All posts by gregg

‘Pigs Preview

So, as Spring Training approaches, I am getting the itch to write a bit, so I am going to do just that as time permits.  With the Phillies roster in transitional flux, Lehigh Valley looks to have an interesting mixture of youthful pitching combined with some AAAA talented hitting.  Lets take a look at the roster possibilities and probabilities.

Catcher: With Cameron Rupp likely to back up Chooch in Philly, The IronPigs should roster two of the Tommy Joseph, Koyie Hill, Rene Garcia and John Hester quartet.  Joseph remains on the 40 man roster but has yet to prove his long term health.  My thought is Hill and Hester end up on the Lehigh Valley opening day roster.

Infield: I think it is unlikely Maikel Franco makes the Phils out of Spring Training for a variety of reasons, with service time implications at the top of the list.  He will be manning the hot corner out of the gate for the ‘Pigs.  At 1B will likely be Russ Canzler, a local product and AAA veteran who did a nice job for Lehigh Valley after being picked up in June last year.  Likely veterans up the middle as well, with Andres Blanco back in the fold at SS to go along with Chase D’Arnaud who was picked up as a free agent out of the Pirates system in the off-season.  Look for Chris Nelson, a high 1st round pick in 2004 to see time all around the infield as a utility player.

Outfield: Look for Aaron Altherr to man one of the OF spots for the ‘Pigs as the 24 year old is on the 40 man roster and spent all of last season in Reading.  The Phillies claimed Jordan Danks off of waivers in the off season from the WHite Sox and the likelihood is that he ends up in Lehigh Valley because of the necessity of keeping promising Rule 5 pick Odubel Herrera on the major league roster all season.  Danks has an option left and look for the Phils to use it.  Oft injured Kelly Dugan is likely to see substantial time in the Lehigh Valley outfield this season.  As a member of the 40 man roster and a fairly consistent hitter in the minors, Dugan could play himself into a 4th outfielder contender for the Phillies come 2016.  Look for the other two outfield roster openings to be filled by 2 of the following: Cameron Perkins, Jeff Francoeur, Brian Bogusevic, Darin Mastroianni and Xavier Paul.

Starting Pitching:  This is an area that looks to be  very interesting with significant talent coming into the organization through trades and additional talent coming back from injury.  Sean O’Sullivan and Kevin Slowey look to be the veteran presence on the mound for Lehigh Valley,  Both have major league experience and have experienced success at AAA.  Look for both to eat significant innings for the ‘Pigs.  Both Adam Morgan and Jonathan Pettibone return from significant injuries and will be watched closely in the Spring with the hope that they rejoin the Lehigh Valley rotation in the short term. My expectation is that Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will be in the Lehigh Valley rotation at the beginning of the year.  The Phils have hoped to move him back into the rotation and assuming he has command, he is at the AAA level.  Look for Joely Rodriguez, acquired in the Antonio Bastardo deal from the Pirates to open the season in the Lehigh Valley rotation as well.

Bullpen: Cesar Jiminez is back with the organization and all but guaranteed a bullpen spot after a successful 2014 with both Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia.  Ethan Martin is likely to be in the IronPig  ‘pen after a disappointing 201 during which he was often injured and pitched poorly. Hector Neris is a dark horse for the Phillies bullpen but more likely ends up in Lehigh Valley.  The Phils brass have been extremely impressed with Neris during winter ball and at the end of 2014.  The other four spots are likely to be filled by some combination of Elvis Arajuo, Nefi Ogando, Tyler Knigge, Jeanmar Gomez, Ryan O’Sullivan and Colton Murray.

“Every New Beginning….

Comes from some other beginning’s end”. SemiSonic. So, in 2007, James gave me an opportunity to write for Phuture Phillies during a difficult personal time period and with that opportunity came over seven years of feeling “like a kid in a candy store”.  I had the opportunity to write about a passion and be in an environment (at the ballpark)that is one of my personal nirvana’s.  I met great people, learned a ton about the industry (media, baseball and management), and perhaps most importantly made lifelong friends.  To James, my heartfelt thanks.  When James left the site over two years ago, I did my best to keep up the site and did so with the goal of keeping the site aligned with James vision.  The day to day work in keeping up a site like this with a very demanding “real life” career is simply overwhelming.  So, with that said, I will be moving over to what I consider to be the best baseball resource in the Delaware Valley at Philly Baseball Insider (http://www.phillybaseballblog.com).  I expect to contribute there fairly regularly and appreciate the opportunity to continue my passion working for (with) a friend who is a regular writer for local newspapers and a huge baseball enthusiast.  I expect my participation to be limited until Spring Training, but expect to hit the ground running with pitchers and catchers….

