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Phillies off-season league updates: Altherr, Araujo, Franco, Hernandez, more

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, November 30, 2014 03:55 PM Comments: 7

Baseball never stops and neither does Phillies Nation.  It’s another weekly edition of the Phillies off-season league rundown featuring updates on players from around the globe.  Read ahead for all the info with activity through Saturday.

Venezuelan Winter League-

Aaron Altherr

Aaron Altherr, image- Jay Floyd

Aaron Altherr is done with his time in Venezuela.  The righty batting outfielder hit .286 with four home runs, 27 RBI and a stolen base in 31 games for Zulia. The 23-year-old played in two games with the big league Phillies this year. In 127 minor league games in 2014, the Phillies’ 9th round pick in 2009 posted a .237 average with 14 HR, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases.

In 31 games with Zulia, shortstop Freddy Galvis is batting .254 with seven doubles, a triple, a homer and eight RBI. In 43 big league contests this year, the 25-year-old switch-hitter batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

Elvis Araujo sports a 2-0 record with a 0.66 ERA in 11 relief outings for Zulia. The 23-year-old left-hander posted a 2-1 record with 11 saves, a 3.42 ERA and a 9.00 K/9 mark in 43 combined games with Class A Advanced Carolina and Double-A Akron this year.

Righty pitcher Ethan Martin returned from a back injury and pitched twice in the past week for La Guaira, allowing three earned runs while striking out four and walking four in four innings of work. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Dodgers in the 2012 Shane Victorino trade.  Martin appeared in two games with the Phillies this year, allowing two earned runs in four innings.

Also for La Guaira, righty Mike Nesseth has allowed seven earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. The 26-year-old posted a 2-7 record with a save and a 5.60 ERA in 42 combined outings at Double- Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley this year. The six-foot-five 210-pound Nesseth was the Phils’ 17th round pick in 2010.

In 21 games, infielder Cesar Hernandez is batting .317 with five doubles, 12 RBI and three stolen bases.  Hot of late, Hernandez is batting .379 with eight runs scored in his last seven games.  In 66 games with the Phillies this year, the 24-year-old switch-hitter batted .237 with a homer, four RBI and a stolen base.

Catcher Gabriel Lino is batting .317 with five doubles, four RBI in 16 games for Lara. The 21-year-old, who was acquired from Baltimore in the 2012 Jim Thome trade, played in 90 combined games with Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, posting a combined .215 average with five home runs and 34 RBI.

In nine appearances with Lara, lefty hurler Cesar Jimenez has a 2-4 record with a 3.56 ERA while striking out 29 and walking eight in 30 1/3 innings of work in 12 appearances. The 30-year-old posted a 1.69 ERA in 16 big league games with the Phillies this year. Continue reading Phillies off-season league updates: Altherr, Araujo, Franco, Hernandez, more

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Off-season League Updates: Franco slumps, Martin deals with injury

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, November 23, 2014 11:40 AM Comments: 0

It’s time once again for another weekly review of Phillies players’ performances and progress in off-season leagues around the globe.

Dominican Winter League-

MaikelFranco

Maikel Franco, image- Jay Floyd

Third baseman Maikel Franco has been in a slump lately, going 3-for-27 (.111 avg) over his last seven games.  One positive out of that is that two of his three hits during that time are home runs.  Overall in 22 games for the Gigantes, the 22-year-old is batting .239 with six homers and 21 RBI.  This year in 133 contests with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the righty hitting Franco posted a .257 batting average with 16 home runs and 78 RBI.

Right-handed reliever Hector Neris has made 11 scoreless appearances for the Toros while striking out five and walking four in 8 2/3 innings.  The 25-year-old appeared in one game with the Phils this year, earning a win in his big league debut.

Australian Baseball League-

Power hitting outfielder Dylan Cozens has a .205 average with three homers and six RBI in 11 contests with Melbourne.  This year, with Class A Lakewood, the 20-year-old sported a .248 average with 16 home runs and 62 RBI in 132 games.  The six-foot-six 235-pounder was the Phillies’ 2nd round draft selection in 2012.

