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Prospecting

Nola shines brightly in big league spring debut

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, March 27, 2015 02:45 PM Comments: 8

spring-training-2015Clouds and rain showers couldn’t prevent the Phillies’ top pitching prospect from shining on Friday when he took the mound for the first time in a big league spring training game.

In three innings of work in relief against the Yankees, Aaron Nola allowed five hits and no runs while striking out four and walking none. His efforts included punch outs of legendary sluggers Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran.

Those getting their first look at Nola took notice of the polished control of his three pitches and his comfort level on the mound. His fast ball ranged from 92 to 94 MPH with movement, his change up was used to his advantage, , making some batters look foolish, and his breaking ball supplemented both of the other offerings nicely, keeping the opposition guessing.

Nola was taken with the seventh overall selection in last year’s MLB amateur draft. He sported a 4-3 record with a 2.93 ERA and a .240 batting average against in 12 combined games for Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Continue reading Nola shines brightly in big league spring debut

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Prospect Nation 2015: #2 RHP Aaron Nola

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, February 21, 2015 07:30 AM Comments: 19

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Aaron Nola, image- Jay Floyd

Selected with the 7th overall pick in last year’s MLB amateur draft, righty hurler Aaron Nola has been one of the Phillies’ most promising prospects since day one.

The six-foot-one 196-pounder was a First Team All-American in his junior season at LSU last year, posting an 11-1 record along with a 1.47 ERA and a 10.37 K/9 mark in 16 starts. He enjoyed a tremendous college career, twice winning SEC Player of the Year honors while compiling a 30-6 overall record with a 2.09 ERA in three seasons.

Nola signed quickly with the Phils and made his pro debut as a member of the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers on June 23rd, taking a loss by allowing four earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.  Over his following five starts, Nola let up seven earned runs in 24 innings (2.63 ERA) and earned a promotion to Double-A.

With Reading, the 21-year-old Nola would close out his season with a 2-0 record and a 2.63 ERA in five games.

Overall, in 12 minor league appearances (11 starts) last year, the Louisiana native tallied a 4-3 record as well as a 2.93 ERA along with 45 strike outs and 10 walks in 55 1/3 innings. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #2 RHP Aaron Nola

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Prospect Nation 2015: #3 3B/1B Maikel Franco

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, February 20, 2015 01:42 PM Comments: 2

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Maikel Franco, image- Jay Floyd

Despite a difficult stretch last season, corner infielder Maikel Franco remains as one of the Phillies’ most promising prospects.

Signed as an amateur free agent by the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic in 2010, Franco would make his professional debut with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies that same year. As a 17-year-old, he posted respectable numbers, with a line of .222/.292/.330 in 51 games.

A year later, the righty hitting Franco began the season in extended spring training and later competed with the short-season A level Williamsport Crosscutters. Franco looked great against New York-Penn League competition, posting a .274/.339/.389 line while driving in 28 runs in 42 games before earning a promotion to full season Class A Lakewood.

In the South Atlantic League, at the age of 18, the baby-faced Franco struggled quite a bit. In 17 contests for the BlueClaws, Franco went 8-for-67 (.123 avg) and racked up an extremely weak .349 OPS.  The Phillies realized Franco was over-matched and that he was growing discouraged, so he was re-assigned back to Williamsport, where he finished the season by batting .333 with seven extra-base hits and 10 RBI over his final 13 games with the Crosscutters.

In 2012, Franco returned to Lakewood, showing much improvement throughout the season. Franco began the year at somewhat of a slow pace, batting just .207 with six homers, 27 RBI and a .607 OPS before he heated things up after the South Atlantic League All-Star break. In the second half of the season, Franco really showed what he can do at the plate, tallying a .346 average with eight home runs, 57 RBI, which were tops in the league during that stretch, and a .925 OPS. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #3 3B/1B Maikel Franco

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Prospect Nation 2015: #4 OF Roman Quinn

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, February 19, 2015 07:30 AM Comments: 3

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Roman Quinn, image- Jay Floyd

After bouncing back from significant surgery last season, Roman Quinn showed exactly why he has been so highly regarded since he was selected by the Phillies in the second round of the 2011 draft.

Making his pro debut with short-season Class A Williamsport in 2012, Quinn shined, putting together a .281 average with nine doubles, a league-leading 11 triples, one homer and 23 RBI while swiping 30 bases in 36 opportunities.

