Daily Discussion, Lopez Named Friday Starter

Rodrigo Lopez, a 33 year old righty who has spent this year in lehigh Valley was called up by the Phils today and named the starter for Friday nights game againt the Mets.  The trade yesterday for Brian Mazone by Lehigh Valley was the prologue to this deal, as the Phils needed to protect themselves with another veteran AAA starter if they lose Lopez when/if he is sent back down.  Lopez is out of options.  Lopez was 5-4 with a 3.91 ERA in Allentown and has pitched very well recently. Lopez, who is recently recovered from Tommy John surgery has over five years of major league experience, most recently with Colorado. He is a two time major league 15 game winner.

Kyle Kendrick took the complete game loss last night for Lehigh Valley, on a night where he induced 21 outs that came from ground balls, giving up just 2 earned runs.  He did commit two throwing errors, one of which was very costly that led to a Norfolk run.  Both Phillies President Dave Montgomery and Assistant GM Benny Looper were in the house to watch. 

Scott Eyre is getting the start for Reading today, and will be followed by Kyle Drabek.  Eyre will pitch the first inning in his first rehab appearance.  After the difficult debut by Yohan FLande last night (6IP, 5ER), the Reading bullpen shut down Altoona (Zagurski struck out the side in his inning) and Kevin Mahar hit a game winning, walk off homer in the 12th inning.  Mahar ended the month of June hitting .378 for the month. Ruben Amaro took in the Reading contest.  Reliever Sam Walls was released to make roster space for Flande.

In Lakewood, Jason Knapp had a 12 strikeout performance in just 5 shutout innings of work last night.  He left after having thrown over 100 pitches in those 5 innings.  According to the Blueclaws media relations staff, Knapp was clocked at 98 mph on the LAST pitch he threw.

68 thoughts on “Daily Discussion, Lopez Named Friday Starter

  1. Would tonight be a great night to get up to Reading or what? I believe Raul might even suit up for the R-Phils.

  2. With a power pitcher such as Knapp – is there a cap on the # of innings he should throw in his first full year in the minors? He’s currently at 79.2.

  3. I would think that Lakewood is going to start being very careful with Knapp VERY soon.

  4. Jason Knapp appears to be the real deal. I view him to be on the short list of “untouchable” prospects, along with Drabek, Taylor and Brown.

    I don’t know if anybody has noticed, but Lou Marson is picking it up. I see no reason why he can’t join the team as the second catcher next year and get more playing time as and when he deserves it. He needs this year to develop in the minors, but there’s nothing wrong with a guy working his way into the line-up over a few years. People forget that Lieberthal sat behind Benito Santiago for at least a year. I feel the same way about John Mayberry. These are good, not great, prospects. Why not make them compete for more playing time while getting used to the majors?

  5. I think as an overall prospect (not taking positions into consideration), Marson>Mayberry, but I agree with the gist of your comments, Catch.

  6. Knapp is a monster! Hey PP, how do you feel about that draft pick now?

    I’m glad that simply because of logistical issues Kendrick won’t be the pitcher getting called up. From what I’ve read he’s still just hurling his sinker out there to get outs instead of developing a change up to throw against lefties. Anyone seen him lately and know if he’s been able to change speeds? The last thing I read it was only like 3 mph, which is hardly a change up.


    Let’s all take a giant step back and think about how much progress this team has made with its minor league system over the last several years. Two years ago, Kyle Kendrick was their best option from the minors. Drabek, Savery, and even Bastardo are as advanced as Kendrick was and are all better prospects (Batardo is injured, but he’s still a better overall prospect).

  8. How about the Month Michael Taylor had:
    BA-.369, 41 hits, 22 runs, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 5 HRs, 19 RBIs
    5 SB, .445 OBP, .595 Slg, 1.040 OPS

    And for the year he is hitting over 400 with runners on and in scoring position.

    Minor leaguer for June?

  9. On Knapp…

    Last night’s performance was as dominant as his 7-innings 14ks in April…

    He was one strike away from striking out the entire Grasshopper lineup, in order. But he hit the guy, gave up a single and then got his 9th straight out by K…

    The last batter was amazing though… Knapp was at 99 pitches and a reliever was warming up. Dusty Wathan walks out the mound and probably says something to the affect of “This is your last guy, go get him”…So Knapp at 1-1 throws a nice hook, setting up a 1-2 pitch and you know what is coming. On pitch 103, Knapp fires the fastest pitch thrown at FirstEnergy Park all season 98 on the stadium gun (which is said to be 2mph slow…I’ll get an official read today) it was just an amazing pitch. Knapp will probably skip starts here and there to stay fresh as you had mentioned, I’m sure they’d love to have him come playoff time.