Catcher Chace Numata has tallied a .295 average with three doubles and four RBI in 12 games, also with Melbourne.  Numata missed much of the 2014 season after undergoing surgery to repair a broken hamate bone prior to the season.  The 22-year-old was the Phillies’ 14th round draft pick in 2010.

After opening his season 1-for-12, outfielder Brian Pointer has gone 11-for-34 (.324 avg).  Overall, Pointer has a .261 average with a home run and five RBI in 12 games with Perth.  In 123 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater this year, Pointer posted a .246 average with 15 homers, 53 RBI and 16 steals.  The 22-year-old lefty batter was the Phils’ 28th round pick in 2010.

Third baseman Mitch Walding is batting .220 with three doubles and eight RBI in 11 contests for Canberra.  Walding sported a .237 average with seven home runs and 55 RBI in 108 games for Class A Lakewood this year.  The 22-year-old was the Phillies’ 5th round draft choice in 2011. Continue reading Off-season League Updates: Franco slumps, Martin deals with injury

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Phils add three pitching prospects to 40-man roster

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, November 21, 2014 02:20 PM Comments: 2

JesseBiddle5

Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd

It was announced on Thursday that the Phillies added three young hurlers to the big league 40-man roster.  Lefties Jesse Biddle and Adam Morgan along with righty Nefi Ogando were that trio.

Biddle has been among the Phillies’ top prospects since he was selected with their 27th overall pick in 2010.  This news is a rare positive nugget about the 23-year-old, who had a terribly difficult 2014 after missing a lengthy stretch with a a concussion, sitting out his final start of the regular season with a separate ailment and being shut down with elbow soreness after making two appearance this autumn in off-season ball in Puerto Rico.

Since debuting at the Double-A level to begin last year, Biddle hasn’t looked too sharp, posting a 10-24 record along with a 4.02 ERA in 46 appearances over the last two seasons.  Additionally, his 9.52 K/9 mark is very exciting, but the 5.14 BB/9 average (evidence of control concerns) that goes along with it is far from appealing.

Morgan, the Phillies’ 3rd round draft choice in 2011, missed the 2014 regular season after undergoing shoulder surgery last winter.  The 24-year-old has tallied a 12-22 record along with a 3.25 ERA in 56 minor league games (55 starts).  After making a few appearances at the Florida Instructional League in September, Morgan posted a 1-2 record along with a 6.61 ERA in six games in the Arizona Fall League this off-season.

Ogando, who was acquired from Boston for John McDonald last year, was also among the Phils’ representatives in the AFL and had a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.07 ERA in 12 outings for Scottsdale.  The 25-year-old posted a 5-1 record with seven saves, a 6.27 ERA and a 9.16 K/9 mark in 48 relief appearances for Double-A Reading this year.

The additions were made to protect the players from next month’s Rule 5 draft.

The Phillies’ 40-man roster stands at 38 players.

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Yasmani Tomas May Not Land in Philadelphia

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Thu, November 20, 2014 01:36 PM Comments: 72

This morning on 94.1 WIP-FM, Phillies beat writer Todd Zolecki was on and was asked about the latest on Cuban outfielder, Yosmani Tomas.

What Zolecki said did not sound promising for fans hoping that the young, premiere outfielder would land in Philadelphia this offseason.

Yasmani-Tomas-2014-abr-300x211

“He’s getting closer (to making a decision on a team), I don’ know if it’ll be the Phillies though,” said Zolecki. “I thought if the Phillies were going to get him, then they would have gotten him by now. Ruben, when he likes to go after these big fish type guys, likes to move fast, be aggressive with it, and move on with the rest of the offseason.”

Tomas, a 24-year-old, 6’1″, 240 pound corner outfielder could very well be the next great Cuban-born slugger to come to MLB, joining a list of players that includes Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, and Jose Abreu.

In the 2012-2013 Serie Nacional regular season, Tomas batted .289 with 15 home runs, 34 walks and 52 strikeouts in 324 plate appearances over 81 games. He also ranked fifth in slugging, and sixth in home runs.

