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Reading righty Lively honored as EL Pitcher of the Week

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, May 05, 2015 07:05 AM Comments: 9

Ben Lively, image- Tug Haines

On Monday, Ben Lively became the second Reading Fightins hurler in three weeks to be named as the Double-A Eastern League’s Pitcher of the Week.

Lively, who was acquired last off-season from Cincinnati for Marlon Byrd, notched two wins along with a 2.08 ERA while striking out 16 and walking just two in 13 innings for the Fightins during the week of April 27th through May 3rd.

The 23-year-old attributes his recent success to learning from his own mistakes.

“I’ve just been working on some stuff,” Lively explained.  “I was all over the place my first few games, it felt like to me.  I mean I did alright, but I expected to do better, so I worked harder and it paid off.”

According to Reading skipper Dusty Wathan, Lively is able to make improvements when and where others aren’t able to, which has helped the Florida native make an impact.

“The biggest thing was he went into the sixth inning (on Sunday) and that was his best inning, so it showed me that he can make adjustments as the game went on.  And as the game went on, he got better, which is good to see because a lot of these young pitchers, they can’t make adjustments in the game and, hopefully, those adjustments can come quicker- inning to inning, pitch to pitch,” Wathan stated. Continue reading Reading righty Lively honored as EL Pitcher of the Week

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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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Losing streak continues for Phils, Buchanan demoted

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, May 02, 2015 07:50 PM Comments: 12

A rough road outing by Phillies ace Cole Hamels and a sparkless offense led to the team’s fifth consecutive loss, as the Miami Marlins downed the visitors by a score of 7-0.

Hammered for 10 hits and six earned runs over six frames, the veteran Hamels fell to 1-3 on the season.

Second baseman Dee Gordon led the Marlins’ offense, collecting three hits and reaching base via walk twice.  With two stolen bases on top of that, Gordon scored three of his club’s seven runs.

The Marlins took the lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning when Martin Prado, owner of four RBI on the day, slammed a three-run homer.

Miami would add another run in the 3rd on a J.T. Realmuto double.  Giancarlo Stanton plated another run with a sacrifice fly in the 4th.  Prado struck again with a run-scoring double in the 6th while Realmuto wrapped up the scoring with single that drove in Marcell Ozuna in 7th.

Miami right-hander Dan Haren held the Phillies scoreless for six frames en route to his third win of the season.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis went 1-for-3 and is batting a team-best .341 on the year. Continue reading Losing streak continues for Phils, Buchanan demoted

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Phillies players & prospects weigh in on Pacquiao vs Mayweather

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, May 02, 2015 07:30 AM Comments: 4

fight posterAbout a month ago, Phillies Nation featured a post with prospects Brian Pointer and Mark Leiter Jr. predicting the outcome of the entire WrestleMania 31 card.  Now, as the biggest boxing match in history approaches, those two and others took time to offer their thoughts on Saturday night’s huge title match between undefeated Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao with the unified welterweight championship on the line.

Read ahead for comments from Pointer and Leiter as well as Phils relievers Justin De Fratus and Mario Hollands, Phillies backstop Cameron Rupp, pitching prospect Matt Imhof, Lehigh Valley righty hurler Tyler Knigge, top prospect J.P. Crawford, Clearwater third baseman Mitch Walding, Reading’s speedy center fielder Roman Quinn along with former Phillies All-Star and current minor league coach Mickey Morandini.

Pointer- Money Mayweather will win in a unanimous decision.

Leiter- I’ll take Pac-man.  Turn it into a three-fight series!

De Fratus- No prediction.  I don’t know a thing about boxing.  But I’ll be rooting for Pacquiao. Continue reading Phillies players & prospects weigh in on Pacquiao vs Mayweather

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Hollands already rehabbing, No timetable for Imhof return

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, May 01, 2015 05:08 PM Comments: 2

marioHIn early April it was announced that Phillies lefty reliever Mario Hollands would undergo Tommy John surgery.  The accompanying prognosis for being sidelined with that type of procedure is about a year or more.

