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 –

  1. the Paul Owen’s Facility would block the view between fields,
  2. the pitchers would warm up on the privacy of the Seven Mounds,
  3. and neither line up would be posted where it could be seen prior to the game.

I picked the field where Greg Legg was managing and hoped for the best.  I was fortunate to get Tom Windle.  (Unfortunately, I found out later that Jesse Biddle started on the other field.  In his first two innings, he allowed single base runners in each inning but no runs and struck out two batters each inning. )

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

  • Tocci CF,
  • Lohman SS,
  • Brown DH,
  • Henson LF,
  • Knapp C,
  • Cozens RF,
  • Pierre 3B,
  • Charles 1B,
  • Lino DH,
  • Valentin 2B,
  • Nola – Designated Bunter,
  • Martinez – Bench,
  • Pointer – Bench

Windle pitched very well but received poor defensive support.  He threw 62 pitches and the defense easily cost him an additional 12 pitches in his 4 innings.  He threw  50 for strikes.  He induced 9 swinging strikes and got 15 called strikes.  The Jays managed 12 foul balls and put 14 balls in play.  However, only 2 balls were really struck well – a deep fly ball to left to end the first inning and a line drive, two-out double in the fourth inning.

1st inning

  • Broken bat, ground out, 6-3
  • Infield 1B, Pierre approached the ball in a round about way and whiffed on the scoop
  • K, looking
  • E4, fielding (through the 5-hole)
  • Pop 1B down the RF line, fielder air-mailed the throw to third, allowing the second runner to score
  • Deep fly ball, F7

2nd inning

  • K
  • E-6, fielding (bobble on switch from glove to hand)
  • K
  • Wild pitch
  • K

3rd inning

  • Infield 1B off Windle’s leg
  • F8
  • F8
  • K

4th inning

  • Ground 1B to left
  • Stolen base
  • Ground out, 6-3 (runner to third)
  • SF7
  • Line drive 2B to left center field
  • F9

Windle pitched very efficiently.  His line –

  • 4.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 WP

Stephen Shackleford pitched the next 2 innings.  He walked the bases loaded in the fifth inning before giving up a pop double down the left field line.  He struck out his final 2 batters in a 1-2-3 sixth inning.  His line –

  • 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

Austin Wright pitched a scoreless seventh inning.  An inning opening double and single put runners on the corners.  Wright rebounded with back-to-back strike outs before he picked the runner off first.  Wright’s line –

  • 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Kevin Walter got two quick outs to start the eighth inning, on a ground out and a strike out.  A double and infield single put runners on the corners.  Gabriel Lino gunned the runner out on a failed steal attempt of second base.  Walter’s line –

  • 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Cody Forsythe pitched the ninth inning.  He got a weak ground ball out to first then walked the next batter.  He induced a 4-6-3 double play on the next pitch.  His line –

  • 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K

On offense, the Phillies scored 3 runs on 10 hits and had base runners in all but one inning.

Tocci opened with a line drive single to center.  Aaron Nola successfully bunted him over to second, but he advanced no further.

Knapp opened the second with a walk and Nola successfully moved him over to second.  With 2 out, Knapp scored on Pierre’s line drive double to right center field.  The Jays rolled the inning.

Charles opened the third with a single.  Nola failed to advance him with a fouled third strike bunt.  Charles stole second but was inexplicably doubled off the bag on a one out fly ball to center.  Nola was done for the day.

The Phillies scored 2 runs in the fifth inning on successive one-out extra base hits by Knapp (2B), Cozens (2B), Pierre (3B).

The Phillies put runners on base in the seventh thru ninth innings but never really threatened again.  The game ended on a pitch in the dirt when Lino was caught in no man’s land and tagged out in a rundown.

The box score for the offense –

  • Tocci:            1-3
  • Lohman:      2-2; BB, SB
  • Brown:          0-3
  • Henson:        0-3
  • Knapp:          1-2; 2 R, BB, 2B
  • Cozens:         1-3; R, RBI, 2B
  • Pierre:            2-2; 2 RBI, 2B, 3B
  •    Martinez:   1-1
  • Charles:        1-3; SB
  • Lino:              1-3; CS
  • Valentin:      0-3
  •    Pointer:     0-2
  • Nola:             0-1; 2 Sac

I was at the Phillies’ game on Friday.  I had good seats behind the Phillies’ dugout.  I had a good view of Nola during his 3 innings.  He pitched very well for a first start against major leaguers.

A-Rod got a ground ball single up the middle and Drew doubled on a 2-strike pitch that Nola didn’t get down enough.  He escaped the inning when Francouer threw Rodriguez out on a foolish attempt to tag up on a fly to right.  It would have been interesting if he had decided to slide.  It might still have been close with an average runner on third.

Nola allowed another runner to reach third with less than 2 outs in his second inning.  He bore down and struck out Headley on a 94 mph fastball and then Beltran to end the inning.

Nola recorded 2 more strike outs in his third inning, one on an 84 mph change up and then Chris Nelson to end his day.  He never looked rattled and pitched out of trouble twice.  I had his line as – 3.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K.

If you haven’t heard, Zach Eflin is scheduled to pitch in Bradenton for the Phillies on Monday.

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.

MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 24th vs. Pirates

Today Aaron Harang started for Shawn Williams’ group.  He brought along Carlos Ruiz as his battery mate.  While I would much prefer watching prospects pitch, at least the game offered a chance to see some prospects in the line up.  Unfortunately, Chooch knocked Deivy Grullon out of the start.  He wouldn’t enter the game until the 6th inning.

The line up showed a little shuffling among the groups.  Willians Astudillo, Zach Green, Drew Stankiewicz, and Cord Sandberg dropped down from Greg Legg’s group for today’s game.  Jan Hernandez and Chase Harris moved up from the lower group.  Continue reading MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 24th vs. Pirates

Open Discussion: Week of March 23rd

Well, so much for the light-hearted speculation that the Phillies might be buyers in June.  They are coming off a 1-5 week in the Grapefruit League.  They have slipped to a 9-10 record.  Their recent level of play is probably what we are more likely to see this season as the starters begin seeing more time and more players are optioned, reassigned, or released.

The Phillies did manage to increase their offensive slash to .229/.286/.325/.611 from the .225/.276/.315/.592 they had posted through March 16th.  They are still the worst in all four categories in the National League.  I don’t expect thinks to get any better since most of the players posting good numbers this spring are likely to be bench players (Rupp .412/474/.647/.1.121) or reassigned/released (Bogusevic .400/.423/.840/.1.263; Phelps .345/.472/.483/.955; McGuiness .308/..500/.308/.808; Danks .280/.357/.480/.837). Continue reading Open Discussion: Week of March 23rd

Lively Kick

MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 20th vs. Blue Jays

Coach Wathan and Coach Legg took their charges to Dunedin today.  Prior to the games, rumors that the Jays newly signed FA, LHP was warming up and would be pitching during the AAA game.  Alas, Randy Wolf completed his throwing and was finished for the day.  Later, I saw him making the rounds and greeting his friends among the Phillies’ staff.

Sean O’Sullivan was scheduled to start the AAA game, Ben Lively the AA game.  Since the AA group contains players who will possibly start the season in Clearwater, I took up a position on Field Two.  Continue reading MiLB Spring Training 2015; March 20th vs. Blue Jays