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Posts Tagged ‘Dusty Wathan’

Reading’s Murphy Increases Versatility with Time in Outfield

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, August 29, 2013 01:30 PM Comments: 4

Jim Murphy, Image- Jay Floyd

With the Phillies’ decision to try Double-A third base prospect Maikel Franco at first base recently a bit of a dilemma with how to use slugger Jim Murphy arose.  The 27-year-old Eastern League All-Star has held down first base at several levels of the minors since he was drafted by the Phillies out of Washington State University in 2008.

Murphy, who is among the league leaders in home runs (22) and RBI (81) was without a spot in the Reading Fightin Phillies’ lineup against National League affiliated opponents down the stretch, as teams do not use a designated hitter in those match ups.

Some luck came Murphy’s way this week when a lineup spot abruptly vacated by outfielder Kelly Dugan, who was a late scratch on Tuesday, left an opening for Murphy.  The righty batter has never given up on his dreams of climbing all the way up the developmental ladder, despite seemingly being provided with limited opportunities at times.

“The Phillies want Franco to get some games in at first and (manager Dusty Wathan) wanted me to stay in the lineup for National League games, so I worked out there for a few days,” Murphy stated.  “Don’t know what the future will hold for me in the outfield but it would add value to myself to have a secondary position. It was fun to be out there.” Continue reading Reading’s Murphy Increases Versatility with Time in Outfield

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Fightins Quotables: Wathan on Biddle, Wright & Colvin; Wright on Role Change

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, August 04, 2013 01:35 PM Comments: 3

This weekend I chatted with Reading manager Dusty Wathan about the recent output of star prospect Jesse Biddle as well as changes of roles for hurlers Austin Wright and Brody Colvin.  Additionally, I spoke with Wright, the Phillies’ 8th round draft selection out of the University of Mississippi in 2011, about his move to the bullpen after steadily being a starter throughout his pro career.

Full Q&A with both men lies ahead…

Dusty Wathan:

- Can you share some thoughts on Jesse Biddle’s effort out there against the Trenton Thunder on Friday (Biddle allowed three earned runs in five innings, after allowing nine earned runs in two total innings in his previous two outings)?

I thought he did a lot better.  I mean, I think the biggest thing was he went out there and struggled, obviously, throwing strikes the last two outings, but the biggest thing was we got him back into a routine and he got himself out of a jam in the 1st and, you know, he’s still a guy that wants to be perfect and he’s learning that he can’t be perfect and he’s not going to be perfect.  You know, a couple pitches got him (in that game), but I thought he threw the ball well.  The velocity was up.  He threw some good breaking balls.  Could have threw some more change ups, but all in all I thought it was a very positive outing.

- I know with Jesse, you kind of alluded to struggles the past two outings, are there any specific things that the coaching staff cited with him or noticed differences in him that would have resulted in the poor efforts?

I think him just trying to be too perfect.  He’s a guy that thinks perfection is attainable and hasn’t quite realized that it’s not.  I think just trying to put the ball on the corner every time, I think he’s realizing that he can throw the ball over the plate.  With his stuff, he’s good enough to get outs by throwing the ball to thirds of the plate or halves of the plate early in the count and that’s just something he’s going to have to learn or realize.

- There’s lots of media attention and the park in Trenton has been packed for obvious reasons (Alex Rodriguez‘s rehab games).  I was wondering if you think extra buzz or attention like this can have a good impact on players at this level.

Oh, absolutely.  I think any time you get more people out to watch ball games and the more buzz you have in the crowd, it’s better for these guys any time you can do that.  We’re lucky in the affiliates that we have to draw a lot of fans and we’re very grateful for that and any time we come to Trenton, we seem to have a pretty good contingent.  But with A-Rod being here, I think it’s a great situation. Continue reading Fightins Quotables: Wathan on Biddle, Wright & Colvin; Wright on Role Change

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Prospect Jam at the Hot Corner for Phillies

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, July 06, 2013 09:55 AM Comments: 20

MaikelFranco

Maikel Franco is on the rise, image- Jay Floyd

Third base has been a troublesome offensive spot for the Phillies over the last decade. A homegrown prospect hasn’t graced the hot corner for the Fightins since 2002, when the club dealt former second-round pick Scott Rolen. In the years since that swap, Phillies third basemen have lacked the usual power that comes from third base.

