MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 31st vs. Yankees

The Phillies minor league teams played the Yankees again today.  The A teams were at Carpenter Complex.  There was an interesting mix of prospects among the line ups posted on Roberts and Ashburn Fields.  The Clearwater coaches were on Ashburn, the Lakewood coaches on Roberts.  Matt Imhof was warming up for Ashburn, and that fact made up my mind.

The Lakewood coaches were fielding the following players – Sandberg RF, Canelo, SS, Tocci CF, Hoskins DH, Hiciano LF, Tomscha 1B, Campbell 3B, Grullon C, Zier 2B, Harris DH, Zgardowski SP, Tromp/Mayorga/Fisher – Bench, Rios/Ramos/and maybe Therrien – relief.

The Clearwater line up was re-ordered when Domonic Brown came out to DH.  He would bat third in each of the first four innings. Continue reading MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 31st vs. Yankees

MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 30th vs. Yankees

I saw another sign today that spring training is almost over – the Lehigh Valley coaches were with Group 1 and the Reading coaches were with Group 2.  That led to speculation that the line ups we saw today are close to reaching their final iterations.  That thought lasted only a few minutes until I saw Revere and Hererra listed as the first 2 batters for the AAA squad.  However, the AA line up is pretty close to what can be expected in Reading.  That led to some wild and ecstatic speculation about the Clearwater line up.  Can’t wait to see that group tomorrow.  An added bonus today was that Aaron Judge was playing with the Yankees’ AA team. Continue reading MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 30th vs. Yankees

Sunday Notes, March 29th

Hello. I am back with another edition of Sunday notes. Today I want to talk about Aaron Nola and the draft. And maybe something else if I can remember what it was. My plan is to continue to write at least once per week during the season, likely on Sundays, but it will depend on my work travel schedule. I may also pop up with a mid-week entry or something else, but for now, Sundays will work best for me. Thanks as always for reading.

Continue reading Sunday Notes, March 29th

Roster Moves

The Phils made several moves that were announced this morning, leaving them with 36 players in major league camp as we approach opening day.  P Paul Clemens, C Koyie Hill and INF Chris Nelson and Chris McGuiness were all re-assigned to minor league camp. P Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and P Hector Neris were optioned to minor league camp.  No real surprises here.  Gonzalez and his $4M a year salary will notably begin his second season in the minor leagues.

MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 28th vs. Blue Jays

I arrived at the Complex to find the Blue Jays warming up on the mounds between Schmidt and Ashburn Fields, mounds that are usually reserved for the Phillies’ pitchers.  The heavy rain last night must have made Ashburn unplayable.  I’ve noticed in the past that right field doesn’t drain particularly well after heavy rain.  So, the Group 1 game was moved to Roberts Field.  This had several ramifications – Continue reading MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 28th vs. Blue Jays

Roster Roulette

With less than two weeks to go before the long awaited start to the baseball season, it is as good a time as any to take a look at how the lineup will play out for both the Phils and AAA Lehigh Valley with my best educated (?) guess coming below. So, with that here it goes.

Phils

At catcher, expect to see Carlos Ruiz and Cameron Rupp.  While there is an outside chance of a late pick up from another organization, Rupp has had a strong Spring after a lackluster, injury marred 2014.

In the infield, going around the horn: Howard, Utley, Galvis and Asche with Cesar Hernandez and Darin Ruf extra pieces.  With Hernandez being out of options, I see him winning the roster battle with Cord Phelps who has been having a good Spring for the Phils

The outfield will likely consist of Ben Revere, Odubel Herrera and Grady Sizemore to start the year.  The Phils will clearly be struggling for runs.  Expect Domonic Brown to start the year on the DL with Brian Bogusevic and Jeff Francoeur filling in the final two outfield spots.  Jordan Danks is making a late run for a roster spot and could easily replace either Francoeur or Bogusevic.

With Cliff Lee and Chad Billingsley on the DL to start the year, the Phils rotation looks like Hamels, Harang, Buchanan and Jerome WIlliams as “definites” with either Kevin Slowey or Miguel ALfredo Gonzalez likely to take the fifth spot for the seasons first month.  Gonzalez has been awful this Spring, giving the edge to SLowey.