Those excellent offensive efforts came while learning to switch hit and adapting to a defensive switch to the infield after playing mostly outfield prior to signing his first pro deal.

Comfort was a big factor for Quinn in 2013, according to his Class A Lakewood coaches, who saw things get easier for the youngster at the plate as the season went on.  Quinn opened that campaign as a 19-year-old.  He got off to a rough start, batting .202 with a .556 OPS in 22 April games.  In May, things began to look up, offensively, for Quinn, as he tallied a .304 average with an .874 OPS in 26 contests.  His season would not last much longer, as the Florida resident was hit by a pitch that resulted in a broken left wrist in June.

The Florida native wrapped up his 2013 BlueClaws campaign sporting a .238 average with seven doubles, three triples, five home runs and 32 stolen bases in 41 chances through 67 games. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #4 OF Roman Quinn

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Prospect Nation 2015: #5 LHP Jesse Biddle

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, February 15, 2015 06:10 PM Comments: 13

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Jesse Biddle, image- Jay Floyd

Lefty pitching prospect Jesse Biddle had a difficult season last year, but injuries and shaky stats aside, he’s still a prospect the Phillies will count on to take strides toward helping the big club in the near future.

Selected in the opening round of the 2010 draft, Biddle, who grew up as a Phillies fan, quickly made his minor league debut, beginning his journey toward donning the uniform of the team he cheered on from the seats of Citizens Bank Park all throughout his childhood and teenage years. The graduate of Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia combined to post a 4-1 record with a 3.92 ERA and a .241 batting average against in 12 starts with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies and short-season A level Williamsport in 2010.

The following season, Biddle became an All-Star in the Class A South Atlantic League as a member of the Lakewood BlueClaws. As the team’s most dependable starter through much of the year, Biddle posted a 7-8 record with a 2.98 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) and notched 124 strike outs in 133 innings pitched while sporting a.219 batting average against.

In 2012, the young hurler had quite a solid season, representing the Class A Advanced Clearwater Threshers in the Florida State League All-Star Game. That year he tallied a 10-6 record with a 3.22 ERA, a 9.53 K/9 mark and a .237 batting average against. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #5 LHP Jesse Biddle

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Prospect Nation 2015: #6 RHP Zach Eflin

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, February 14, 2015 08:05 AM Comments: 4

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Zach Eflin, image- MiLB.com

Right-hander Zach Eflin was the key target when the Phillies dealt former National League MVP Jimmy Rollins this off-season.  With a load of buzz about this young hurler, Eflin will look to prove himself worthy of being part of a trade for an organizational legend.

Selected with the 33rd overall pick in the 2012 draft by San Diego out of Hagerty High School in FL, Eflin made his professional debut that same year as a member of the rookie level Arizona League Padres.  In four games (three starts), the six-foot-four 200-pounder posted a 0-1 record with a 7.71 ERA, as an 18-year-old.

After making minimal impact upon his minor league debut, Eflin came back strong in 2013, tallying a 7-6 record along with a 2.73 ERA, a .239 batting average against and a 6.52 K/9 mark in 22 starts with Class A Fort Worth.

Last season, as a 20-year-old, Eflin sported a 10-7 record with a 3.80 ERA and a 6.54 K/9 in 24 starts for Lake Elsinore in the Class A California League.

Eflin, who turns 21-year-old on April 8th, has a mid-90′s fastball, a quality curve ball with some nice break as well as a change up that has great potential which he is working to perfect.  Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #6 RHP Zach Eflin

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Prospect Nation 2015: #7 RHP Ben Lively

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, February 13, 2015 02:00 PM Comments: 2

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Ben Lively, image- MiLB.com

Acquired this off-season from Cincinnati, righty hurler Ben Lively would quickly land among the ranks of top Phillies prospect.  He’ll enter this coming season looking to prove why.

Originally selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, the Florida native would begin his pro career as a member of the rookie level Billings Mustangs.  In 12 starts, Lively would tally a 0-3 record with a 0.73 ERA and an 11.92 K/9 mark.  He was promoted to Class A Dayton to close out the season with a single start, allowing one earned run in four innings of work while striking out seven and walking one.

This was fresh off his junior season at the University of Central Florida where, in 15 games,  he went 7-5 with a 2.04 ERA and an 8.57 K/9 mark as the team’s ace.