Thanks to all those who have contributed to Phuture Phillies over the years.

Until next time…

 

Phils Sign Chris Nelson to Minor League Deal

The flow of minor league free agents continue to move in as the Phillies announced they have signed 29 year old journeyman infielder Chris Nelson to a minor league deal. Nelson, 29, was a first round draft pick by the Rockies (9th overall) in the 2004 draft.  Nelson spent most of 2014 playing at the AAA level split between the Reds and Padres organizations, finishing with a .279/.355/.389 line in 319 AAA at bats, to go along with 6HR and 59RBI.

Over the last three seasons, Nelson has accrued 629 major league at bats (Yanks, Angels, Padres, Rockies), during which he has hit a respectable .269.  Nelson has spent most of his time at 3B, but can play 2B and SS in a pinch as well.  I would expect to see Nelson playing all around the infield in Lehigh Valley come April.

Biddle Leaves Winter Ball Game with Sore Elbow

The disaster that is 2014 continues for Jesse Biddle with multiple media outlets reporting that Biddle has left his Winter Ball team in Puerto Rico and returned to Philadelphia after experiencing soreness in his left elbow. Biddle was 0-1 with a 15.19 ERA in his 2 appearances.  He will undergo an MRI and be examined by Phillies physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti.

Phillies Minor League Free Agents

Per Baseball America:

AAA:BJ Rosenberg, Greg Smith, Brad Lincoln, Koyie Hill, Lars Davis, Sebastian Valle, Jim Murphy, Tyler Henson, Nate Spears, Leandro Castro

AA:Chris Bootcheck, Matt Hoffman, RayWily Gomez, Zach Collier, Albert Cartwright

High A: Brandon Short

The name that scares me on here is Sebastian Valle.  He has underachieved with the Phillies organization but continues to have a solid skill set and still is only 24 years old.  With so little true talent at catcher around major league baseball, Valle will be given a legitimate shot with another organization.

Open Discussion–Week of November 3rd

We hit the back end of the Arizona Fall League schedule with Roman Quinn continuing to excite almost anyone who has watched him in Arizona.  In 66 AB’s, Quinn is hitting .258/.372/.364 with 1HR 7RBI and a very impressive 13 SB’s in 15 attempts, along with playing a very solid CF.   C Logan Moore is hitting .154, playing every third day or so.

On the mound, P Nefi Ogando remains the most impressive and has likely solidified a spot on the Phils 40 man roster coming into next season.  In 9 appearances, Ogando is 1-0 with a 2.53ERA and 3 saves.  Opponents are hitting just .205 against him and his WHIP sits at 1.13.  P Ryan O’Sullivan continues getting hit around with an ERA of 11.57 in 7 appearances including his last appearance during which he allowed two earned runs.The opposition is hitting at an astronomical .385 rate against him. RP Colton Murray has been up and down in his 8 relief appearances, and sits at 0-2 with a 4.66ERA in his 9.2 innings of work.  Murray has walked just 1 and struck out an impressive 10 hitters, however opponents are hitting .300 in what has been a very long season with a lot of innings for Murray.

P Ethan Stewart has had an abbreviated AFL season, suffering from minor arm issues.  He has struggled in his 4 AFL outings, sitting with an ERA of 6.75 and an abysmal WHIP of 2.06, mostly because of his 8 walks in 5.1IP.  The bright side is the 9 strikeouts, which against this level of competition is eye opening. Finally, Adam Morgan has thrown in 4 games (9.1IP) and is 1-0 with a 5.79ERA thus far. Reports have his velocity increasing into the high 80’s–low 90’s which is a good sign but less production that that hoped for thus far. Morgan has walked just 1 and struck out 8, but the 16 hits allowed has shown hit to be very hittable coming off his significant injury.

