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Posts Tagged ‘Lehigh Valley’

Ken Giles, And The Battle For Closer In 2015

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Fri, August 29, 2014 11:00 AM Comments: 7

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Szagola)

PHOTO: (AP/Chris Szagola)

Ken Giles has been good this year. Really good. The 23 year old, flamethrowing reliever was called up on June 8 after Mike Adams was placed on the disabled list with shoulder issues. Giles had a 1.88 ERA and 12 saves in the minors for Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley prior to the call up.

He was only expected to fill in for Adams and provide some spark in the late innings ahead of Jonathan Papelbon.

But he’s done so much more.

In 32 appearances and 33.2 innings, Giles has given up just six runs–five earned, good for an ERA of 1.34. He doesn’t give up many home runs (0.27 per 9), and doesn’t allow much contact–battersare making contact at a rate 67.4% against him, 4th in the NL. He has a 5.33 K/BB ratio, which is 8th in the NL (relievers, min 30 IP), and largely due to his absurd amount (48) of strikeouts. Among NL relievers with at least 30 innings pitched, both his K/9 (12.83) and his K% (38.1%) are in the top five. An interesting and unrelated note–Jake Diekman is right up there with Giles in both those categories.

Giles has an average velocity of 97.1 on his fastball, second in MLB to only cyborg Aroldis Chapman of the Reds. He also throws a nasty slider, and, according to PITCHf/x data, is the 16th most valuable in the league. 32 of his 48 strikeouts (two thirds) have come via the slider, and opponents are hitting just .137/.154/.157 against it. He’s given up just one extra base hit in 208 sliders thrown (0.48%).

The fastball-slider combo reminds me of another Phillies closer–Brad Lidge. His fastball velocity hovered around 95 MPH before he began to lose it (the average fell to about 89 MPH by 2011) and his slider was valued at 4th in all of baseball from 2007-2011. About 81.8% of his strikeouts came via his slider, and opponents hit just .190/.251/.301 against it. They’d only make contact on 54.8% of swings against it, and hit just 35 extra base hits in 2202 total pitches seen (1.6%).

PHOTO: (AP/Laurence Kesterson)

PHOTO: (AP/Laurence Kesterson)

The current closer for the Phillies–Jonathan Papelbon–has been as good as ever in 2014. He has an ERA of 1.60 (11th in NL), a K/BB ratio of 4.15 (21st in NL, and a fastball valued at 4th best in the NL. Many of his numbers this year are somewhere near his career bests, even though his fastball velocity is down. I should also mention that a few of his numbers are somewhere near his career lows as well. He gets a lot of flack for his comments to the media and his slow pace on the mound, but there’s no denying he’s been good this year.

But what about next year? The Phillies have been openly trying to trade Papelbon, or “Cinco Ocho”, as he likes to call himself–no no avail. In that article, Ken Rosenthal ponders that the lack of interest in Papelbon might be due to his falling velocity and his personality, but that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. doesn’t think so.

Regardless, the Phillies will have to make a decision on Papelbon for next year, because Giles seems ready to take over at closer and I don’t think it’s likely that Papelbon can continue to pitch at this level. If they want to go with Giles, they will have to get rid of Papelbon in some capacity, whether it be via trade or release, because Papelbon will not want to be a setup man, even though he’s really helped groom Giles this year.

I think Giles deserves it, and I think Papelbon will regress next year, and has rubbed Phillies fans the wrong way too often for the Phillies to sell him as the closer over Giles in 2015.

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Phillies Release INF Ronny Cedeno

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Tue, March 25, 2014 10:21 AM Comments: 11

430592The Phillies have announced the release of  veteran backup infielder Ronny Cedeno, according to multiple reports on Twitter. He was hitting .182/.250/.273 in 13 games this Spring as a non-roster invitee.

After Kevin Frandsen was optioned to Lehigh Valley (AAA) on Sunday, the backup shortstop spot on the bench is down to just two in-house candidates: Cesar Hernandez (.281/.314/.313) and Reid Brignac (.353/.476/.529).  Freddy Galvis remains sidelined indefinitely with a MRSA infection.

The Phillies could look outside the organization for help, as well. As Todd Zolecki and Mett Gelb point out, Cesar Izturis is available.

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Phils Acquire C Koyie Hill

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, March 17, 2014 05:33 PM Comments: 6

http://cdn.sportsoverdose.com/thumbs/koyie-hill-55-mlb.jpgAccording to Washington Nationals’ beat writer William Ladson, the Phillies have acquired catcher Koyie Hill from the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later or cash. Hill has spent parts of ten seasons in the Major Leagues, making his MLB debut with the Dodgers in 2003 and spending time with the Diamondbacks, the Cubs, and Marlins. Hill is a career .206/.266/.287 hitter with 8 HR in 1027 PA and is anticipated to take the place of the recently-released Lou Marson as the veteran back-up catcher in Lehigh Valley with Cameron Rupp serving as the expected starter.