In the bullpen, Papelbon will close with Giles and Diekman seeing the bulk of the set up work.  Both Justin DeFratus and Luis Garcia seem to have cemented their roles in the bullpen, leaving two spots up for grabs.  The first is likely to go to Rule 5 pick Andy Oliver who has thrown well this Spring (and is a lefty).  The final bullpen spot comes down to free agent pick up Jeanmar Gomez, Phillippe Aumont, Cesar Jiminez or Hector Neris.  God willing, the Phils will end the Aumont nightmare and give Gomez a shot, leaving Jiminez and Neris as the odd men out.

Moving along to Lehigh Valley, I expect to see Tommy Joseph and Koyie Hill behind the plate.

Around the horn, my thought is Russ Canzler at first, Cord Phelps at 2B, ANdres Blanco at SS and Maikel Franco at 3B.  Expect to see Chris McGuiness and Cord Phelps rostered and seeing plenty of playing time.

In the outfield for the ‘Pigs I am expecting Jordan Danks, Kelly Dugan, and Aaron Altherr as the starters with Darin Mastroianni and Chase D’Arnaud filling out the final two spots.  Notably, D’Arnaud can play 3B as well.

The ‘Pigs rotation should be interesting to watch.  I think it is likely Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and his $4M salary starts the year in Allentown.  Joely Rodriguez (acquired for Antonio Bastardo) and Severino Gonzalez look to have spots solidified.  Rounding out the rotation, I expect to see Adam Morgan and Jesse Biddle with Sean’OSullivan likely to see plenty of starts when the roster juggling begins.

Projecting the bullpen becomes difficult with all the potential variables, but a best guess is: Jiminez, Neris, Paul Clemens, Seth Rosin, Ethan Martin, Elvis Arajuo, and Tyler Knigge.  I would expect to see Colton Murray in Allentown before long, replacing the inevitable unfortunate soul who falters early on.

Have fun and discuss.

MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 26th vs. Yankees

We’ve reached the point where enough guys have been reassigned to the minor league camp from major league spring training that the groups are becoming confusing.  There are several players crossing between groups, and the lines that define groups are becoming blurred.  Even though the Reading and Clearwater staffs are managing Groups 1 and 2, they are starting to look like the rosters that will become Lehigh Valley and Reading.

Dusty Wathan’s  Group 1 fielded the following line up –

  • Quinn CF,
  • Mastroianni RF,
  • Altherr LF (Pointer as his 6th inning replacement),
  • Franco 3B,
  • Moore C (Bass in the 6th),
  • Tyler Greene SS,
  • Joseph DH,
  • d’Arnaud 2B,
  • Stassi 1B,
  • Perkins bench.

Greg Legg’s Group 2 fielded the following line up –

  • Tocci CF,
  • Valentin (Alonso 6th),
  • Knapp DH,
  • Cozens RF (Harris 7th),
  • Henson LF,
  • Pierre 3B (Charles 1B),
  • Serna SS,
  • Lino C (Mayorga 7th),
  • Martinez 1B (3B in the 6th).

I watched the Group 2 game where Ben Lively started but first I have a bunch of random information from the Group 1 game –

  • Chad Billingsley pitched 2 innings.  He gave up one hit and induced 5 ground balls.  His fast ball was 90-91 mph.
  • Adam Morgan pitched 4 innings.  He looked good, his fastball was 89-90 mph and his curve and slider were really working.  I think he opened the 1st inning with a K, then a 1B and an inning-ending double play.  He struck out the side in the second inning.  He induced 3 ground ball outs in the third inning which included a one-out, line drive double.  In the 4th inning he he gave up a long fly out to left that the wind probably kept in the park, a single and two more Ks.
  • Roman Quinn batted left-handed and gapped a triple to right center field.
  • Seve Gonzalez was on hand to bunt lead off base runners over to second.  He was success in the one attempt I saw.
  • Ben Revere got 6 or 7 at bats switching between games and totallly wrecked my score card.

In the Group 2 game, Lively pitched 3 innings –

1st inning

  • Fly out, F8
  • K, looking
  • 2B over the RF’s head
  • 3B over the CF’s head
  • K

2nd inning

  • K
  • Line drive 1B to CF
  • Pop out, P3
  • Ground out, 6-3

3rd inning

  • K
  • Hustle 2B to shallow RCF
  • K, looking
  • 2B over the LF’s head
  • Home run to RF
  • K (and left the mound with an “expletive deleted!”