During a period when the big league team enjoyed five straight division titles and a couple of World Series bids, the void at third base didn’t stand out very much because of all the offense posted by nearly every other position on the field. But as players around the diamond have declined, the lack of pop from the hot corner has been more apparent.

Over the past decade the Phillies for the most part used Placido Polanco, David Bell and Pedro Feliz — a group that posted weak stat lines compared to MLB averages from 3B over the same stretch.

Since the Phils traded away Rolen, the 29 other teams have roughly averaged a .262 batting average, while tallying 261 homers and 1,119 RBI from their third basemen. The Phils’ talent at that position has delivered a .256 average with just 150 total home runs and 927 total RBI.

On the way to the rescue is a pair of prospects that have swiftly risen through the Phillies’ developmental ranks. With Triple-A All-Star Cody Asche and Futures Game representative Maikel Franco pounding opposing pitchers for their respective teams, the Phils could soon be faced with a problem they’ll enjoy hashing out — having two ascending stars make a push for a starting role at the big-league level at once.

But, will the Phillies, as a precaution, make a move to prevent any crowding at third base?

“Right now, I don’t think so,” Reading manager Dusty Wathan said of the possibility of the Phillies forecasting a change of positions for either Asche of Franco, to prevent a conflict at the position at the top level of the Phils’ organization. Continue reading Prospect Jam at the Hot Corner for Phillies

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Fightins Quotables: Wathan Speaks on Biddle, Wright, Franco, Gillies and more

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, July 05, 2013 08:00 AM Comments: 0

I sat down with Double-A Reading manager Dusty Wathan on Thursday to chat about several key names in the Phillies’ developmental ranks.  Among the topics of discussion were top Phils prospect lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle, fast rising third base prospect Maikel Franco, struggling left-handed starter Austin Wright and outfielder Tyson Gillies, who earned a promotion from Reading to Triple-A Lehigh Valley this week.

Read ahead for all the quotes, plus some bonus Fightins related news blurbs at the end…

- Lefty pitcher Jesse Biddle has now gone eight straight starts without a win.  As good as Jesse is, can this sort of stretch be disruptive or discouraging for a young player?

Well, I think a lot of times, every year you can look and see one guy who pitches well and doesn’t get the wins to show for how well he’s pitched.  And a lot of it comes down to run support.  It’s a difficult situation sometimes, but it’s just, every year it seems like one of the guys in the rotation has trouble getting runs scored for him and Jesse seems to be that guy this year.  He’s a guy- obviously, he’s a huge competitor who wants to win, but in the long run, as long as he’s making improvements every start and getting himself better as we go…the wins are always nice as a ball club, but I tell these guys that if we don’t win any games and everybody gets better, then we’ve done our job. 

(To see Biddle shut down rehabbing Yankees player Eduardo Nunez in three at bats, click here.)

- Maikel Franco‘s joined the club here and has had some really good success, batting .407 in 14 games with four homers.  Clearly, he’s taken some big strides.  I wanted to ask if you saw him in spring training to remark about the difference between then and now and just your thoughts on his progress.