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Who Will Be the Fifth Starter?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, March 12, 2014 04:00 PM Comments: 11

Cole Hamels took the mound Wednesday morning to throw a bullpen session to gauge how his shoulder is feeling. Because of Hamels’ injury, there is a vacated spot in the Phillies’ rotation. Here are the leading candidates to take that spot and how they are doing two weeks into Spring Training.

The Front-Runner

Jeff Manship

In three outings, Manship has posted a 1.29 ERA over seven innings pitched with six strikeouts. Manship is a five-year Major League vet who relies on an 89 MPH fastball with an 80 MPH curve and an 84 MPH change-up to get hitters out. The lack of separation between his fastball and change-up scares me a bit, as does his career 6.42 ERA. But make no mistake about it, Manship has played his way into the conversation and the role as the front-runner.

Stock is Rising

David Buchanan

Buchanan, 24, was a relative unknown quantity by most Phillies’ fans headed into this season. Drawing frequent comparisons to Kyle Kendrick, Buchanan will strike out about 5.6 batters per 9 IP but issue a couple free passes as well. After throwing three scoreless innings yesterday against the Braves, Buchanan’s stock is rising. Buchanan has a 1.50 ERA in 6 IP across three outings.

Stock is Falling

Sean O’Sullivan

Since making his debut at age 21 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2009, O’Sullivan has battled frequent bouts of injury and inconsistency in the Major Leagues. Yesterday’s performance (6 ER in 2.2 IP) may be a red-flag that the inconsistency is on its way. O’Sullivan’s spring ERA now sits at 7.04 ERA.

Dark Horse

Mario Hollands

Hollands, 25, is making the most of an opportunity in Phillies’ camp as a non-roster invite. Old for his level from 2010 through 2012, Hollands counting stats weren’t very good, earning himself a return trip to Clearwater in 2013 after reaching Triple-A Lehigh Valley at age 23 in 2012. Hollands has impressed in camp, though, pitching 6.1 innings with a 1.42 ERA striking out five.

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PN Interview: Curt Simmons

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, March 12, 2014 08:00 AM Comments: 6

Yesterday, I had the privilege of meeting with legendary Phillies’ left-handed pitcher Curt Simmons. I met with Simmons, a native of Egypt, PA, at his home and discussed, at length, the 1950 Whiz Kids, his roots in the Lehigh Valley, and the Phillies Nation Top 100 countdown.

The full-length interview will air on an upcoming television program by FireRock Productions, a multiple-time Emmy and ADDY-winning production company in the Lehigh Valley. Some of the excerpts below, and much more, will appear in a project Pat Gallen and I are working on.

We do not want to give the whole interview away, as we shot a ton of footage with Mr. Simmons, but I thought it would be neat to share some of Simmons’ thoughts on some of his teammates he played with that also made the Phillies Nation Top 100. For those keeping track at home, Simmons ranked #17 on our countdown.

You will want to stay tuned for the full interview where Simmons and I talk about what it was like to play for Babe Ruth against a team managed by Ty Cobb, having to leave the Phillies in September 1950, and what it was like to be on the Cardinals in 1964, chasing down the Phillies just a few years after the Phillies cut him loose.

Continue reading PN Interview: Curt Simmons

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Phillies Player Review: Jake Diekman

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, September 30, 2013 06:00 AM Comments: 12

Diekman was one of few bright spots for the Phillies’ 2013 bullpen.

The Phillies wrapped up their 2013 season yesterday, finishing 27th in bullpen ERA, 28th in FIP (defined here), 28th in xFIP (defined here), and 29th in BB/9 IP. To say the bullpen was brutal would be an understatement. The 2013 Phils used 51 players, 21 of which were relievers.

Yikes.

To add insult to injury, the arms the Phillies had hoped to develop in 2013, including Phillippe Aumont, Michael Stutes, and J.C. Ramirez to name a few, spun out. Well, except for Jake Diekman.

Continue reading Phillies Player Review: Jake Diekman

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Phillies Give Sandberg Three Year Extension

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sun, September 22, 2013 01:19 PM Comments: 15

Ryne Sandberg will be sticking around for the next three seasons, possibly more.

The Phillies removed the interim tag from Sandberg’s title, giving him a three-year contract with a fourth-year team option. It is Sandberg’s first managerial job in the major leagues after spending several years working his way up through the minors within the Cubs and Phillies system.

Sandberg, 53, was named interim manager of the Phillies on August 16.  Since then, the team has posted an 18-16 (.529) record.  He began the 2013 season as the Phillies third base coach. This year is his third in the Phillies organization, having served the first two as the manager for triple-A Lehigh Valley, where he went 155-132 (.540) and led the team to their first playoff appearance.

