Franco, Ogando, Rodriguez Optioned to Minor League Camp

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Fri, March 20, 2015 10:13 AM Comments: 24


Well, the position battle for third base is over before it seemingly started. Those wishing for young slugger Maikel Franco to start the season with the Phillies will have to wait. Franco, 22, went 6-for-30 in Spring action this year, all singles, and never really positioned himself as a threat to supplant Cody Asche at third base in 2015. Asche is 7-for-31 so far with a homer and a pair of doubles.

It is important to remember just how young Franco is and the importance of everyday playing time. With Franco likely starting the year with the IronPigs, he will have every opportunity to play every day.

Nefi Ogando, 25, will also report to minor league camp with his eyes on making the IronPigs, as well. Ogando saw action in four games, pitching five and a third with six Ks, allowing just four hits, one of which was a solo homer. Ogando had a puncher’s chance to make the club as a reliever but the demotion may be a blessing in disguise; Ogando will likely have the opportunity to pitch in high leverage situations with the ‘Pigs versus mop-up duty with the Phillies. Ogando was added to the 40-man roster this past winter after being acquired at the end of 2013 for John McDonald.

In perhaps the most surprising demotion of the three optioned, lefty Joely Rodriguez, 23, was sent to minor league camp. Rodriguez impressed in nine innings this spring with the Phillies, allowing just four hits and three walks. Rodriguez entered camp as a long shot to crack the club as a member of the starting rotation but will leave camp as one of the favorites to be called up should there be any further injuries on the club. Rodriguez came to the Phillies in return for Antonio Bastardo.


Spring Training Gameday: Phillies (8-7) at Yankees (10-6)

Posted by R.C. Cowie, Thu, March 19, 2015 07:15 PM Comments: 1

Philadelphia Phillies (8-7) at New York Yankees (10-6) 

NYY Phillies

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Aaron Harang
NYY: Esmil Rodgers

Time: 7:05 EST, Steinbrenner Field
Weather: Sunny, 79
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today: 

Aaron Harang is back on the mount after missing his last scheduled start due to back soreness.

Lineup: Revere, CF Galvis, SS / Utley, DH / Howard, 1B / Ruiz, C / Brown, RF / Asche, 3B / Sizemore, LF / Hernandez, 2B



Crawford’s Chronicles: J.P. Talks Game Action, Teammates, Utley, Greene

Posted by Jay Floyd, Thu, March 19, 2015 08:00 AM Comments: 8

J.P. Crawford, image- Jay Floyd

Throughout spring training, Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford will be checking in to offer his thoughts straight from Clearwater, FL.

Crawford, 20, is widely considered the Phils’ top prospect after the team’s first round draft pick in 2013 posted a .285/.375/.406 slash line in 123 combined games at Class A Lakewood and Class A Advanced Clearwater last year in his first full pro season.

This week the lefty batting shortstop spoke about the start of game action, his double play combo partners, Larry Greene Jr.’s surprise absence from camp, Chase Utley once again plus plenty more.

Read ahead for all the exclusive quotes straight from the one and only J.P..

-With games getting underway, Crawford talked about how he and his group that’s being coached by the Clearwater staff did in the opening two days…

“We played the Blue Jays (on Tuesday) and the Pirates (on Wednesday) and we beat both of them.  We started off real well, playing real good team baseball.  I went 2-for-3 on Wednesday, so, I’m finally starting to get a feel for live pitching again and everything’s starting to come around.

“I think I went 0-for-3 on Tuesday and played all nine innings.  I played seven innings (on Wednesday).”

-On the topic of the intrasquad games in which the Phillies’ minor leaguers play against one another and if the players take those games seriously…

“We always take it serious.  Whenever we’re on the field playing a game, we’re out there trying to win.  And especially when we’re out there playing against the older squad, it’s a lot of fun.  It’s really competitive for us.  We’re trying- we’re going out there to beat them.