Yeah, I didn’t really get a change to see him a whole lot in spring.  A couple games, but nothing over an extended period of time.  I saw him play in instructional league a couple years ago and, obviously, he’s a kid that’s developed into a pretty good pure hitter, I think.  He’s got some power, obviously.  But, I think the thing you see in him is that he goes up there and young hitters a lot of times they’ll have a tendency to go up there and chase pitch after pitch out of the zone or make the same mistake twice.  He doesn’t tend to do that.  He’ll make the adjustment in the middle of his at bat.  Continue reading Fightins Quotables: Wathan Speaks on Biddle, Wright, Franco, Gillies and more

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Catching Prospect Rupp on the Rise

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sat, May 04, 2013 09:00 AM Comments: 0

Cameron Rupp, image- Jay Floyd

In an organization stocked with catching talent, Cameron Rupp has, at times, been an afterthought.  That isn’t the case any longer, as the Phils’ 3rd round draft choice from 2010 has forced the team’s brass and scouts alike to take notice and hold him in consideration as a potential big league backstop candidate.

While Rupp’s numbers (.215 avg, two home runs, six RBI through 18 games) aren’t overly impressive thus far this season, it’s the overall effort, defensive skills and numbers from previous seasons that have the projected ceiling for the University of Texas product on the rise.

Rupp’s manager, Dusty Wathan, who had a 14-year playing career as a catcher, sees a great amount of potential in the six-foot-two 230-pounder and thinks that his future is bright, comparing him to the Phils’ current big league All-Star at the same position.

Carlos Ruiz came here eight or nine years ago and wasn’t very touted and look where he is now.  He has been a big contributor and to the World Series. I just think, hopefully, Cameron Rupp can be in that same mold. A guy that wasn’t really touted, wasn’t really a big prospect and, you know, has just worked hard and put himself on the map,” Wathan asserted. Continue reading Catching Prospect Rupp on the Rise

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Prospect Nation 2013: The Prelude

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, January 15, 2013 02:05 PM Comments: 4

We’re just under a month until pitchers and catcher are due to report to Clearwater for spring training. That means it’s time to kick off our annual countdown of the top 25 prospects in the Phillies organization. Gradually, in the coming weeks, leading to the kickoff of the 2013 regular season, I will be unveiling player reviews for each of the top developmental talent that you, as Phillies fans, should be familiar with.

Taken into consideration when reviewing these young talents will be age, minor league performance relative to levels played, value to the organization as well as future potential.

These rankings will not include players over 25-years-old or individuals that have spents lengthy and multiple stretches in the big leagues. Thus, players such as Austin Hyatt, Darin Ruf, Justin De Fratus, Phillippe Aumont and Jake Diekman will not appear on this year’s list.

Some very talented youngsters did not make the cut simply because other individuals ranked higher. Included in the group that fell short of making this year’s top 25 list are outfielders Leandro Castro and Jiwan James as well as righty pitchers Colby Shreve, David Buchanan and Gabriel Arias.

Additionally, 2012 draft picks Mitch Gueller and Dylan Cozens weren’t far off the list either and, with their exceptional talents that earned them each a considerable signing bonus from the Phillies, could very well find themselves on this list next year. Continue reading Prospect Nation 2013: The Prelude

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PN Interview: Colby Shreve, Fall League Edition

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, October 26, 2012 05:00 PM Comments: 0

Through six relief appearances in the Arizona Fall League righty hurler Colby Shreve has posted a 1..35 ERA while holding opponents to a .167 average.

At three levels during the 2012 regular season, the 24-year-old College of Southern Nevada product tallied a 6-3 record with a 3.69 ERA and a 7.38 K/9 mark.  A slight adjustment to his arm angle this year helped the 6-foot-5 210-pounder to upgrade his velocity, which was steadily clocked at 95 MPH in 2012.

The Phillies’ 6th round draft selection in 2008, Shreve had Tommy John surgery and missed his first full season following signing a professional contract, as he recovered.

Recently, Colby took some time to offer his thoughts on the AFL and what he’s working on while there.  Read ahead for that interview.

-How did you find out you’d be competing in the Arizona Fall Lg and what was your reaction?

