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PhoulBallz Podcast Episode 75: Baseball Betsy & Hoby Milner Interviews

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, February 28, 2015 08:30 AM Comments: 0

On the 75th edition of the PhoulBallz Podcast, Tug and Jay are joined by Phillies and minor league blogger “Baseball Betsy”, who shares some stories about being an American parent to some of the Phils’ up and coming Latin prospects and gives some updates on the likes of Perci Garner, Adam Morgan, Grenny Cumana and Carlos Alonso. Lefty hurler Hoby Milner takes time to answer Nine Silly-ass Questions. The guys also discuss the Phillies diving into the analytics era at long last, Kelly Dugan‘s injury, questionable Twitter etiquette and plenty more.

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.

Additionally, thanks to the thousands of you for being part of the growing process as our previous episode featuring an interview with the aforementioned Alonso was our most downloaded episode ever.

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Tackling the New Game-Speed Rules for MLB

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Fri, February 27, 2015 01:14 PM Comments: 19

Earlier this week, Red Sox DH David Ortiz went on a rant about MLB’s recent pace-of-play rules that will be introduced for the first time in 2015.

“It seems like every rule goes in the pitcher’s favor,” Ortiz said. After a pitch, you got to stay in the box? One foot? I call that bulls—.”

Ortiz does, in fact, make a good point. Most pitchers in MLB, when they get into a certain rhythm, don’t like their pace to be disrupted. As a batter, you want to do everything in your power to disrupt that rhythm, which includes stepping out of the batters’ box in-between pitches.

With the new rules, batters can no longer exit the batters’ box unless they swing at a pitch, a timeout is called, or are forced out of the box by a pitch.

Even when one of these incidents do occur, the batter cannot leave the dirt area surrounding home plate. If a batter fails to follow these rules, a $500 fine will ensue.

“Well, I might run out of money,” said Ortiz when informed about the potential fines. “I’m serious. I’m not going to change my game. I don’t care what they say. My game, it’s not like I go around and do all kinds of stupid s—. But I have to take my time and think about what that [pitcher] is going to do next. I’m pretty sure every single hitter at this level is on the same page.” Continue reading Tackling the New Game-Speed Rules for MLB

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Has Ruben Amaro Gotten Gun Shy?

Posted by Pat Egan, Fri, February 27, 2015 10:29 AM Comments: 54

Ruben Amaro looks like he is making moves, but Phillies fans are still waiting for Cole Hamels to be dealt

Ruben Amaro looks like he is making moves, but Phillies fans are still waiting for Cole Hamels to be dealt

Your boss walks up to you and says “you have made poor decision after poor decision. It is hindering this company. I am giving you one last chance.” That sort of warning might alter how you do your job, and the decisions you make at this hypothetical job. There has been no such warning, that we know of, given to Ruben Amaro Jr. but its no secret that he has to get the Cole Hamels trade right. My question is; has that pressure made Amaro gun shy?

Amaro took a once proud franchise, and packed stadium, and turned them into a laughing stock that no one wants to go see play. The downfall of the Phillies is easy to pinpoint. The Phillies made a crippling trade for right fielder Hunter Pence, giving up four prospects, two of which are Major League regulars, and one (Santana) is close. But trading prospects is easy, getting quality prospects back is the hard part and Amaro has failed in many instances. Most notably the return he got when he traded Pence to the Giants, and the return he got for Shane Victorino. Both were sub par to put it mildly. And I am not saying they are sub par a few years after the dust has settled, I am saying at the time of the trades they were sub par.

Then you can look at the contracts given out by Amaro. Amaro went all Oprah Winfrey with “You get a vesting option! AND YOU get a vesting option! EVERYONE GETS A VESTING OPTIONNN!!!!”. It is no secret that the Phillies still have valuable assets on their team, but those assets are hard to move thanks to obtainable vesting options in their contracts. Both Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon would likely be in another teams uniform right now had it not been for the obtainable vesting options in their contracts. Continue reading Has Ruben Amaro Gotten Gun Shy?

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Oft-injured Dugan speaks on latest ailment

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, February 26, 2015 06:00 PM Comments: 1

KellyDugan5

Kelly Dugan, image- Jay Floyd

Phillies outfield prospect Kelly Dugan expects to be ready to play when the regular season gets rolling in April.

Sidelined with a stress reaction in his right foot, Dugan, who is no stranger to injuries, showed up to spring training this week in a walking boot and has engaged in limited activity thus far in Clearwater.  This issue popped up recently while the California native was running sprints.