Lively would follow up his exceptional year by becoming the Reds’ minor league player of the year in 2014.  Opening the season with Class A Advanced Bakersfield, Lively posted a 10-1 record with a 2.28 ERA, a .201 batting average against and a 10.82 K/9 mark in 13 starts.  A stretch of 31 consecutive scoreless innings as a member of the Blaze got Lively some considerable attention and he was selected as a California League All-Star.

In mid-June, he was promoted to his hometown Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos.  There, he would sport a 3-6 record with a 3.88 ERA, a .232 batting average against and a 9.5 K/9 mark. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #7 RHP Ben Lively

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Prospect Nation 2015: #8 OF Kelly Dugan

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, February 12, 2015 08:00 AM Comments: 4

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Kelly Dugan, image- Jay Floyd

After entering last season as one of the Phillies’ most promising offensive prospects, outfielder Kelly Dugan worked hard to continue his path toward the big league.  He’ll enter 2015 just a step away from that goal and will look to dodge the pesky injury bug in order to get there.

Signed as the Phillies top draft selection (2nd round, 75th overall) in 2009, Dugan would debut with the Gulf Coast League Phillies that year, posting a .233 average with eight doubles, a triple and eight RBI in 45 games. The following season, with the GCL team and short-season Class A Williamsport, Dugan sported a .366 average with a homer and eight RBI in 28 combined games. He missed roughly two months of action with the Crosscutters after he was hit in the leg with a batted ball during batting practice in June and later developed a staph infection that required draining.

In 2011, the lefty batting Dugan returned to Williamsport and represented the club in the New York-Penn League All-Star Game.  As a member of the Cutters, in 47 games, he sported a .284 batting average along with two home runs and 21 RBI.

With Class A Lakewood the following season, after missing time with a severely sprained ankle, Dugan displayed improved power and steady production, as he notched a .300 batting average, 12 homers and 60 RBI in 117 games. Additionally, his OPS, at .857, was .127 points higher than his mark from the previous season, which was exciting to see. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #8 OF Kelly Dugan

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Prospect Nation 2015: #10 LHP Yoel Mecias

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, February 07, 2015 08:30 AM Comments: 3

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Yoel Mecias, image- Jay Floyd

After missing about a full year of action, pitcher Yoel Mecias returned to the mound by mid-season last year and proved why he’s been a highly regarded hurler in the Phillies system.

After he was recognized as a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2013 with the Class A BlueClaws, it was determined that the left-hander would require reconstructive surgery to repair the damaged UCL in his throwing arm.  That season in 13 games (11 starts), Mecias tallied a 4-3 record with a 3.79 ERA, a .244 batting average against and an 11.05 K/9 mark.

That campaign followed his 2012 season in which he made his professional debut with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies in 2012, tallying a 0-2 record with two saves and a 2.16 ERA in 14 games (four starts).

Following the Tommy John surgery, Mecias returned to game action last June, when he posted a 0-1 record with a 4.76 ERA while striking out 10 and walking eight in 17 innings. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #10 LHP Yoel Mecias

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Prospect Nation 2015: #11 LHP Matt Imhof

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, February 06, 2015 09:00 AM Comments: 0

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Matt Imhof, image- Jay Floyd

Chosen with the Phillies’ second round draft pick last year, hurler Matt Imhof quickly jumped into the Phillies prospect ranks and looks poised to make a big impact in the minor leagues this year following an impressive professional debut.

In his junior season at Cal Poly last year, the left-hander posted a 10-4 record with a 2.45 ERA and an 11.24 K/9 mark in 15 starts while earning second team All-American honors.  He wrapped up his college career with an 18-7 record and a 2.68 ERA in 48 games.

After being selected 47th overall by the Phillies in June, Imhof quickly signed his first pro deal and proceeded to pitch at three levels of the developmental ranks.  Following his initial outing in which he tossed three scoreless frames for the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies, Imhof was promoted to short-season A level Williamsport.  As a member of the Crosscutters, he posted a 1-0 record while allowing just one earned run in 12 innings (0.75 ERA).

In mid-July, the six-foot-five 220-pounder earned another promotion to Class A Lakewood, where he tallied a 0-2 record with a 4.28 ERA in seven starts.

Overall in 11 minor league appearances, the California native sported a .260 batting average against along with an 8.5 K/9 mark as well as a 2.34 BB/9 mark. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2015: #11 LHP Matt Imhof

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