  10. TPD, it looks like the Threshers will need a spot start next week – are you loose?

  11. Knapp’s 98 mph fastball onhis last pitch was on the ‘slow’ gun.

  12. I think Flande’s start was encouraging in that, after giving up 5 runs in the second, he allowed only one harmless single for the next 4 innings.
    In Zagurski’s last 10 appearances, consisting of 12 IP, he has 21 K’s with an ERA of 0.75.

  13. Zagurski could be a Godsend for this team. He is really a rehabbing major league pitcher – if he can keep it up, I don’t see why they shouldn’t recall him at some point.

  14. I wasn’t there, but I have no problem with Flande’s results in his first AA outing. 4 hits, 3 walks, 4 Ks in 6 IP. Pretty solid foundation to build on in first outing.

  15. I’m dying to hear something first hand regarding Kendrick. If he’s having the type of success he’s having with just a sinker…..just imagine what a couple of decent secondary pitches could do for him. 21 Ground outs over 9 innings is dominating and I don’t think we should be so quick to write him off

  16. On Kendrick,i looked him up on fangraph and i know it is a small sample but,it has his fastball @almost 92 mph on ave. i find this strange

  17. Not a bad start for jumping a level! Get on while there is still room!

  18. I luv that Fande didnt fold especially in the face of an error.
    Wild Gose

  19. 1 question about Knapp… how are his secondary pitches? Any plus offerings outside of his fastball which looks like a Plus Plus pitch?

  20. Kruk fangraphs only does the MPH from the big league Gamecasts, so the 92 was from the one appearance coming out of the pen, and we saw how that helped him

  21. I have seen Kendrick quite a few times this year, maybe a half a dozen or so….he has been between adequate and pretty good. Last night, his fastball was coming in at the low 90’s and his sinker was working. He simply needs to continue developing another pitch. For whatever reason, he has pretty clearly been written off by the Phils, a bit quickly in my opinion. He is still only 24 and at the Age of 22, double jumped from Reading and won 11 games for the Phils. While he clearly does not have the raw talent of carrasco, Im not sure that he doesnt have the same raw talent if not more than Carpenter. Its just how he uses it at times.

  22. I was just sitting here, thinking about our best hitting prospect and wondering why the hell he hasn’t moved up to AAA…. He isn’t learning crap at AA and to be honest, at 23 he’s seasoned enough to handle 2 consecutive years of double promotions. (And don’t feed me that decreasing his trade value crap, wait till Aug. 1st)

    Additionally, ironic this kid isn’t in the top 100 prospects in baseball… if he doesn’t hit .300 w/ 25 Hr’s 20 steals and a .400 OBP in the major’s after a year or two I’d be shocked.

    Maybe the more important question is who is he going to replace….Would anyone here trade Ibanez or Werth plus say Marson for a #1/2 pitcher and give Taylor the nod in right field while switching werth to left?

  23. They’re probably leaving him in AA so he continues putting up monster numbers, in order to show off how good he is to other teams. If he (and a lesser type prospect) can bring back a #2 starter or so, that’s what’s going to happen, probably. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  24. My guess is that the Phils move him up after the trade deadline…his value could not be higher right now. If they were to deal him (which I hope and pray they don’t), peak trade value would come from him continuing to rake at AA.

  25. “Additionally, ironic this kid isn’t in the top 100 prospects in baseball… if he doesn’t hit .300 w/ 25 Hr’s 20 steals and a .400 OBP in the major’s after a year or two I’d be shocked.”

    I can almost guarantee that he’ll be top 50 overall the next time BA redoes the top 100. And Brown will be even higher, since they like Brown even more

  26. I always thought Kendrick would be a good bullpen guy. He can come in with runners on and induce double plays with his sinker or pitch multiple innings like CH Park. He still needs another pitch to get lefthanders out but I think he can still be an effective major leaguer. I just don’t think it will be in Philly.

  27. I’d put the odds they trade him around 50%, which really sucks, maybe ruben will stick with a aquiring a Joe Blanton pitcher and not have to give him up. I’d sort of rather they give up Werth and play Taylor in the majors. Bat him second, move Vic to leadoff and hope he can hit .280 with a respectable OBP.

