All posts by gregg

Lehigh Valley Weekly Report

An ugly week for Lehigh Valley who lost five in a row before breaking their losing streak with a win on Tuesday evening, followed by yet another loss on Wednesday to Scranton. The ‘Pigs return home to face Buffalo in a four game series over the weekend followed by four against Durham at home next Monday thru Thursday.  Lehigh Valley is currently 4-10 and in 6th place of the Northern Division of the International League, 5.5 games behind division leading Buffalo.

News and Notes: Maikel Franco had his 9 game hitting streak snapped with an 0-5 on Monday night.  He followed that up with a multi hit game in Tuesday.

–INF RUss Canzler has hit in 8 of his last 9 games, hitting .429 over that period, scoring 7 runs.

–Brian Bogusevic already has 3 OF assists, leading the team in that category.

–Severino Gonzalez became the first Lehigh Valley pitcher to record a victory in Game 13, Tuesday night.

–Brian Bogusevic has hit safely in 9 consecutive games.

–OF Domonic Brown has made five rehab appearances with Lehigh Valley and is 3-20.

‘Pigs prospects: Severino Gonzalez has looked fairly strong in his first three AAA starts, two of them being quality starts.  He is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA and 1.25 WHIP and has been able to consistently compete moving quickly through the system.  In his last outing on Tuesday, Gonzalez got the win, giving up just a lone run on 6 hits.  He didn’t walk a batter and struck out 3.

Adam Morgan has made two fairly mediocre starts, followed by a nice start Wednesday during which he gave up 3 earned in 7 efficient innings of work, without yielding a walk. Morgan, who missed all of last season following surgery is trying to build himself back up and this last start should give him confidence to continue to grow.  On the year, Morgan is 0-2 with a 4.50ERA and a 1.44WHIP.  That said, he has yielded just 4 walks in 16 innings of work, often a recipe for success.

Next week: Franco, Murray, Joseph

‘Pigs League Leaders: Maikel Franco is 2nd in AB’s(58), 4th in slg (.569)leads the league in hits(20),leads the league in doubles(8), and is 5th in RBI’s (9); Russ Canzler is 8th in hits(16) and 10th in avg. (.356); Brian Bogusevic is 6th in SB(4).  Phillippe Aumont is 8th in ERA (1.50) and is 6th in walks allowed (8); Jason Berken has the 2nd worst ERA (8.74); Severino Gonzalez is 5th in IP (17.2); Adam Loewen has allowed the 3rd most walks (10)

Probables: Thur: Clemens; Fri: Rodriguez; Sat: Billingsley

Transactions: On Wednesday, RP Hector Neris was called up to Philadelphia.

Lehigh Valley Weekly Report

The weekly report will be back as a regular Wednesday/Thursday feature throughout the year.  If there is anything additional that you all are looking for beyond what I am reporting, always feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts!

The first week of the ‘Pigs season has had some good, some bad and some ugly after a 3-4 week which included multiple extra inning affairs, one ending with two position players on the mound.  The week ended on the upswing with consecutive victories over Syracuse, including an 8-5 win in this mornings game.  A week in, Lehigh Valley is in 3rd place of the Northern Division of the International League, 2 games behind division leading Pawtucket.  Lehigh Valley hits the road for the first time this year with their next four games in Buffalo followed by three in Scranton.

News and Notes: OF Jordan Danks has hit safely in his first five games to start the year.

–The average age of the Lehigh Valley opening day roster is just under 27.

–Pitchers Ethan Martin and Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez have both started the season on the DL with right shoulder inflammation

–There has been speculation about Phillippe Aumont moving into the role of a starter or long reliever after several years of mediocrity or worse out of the bullpen.

