Reading Phils Update 5/1/11

Coming off of the 6-3 start I reported on two weeks ago, many wondered if the R-Phils were just hot, or if they are really a good team.  That question seems to have been answered, at least in part, by the 9-4 record they posted over the two succeeding weeks.  The team has been led by their offense, efficient if not dominant pitching, and by getting the big hit or the big out when its needed. At 15-7, they’re in first place by 3 games in the Eastern Division of the EL.

First the offense, which is first in the EL in runs scored: Cody Overbeck and Matt Rizzotti are the team leaders in the heart of the order, both in the league top-10 in AVE and OPS (Overbeck is 4th in OPS at .945, and Rizzotti 6th at .929). Three other full-time players have been contributing consistently: Derrick Mitchell, Carlos Rivero, and Freddy Galvis, all of whom have OBPs over .325, and OPSs over .700 where the league average is barely over .660.  Galvis, who in previous years contributed mainly with his glove, has had an OPS of .833 in his last 10 games, and is hitting quite well against LH pitchers and in day games.  At 21 years of age, Galvis is still very young for AA baseball.  The 22-year-old Rivero has been getting on base at an excellent .375 clip.  So far this year he’s making better, more consistent contact, reducing his Ks and increasing his walk rate while posting an .898 OPS over the last 10 games. Because he’s been pretty inconsistent from game to game, I’m a bit doubtful that this signifies anything more than a small sample size fluctuation for him, though.  Derrick Mitchell has been playing a very solid CF and contributing offensively with an occasional HR.  He needs to strike out a bit less and walk a bit more. The offense will miss Harold Garcia, who was lost for the season when he tore his ACL on April 19th in a collision at first base while legging out a bunt single.

On the mound, the bullpen has been dependable for the most part, and the starters have been decent, with Zeid and Kissock in particular looking better recently.  The whole staff pitches to contact, with only Philippe Aumont and BJ Rosenberg striking out more than one batter per IP.  The staff overall is third in the EL in ERA. Zeid’s last start, when he was pulled after five no-hit innings, was obviously his best, and came against a Portland team that raked him earlier in the season. Kissock also excelled in his last start, pitching a 7-inning, 3-hit shutout against Erie. He is a fly-ball pitcher who doesn’t get a lot of Ks, so I’m not sure how bright his future is. One more pitcher who is really contributing to the team is Mike Cisco, who seems to be playing the role of fifth-and-a-half starter, pitching about every 4 or 5 days and throwing 3-5 innings.  He’s been effective in all five of his outings, allowing only a .172 opposition average.

JC Ramirez needs his own entire post, but, briefly, he’s been pitching brilliantly in terms of results, but not striking anyone out–sort of the Kyle Kendrick of the Eastern League. He only has 6 Ks in more than 26 innings of pitching, so he’s actually making Kendrick look like Nolan Ryan at this point. He’s succeeding by keeping the ball in the park and not walking anyone.  Against lefties, he’s not allowed a walk, and he’s inducing almost four times as many GBs as FBs, which is a key point in his success, since many righties struggle against portsiders. He’s holding all batters to an .071 average with RISP, so that’s helping as well.  His BABIP numbers should normalize a bit, so he’ll need to start striking out a few more hitters to maintain his successful start.

Reading finishes a week-long homestand with a game versus Portland today (Austin Hyatt starting), and a 4-game series versus New Hampshire (a team that has given them trouble over the last several seasons) Monday through Thursday. They then hit the road (a short road, really), playing at arch-rivals Harrisburg and Trenton, against whom they’ve also struggled in the recent past.  They return home a week from Thursday, strangely to play New Hampshire again for four more games.

42 thoughts on “Reading Phils Update 5/1/11

  1. Great update—
    Now that the weather is looking better, I hope to get to some games. Looks like a much more fun team to watch than last year.

    1. I agree with mwbbfan – this is a great summary. Informative and thoughtful. Please keep it up!

  2. Why is Cody Overbeck who was drafted as a 3rd baseman Dhing? Is it his arm? Why not at least second base?

    1. Bill, Overbeck was not a very good defensive 3B. He played there a lot the past couple of years and could not do a good enough job. Hence they are trying him at other positions he might be able to handle defensively, since it looks like he has some pop.

  3. Go JC Ramirez. Keep the ball in the ballpark in the Eastern league and don’t walk anybody. He’s been a 7 plus K/9 guy his whole career. The Ks will come.

  4. I read in the Philadelphia Inquirer today that they are going to start trying Overbeck in the OF. They first need him to work on stretching out his arm for the longer throws.

  5. It should be mentioned that Mark Parent – back to back Sally League champion manager – is now the manager at Reading.
    Good managers get more out of players. Parent will be in the majors coaching or managing by 2013.

    1. Totally agree. The old saw managers only win or lose 4 games a year is a giant crock of golden u know whats. eg. saturday’s Marlins game one pitcher stuck out the two he faced and the manager made a fatal change.
      The one thing Cholly is good at.

    2. I think it’s a little different – in the minors, coaches and managers are supposed to help players develop and teach them how to play the game. In the majors it is all about winning. If Parent makes the majors someday (good luck to him if that’s what he wants), I hope the Phils can find some others like him at the minor league level to continue to teach and develop the youngsters.