  28. What about his trade value if he did go to AAA and say hit .285 or .305 or .315,his stock would than peak.but i think we can win this div. without trading any of our top 5 or so prospects

  29. If it is indded true that Michael Taylor still isn’t among the top 100 prospects, then that’s ridiculous. At the very least, he’s likely to be a very good major leaguer and there’s a decent chance he’s going to become a star. I find a lot of these prospect lists to be laughable because, for position players anyway, they focus way more on perceived potential than on performance. Taylor is probably rated behind Hewitt.

  30. As time goes on I have to reluctantly agree that the only reason to keep Taylor in the minors is to enhance his trade value. If Amaro screws this up and trades him, he may never live it down. It could prove to be a Ryne Sandberg-level mistake.

  31. With Taylor, leaving him in AA so that he can crush the pitching to boost trade value is highly unlikely in my opinion – other teams know what we know and that is that he belongs in AAA. If anything, moving him up and giving him an opportunity to crush AAA pitching would boost his value.

    Personally, I think that Taylor will move up after the all-star break. They probably figured that they can delay promotion for a couple of weeks so that he can enjoy the fanfare.

  32. I meant to say keep Taylor at AA, not the minors – he still needs some time at AAA, just to confirm that what we are seeing is real. I think we all believe that it is, but others who were on a fast track have stalled at AAA (see Jason Donald).

  33. We have not had a stud homegrown bat to the bigs in 4 years that’s 2.5 a decade,I can see 2 in the next 3 years if they stay pat,not including Marsen’s above ave bat

  34. “I find a lot of these prospect lists to be laughable because, for position players anyway, they focus way more on perceived potential than on performance. Taylor is probably rated behind Hewitt.”

    Baseball America is generally the most trusted prospect source. They went ahead and rated Dominic Brown as our #1 prospect before his performance might have warranted, and he has responded by placing third in slugging and OPS in the Florida State League.

    Eastern League All Star rosters haven’t been released, but an milb.com article says the R-Phils have four selections. Michael Taylor, Joe Savery, Neil Sellers, and one unnamed yet.

  35. Catch 22 f/k/a H Man: I haven’t seen any updated Top 100 rankings, but Taylor would certainly be in any of them that matter. He’s a Top 60 prospect at this point.

    Gregg: I don’t necessarily think the organization has written off Kendrick, but if they have, I agree that it’s too soon. His emergency call-up to pitch out of the bullpen a couple of weeks ago was a mistake — he should be in Lehigh Valley until he develops either an effective change-up or splitter, and rushing him to the majors before then is ill-advised. I agree with you that he has more upside than Carpenter; for all his struggles, he was an effective major league starter for a year and a half, which is far more than Carpenter can say.

  36. We’ve been over this before. The notion that the Phils are keeping Taylor in Reading to enhance his trade value is rediculous. Don’t you think the other teams have scouts? The Phils left him there because there’s no where to rush him to. He’ll move to AAA after the all star break and play there again next year barring a need to trade Werth or Victorino for a pitcher. He’ll be ready to replace Werth after next year. Please don’t suggest that they trade Ibanez because his salary makes him untradeable, not that they’d want to trade him. Brown will follow a similar schedule although a year behind and he’ll be ready to replace Raul. These plans could change based on needs but I would highly doubt it.
    Yes, Zagurski looked terrific last night and can definitely help in Philly before too long if the need presents itself.

  37. I don’t care how you slice it, but 21 of 27 outs via the ground ball shows that Kendrick has a dominating sinker. The only way Kendrick is going to develop that secondary pitch is by throwing it in low pressure situations. If he needs to play winter ball and do bullpen sessions where he throws nothing but changes and splits, the organization has got to make him do it.

  38. I can understand how Taylor could have been off a pre-season list. As of this spring, it was unclear if he was playing well just because he was so much older and played at an advanced level in college.

    Friar’s discussion makes a lot of sense.

  39. Just for the record BP had Taylor at 55 preseason, I’d bet if they redid them right now, and or he keeps these same numbers through AAA, he’ll be top 20 next year.

  40. I’m considering a membership in SABR and was wondering if anyone here has had any experience with them. I know that they are highly regarded as many baseball writers quote their work but is it worth $65 per year even for an avid fan?

  41. Re Kendrick’s 20+ groundballs: You cannot judge a pitcher off one game. In the same game, he had only one K. Nobody wants to see Kendrick succeed more than I do but I fear he is doomed to be a AAA pitcher.

  42. According to espndeportes, Luis Jolly turned down 800k from Phillies, the high profile player from DR

  43. Rodrigo Lopez gets the start Friday night. The Phillies traded for Brian Mazzone yesterday for the Pigs because they can’t expect Lopez back. He’d have to be released and resigned which is unlikely if he doesn’t do well in Philly. Lopez is 65 – 65 for his career which is better than most journeymen.