Despite likely being two months away from beginning a throwing program, the 26-year-old UC Santa Barbara product is already in Clearwater, at the Phillies’ spring training home, rehabbing under the supervision of the organization’s training staff.

According to Hollands, who commented via text message on Friday, he has been in Florida rehabbing for the past week and is feeling good.

As a rookie last year, Hollands tallied a 2-2 record with a 4.40 ERA in 50 appearances with the big league team.  The California native was a 10th round draft selection of the Phillies in 2010.

In other injury news, last year’s 2nd round draft pick Matt Imhof, who is sideline with bicep tendinitis, is rehabbing the ailment without a timetable for a return. Continue reading Hollands already rehabbing, No timetable for Imhof return

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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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Righty prospect Gonzalez gets the call for Tuesday start

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, April 26, 2015 02:00 PM Comments: 11

SevGonzalez

Severino Gonzalez, image- Jay Floyd

The Phillies announced on Saturday that 22-year-old right-hander Severino Gonzalez will make his big league debut on Tuesday at St. Louis.

The Panama native was honored as the Phils’ top minor league pitcher with the annual Paul Owens Award in 2013 when he posted a 7-5 record, a 2.00 ERA, a .224 batting average against along with his 10.33 K/9 and his 1.91 BB/9 combined across three levels.

Last year at Double-A Reading, Gonzalez’s stats took a dip.  En route to leading all Phillies minor leaguers in starts and innings, he posted a 9-13 record with a 4.59 ERA with a 6.52 K/9 mark.  Not great numbers there, but he wrapped up his 2014 campaign nicely, notching a 3-1 record and a 2.53 ERA in his final five starts of the season.

This year, with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the six-foot-two 155-pounder has tallied a 1-1 record and a 3.57 ERA along with nine strike outs and two walks in 17 2/3 innings over three starts.

To put the progress of Gonzalez, at age 22 in the big leagues this week, into perspective, there are six pitchers on the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws roster (four levels down) that are older than Gonzalez.

What to expect:
Gonzalez’s repertoire includes a cut fastball that peaks in the low 90′s, a curve ball that dives down and away from righty hitters as well as a a quality change up. Continue reading Righty prospect Gonzalez gets the call for Tuesday start

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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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Lakewood Pitching Coach Aaron Fultz Interview Excerpts

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, April 21, 2015 08:15 AM Comments: 0

AFultz

Aaron Fultz, image- Jay Floyd

Former big leaguer Aaron Fultz is in his fourth season coaching in the Phillies’ developmental ranks. In his career, the lefty Fultz tallied a 25-15 record with a 4.26 ERA and three saves over eight major league seasons. Now, the 41-year-old is leading the Class A Lakewood BlueClaws’ pitching staff toward their dream of reach the top level of the sport.

Recently, I chatted with Fultz about various topics related to his young prospects. Read ahead for those interview excerpts.

-What are you impressions of your pitching staff in the early going this year?

So far, I’ve been really pleased with the amount of strikes that we’ve thrown. We haven’t walked many guys. There’s still some mistakes here and there, but overall very pleased with the way we’re going about the game.

-Matt Hockenberry‘s got a true closer mentality and persona, as he mans the late innings for the BlueClaws.  He’s a Temple guy with local ties.  What are your thoughts on Matt and what his ceiling could be?

You know what, he had a rough year here last year and he came to me in Williamsport and for me, he was outstanding. I loved just- he’s very confident and some would say a very arrogant guy. But, I love his demeanor on the mound. He’s very confident. He’s goes out there and used all his pitches. I mean, so far, from last year and this year, I love what I see. And he’s got the ability to be able to repeat it and do it every day.

-Out of spring and in the early portion of the season here, is there anyone on your staff that strikes you as performing at a higher level that you anticipated?

I had definitely high expectations of Ricardo Pinto. I had him last year. I picked him to be the opening day guy. A lot of the guys had good spring trainings. Alexis Rivero was a guy that made this team- he had a great spring. A lot of the guys, are doing really well. It’s hard to say they’re exceeding expectations, but we’re off to a good start. Continue reading Lakewood Pitching Coach Aaron Fultz Interview Excerpts

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