For those wondering precisely what a stress reaction is, Dugan cleared that matter up.

“There is no fracture.  It’s a low level bone injury from stress to the area,” Dugan explained via text message on Thursday.

The 24-year-old is working to stay in shape in the weight room and states that he is able to play light catch with a regular shoe, free of any pain.

Dugan, who was the Phillies top draft selection (2nd round) in 2009, will be in the walking boot for another week.

“Things are going smoothly so far,” Dugan stated.  “Doctors and trainers expect me to be a full go before camp breaks because the MRI showing a stress reaction that was very mild.”

The son of Hollywood director Dennis Dugan, Kelly sports a solid career slash line (.293/.368/.451) in five pro seasons and will likely open the 2015 campaign on the Triple-A Lehigh Valley roster.

In his professional career, Dugan has spent time on the shelf with a collection of injuries including a staph infection, an ankle sprain, oblique strains and turf toe.

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Phillies to Induct Burrell Onto Wall of Fame

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Thu, February 26, 2015 11:48 AM Comments: 4

Today, the Phillies announced that they will induct former outfielder Pat Burrell onto their Wall of Fame later this season.

 

Burrell, the first overall pick in the 1998 draft, had his share of ups and downs while in a Phillies uniform. In nine seasons with the Phillies, Burrell posted a .257 batting average with 251 home runs and 827 RBIs. His OBP with the Phillies was a solid .367, and his slugging percentage was .485.

Burrell’s best season with the Phillies came back in 2002, where he set career-highs in both home runs (37) and batting average (.282).

Phillies fans will fondly remember Burrell as a notorious “Met killer.” During his nine years in Philly, Burrell hit 42 home runs and drove in 104 RBIs against the Mets in 151 games.

In his final game in a Phillies uniform, Burrell hit a double in game five of the 2008 World Series that led to the game-winning run driven in by Pedro Feliz.

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Howard Looking Fit; Lee Looking Like Lee

Posted by Pat Gallen, Thu, February 26, 2015 08:32 AM Comments: 6

-According to many reports in Clearwater, Ryan Howard has come into camp looking as fit as he has in many years. That line is rather customary this time of year, and can often mean nothing down the line. However, if there’s anyone who needs to be in pristine shape, it’s Ryan Howard. Hopefully his svelte appearance and somewhat-nimble feet translate into something that is a positive for the Phillies; either in the field or on the trade market.

I’ve seen reports from the beat writers with the Phillies that he’s running without a limp for the first time since Achilles surgery. That seems like decades ago.

Last season, playing in 153 games, Howard struggled. Sure, he hit 23 home runs, but his .310 on-base percentage and .380 slugging were by far the lowest of his career. How much can he up those numbers?

-Cliff Lee had not gotten the same publicity that Howard and Cole Hamels had all offseason. That has changed since he opened up his spring training press conference and conferred with a Magic 8 Ball for guidance. All he’ll need this year is a healthy arm and teams around baseball should be knocking on the Phillies door hoping to add a veteran presence to their rotation.

The healthy arm is not a given, as we know. Lee dealt with elbow troubles that sapped his season in 2014, allowing him to make just 13 starts. So far, so good.

Jim Salisbury reports Lee tossed from a mound 15 times before joining his mates in Clearwater, with no setbacks. On Wednesday, Lee threw batting practice to teammates and will look to ramp it up soon.

Last season, Lee’s 1.33 WHIP was the highest since 2007, just before his breakout Cy Young campaign with Cleveland. That was also a year that his ERA went north of six. Salisbury has rumbled that the Red Sox could press the issue with Lee should he show he’s healthy early on. We know Boston has interest in Hamels, but could look to Lee as a cheaper trade candidate.

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Report: Red Sox to Sign Cuban Prospect Moncada

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, February 23, 2015 09:22 AM Comments: 35

For those who hoped the Phillies would dive head first into the Cuban player pool once again, sorry to let you down.

According to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, highly-touted Red Sox prospect Yoan Moncada will sign with the Boston Red Sox for something in the neighborhood of $30 million bonus.

 

Moncada, 19, is an impressive infielder who was thought to be seeking much more than that reported price tag. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, and many other baseball pundits, Moncada would likely have been the #1 overall pick in the draft had he been eligible.

Of course, with all international signings, there’s plenty of risk involved. The Phillies took a dip in the pool signing Miguel A. Gonzalez and that has yet to pan out, although he inked a three-year, $12 million deal after a larger deal reportedly fell through.