“The first intrasquad game, I went 2-for-4.  I faced Zach Eflin the first game.  I got a base hit off of him.” Continue reading Crawford’s Chronicles: J.P. Talks Game Action, Teammates, Utley, Greene


Buchanan Poised for Breakout Season?

Posted by Ryan Gerstel, Wed, March 18, 2015 08:11 PM Comments: 2

After it was announced that Cliff Lee will be placed on the 60-day disabled list, David Buchanan will need to step up for the Phillies. So far this spring, he has done that.

The 25-year-old right-hander could be as high as the number two starter behind Cole Hamels in the starting rotation if his success on the mound continues.

In 11 innings-pitched this spring, Buchanan has held opponents to a .227 batting average, and has a 2.45 ERA.

He is also second on the team in strikeouts with eight, albeit six came in his start yesterday against the Rays. However, Buchanan is not a strikeout pitcher, as he only has a career 14.1 strikeout percentage (MLB average is 20.4).

(Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

(Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

With his inability to strike people out consistently, Buchanan has relied on fastball location and mixing in his off-speed pitches in key situations. During yesterday’s start, Buchanan relied on this combination to shut down the Rays’ offense.

Last season in 20 starts, Buchanan went 6-8 with a 3.75 ERA over 117.2 innings-pitched in his first MLB season.

Is Buchanan poised to have a breakout sophomore campaign? The Phillies need him to.

For comparison’s sake, Hamels went 9-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 23 starts in 2006, and in his sophomore season, went 15-5 in 28 starts with a 3.39 ERA.

Now, Buchanan does not have the talent that Hamels does, and he’s not the highly-touted prospect that Hamels was, but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a successful season on the mound.

With Lee’s injury, the Phillies rotation is littered with question marks. If Cole Hamels is dealt, the Phillies will be left without a clear-cut ace. Buchanan has sure pitched like an ace this spring, and the Phillies hope that his success carries over into the regular season.


Phillies Willing to Eat $50 Million to Trade Howard

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, March 18, 2015 10:53 AM Comments: 27

According to a report, the Phillies are willing to pay $50 million of the remaining $60 million of first baseman Ryan Howard‘s contract to trade him. Howard is hitting .235/.235/.441 with two homers this Spring and was dogged by trade rumors all winter.

Analysis: It is hard to imagine that Howard has much trade value, at all. From 2012 through 2014, Howard ranks dead-last among 37 qualifying first baseman in FanGraphs’ version of WAR, ranking 33 of 37 in OBP and 28 out of 37 in SLG, a former highmark for Howard. Last season was Howard’s first season of 325 or more plate appearances since 2011 and Howard lead baseball in strikeouts.

Maikel Franco has not put much pressure on the Phillies to open up a position for him to play this Spring (.207/.207/.207) but just about any replacement at first base would outperform Howard at this point. Howard’s OBP from 2012-2014 ranks 183 out of 213, SLG 133th behind Jason Kubel, Jonny Gomes, Delmon Young, and Jed Lowrie, 169th in wOBA, and 187th in defense despite defensive rating by FanGraphs being an accumulative stat and Howard missing over half of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

It is clear by Howard’s stats at this point that a large majority of professional baseball players would serve the Phillies better at first base, including Franco, Darin Ruf, or Chris McGuiness (.444/.615/.444 in nine Spring Training at bats) but even with the Phillies willingness to eat his 2015 and 2016 payments, they will likely be unable to find a taker for Howard because most teams have at least a handful of players who could outperform Howard, even if they are not traditional first basemen.


Spring Training Gameday: Rays (5-6′) at Phillies (8-6)

Posted by R.C. Cowie, Tue, March 17, 2015 12:02 PM Comments: 1

Tampa Bay Rays (5-6) at Philadelphia Phillies (8-6)

Phillies Phillies

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: David Buchanan
TB: Alex Cobb

Time: 1:05 EST, Bright House Field, Clearwater, Florida
Weather: Sunny, 81
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today: 

Todd Zolecki reported this morning that scheduled starter Jerome Williams will be scratched for today’s game due to back tightness. David Buchanan, who was scheduled to pitch behind Williams, will be starting the game for the Phils. Green Caps today y’all!

