leads List of Players Heating Up

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, July 06, 2014 12:15 PM Comments: 6

Here’s a quick stroll through the Phillies’ developmental ranks, reviewing some hot and cold performers of late.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs-

MaikelFranco

Maikel Franco, Image- Jay Floyd

Third baseman Maikel Franco has collected nine hits in three games played this month, batting .529 with two doubles, a triple and a homer during those few games.  The 21-year-old righty batter sports a .226/.280/.351 line through 81 games this season.

OF Grady Sizemore has looked great since joining the Phils’ organization.  The 31-year-old lefty batter has hit safely in all seven games played with the Pigs heading into Sunday.  He is batting .303 with a home run and an RBI.

Newly signed right-handed pitcher Jason Marquis has allowed one earned run in 18 innings of work in three starts (two with Lehigh Valley) while striking out 19 and walking three.  The 35-year-old has 14 big league seasons under his belt.

Outfielder/first baseman Darin Ruf, who was activated on Sunday for the IronPigs, went 3-for-23 (.130 avg) with two walks and two RBI in six rehab games with the Gulf Coast League Phillies last week.

Outfielder Cam Perkins is 4-for-30 (.133 avg) over his past nine games entering action on Sunday.  Overall, since his promotion to Triple-A, the 23-year-old Purdue product has tallied a .198 average with three doubles, two triples and six RBI in 27 games. Continue reading Minor League Notes: Franco Leads List of Players Heating Up

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Jesse Biddle to the Inactive List, Jiwan James Released

Posted by Pat Egan, Thu, June 26, 2014 03:50 PM Comments: 2

JesseBiddle5The Reading Fightin Phils have announced that starting pitcher Jesse Biddle has been placed on the temporary inactive list. This move comes just three days after the 22 year old surrendered 10 earned runs in just three innings of work. The team also announced they have released outfielder Jiwan James.

Biddle entered the year as the second best prospect in the Phillies system, and the 45th ranked prospect in all of baseball. But the lefty out of Germantown Friends high school has struggled mightily this year. In his second year with with Fightin Phils Biddle has a 3-9 record with a 5.03 ERA. In Biddle’s last 10 games he’s compiled a 6.26 ERA and has won just one game.

This is coming a year after Biddle, in his first year in AA, posted a respectable 3.64 ERA in 138.1 innings of work. Biddle has gotten rocked this season resulting in some to say he might need a demotion to High A Clearwater to get his head right. Hopefully this leave of absence will result in him finding his game again.

James had just returned from a knee injury and played respectably. But the 25 year old was likely never to get a real shot with the Phillies, and they decided to cut ties. The former 22nd round pick in the 2007 draft had battled injuries during his career, and was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. This move comes just four days after the Phillies released another former top prospect Tyson Gillies. Its been a banner year for the Phillies farm system!

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Mecias is Farm’s Lone Bright Spot on Miserable Monday

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, June 24, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 1

Despite a hefty amount of bad results out of the Phillies’ minor league hurlers on Monday, it was 2013′s most impressive hurler who made a return to the mound and picked up right where he left off last year.

On a night when this year’s top draft pick Aaron Nola made his pro debut and looked quite mortal, top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle didn’t look deserving of that type of hype as he struggled mightily and recently demoted reliever Ethan Martin was touched up while another young standout in Tyler Viza had a weak effort,  it was lefty Yoel Mecias‘ return from Tommy John surgery that should make it all seem better.

AaronNolaBetsy2

Aaron Nola’s pro debut, image- @BaseballBetsy

Nola, the 7th overall selection in this month’s MLB amatuer draft, made his first professional start as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers. On the mound against the Lakeland Tigers, the 21-year-old right-hander allowed five runs (four earned) on three hits in 2 1/3 innings, while striking out three and walking three. Nola took the loss, only his second of the year, as he went 11-1 as a junior with LSU, en route to being named a First Team All-American.

Biddle continued his ugly June, as he failed to pitch more than 3 1/3 innings for the third time in four outings. The 22-year-old lefty was tagged for 10 earned runs on eight hits over three innings, as Reading was dropped by Binghamton. Biddle entered this month with a 3.14 ERA, but it has shot up to 5.03 in recent weeks.