Lively had an inconsistent outing.  He struck out 6 and didn’t walk anybody, but 5 of the 6 hits he allowed went for extra bases.  He threw about 63 pitches, 41 for strikes.  He faced Aaron Judge twice, striking him out looking in the first inning.  In his second AB, Judge flared a ball into shallow right center that the wind knocked down as Dylan Cozens tried a diving catch.  Judge busted out of the box and never broke stride.  When Cozens left his feet, Judge continued on to second beating Tocci’s soft throw by a wide margin.  Lively was clearly aggravated with himself as he left the mound after finishing the 3rd inning with a K after allowing the home run.

Reinier Roibal pitched the next 2 innings.

4th inning

  • Ground out 4-3
  • BB
  • Stolen base
  • Stolen base
  • BB
  • Fielder’s choice, 6-4
  • Stolen base
  • K

5th inning

  • K, looking
  • Pop out, P3
  • K

Roibal struck out Judge to end the 4th inning.  It was Judge’s last AB for the day.  He finished 1-3 with 2 Ks.  The Yankees stole at will during his appearance.  They must have spotted something in his wind up.  They didn’t try to run on Lino when Lively, Stewart, and Ridenhour were on the mound.

Ethen Stewart pitched a scoreless 6th inning that included a strike out, walk, and a successful pick off.

Lee Ridenhour pitched 2 scoreless innings.

7th innng

  • Ground out, 5-3
  • Fly out, F8
  • K

8th inning

  • Fly out, F8
  • Ground out, 3-1
  • Fly out, F7

When Ridenhour’s first fast ball popped the mitt, a friend asked me how fast Ridenhour threw.  I don’t know how fast any of the pitchers were on Schmidt Field were throwing today.  They moved the guns to the other side of the cage where we can’t see them.  Regardless of speed, Ridenhour looked effective.

Mark Leiter pitched a scoreless 9th inning, recording a pop up to short and 2 swinging strike outs.

Offensively, the Phillies managed 4 hits.  Tocci singled to lead off the 1st inning and was erased when Ben revere grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.  Casey Serna grounded a double down the left field line with one out in the 3rd inning.  He scored when Gabriel Lino popped out down the right field line and the fielder threw wildly to third base when Serna faked a tag.  He was awarded home when the ball left the field of play.  The final 2 hits and runs came on solo home runs to left by Andrew Knapp.  Both balls were hit well and didn’t appear to be aided by the wind that was blowing from right to the third base line.

The complete box score is too sad to print, here are the highlights –

  • Tocci:      1-3
  • Knapp:   2-3; R, 2 RBI, 2 HR
  • Serna:     1-2; 2B
  • Only 3 Phillies struck out – Tocci, Alonso, Martinez, none walked
  • 5 Phillies’ pitchers recorded 13 Ks and walked 3
  • 4 Phillies’ relievers held the Yankees hitless over the last 6 innings
  • Lively:             3.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
  • Roibal:            2.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
  • Stewart:         1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Ridenhour:   2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • Leiter:             1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

I’m going to the Phillies’ game against the Yankees Friday, no minor league report.  Aaron Nola is scheduled to pitch 3 innings.  I hope the monsoon outside my window stops in time for the field to drain.  I saw a few players in a restaurant last night.  One of our group approached a player I recognized and asked how he injured his oblique.  He was told that it happened while fielding a batted ball.

Phils Acquire Devin Lohman From the Reds

The Phillies acquired 25 year old SS Devin Lohman from the Reds today to add some depth to their minor league middle infield corps.  Lohman was the Reds third round pick in the 2010 draft and spent much of the last two seasons at AA Pensacola in the Reds organization.

The Cal State Long Beach product hit .245/.310/.352 in 375 plate appearances last year in AA, with 5HR 29RBI and 8SB.  Most of Lohman’s time was spent at SS, where he committed 22 errors in 82 games.  Lohman will also occasionally fill in at 2B.  Expect to see Lohman in Reading opening day.