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Minor Leagues

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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Gillies Suspended, De Fratus Offers Positive Impression

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, April 25, 2014 09:50 PM Comments: 4

Tyson Gillies with Reading in 2013, Image- Jay Floyd

Bad luck continued for troubled outfielder Tyson Gillies on Friday, as the Phillies announced that the 25-year-old was suspended for three games.

Confirming the rumor that he had taken his frustration out on some equipment after a tough loss for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday night, a game in which Gillies went 0-for-5 and struck out four times, the youngster explained via his Twitter account what took place and resulted in the missed time.

“I apologize to everyone for my actions and know this can’t happen. Frustration got the best of me and I threw my equipment against the wall,” Gillies tweeted.

Gillies, a British Columbia native, joined the Phillies in December 2009 as part of the Cliff Lee trade with Seattle.  The lefty batting speedster has missed loads of time, playing in only 231 regular season games since joining the Phillies.

In the past four seasons, Gillies has been plagued by injuries which included repeated hamstring string issues and lengthy concussion concerns. Additionally, a drug arrest which did not lead to charges filed and a previous suspension that was the result of an angry tirade directed at a team bus driver have presented some concern for the toolsy youngster that was once ranked highly among Mariners prospects.

Aware of fans’ frustration with Gillies and the bad reputation that follows him, his IronPigs teammate Justin De Fratus spoke out about the misconceptions surrounding Gillies.

“He’s one of the best people I’ve ever played with,” De Fratus expressed with emotion. “The guy gives everything he has everyday he shows up to the field. He’s working so hard every day to be the best player he can be for this organization.” Continue reading Gillies Suspended, De Fratus Offers Positive Impression

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Minors Notes: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, April 21, 2014 07:30 AM Comments: 3

MinorsLogo
Kicking off this season’s (usually) weekly rundown of top performers from the minor leagues, we’ll also take a look at some names that aren’t off to a hot start in the developmental ranks.

Class A Lakewood-

Who’s hot…

First baseman/catcher Willians Astudillo is off to a great start, batting .447 with two doubles, a home run and nine RBI in 10 games for the BlueClaws.  The 22-year-old Venezuela native spent the entire 2013 campaign on the disabled list with a left knee injury.

In three starts, right-hander Mark Leiter Jr. has a 2-1 record and a 3.00 ERA while striking out 15 and walking two in 18 innings of work.  Leiter was drafted in the 22nd round last year out of the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Who’s not…

Third baseman Zach Green is having a slow start at the plate, batting .186 with two doubles, four RBI and three steals in 15 games.  The 20-year-old righty hitter was selected in the third round of the 2012 draft. Continue reading Minors Notes: Who’s Hot, Who’s Not

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Phillies Get Smoked, Pettibone to LV, Hamels Back Wednesday?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, April 19, 2014 10:31 AM Comments: 9

Lots of things happened last night.

-First, Jonathan Pettibone got rocked at Coors Field, not that it comes as a surprise. He put the Phillies in a 7-0 hole through two innings, and when all was said and done, the Phillies had lost 12-1. Pettibone is back at Triple-A Lehigh Valley now. He would have gone back regardless of the outcome, however if he throws a decent game at a tough place to pitch, he would have turned some heads. That was bad.

-Cole Hamels looks like he’ll return Wednesday in Los Angeles. This is obviously good news as it finally gives the Phillies the rotation they’d hoped for all along. It’s really the most consistent thing they’ll have all year if everyone can stay healthy – which is already a big if knowing that AJ Burnett has a hernia already. The five guys they throw out there on a weekly basis will have to be as good as can be because the offense and defense are a total guessing game each day.

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Hamels sharp in what should be final rehab outing

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, April 17, 2014 10:35 PM Comments: 0

Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels, Image- AP

In what was likely his final tune up before he returns from the disabled list, lefty starter Cole Hamels looked sharp in a rehab appearance with the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers on Thursday night.

In a contest at Clearwater’s Brighthouse Field, Hamels went seven innings against Lakeland (Tigers affiliate), allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out two and walking one.  The 30-year-old threw 87 pitches, 57 of which were strikes.

The Threshers failed to take advantage of the strong effort by Hamels, as they dropped the match up 2-1.  The run given up by Hamels was a solo homer to OF Connor Harrell, who entered the game sporting a .100 batting average.  Harrell was a 31st round draft selection by Detroit in 2012.

Hamels surrendered four earned runs in 17 innings (2.12 ERA) over three starts with the Threshers in recent weeks.

Sidelined for much of the spring with biceps tendinitis in his throwing arm, Hamels is expected to return to the Phillies’ rotation next Tuesday or Wednesday, against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.

In his career at Dodger Stadium Hamels has a 3-0 record and a 2.54 ERA in four starts, including the postseason.

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Prospects Quinn, Walding nearing return to the diamond

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, April 17, 2014 07:31 PM Comments: 0

Roman Quinn, Image- Jay Floyd

Out of action since last year following a ruptured Achilles tendon, shortstop Roman Quinn is nearing a return to game action.

While recovering from a broken left wrist suffered when was he hit by a pitch last season, Quinn felt a pop in the back of his right ankle as he ran routine sprints early in the 2013/2014 off-season.  Surgery to repair the second significant injury of his year took place shortly afterward.

Now, after nearly a half-year of recovery, the switch-hitting Quinn is just about ready to participate in games.

“I’m doing pretty much everything.  Ground balls, I’m running full speed and I’m taking live batting practice,” Quinn said via text message.

The youngster who is known for his speed doesn’t anticipate his quickness suffering due to the damage he did to his Achilles.  In fact, Quinn feels he could be faster than ever and hopes to improve all around.

Quinn, the Phils’ second round draft choice in 2011 out of Port St. Joe High School in FL, has posted a .260 average with six home runs, 44 RBI and 62 stolen bases in 133 combined games with short-season Class A Williamsport and Class A Lakewood over two professional seasons. Continue reading Prospects Quinn, Walding nearing return to the diamond

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Minors Notes & Quotes: Rupp, Dugan Injured, RHP Viza Speaks, More Transactions

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, April 15, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 0

Monday was a busy day for roster moves in the Phillies’ organization.  On top of the news that Mike Adams would return to the Phillies at the expense of Luis Garcia being sent down to Triple-A, there were several notable transactions announced throughout the system.

Cameron Rupp, Image- Jay Floyd

Top catching prospect Cameron Rupp was placed on the disabled list with a strained oblique suffered in Sunday’s game.  The 25-year-old was batting .231 with four homers and eight RBI in nine games with the Triple-A IronPigs.  Sebastian Valle was promoted to Lehigh Valley from Double-A Reading to fill the void.

Other backstop moves: Chad Carman promoted to the Reading roster from Class A Advanced Clearwater, Deivi Grullon activated for Clearwater from extended spring training.

Also placed on the disabled list with an oblique strain for Lehigh Valley was infielder Andres Blanco.  The 30-year-old infielder was batting .273 with one RBI in nine contests in the young season.

Reading outfielder Kelly Dugan, who was hit on the left hand with a pitch on Sunday, tweeted on Monday evening that X-rays were negative and he expects to be out of action for a week.  The 23-year-old was hitting .233 with a home run and four RBI through 10 games. Continue reading Minors Notes & Quotes: Rupp, Dugan Injured, RHP Viza Speaks, More Transactions

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