    1. I’m still NOT onboard the Hewitt train yet. But he has a 12 game hitting streak and popped those 2 HRs yesterday. I’m sure pitchers will get back to throwing off the plate instead of in the strike zone.

  6. Lakewood lost two games this weekend because of poor defense by the second baseman (throwing) and the shortstop (fielding) allowing the winning run to score. The ten run inning on Friday prevented another replay when both made errors leading to four unearned runs by Shreve. Alvarez struck out with one out and the tying run on third after Hewitt’s second home run. The team must be pretty frustrated.
    I fully agree that Parent has a lot to do with the attitude of Reading. He will be a big league manager someday. The players on the team are playing to and past their abilities, the mark of good management.
    I saw that Matt Peyton played for Clearwater and got three hits. He is a great fielder and is worth watching. He did not hit well in the GCL last year, but helped them in the championship series. He has passed Barnes and is about to take over for Hernandez. I really want Barnes to succeed. This has not been a good trip back to Lakewood for him. Maybe Hernandez needs some Extended Spring Training. It seemed to do Peyton some good. (Yes, I know, SSS, but it jumped out at me.)

    1. The Barnes move probably confirms that Peyton only played for a day because Clearwater needed someone to play until Barnes got there. The Phillies do this periodically at Clearwater (with prospects and non-prospects).

  7. Was at the Reading-Portland game today. It only reinforces the difficulty for Hyatt to ever become an effective major league starting pitcher but he should be an excellent 8th inning type set up guy some day. He struck out the side swinging in the first inning relying on fastball location down in the zone but again lost location in the middle innings when he was up in the zone with his fastball. He recorded the three strike outs in the first on fastballs at 88, 87 and 89 mph on the slow Stadium gun which probably were really in the 91-93 mph range. He threw only one change up in the first inning. Over the next five innings he struck out only two more. As the game went on he threw more change ups which were usually in the dirt. He still maintained velocity on his fastball but lost command in the zone. He left after six innings with a 3-2 lead which was held by the bullpen for the win.

    DeFratus is a real treat to watch as a closer. He had a major league fastball and an average slider today. The Red Sox farmhands could not square up his fastball and got two dinky hits in the 9th, one a broken bat variety. He ended the game protecting a one run lead with the base loaded and two outs on a stadium gun 93 mph fastball which was probably 97 as he jammed the batter inducing a slow chop back to the mound.

    As far as today’s DH Cody Overbeck is concerned it looked like he hit a cutter or slider up out over the plate on his second homer which went two-thirds of the way up off the scoreboard behind the left center field wall. His first homer was still rising as it hit a billboard behind the picnic area in left. Now they want him to learn to play in the outfield after they hit him a few fungo fly balls this coming week to get him ready for the outfield when they finally lose the DH when they play a National League team next weekend in Harrisburg. Should be an interesting adventure for him next weekend. At least LaMar and Noworyta were in attendence behind home plate today to watch his bat.

    1. Your write-up’s are always amazing, and you seem to watch a lot of minor league games in a lot of different locations. I don’t want to blow your cover, but it begs to be asked, are you a pro scout?

      1. Agreed. Posts are amazing -exactly what I would be attempting to learn if I were able to go to one of these games.

        Overbeck is turning into a legitimate light-tower slugger – and just in time.

    2. After the Raul failure tonight they might be hitting Overbeck flyballs in the dark.

      1. I swear. I’d tell Overbeck to stand in LF. If he catches the first 3 flyballs I hit him, Ibanez is on the bench. Just kidding but man has Ibanez just lost it completely.

    3. Thanks for the report, Rickey. I appreciate the color compared to what I can read in the box score. It’s nice to see Overbeck start the year out strong again.

  8. Brown activated/optioned to LHV. Bocock to LHV. Matt Miller to Reading. Bye Bye Robbie Hudson. No word on corresponding Reading move.

  9. I have tix for LV tomorrow night, but I won’t be going if it’s raining, as is called for in the weather report. I just can’t hang around through rain delays on week nights.

  10. Did you say JC was pitching brilliantly and compare him to Kendrick in the same sentence???? Wtf??? Kidding, great post, appreciate the details.

      1. Gload was attending a funeral and was not at the game according to the Phillies website

        1. If only they had something in the CBA to allow for short-term roster moves in times of Bereavement…you know, like Bereavement Leave that gives the player 3 games and allows the team to call up someone from the minors to give them a full roster.

          The Phillies played with a 22 man roster last night with Chooch, Gload and Oswalt unavailable. Rube should have made a move and called someone up from AAA for those 3 games.

          1. Agree that MLB needs to have something in place for non-injury issues like babies being born, deaths in the family, etc.

  11. My son and I plan to attend games at Reading on Wednesday and Thursday. If my fingers/toes math is right Zeid and Ramirez should be pitching. I have to leave CT at 5:30am on Wednesday to get to the park for a 11am game. Thursday’s game is also 11am. What’s up with that? Aren’t the kids still in school? But the 11 start allows us to get to CBP for a 7pm game on Thursday. Three games in 2 days is a nice getaway.

  12. Overbeck is now doing this two years in a row. I think many people will be watching his LF adventures very closely. Its impossible not to be excited about JC and Aumont plus I think Hyatt, Zeid, Cisco, and DeFratus will all pitch in a big league pen within a few years.

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