  44. That piss’s me off i changed my work hours first on thursday night then on friday night to see carrasco pitch,but it will be interesting to see lopez

  45. I like the move. It’s easy to bail on him if he flops, but if he’s solid, he could stick for a month or so.

  46. My original thought was CC should have been called up but I can see the logic of going with a more experienced guy because he might stick past the 2 starts he’s expected to get before the AS break. If he succeeds, though, it affects JA Happ because there is still a need for an upgrade at the front of the rotation and he could be the odd man out.
    That might mean a trade or a return to the bullpen.

  47. It is amazing that thruogh all of the conversation about Taylor, and he is a player, that it seems that Mahar is a guy that the peopel on this love to hate. Yes Taylor had real good numbers for June, but Mahar’s were nothing short of his. He is also a player who brings more to the tabel because of all of the positions he plays. both he and Taylor are at another level than Mayberry is. But, as has seemed to be the case, he seems to be shunned aside. Watch what happens when he gone here shortly, even money says he is in th eshow before Taylor. Just a thought.

  48. Mahar is 28, and when given a shot in AAA slugged less than .400. He’s not a prospect.

  49. Kevin Mahar and Michael Taylor in the same breath? Come on. Mahar is what he is, a late 20’s guy that has been floating around for several years now. He has had a very good year with Reading and does have some versatility but he is well passed the point of being a “prospect”. He potentially could fill a void as a 24-25th man at some point on a major league roster. Taylor very well could be a fixture in a major league OF for a decade.

  50. Figures, I have tickets Friday. I’m hoping Lopez exceeds my expectations.

    And guys, I saw Les Walrond throw 17K’s at LV so let’s not get too excited about Knapp… but still a great effort. I wish they would’ve kept him in another inning.

  51. Murray, I’m with you. Let Taylor develop naturally. We’ve seen a stream of players regress at AAA, so why push it? Look at Marson, Donald, Carrasco, Jaramillo, etc. all who took a step back during the jump to LV. Let him replace Werth in ’10, or at the very least, make Werth expendable in a trade next year.

  52. RE: Kendrick – I don’t think the org. has given up on him at all. it seems very clear to me that they sat down with him and AGREED TOGETHER that he needs to add another major league pitch to his arsenal. Kyle has not added another pitch to my knowledge. He may have great starts in AAA throwing that sinker when it is working but he will not succeed again in the bigs without the 3rd pitch. Kyle knows this, the Phillies know this, we know this. It’s up to Kyle now.

  53. why does anyone care what baseball america has taylor rated? you all know how good taylor is .

  54. does kendrick even have a decent ssecond pitch? I’ve heard his slider described as a cement mixer- it spins but doesn’t move. And we know that his change is no good.

  55. LV Matt, Walrond was not 2 years younger than his competition and throwing 98 on his 103rd pitch when he struck out 17. You can’t compare the two outings at all. Get psyched about Knapp.

  56. Didn’t see this elsewhere, but how about Drabek tonight going 3/3? Ah, what fun it must have been to be at the Reading game tonight to see Taylor mash one, Drabek pitch and hit, and observe how the Pirates managed to waste the 4th overall pick in 2007.

  57. This is from the chat going on over on the Clearwater thread about Hewitt, so it’s a little out of context.

    Fine, I’ll start the Hewitt Bandwagon.

    I really think they have him working on his swing and it has showen improvement. Tonight I didn’t listen to the game but the last several I have and he has been squaring up the ball really well. He hustled out a triple the other night and just missed a home run on a foul ball.

    He’s going from 65-70MPH stuff in HS to upper 80’s low 90’s with good breaking stuff. He’s showing that he has the bat speed to get to the ball and hit. In fact, he might hit the ball the hardest then anyone in the system(Taylor might be head). This was said when he was down in spring training with the big club and is repeated by the broadcasters for the Crosscutters(they always say the ball sound off the bat is different then anyone else).

    It’s going to take him awhile but if he reaches half of his potential he’ll make the majors. We’re just going to have to view him like a raw international free agent signing, just older. If he reaches his tools by 24(and thus the majors), it will be worth the wait.

  58. Didn’t know where else to bring this up, but I’m glad to see that Valle has really turned it around in Williamsport. Its a small sample, but he’s opened up short season ball hitting .385 with an OPS over 1.200…. he’s not only been hitting for average and power but drawing a reasonable amount of walks. I suppose the lesser competition and regular time at catcher have helped him get into a groove— hopefully d’Arnaud will turn it around also with some regular reps at one position.

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