–Its scary that–Only three players on the Lehigh Valley 25 man roster were originally drafted by the Phils (Morgan, Knigge, Murray)

‘Pigs Prospects: Each week we will take a deeper dive into the details of three or four players.  Those players will alternate weekly among those most likely to see time with the big club as true prospects.  For this week:

Maikel Franco–The low light of the week for Franco was his one game benching after his admiration for a ball he hit off the wall on Saturday, a shot he turned into a single with his slow trot for 90 feet down the first base line, presumably thinking he had hit a HR.  That said, Franco has come out of the gate stronger than in years passed and is hitting .296 with 1HR and 7RBI through the first week of the season.  He has been solid at third and noticeably more patient at the plate, walking several times.

Tommy Joseph–A very slow start for Joseph, who is trying to bounce back from a lost year last year.  Through 18 AB’s, Joseph is hitting .167 and albeit with a very small sample size, has struck out in 39% of his plate appearances, without walking.  Joseph has thrown out 2 of the 6 runners attempting to steal on him thus far.

Colton Murray has looked very good with three scoreless outings, spanning 5.1 innings to start the season.  Control has been a bit of an issue as he has yielded walks in each of his three appearances and that will catch up to him in time.  Murray has yielded just 2 hits and struck out 3 while earning his first AAA save in his 3rd appearance.

Next week: Severino Gonzalez and Adam Morgan

Transactions: Sean O’Sullivan was called up to Philadelphia last Sunday.  RP Cesar Jiminez was outrighted to Lehigh Valley in the corresponding roster move.  On Monday, largely because of an overworked bullpen, RP Mike Nesseth was promoted to Lehigh Valley and Phllippe Aumont was (at least on paper) sent to Reading.  Aumont in actuality remained in Allentown and was unavailable to pitch for several days because of an extended four inning outing. Prior to the game on Wednesday, Nesseth was returned to Reading and Aumont was “promoted” back to Lehigh Valley.

‘Pigs League Leaders:  This feature will begin next week after a sufficient statistical sample from around the league is gained.

Probables: Thur: S. Gonzalez; Fri: Morgan; Sat: Clemens; Sun: Rodriguez

 

Lehigh Valley Roster

Catchers: Tommy Joseph, Rene Garcia

Infield:  Maikel Franco, Cord Phelps, Chase D’Arnaud,Chris McGuiness, Chris Nelson

Outfield: Brian Bogusevic, Darin Mastroianni, Jordan Danks, Tyler Henson

Starting Pitchers: Severino Gonzalez, Miguel Gonzalez, Adam Morgan, Joely Rodriguez, Sean O’Sullivan

Relief Pitchers: Phillippe Aumont, Jason Berken, Paul Clemens, Tyler Knigge, Adam Loewen, Colton Murray, Hector Neris, Seth Rosin

Lakewood Roster

Catchers: Deivi Gruillon, Joel Fisher

Infield: Rhys Hoskins, Derek Campbell, Malquin Canelo, Grenny Cumana, Damek Tomscha

Outfield: Carlos Tocci, Cord Sandberg, Jiandido Tromp, Herlis Rodriguez

Starting Pitchers: Ricardo Pinto, Chris Oliver, Ranfi Casimiro, Tyler Viza

Relief Pitchers: Einiery Garcia, Matt Hockenberry, Joey Denato, Austin Davis, Calvin Rayburn, Alexis Rivero, Josh Taylor, Jason Zgardowski, Jesen Therrien

DL: Drew Anderson, Scott Harris, Nick Rodesky, Samuel Hiciano

 

Reading Roster

Big day…here we go…

Catchers: Logan Moore and Gabrial Lino

Infield: Carlos Alonso, Edgar Duran, KC Serna, Gustavo Pierre, Art Charles, Harold Martinez

Outfield: Brock Stassi, Roman Quinn, Brian Pointer, Cameron Perkins, Aaron Altherr

Starting Pitchers: Aaron Nola, Jesse Biddle, Zach Eflin, Tom Windle, Ben Lively

Relief Pitchers: Elvis Arajuo, Nefi Ogando, Mike Nesseth, RYan O’Sullivan, Stephen SHackleford, Anthony Vasquez, Ethan Stewart

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.

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.

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.

‘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.