Martin, pitching for the first time in more than two weeks, relinquished a 4-2 IronPigs lead, allowing five earned runs in 2/3 inning to Columbus, taking the loss.  The 25-year-old right-hander now has a 5.56 ERA in nine games at Triple-A this year.

For Class A Clearwater, typically reliable starter Tyler Viza coughed up eight runs (seven earned) in 3 1/3 innings in a loss to Greensboro. The 19-year-old righty sported a 3.88 ERA through nine starts this season, but has tallied an 8.86 mark over his previous five appearance. Viza was the Phils’ 32nd round draft pick last year.

Leave it to lefty Yoel Mecias, a Class-A All-Star last year when he posted a 4-3 record with one save, a 3.79 ERA and an 11.05 K/9 mark, to surprise and make a splash. Making his return to the mound after missing a year following Tommy John surgery last summer, the 20-year-old Venezuelan allowed an earned run in three innings while striking out five and walking none in a loss for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies. This is a great sign for the promising youngster who was ranked as the Phillies’ number 15 prospect by Phillies Nation prior to this season, and a definite positive from a night when every other widely known Phils pitching prospect disappointed.

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Minor League Notebook: Greene Update, Collier & Dugan Return

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, June 18, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 4

Larry Greene works with a coach, Image- Jay Floyd

-Good news this week for Larry Greene Jr., who was previously said to have required surgery to repair his ailing left wrist.  The 21-year-old outfielder has resumed game action after spending time in a brace and is playing intrasquad games with the group that is slated to become the Gulf Coast League Phillies.

The Phillies’ top draft pick from 2011 anticipates that he could be activated for the Class A BlueClaws by July 1st.  Greene’s original diagnosis was a cartilage tear.

Prior to being sidelined, the Georgia native posted a .167 average with five RBI and two steals in 15 games with Lakewood this year.

The GCL kicks off its season this coming Friday.  Greene could continue action there once their season begins.

-Two other outfielders made their returns for the Double-A Reading Fightins on Tuesday.  Former 1st round draft selection Zach Collier (back) and 2009 second round pick Kelly Dugan (oblique) were in the lineup, going 2-for-4 and 1-for-4 respectively.

The 23-year-old Collier, who drove in two runs in his return, sports a .214/.308/.282 slash line in 34 games this season.

Dugan, 23, has posted a .275/.396/.375 slash line in 14 games for Reading this year. Continue reading Minor League Notebook: Greene Update, Collier & Dugan Return

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Minor League Hot/Cold List: Lincoln, Altherr, Perkins, Quinn, Franco, Rupp

Posted by Jay Floyd, Wed, June 11, 2014 07:45 AM Comments: 7

The latest semi-weekly rundown of your top performers from the Phillies developmental ranks and those that aren’t doing so well is back. In this edition we look at all four full-season clubs.


Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs-

Who’s hot…

Right-hander Brad Lincoln has pitched 13 scoreless innings over his last two starts while allowing just four total hits in those outings. The 29-year-old allowed three earned runs in 2 1/3 innings this season in relief with the big league team. Lincoln was the 4th overall draft selection by the Pirates back in 2006.

Through his first seven games since earning a promotion to Lehigh Valley, OF Cameron Perkins posted a .308 batting average. With Double-A Reading this season, the 23-year-old sported a .342/.408/.495 slash line. Perkins was the Phillies’ 6th round draft choice in 2012.

Who’s not…

Third baseman Maikel Franco entered action on Tuesday batting .103 with a home runs and five RBI in nine June games. Overall this season, the 21-year-old Dominican was batting .212 with five homers and 25 RBI in 60 games. Franco entered the 2014 campaign ranked widely as the Phillies’ top prospect.

Catcher Cameron Rupp entered action on Tuesday batting .152 with two homers and seven RBI over his previous 20 games. Since going 4-for-16 with four home runs in his first four games of the season with the IronPigs, 25-year-old is batting .158 with two homers in 25 games. Rupp was the Phillies’ 3rd round draft choice in 2010.


Double-A Reading Fightins-

Who’s hot…

Infielder Carlos Alonso entered action on Tuesday sporting a .452/.553/.774 slash line in eight June games. Through 55 games this season, the 26-year-old was batting .282 with six homers and 18 RBI. Alonso, a University of Delaware product was the Phils’ 32nd round draft pick in 2010.