His breakout season came in the 2011-2012 regular season where he batted .301 with 16 homers in 240 plate appearances over 69 games.

With Marlon Byrd likely being dealt to a contender, and Dominic Brown’s disappointing play, a guy like Tomas would be welcomed into the Phillies’ outfield with open arms. Not only would he bring some excitement to a team in desperate need of some, but he could become a player that the Phillies can begin to rebuild their team around.

If in fact he does not land in Philadelphia, the team and the fan base could potentially be missing out on some exciting raw talent.

Here’s hoping he lands with the Phillies, and gives both the team and fans some hope for the future.

Check out some highlights.

 

UPDATE:

Earlier today, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark tweeted that one MLB executive said to bet the mortgage on the Phillies because “they want to do something big.”

However, another report by MLB.com’s Paul Hagan suggests that the Phillies’ are “backing off” Tomas due to concerns about his defense.

A deal for Tomas could potentially be in the $100 million range, but do the questions marks about his defense lower his value? The guy surely has big-bat potential, but what about his glove?

All we can do at this point is sit back and wait. Perhaps Tomas will end up with the Phillies after the smoke clears, or maybe not. Despite the defense, I would personally love to see this kid’s bat in the lineup on an everyday basis.

 

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Phillies Arizona Fall League Rundown

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, November 18, 2014 05:30 PM Comments: 0

The Arizona Fall League wrapped up play last week, with the team that Phillies’ players were assigned to, the Scottsdale Scorpions, finishing with a league-worst 12-20 record. The team was also made up of representatives from the Yankees, Pirates, Mets and Giants.

Seven Phillies players took part and spent time battling against other organizations’ best young prospects. Below is a rundown of each of those Phils competitors’ AFL efforts with details on what to expect from each individual going forward.

Centerfielder Roman Quinn posted a .250 batting average with two triples, two home runs, nine RBI and a league leading 14 stolen bases in 24 games. His .720 OPS was just a bit higher than the .713 mark he posted in 88 games with Class A Advanced Clearwater this year. The 21-year-old was the Phillies’ 2nd round draft choice in 2011. He underwent surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon last off-season but returned to action this year without any negative impact to his highly regarded speed. Expect Quinn to continue to rise through the developmental ranks at a steady pace. Already proving that he can compete with AFL competition, which includes loads of Double-A level (and beyond) talent, the five-foot-ten 170-pounder should see action with Reading next season.

AdamMorgan

Adam Morgan with Reading in 2012, image- Jay Floyd

Lefty pitcher Adam Morgan posted a 1-2 record along with a 6.61 ERA in six games (five starts). In 16 1/3 innings with the Scorpions, the 24-year-old struck out 11 and walked three. Morgan spent the 2014 regular season recovering from shoulder surgery he underwent last winter. He was rising quickly through the minors before he was sidelined, posting a 4.04 ERA in 16 starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2013 just two years after being the Phils’ 3rd round draft pick. The six-foot-one 195-pounder should return to the IronPigs’ rotation to start next season.

Righty reliever Nefi Ogando had a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.07 ERA in 12 AFL appearances. Ogando, who was acquired from Boston in a trade for John McDonald last year, struck out 15 and walked four in 14 2/3 innings with the Scorpions. The 25-year-old put together a 5-1 record with seven saves, a 6.27 ERA and a 9.16 K/9 mark in 48 games with Reading this year. Ogando has the potential to see some big league time next year, as his fastball can reach triple-digits and misses plenty of bats. His coaches like the flashes of dominance he was able to show in the Eastern League last year. Continue reading Phillies Arizona Fall League Rundown

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Phillies sign OF Francoeur, more to minor league deals

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, November 13, 2014 02:24 PM Comments: 11

It was announced on Thursday that the Phillies and outfielder Jeff Francoeur have agreed to terms on a minor league contract. The agreement includes an invitation to spring training.

Last season for Triple-A El Paso in the Padres organization, Francoeur tallied a .289 batting average with 15 homers and 69 RBI in 115 games. In 10 big league games with San Diego in 2014, the six-foot-four 220-pounder went 2-for-24 (.083 avg). Francoeur, who has also played with Atlanta, Kansas City, Texas, San Francisco and the Mets, possesses a .262/.305/.417 slash line in parts of 10 seasons in the majors.

