Posts Tagged ‘Lehigh Valley’

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


Galvis Demoted to Clear Room for McDonald

Posted by Jay Floyd, Fri, June 28, 2013 03:35 PM Comments: 22


Galvis with Reading in 2011, image- Jay Floyd

Following Thursday’s acquisition of infielder John McDonald from Cleveland, the Phillies made room on their active big league roster by demoting infielder Freddy Galvis to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

McDonald, a veteran of 15 major league seasons, has a career .235 batting average and a .605 career OPS mark.  The 38-year-old posted a .053 batting average in 24 games in the bigs this year.  Primarily a shortstop, with 568 games played there, McDonald has also spent considerable time at second base (209 games) and third base (135 games) while dabbling just a tad in the outfield (six games).

Galvis  is a career .218 hitter with a .626 OPS in 112 major league contests.  The move will allow the 23-year-old Venezuelan to get more playing time with the IronPigs.

Philly.com featured the following quote from Phils manager Charlie Manuel regarding the youngster’s need for game action.

“When we evaluate him, we think he has a good chance of being a hell of a player,” Manuel said. “If he’s going to stay here and only play once a week or something like that, that ain’t enough. That’s definitely not enough.”


Adams to DL, Mini Mart DFA’d, JC Ramirez to Majors

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, June 22, 2013 11:10 AM Comments: 0

mike-adamsThe Phillies announced a few moves today; one good, one bad, one who-knows.

Mike Adams was sent to the DL for the second time this season, this time with biceps tendinitis. When Adams signed for two years, $12 million, it was widely panned as one of the best moves of the offseason by any team. But that’s why you don’t play baseball on paper. It has been a disaster by Adams’ standards this season, posting the highest ERA of his career at 3.96. Perhaps he was never able to shake the injury from last season, and subsequent surgery this past offseason.

Many of you will be happy to know that Michael Martinez has been designated for assignment. Mini Mart tore it up in Lehigh Valley after his demotion, but is clearly a AAAA player. He has no role in the majors as he can’t do much of anything well.

JC Ramirez finally gets a shot at the major leagues, albeit under odd circumstances. He was one of the pieces of the Cliff Lee-to-Seattle trade. Many, including myself, believed Aumont was the prize of that deal, but he’s been unable to stick in the majors. Tyson Gillies is still toiling in the minors, so it’s down to Ramirez. The issue is his 6.53 ERA and 1.94 WHIP at Lehigh Valley. This is clearly a move to see what they have in Ramirez, because the numbers basically suggest he should be demoted, not promoted.

Let’s see what happens here.


Ruiz Activated; Utley Soon to Follow?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, June 18, 2013 02:08 PM Comments: 0

ruizCarlos Ruiz has been activated from the disabled list, sending Steven Lerud back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. We haven’t seen much of Chooch this season, due to the 25-game suspension to begin the year.

In 16 games this season, Ruiz is hitting .235 with no home runs, just two RBI, and an OPS of .560. However, with Erik Kratz still weeks away from a return, he’s a better option than Humberto Quintero behind the plate. Let’s hope Chooch can find that stroke right out of the gate.

Ruben Amaro mentioned that Chase Utley could soon be heading out on a rehab assignment. But the way Chooch quickly returned, the same could hold true for Utley. Look for him to play one or two rehab games tops before rejoining the Phillies.


Horst to 15-Day DL

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, June 17, 2013 03:50 PM Comments: 3

In a bit of a shocker, lefty reliever Jeremy Horst is headed to the 15-day disabled list with an elbow strain. The corresponding move is the activation of starter John Lannan for tonight’s game against the Washington Nationals.

Analysis: This one came out of left field. On Saturday, I wrote that I anticipated Joe Savery to head back down to Lehigh Valley today. Instead, it is Horst heading to the DL. Horst’s effectiveness has varied this year: for instance from May 8 to May 27, Horst did not allow a run in ten appearances but from May 30 to June 15, Horst’s BAA was .429/.500/.679.

In his last outing, Horst threw 41 pitches in Saturday’s outing, the only time he has topped 40 pitches this year. The high pitch count likely played a big part in his strain.