I found out I was coming to the fall league about 10 days before our regular season ended. I was excited to come to the fall league, just as I was last year. It is a great opportunity to compete against the best competition in the minor leagues and showcase yourself in front of every MLB team. Continue reading PN Interview: Colby Shreve, Fall League Edition

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PN Interview: Cody Asche, Fall League Edition

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, October 16, 2012 11:55 AM Comments: 5

The Arizona Fall League is in full swing and Phils third base prospect Cody Asche (pronounced ASH-ee) is leading the way for the Peoria Javelinas.

Last year’s 4th round draft selection out of the University of Nebraska posted a .324 batting average with 12 homers and 72 RBI through 130 combined games with Class A Advanced Clearwater and Double A Reading in his first full season as a pro this year.

Thus far in five games, playing for the Javelinas, Asche is sporting a .375 average with four doubles, three RBI and two runs scored.

This week, Cody answered some questions, sharing his thoughts on the AFL, the Phillies’ new hitting coach Steve Henderson and plenty more.  Read ahead to check out that full interview.

- What are your early thoughts on playing in the Arizona Fall League and the competition there?

It is a great experience. You get to play against organizations and players that you haven’t seen before. The competition is great.  Everyone playing is here for a reason.

- Many players from last year’s Arizona Fall League made their MLB debuts this year.  Clearly that ultimate goal must always be in the back of your mind, but does an experience like this make you feel legitimately closer to the big show?

Not really, no. I do know the track record of players in the AFL, but they weren’t called up because they played in this league. No matter what you do, you will have to go prove yourself everyday, no matter what league you are in. You have to go out and earn your call-up.
Continue reading PN Interview: Cody Asche, Fall League Edition

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Castro’s Cockiness Cause For Concern?

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, August 02, 2012 08:00 AM Comments: 2

Showing off is part of growing up. We all did it at some point. Get a new bike or skate board; ride it everywhere possible, to ensure maximum visibility. Get a new outfit or jacket; wear it as soon as possible, even if the weather isn’t suitable. Drill a no-doubt-about-it home run on the little league field; laugh and celebrate while you jog as slowly as possible to savor every second of it.

Generally those are the types of things people grow out of, but not Phillies outfield prospect Leandro Castro, who enjoys his time on the baseball field to the fullest with tons childlike gusto.

Castro, who was signed by the Phillies at age 17 in 2007, loves the spotlight and can regularly be seen dancing, grooving, laughing, trotting, head wagging and doing everything shy of taunting opposing players while on the field or in the dugout. Unfortunately, for Castro, at times the gloating or prancing is not necessarily to the liking of the Phillies organization, according to Reading Phillies manager Dusty Wathan.

“He grew up that way and it’s something we try to take a little bit out of it. You don’t want to take all of that out of a player, but you definitely don’t want too much of it and he has, at times, too much. And it’s constant work for him, but I’m very happy with his workload this year and what he’s done,” Wathan stated recently. Continue reading Castro’s Cockiness Cause For Concern?

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R-Phils’ Gillies Suspended For Violating Team Rules

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, July 19, 2012 07:08 PM Comments: 14

Shortly before the Reading Phillies’ road contest against the Trenton Thunder on Thursday night, the team announced that often injured outfielder Tyson Gillies had been suspended for violation of team rules.

The 23-year-old British Columbia native returned this week after suffering a concussion in a collision with fellow outfielder Jiwan James back in May. In two games after being activated from the disabled list, Gillies went a combined 4-for-7.

Overall in 44 games this season for Double-A Reading, Gillies, who was acquired from Seattle in the 2009 Cliff Lee trade, posted a .291 average with seven doubles, six triples, two home runs and 16 RBI in 44 games. Additionally, Gillies, who stands 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighs 205 pounds, went 2-for-5 in two rehab outings with the Class-A Lakewood BlueClaws.

According to a team source, Gillies’ suspension is indefinite. Continue reading R-Phils’ Gillies Suspended For Violating Team Rules

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