Francoeur grabbed headlines early last season after he was the target of a lengthy prank by his El Paso teammates, who convinced the 30-year-old that a member of the roster, hurler Jorge Reyes, was deaf.

In 2005, as a member of the Braves, Francoeur finished third in National League rookie of the year voting behind Phils first baseman Ryan Howard and Houston outfielder Willy Taveras.

Additionally, the Phils will bring back infielders Andres Blanco and Russ Canzler. The 30-year-old Blanco split time with Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the Phils last year, posting a .277 average with a home run and three RBI in 25 games with the big league club. Canzler, 28, spent time last season with Double-A Reading and Lehigh Valley, sporting a combined .275 average with 13 homers and 58 RBI in 112 games.

Backstop John Hester, outfielder Xavier Paul as well as utility man Chase d’Arnaud, brother of former Phillies first round draft choice Travis d’Arnaud, were also inked by the Phillies.

With the addition of a veteran outfielder like Francoeur, along with the previously announced acquisitions of outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Darin Mastroianni, fans may wonder what the Phils intend to do with names like former top pick Zach Collier and longtime on-the-verge-of-a-breakout prospect Leandro Castro. Both youngsters have failed to prove themselves worthy of a big league call up in recent years, showing inconsistency at the plate while other outfield prospects like Cameron Perkins and Kelly Dugan have displayed more promise.

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Off-season league updates: Biddle falters; Martin, Hernandez, Cozens debut

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, November 09, 2014 02:35 PM Comments: 3

This week’s rundown includes details on some Phillies players making their off-season league debuts including Ethan Martin, Cesar Hernandez as well as outfield prospect Dylan Cozens along with updates on key names such as Jesse Biddle, Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr.  Read ahead for all your fall/winter league updates from around the globe.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League

Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd

Lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle had an alarming outing with Mayaguez on Saturday, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings while striking out four and walking two. The 23-year-old sports a 15.19 ERA in two outings in Puerto Rico. Biddle, the Phils’ top draft pick in 2010, posted a 5-10 record with a 4.58 ERA in 19 starts in the minors this year.

Also with Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin, who was acquired from the Dodgers by the Phils in the Roberto Hernandez trade this year, is 2-for-7 with an RBI in five games. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Emmanuel Marrero is 0-for-1 in two games for Santurce.  The 21-year-old switch-hitting infielder posted a .214/.272/.279 slash like in 60 games with short-season Class A Williamsport this year.

Venezuelan Winter League-

Righty hurler Ethan Martin made his VWL debut this week, throwing two scoreless frames while allowing one hit and striking out one for La Guaira. The 25-year-old allowed two earned runs in four innings with the big league club and sported a 3.93 ERA in 32 games in the minors this year. Martin was acquired from the Dodgers in the Shane Victorino trade in 2012.

Outfielder Cam Perkins, through eight games with La Guaira, posted a .292 average with a triple and an RBI.  Perkins last played on October 29th and was slated to be on the restricted list for a minimum of 14 days as he reportedly returned to the United States for some time.  In 126 combined games at Double-A and Triple-A this year, the 6th round draft pick from 2012 posted a .271 average with five homers and 51 RBI while swiping eight bags.

Outfielder Aaron Altherr is batting .270 with three home runs, 21 RBI and a steal in 22 games played with Zulia. The 23-year-old righty batter played in two games with the big league Phillies this year. In 127 minor league games in 2014, Altherr, the Phillies’ 9th round pick in 2009, posted a .237 average with 14 HR, 59 RBI and 13 stolen bases. Continue reading Off-season league updates: Biddle falters; Martin, Hernandez, Cozens debut

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Burnett Turns Down Player Option

Posted by Pat Egan, Mon, November 03, 2014 10:29 PM Comments: 11

AJ Burnett declined his player option. Contemplates retirement PHOTO: AP

A.J. Burnett declined his player option. Becomes a free agent  PHOTO: AP

In a move that has the Phillies front office breathing a sigh of relief, pitcher A.J. Burnett has turned down his $12.75 million player option and will become a free agent. This weekend the Phillies turned down their team option which cut Burnett’s player option from $15 million to $12.75 million.