It’s the move we all saw coming. Some were wondering whether Mike Scoscia could be a fit in Philadelphia should he be let go by the struggling Angels, but you can toss that one out the window. Sandberg has earned his keep and will be given an opportunity to lead a group of up and comers he taught during his time with Lehigh Valley.

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Cameron Rupp Ready for Next Level

Posted by Jay Floyd, Tue, September 03, 2013 01:30 PM Comments: 2

Cameron Rupp, Image- Jay Floyd

Over the weekend, Cameron Rupp sat in the players’ lounge area of the Coca Cola Park clubhouse watching the Phillies on television. On Tuesday, he’ll be in the clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park for his first major league game.

Rupp, the Phillies’ third round draft choice in 2010 out of the University of Texas, was among a collection of youngsters that was added to the big league roster as September call-ups this week. The strong defending 24-year-old is up for the challenge.

This season, Rupp posted a career high in home runs, with 14, splitting time with the Double-A Reading Fightins and the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Additionally, Rupp sported a .258 average and drove in 45 runs in 94 total games this year. The righty batting Texan, pleased with his own progress this year, had his eyes set on higher levels for much of the season.

“I knew the situation I was in, sharing time with (Sebastian) Valle in Reading and with Tommy (Joseph) being (in Lehigh Valley), you know, I don’t want to see anybody get hurt, but as soon as Tommy went down, that was kind of a goal of mine, to keep going and play and, hopefully, get an opportunity to go up and take advantage of it,” Rupp said, referencing the Phillies’ other well-known catching prospects. Continue reading Cameron Rupp Ready for Next Level

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Galvis Returns, Other Call-ups Announced

Posted by Jay Floyd, Mon, September 02, 2013 06:21 PM Comments: 10

Thanks to a tweet from IronPigs beat reporter Jeff Schuler, we got our first glance at the second wave of the Phillies’ September call-ups.

 

Some familiar faces in pitchers Tyler Cloyd, Joe Savery and Luis Garcia will return after previous stints with the big club this season. Relief pitcher Mauricio Robles and catcher Cameron Rupp will be making their first trips to Citizens Bank Park as official members of the big league roster.

Additionally, the Phillies will recall shortstop Freddy Galvis.  The five-foot-ten 170-pounder posted a .207 average with four homers and 14 RBI in 54 games with the Phillies earlier this season. Of his inclusion on the big league opening day roster, Galvis felt it was encouraging and took a lot of confidence from his time in the majors earlier this year.

Freddy Galvis, Image- Jay Floyd

“It feels good,” Galvis stated.  “You feel like you worked hard and the work you did in the off-season was good.  I mean, when you have the chance to play in the big leagues, that’s the best feeling you have.”

Since the demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, the switch-hitting Galvis has posted a .245 batting average with three home runs, 25 RBI and three steals in 62 games.

Although he was extremely pleased to have begun the 2013 season on the major league roster, Galvis stated that there was no level of dissatisfaction with being sent back to the minor leagues.

“I think there was no disappointment, man.  It’s something I think was good for me.  I wasn’t playing every day over there.  I think- I feel like I’m a young guy.  I’m 23-years-old, I should be playing every day, so sending me here was good for me to get here and be playing everyday and try to (continue) the development,” Galvis said. Continue reading Galvis Returns, Other Call-ups Announced

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Martinez, Hernandez Return to Phils

Posted by Jay Floyd, Sun, September 01, 2013 10:15 AM Comments: 17

MichaelMartinez

Michael Martinez, Image- Jay Floyd

Following a pair of roster moves on Saturday, in which the Phillies traded veteran infielders John McDonald and Michael Young to playoff contenders, vacancies on the big league roster have been filled with the returns of Michael Martinez and Cesar Hernandez, as the duo has been promoted from Lehigh Valley.

Martinez, who turns 31-years-old this month, has posted a .300 average along with three home runs and 21 RBI for the Triple-A IronPigs in 71 games this year. Conversely, the switch-hitting Dominican sported a .171 average in 21 big league contests over several stints with the Phillies this season.

Hernandez, who projects as one of the best Phils positional prospects, was an All-Star second baseman this season but has been dabbling in the outfield quite a bit of late. His offensive numbers in the developmental ranks (.314/.378/.406) are much more impressive than his defensive performance at the new positions (four errors in 64 chances on top of other misplays not found in the box score).

Additionally, the 23-year-old tallied a .250 average with a double and an RBI in nine games with the Phillies earlier this season.

Look for other familiar names such as Phillippe Aumont and Freddy Galvis to return after Lehigh Valley’s regular season concludes on Monday.

  • 17 Comments
 
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