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Top 10 Prospect Dugan Out with Foot Fracture

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, February 23, 2015 09:15 AM Comments: 2

According to reports from Clearwater, Phillies outfielder Kelly Dugan, who spent last season battling injuries at AA-Reading, will miss roughly two weeks with a stress fracture in his right foot.

Dugan, 24, was recently ranked the Phillies 8th best prospect for 2015 by our minor league contributor Jay Floyd.

Last year with Reading, Dugan was sidelined with multiple injuries and played in only 76 games. He batted 296/.383/.435 and improved on his K-rate.

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Prospect Nation 2015: #1 SS J.P. Crawford

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, February 23, 2015 07:30 AM Comments: 5

JPCraw1

J.P. Crawford, image- Jay Floyd

Prospects don’t come much more exciting than J.P. Crawford.  Equipped with big-time athleticism, a premium baseball IQ, leadership qualities and all the right on-field tools, the Phillies’ top draft selection from 2013 (16th overall) is already being referred to as the future of the franchise.

Prior to the draft, Crawford posted great numbers at Lakewood High School in California, batting .432 in 25 games during his senior season and he stands as the school’s all-time leader in hits and runs scored at a school that also produced former Phillies 1st round draft choice and current Mets backstop Travis d’Arnaud.

After signing his first pro deal, Crawford joined the Phillies system and quickly proved to be among the organization’s most talented young players.

Upon making his minor league debut as an 18-year-old with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, Crawford was very impressive. He was tops in the GCL in batting for a considerable stretch and posted a .345 average with a homer, 19 RBI and 12 stolen bases through 39 games. To wrap up the regular season, the youngster was promoted up two levels to Class A full season Lakewood. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #1 SS J.P. Crawford

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Hamels Conveys Love and Commitment to Philly

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Sat, February 21, 2015 08:28 PM Comments: 3

Everyone with an ounce of baseball knowledge knows that the Phillies will likely not compete for a shot at the postseason in 2015. Cole Hamels knows this as well, and expressed his desire to win in an interview with USA TODAY last Wednesday.

However, Hamels took a different approach earlier today and expressed his love for the “City of Brotherly Love.”

“I’ve made my home in Philadelphia since the beginning,” said Hamels. “This is where I’m fully committed.”

Hamels also knows what his job is as long as he’s in a Phillies uniform.

DAVID SWANSON — AP

DAVID SWANSON — AP

“My job is to be accountable for what the expectations that are put on me,” said Hamels. “I only have one direction and one position, and that’s to be able to go pitch and go win ballgames. That’s all I can really do.”

Hamels has certainly done that over the course of his nine-year career. In 274 starts, Hamels is 108-83, with a 3.27 ERA and 1,707 strikeouts in 1,801.1 innings pitched.

Those numbers have made Hamels one of the best left-handed pitchers in MLB, and has been the center of trade talks the entire offseason. By now, Hamels should have been traded, but Ruben Amaro Jr. has not found a deal to his liking. Some may argue that the Phillies’ price tag for the former World Series MVP is too high, but the Phillies need to make sure they get the right pieces in return for a deal involving Hamels.

In short, Amaro and the Phillies cannot afford to screw this up.

As long as he’s here, Hamels is fully committed to the Phillies.

“I think you guys have seen how I play, the type of character that I have when I step out onto the field,” said Hamels. “Go out there and be the best that you can, because at some point it’s all going to end. So you at least want to know that you left everything out on the field.”

With his comments from last Wednesday surely fresh in his mind, Hamels said what every athlete would say in his position; he needs to do his job, no matter the team he’s playing for.

“At this given moment, I’m a Phillie,” Hamels said. “All I can do is get ready for the season. No matter the name on my chest, I have a job to do and I have to be accountable for it.”

Hamels is well aware of the Phillies’ plans to rebuild the team in order to become a contender again. He also realizes that there is nothing he can do, but go out there every fifth day and pitch.

“An organization, they have a bigger picture that they have to worry about,” said Hamels. “As a player, we really have to take the straight-and-narrow approach. We have a job to do, people are counting on us. I’m just one piece of the puzzle, and as long as I can go out and do what they expect, then I’m fulfilling my end of the bargain.”

As things stand right now, Hamels is the Phillies’ opening day starter. Until then, he plans to approach this spring training like any other, even though the Phillies are not expected to make a run at the postseason.

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