Lineup: Revere, CF / Galvis, SS / Utley, DH / Howard, 1B / Ruiz, C / Herrera, LF / Ruf, LF / Phelps, 2B / Danks, RF / Franco, 3B



Phillies Put Cliff Lee on 60-Day DL

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, March 16, 2015 04:50 PM Comments: 14

It appears as though Cliff Lee and the Phillkes will give rehab one more shot before opting for surgery. 

The Phillies called a press conference Monday evening to announce the move–Lee to to 60-day DL. They will shut him down completely and begin a rehabilitation process once his elbow is rested enough. Lee, looking like a defeated man, noted in the press conference that surgery has been recommended for him. We all know how we feels about that. 

Here’s the full statement from the Phillies:

This isn’t really anything new–we already knew his status, and knew that he wants to pitch through this thing. This will be the third time through the rehab process on his elbow. The future certainly doesn’t look good for Lee. I’m not sure he will ever pitch for the Phillies again, if ever. 


Spring Training Gameday: Phillies (8-5) vs. Orioles (3-11)

Posted by R.C. Cowie, Mon, March 16, 2015 10:50 AM Comments: 4

Philadelphia Phillies (8-5) vs. Baltimore Orioles (3-11)

Phillies Phillies

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Cole Hamels
BAL: Miguel Gonzalez

Time: 1:05 EST, Bright House Field, Clearwater, FL
Weather: Sunny, 81 degrees
Media: Twitter and Facebook

A Note for Today: 

The Phillies made myriad roster moves this morning. Ethan Martin, Cesar Jimenez, Jake Diekman, and Justin De Fratus are also scheduled to pitch in today’s game. COLE HAMELS TRADE WATCH IS ON!!!

Lineup: Mastroianni, CF / Phelps, 2B / Utley, DH / Howard, 1B / Brown, RF / Asche, 3B / Ruf, LF / d’Arnaud, SS / Hill, C



Phillies Make a Handful of Moves

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Mon, March 16, 2015 09:39 AM Comments: 1

Monday morning, the Phillies announced a series of moves. They optioned pitchers Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan, and Ethan Martin to minor league camp, in addition to outfielder Aaron Altherr. They also reassigned Sean O’Sullivan and John Hester to minor league camp, and released Xavier Paul.

The Phils are down to 52 players in Major League camp, including 17 non-roster invitees, and two rule 5 picks–Odubel Herrera and Andy Oliver.


Spring Training Gameday: Phillies split-squad (7-4) vs Yankees(8-5), at Red Sox (7-4)

Posted by R.C. Cowie, Sun, March 15, 2015 12:37 PM Comments: 2

Philadelphia Phillies (1-1-1) vs. Boston Red Sox (7-4), at New York Yankees (8-5)

NYY Phillies

Starting Pitchers:
PHI: Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez vs. BOS, Sean O’Sullivan at NYY
BOS: Justin Masterson, NYY: Nate Eovaldi

Time: 1:05 EST, Bright House Field
Weather: Scattered Clouds, 79 Degrees
Media: Twitter and Facebook

at NYY: not televised

A Note for Today: 

Against Boston – Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is having a terrible spring. In two games, one start, MAG has been lit up for 9 hits in 5 1/3 innings with the opposition batting .346 against him. Despite this, Jason Weitzel of Beerleaguer tweeted out this morning the Phillies are posting a 3.20 ERA in March, which ranks them with springs’ best.

at New York – Chase Utley is at second base and batting third today. Utley had been sidelined with a sprained ankle and went 1-2 from the DH spot on Friday.

vs BOS Lineup: Herrera, CF / Galvis, SS / Utley, 2B / Howard, 1B / Ruiz, C / Sizemore, LF / Franco, 3B / Danks, RF / Phelps, 2B

at NYY Lineup: Revere, CF / Asche, 3B / Brown, RF / Ruf, 1B / Canzler, LF / Nelson, DH / Hernandez, 2B / Rupp, C / Blanco, SS

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