“Stuff”, Or My House as the Phillies Bullpen

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, June 15, 2013 12:22 PM Comments: 0

Jonathan Papelbon - Philadelphia PhilliesMy wife and I bought our first house and have been doing our best to make it our home for the past two or three weeks. Even as we continue to empty boxes, a distinct pattern has emerged: use the dining room as the central unpacking location, move to appropriate or desired future room, place in semi-organized pile. Following these steps, my wife and I will root through said semi-organized piles and make more little piles: things to keep in this room, things that really belong in other rooms, and things that are due to the trash. It’s almost like the famous George Carlin “stuff” bit but in reverse.

The Phillies have a lot of “stuff” right now in the bullpen and nobody has taken the Mrs. Riccaboni role of “jumping in and throwing anything that isn’t of significant financial or sentimental value”. The Phillies have taken solid steps recently, optioning Raul Valdes and releasing Chad Durbin, but there is still a lot of “stuff” floating around. After the positive output of the bullpen last night and good vibes still flowing, today would be a good day to sort out what the Phillies have going in advance of the return of John Lannan. With Lannan returning Monday, somebody has to go back down to Lehigh Valley. Let’s take a look at the candidates.

The Living Room – The Keepers

The living room is the premiere spot for “stuff”. This is where your guests see your best stuff, the stuff the little superficial/proud/egotistical part of you wants everyone to see. This list, in reference to the Phillies bullpen, is very short: Jonathan Papelbon is the $600 mirror, antique coffee table or whatever other item you can think of that is analogous to “really expensive item that does exactly what it is supposed to do but looks tremendously out of place in a living room full of shoddy stuff”.  Papelbon obviously stays but the Phillies want their best friends, like the Tigers, to be absolutely certain that he is everything he is advertised. He stays in the living room and there is one less person in the bullpen pile of stuff.

Mike Adams, who could not find a consistent landing spot last night in his follow through but managed to pitch effectively, also fits into this category. He’s the really cool piece the Phillies found at the flea market that is still too new to get rid of but they aren’t quite sure why it doesn’t fit.

Continue reading “Stuff”, Or My House as the Phillies Bullpen


Zambrano struggles with command, but has decent outing in Lehigh Valley

Posted by Kenny Ayres, Thu, June 13, 2013 11:08 PM Comments: 1

It was not a bad night for Carlos Zambrano at Lehigh Valley, but it was not exactly a great night either. The righty, who is looking to reinvent himself with the Phillies allowed two runs in five innings while striking out five and walking four in his first start at Triple-A. He threw 101 pitches in the outing, 64 for strikes.

The first two innings were as perfect as could be for Zambrano. He retired the first six batters he faced, and did so on just 23 pitches. Things started to fall apart a little bit for him after that. It took him 27 pitches to get through the third, in which he allowed a hit and a walk, and in the fourth he walked three more batters, allowed a hit and gave up two runs. It took him 31 pitches to get through the fourth inning, which put him at 81 up to that point. He had a fairly clean fifth and final frame, allowing just a single.

Carlos Zambrano allowed two runs in five innings while walking four and striking out five for the IronPigs.

Carlos Zambrano allowed two runs in five innings while walking four and striking out five for the IronPigs.

There were a couple of concerning things about Zambrano’s start, with command being the most concerning. In the fourth inning Zambrano issued one walk after being ahead in the count 0-2, issued another on four straight balls, and the third one came with the bases loaded and allowed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders to take the lead.  Granted, home plate umpire Ian Fazzio had a small strike zone all night (and Zambrano on several occasions stared in after what he thought was a good pitch) but nonetheless his location was not spot on tonight.

The number of walks he has allowed so far in the minor leagues has increased with every stop along the way. In his two starts in Clearwater he allowed two walks in each. In Reading he walked three, and now four in Lehigh Valley.

The other concerning thing, which would not be as concerning had he located better, was his velocity. Zambrano was consistently between 84-87 mph with is fastball, and touched 88 just twice. It may not matter at all, but it was certainly different than the flame-thrower we have seen with the Cubs in the past.