Burnett was brought in last off-season in a move to bolster the pitching rotation after a very successful year with the Pirates but Burnett failed to match the success he had in Pittsburgh. Dealing with a hernia for much of the season Burnett compiled a 8-18 record with a 4.59 ERA. He led MLB in walks (96) and was second in MLB in hit batsmen (16). He will be 38 next season and his agent has stated that he expects Burnett to pitch “for a contender”. Shockingly that does not include the Phillies (in their minds).

Many thought that it was a forgone conclusion that Burnett would pick up his $12.75 million, after all who turns down that amount of money? But for a slightly better than average pitcher (4.04 career ERA), Burnett has done well for himself. His career earnings are $135,771,500. That’s $37 million more than Chris Carpenter. A.J. Burnett has made his money and he is willing to leave $12.75 million on the table in order to not play for the 2015 Phillies. And, honestly, who could really blame him?

According to a tweet from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, Burnett’s agent indicated that the veteran desires to compete for a team that’s slated to be a contender next year and not in rebuilding mode, like the Phillies are.

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Phillies off-season league notes: Biddle debuts, Quinn shines

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, November 02, 2014 11:50 AM Comments: 15

Throughout the autumn and winter months, we’ll be bringing you weekly roundups of how various Phillies players are performing in off-season leagues around the globe. This edition includes details on top pitching prospect Jesse Biddle‘s Puerto Rico debut, OF Roman Quinn, who shined in the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game on Saturday as well as plenty more. Read ahead for all the details.

Puerto Rico/Roberto Clemente League-

JesseBiddle5

Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd

Lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle allowed two earned runs, striking out three and walking two in three innings of work in a start for Mayaguez in his season debut on Friday. The 23-year-old was the Phils’ top draft choice in 2010. Biddle posted a 5-10 record with a 4.58 ERA in 19 starts in the minors this year.

Also with Mayaguez, Jesmuel Valentin, who was acquired from the Dodgers by the Phils in the Roberto Hernandez trade this year, is hitless with a walk in two at bats in two games. The 20-year-old infielder posted a .273/.341/.412 slash line in 120 minor league games this year.

Venezuelan Winter League-

With Zulia, outfielder Aaron Altherr is batting .250 with three home runs, 12 RBI  and an .865 OPS through 17 contests. The 23-year-old righty hitter played in two games with the big league Phillies this year. In 127 minor league games in 2014, Altherr, who was the Phillies’ 9th round pick in 2009, posted a .237 average with 14 HR, 59 RBI and 13 steals.

Freddy Galvis is batting .263 with a home run and three RBI through nine games also with Zulia. In 43 big league games this year, the switch-hitting infielder, who turns 26 years old this month, batted .176 with four home runs and 12 RBI.

First baseman/outfielder Wilmer Oberto is batting .219 with an RBI while being caught stealing twice in two attempts. Oberto, who turns 22 years old on Sunday, 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. Continue reading Phillies off-season league notes: Biddle debuts, Quinn shines

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Burnett, Phils both decline mutual option

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, November 01, 2014 01:05 AM Comments: 23

On Friday it was announced that A.J. Burnett and the Phillies declined their $15 million mutual option, leaving the righty hurler to decide whether to exercise his $12.75 million player option for next year.

The veteran, who turns 38 years old prior to spring training, posted an 8-18 record along with a 4.59 ERA in 34 starts this past season, his first with the team.  Burnett has until Monday, five days after the end of the World Series, to decide on his option.

Burnett led the National League in losses, walks issued and earned runs allowed in 2014.

With a salary of $16.75 million last season (including a signing bonus and performance bonuses), Burnett certainly didn’t perform up to expectations.  Even the Phillies and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., who are known to pay under-performing players over age 30 big money, should get a better return for their money than paying a guy more than $2 million per win.

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