Phils Sign 2 Outfielders

The off season minor league free agent signings have begun with the Phillies adding two outfielders with major league experience to the mix, 30 year old Brian Bogusevic and 29 year old Darin Mastroianni.

Bogusevic was originally a 1st round pick (24th overall) by the Astros in the 2005 draft.  He spent the 2014 season playing in the Marlins organization for AAA New Orleans, hitting .260/.349/.411 in 265 AB’s; with 6HR 33 RBI and 5SB.  Bogusevic last played in the majors for the Cubs in 2013, hitting .273 with 6 homers in 143 AB’s. Primarily a RF, Bogusevic can play all three OF positions.

Mastroianni was the Blue Jays 16th round pick in the 2007 draft and split time last season between the Blue Jays and Twins AAA affiliates.  In 364 AAA AB’s, Mastroianni hit .277/.354.,379 with 5HR 23RBI and 20SB.  Mastroianni has spent parts of the last 4 seasons in the major league, hitting just .212 in 273 major league AB’s.

Certainly nothing here to be overwhelmed by, but competent AAA players if nothing else.

Open Discussion–Week of October 27th

This weeks open discussion thread….A couple of quick newsworthy items today:

–RP  BJ Rosenberg was outrighted off the 40 man roster by the Phils and can now test the free agent market.

–RP Nefi Ogando and CF Roman Quinn were both named to the Arizona Fall League All Star team

–I have spent considerable time this week searching inside myself trying to figure out how Jayson Nix has landed on a team playing in the World Series.  The rest of my time since yesterday has been spent wondering how the hell a receiver can get behind two defenders on a 3rd and long with less than two minutes left in a football game.  Sorry, small diversion.

Open Discussion–Week of October 20th

We will start the week off with an Arizona Fall League Update…then feel free to discuss as you please.

A good week for Roman Quinn who went 8-25 with 5 runs scored, 3 RBI’s and 3SB’s.  Two weeks into the AFL season, Quinn is hitting .250/.333.300 in 40 AB’s; with 3 RBI’s and 7 stolen bases.  C Logan Moore has seen limited action as most expected as had hit .143 (2-14) with a lone RBI.

On the hill we have a real mixed bag.  RP Nefi Ogando has been most impressive of the group.  In his 5 appearances, Ogando is 0-0 with a 2.70 and 2 saves.  He has thrown 6.2 innings and yielded 2 runs on five hits.  He has walked 2 and struck out an impressive 6, continuing to throw in the mid 90’s.  RP Colton Murray had a rough week this week, giving up 3 runs in just 1.2 innings spanning 3 games. Overall in the Fall League, Murray is now 0-2 with a 7.94ERA, over 5 games.  SP Adam Morgan did not look good in his start this week, going 1.2 innings and giving up 5 runs (1 earned) on 5 hits.  He threw 42 pitches, 26 for strikes.  RYan O’Sullivan’s production in the Fall League can only be described as brutal at this stage.  He had made 3 appearances and is 0-1 with a 19.06 ERA and has allowed 12 runs on 13 hits in his 5.2IP, striking out just one.  P Ethan Stewart did not pitch at all last week after 2 appearances the first week of the season in which he gave up just a run in 3.1IP. He did however walk five and struck out 6.

Discuss.

Phillies Release 9 Minor Leaguers

The Phillies have begun their post season minor league cleanup by releasing 9 players, none of whom are a big surprise.  The following players have been released: P Mark Meadors, P Gregorio Santos, P Jeb Stefan, P Francibal Alejo, 2B Olvy Marte, 2B Robinson Torres, 3B Trey WIlliams, OF Nick Ferdinand and INF Anthony Phillips.

Trey Williams was the name from the list that the Phils probably believed had the most potential as their 7th round draft choice in 2013.  Williams hits .197 in the Gulf Coast League, spanning two seasons.  Jeb STefan was the Phils 22nd round pick in 2012 and showed some promise in ’12 and ’13 in Williamsport and Lakewood before an awful year this year in Clearwater.

Quick additional note that the Phils have outrighted SS Andres Blanco off of their 40 man roster.