There were also a couple positives in Zambrano’s outing, one of which was that he was able to work out of jams. He had runners on the corners in the third and escaped any trouble, and in the fourth he did not give up a hit after having two runners in scoring position with nobody out, and struck out the final batter of the inning with the bases loaded in what could have been a much worse inning.

His off-speed stuff was also working well. He got quite a few swings and misses from his curveball (which he was throwing anywhere from 65-75 mph with sharp break), and was also able to throw his change-up effectively.

All things said and done, he was not awful at all, but he really did not look ready to pitch in the major leagues yet, like he said he was after his start in Reading last week.

Here is a link to what Zambrano had to say after the game.




Hernandez Optioned to Triple-A

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, June 13, 2013 10:00 AM Comments: 8

http://a.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=/i/headshots/mlb/players/full/31130.png&w=350&h=254As reported by Chris Branch, the Phillies have optioned Cesar Hernandez to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. While the move drew sighs yesterday on the Twitter-sphere, the move will allow Hernandez, who turned just 23 in May, to play every day in Lehigh Valley. There has been no corresponding move announced.

Analysis: Hernandez’s initial promotion came when Michael Young was placed on the bereavement list and he wasn’t expected to stay up past Young’s return. While with the Phils, Hernandez hit .250/.250/.286 in 28 PA. Hernandez is a .291/.349/.387 career minor league hitter and is 129 of 180 (71%) in career MiLB stolen base attempts. Hernandez definitely has Major-League talent and will be back up, but this is the right move if they didn’t have a spot for Hernandez to play every day.

The puzzling part of this is who will the Phillies call up to replace Hernandez? Michael Martinez, Darin Ruf, and Zach Collier are the only active 40-man roster position players not currently on the 25-man roster. Collier, 22, is hitting just .198 in Double-A Reading while Ruf, 26, is hitting .261/.337/.405 with just 5 HR. Martinez, 30, is the safest bet, having hit .436/.463/.692 in his last 15 games with the IronPigs.


Zambrano Nearing – Is He The Best Option?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, June 11, 2013 11:00 AM Comments: 0

http://a.espncdn.com/combiner/i?img=/i/headshots/mlb/players/full/4499.png&w=350&h=254The big Phillies news this morning was that Carlos Zambrano will be headed to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to pitch against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders on Thursday night. Zambrano has pitched well against Minor League opponents (16.1 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 12 K, 7 BB per Matt Provence) and reiterated his readiness to pitch for the Phillies after his weekend start with the Fightins. “I’m here to pitch with them and I’m here to be one of the pieces along with the other 24 guys on the roster . . . be one little piece and help the team,” Zambrano said.

Despite Zambrano’s enthusiasm, a scout that the Inquirer’s Mike Still spoke to saw it differently: “He wasn’t like the old Carlos Zambrano. I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high. He won’t be anything close to what he used to be like.”

But is what Zambrano is right now better than what the Phillies already have?

Continue reading Zambrano Nearing – Is He The Best Option?


Catching Carousel Stops: Rupp to AAA, Dalles to AA

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, June 10, 2013 09:51 AM Comments: 1

Rupp gets the call to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Photo by: Jay Floyd

According to Reading Fightins Director of Public Relations Eric Scarcella, the Phillies have done some reorganizing in their minor league ranks to adjust for Steven Lerud‘s promotion to the Phillies. Catcher Cameron Rupp, 24, has been promoted from Double-A Reading to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Rupp, 6’1″ and 240 lbs, has found his power stroke in 2013, hitting 8 HR for the Fightins while posting a .245/.329/.455 line in 161 PA. Rupp was ranked #23 according to our Jay Floyd in his 2013 Prospect Nation Countdown.

Filling in for Rupp at Double-A Reading is Justin Dalles. Dalles, 24, has built on an impressive defensive reputation and has hit the ball well in Single-A Lakewood (.342/.395/.737 in 43 PA with 4 HR). Dalles will likely be the back-up for Sebastian Valle, 22, who is now the default starter for the Reading Fightins after a disappointing start (.212/.256/.410 with 5 HR in 129 PA).

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