Outfielder Aaron Altherr was batting .414 through his opening eight games this month. The 23-year-old began the season with a wrist injury and is batting .230 with three home runs and 18 RBI through 47 games with Reading this season. Altherr was selected by the Phillies in the 9th round of the 2009 draft. Continue reading Minor League Hot/Cold List: Lincoln, Altherr, Perkins, Quinn, Franco, Rupp

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PN Interview: 1B Prospect Chris Serritella

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, June 01, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Chris Serritella, Image- Jay Floyd

First baseman/designated hitter Chris Serritella joined the Phillies as the team’s 4th round draft selection in 2012. Since then, the lefty batting Southern Illinois University product has had some ups and downs, but he’s working hard to improve his game.

After debuting as a pro in his draft year with Class A short-season Williamsport, the six-foot-three 205-pounder impressed, posting a .297 average with six homers and a league leading 47 RBI. Serritella followed up that great effort with a more modest campaign with Class A Advanced Clearwater in 2013. In 126 games with the Threshers, the 24-year-old tallied a .247 average with 12 home runs and 53 RBI.

This season, Serritella has struggled as a member of the Double-A Fightins, as he’s batting .186 with two home runs and seven RBI in 35 games.

Recently, I spoke with Chris about his production this year, his roommates, getting drafted by the Phillies and plenty more. Read ahead for that full interview.

-Just looking at your stats, it’s been a slow start for you in 2014. What can you tell me about your season thus far?

Yeah, a slow start for me, but I feel good at the plate and I’m working on a couple things with (hitting coach Rob) Ducey during BP and stuff, so I think it’s just a matter of time till I start seeing results in the field and I’m just taking it day by day and, hopefully, I’ll start putting together some better at bats here.

-You were an early round draft pick two years ago. What was your draft experience like?  How did you track the draft and how did you celebrate?

That was definitely a fun day for me. Looking back on it, I can remember just sitting in front of the computer, watching the draft go by, which I was advised not to do. And it kind of made me go crazy, but, I got a call from Dave Seifert, a scout with the Phillies, and he told me they wanted to pick me up late in the 4th round. I was all-hands-on-deck. I was really excited, once I got the phone call, so later that day I signed the contract. I just remember a lot of madness that day. The phone never stopped ringing and stuff like that. So, definitely a fun day for me and a fun process overall. Continue reading PN Interview: 1B Prospect Chris Serritella

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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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Fightins Quotables: Hewitt, Alonso & Wathan Speak

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, May 16, 2014 03:35 PM Comments: 2

While covering the Double-A Reading Fightins over the past week, I collected a ton of feedback from  many players and coaches.  With so much material in the hopper, here are some quotes that I didn’t want readers to miss from 2008′s top Phillies draft pick Anthony Hewitt, U Del product and utility infielder Carlos Alonso as well as team manager Dusty Wathan.

Anthony Hewitt, Image- Jay Floyd

-Hewitt (.139/.149/.181 slash line in 24 games this season) spoke of if there’s any mental impact related to his struggles at the plate thus far in 2014…

Mental impact?  I don’t even know.  I’m struggling, (but) I’m just going out there every day, grinding, having fun, having a positive attitude, getting my work in on and off the field and, you know, that’s all I can do.  It’s a game of failure.  Just, right now, no hits are falling.  No luck’s turning my way, but I’m sure that tomorrow, today, whenever it’s gonna happen, good luck’s gonna fall my way, hits are gonna start falling my way.  Everything comes in bunches and I can’t wait till the bunches start coming my way.

-The 25-year-old Hewitt on if he is discouraged with the lack of offense he has produced, when he was able to be more productive last season at the same level…

No, not discouraging at all.  It’s just that’s just the way it is.  That’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.  You just gotta stay positive and stay at it and, um, you know, things unfold the way they’re supposed to be at the end of the season.  It’s still early.  We still got plenty of season to go.

-Hewitt on if he is ever frustrated when his name is not in the lineup…

No, that thought process doesn’t even come to mind.  I just come to the field every day ready to work and with the mindset that I’m gonna play and that’s how I feel you gotta keep it.  Let’s say someone gets hurt during the day, I’m ready to go.  My mindset doesn’t change.  I come to the ballpark ready to play and that’s it.  That’s the mindset I’m always going to have, whether I’m playing or not. Continue reading Fightins Quotables: Hewitt, Alonso & Wathan Speak

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