Lehigh Valley Weekly Report

Another good week for the ‘Pigs, even with it ending having been swept by Gwinnett in a doubleheader yesterday. Lehigh Valley went 4-2 since the last report and are now 27-18 on the season, and are atop the Northern Division of the International League, three games ahead of both Pawtucket and Scranton.  Their eight game home stand continues tomorrow with a four game series against Rochester.

‘Pigs Leaders, Hitting: Jeff Larish is tied for 7th in homers (8); Rich Thompson leads the league in stolen bases (18) and is 7th in OBP (.393).

Pitching: Mike Zagurski is tied for 4th in saves (7); Ryan Feireabend is tied for 2nd in homers allowed (10); Michael Schwimer is tied for the league lead in holds (5).

Outfielders: Delwyn Young has heated up as of late, hitting .342 over the last 10 games, including 4 multi hit efforts.  On the year, Young is at .225/.269/.391 in 151 AB’s with 6 HR and 20 RBI. Young is triking out in over 25% of his plate appearances and hitting .190 with RISP.

Rich Thompson has hit .309 in his last 18 games, raising his average from .230 to its current .267/.393/.328 with 1HR and 4 RBI.  His proficiency stealing bases continues as he has now stolen 18 in his 19 attempts this year.  Continued good defense from Thompson who has been the primary CF as of late for the ‘Pigs.

Brandon Moss has hit in 7 of his last 11 games (.286) with 5 multi hit games during that span.  On the year, Moss is at .248/.338/.450 in 129 AB’s with 5 HR and 27 RBI’s.  Moss continues to be probably the best clutch hitter in the Lehigh Valley lineup, hitting .261 with RISP.

Cory Sullivan has seen fairly limited playing time lately, getting just 24 AB’s since May 12th and hitting .250 over that stretch.  On the year, Sullivan is at .210/.336/.250 in 100 AB’s with 0HR and 14 RBI’s.  A notable stat is a very high walk rate for Sullivan, walking in 20 over his 120 plate appearances.

Catchers: Erik Kratz is hitting .270 over his lats 10 games, with 3 HR and 8 RBI’s, to go along with game winning hits on three different occasions. On the year, .253/.369/.540 in 87 AB’s with 7 HR and 16 RBI’s. Additionally, Kratz has thrown out 35% of would be base stealers.  Am I the only one that thinks he belongs in Philly rather than Sardinha?

John Suomi has been floating around the organization, catching wherever needed this year. He just joined Lehigh Valley last week seeing action in 3 games.

NOTE: No update on relievers here this week, as they will be covered in “Around the System” tomorrow.

Notes: Tagg Bozied, primarily a 1B, has played several games in LF over the last week.

–Through the first 43 games, Lehigh Valley’s bullpen is a combined 13-4 with a 2.43 ERA.

–Lehigh Valley has come from behind in over 60% of their wins.

–With Vance Worley getting called up to Philadelphia, the ‘Pigs rotation goes back to: 1) Gordon 2)Bump 3)Bonine 4) Bass and %)Feireabend

–After going 3-11 in extra inning games last year, the ‘Pigs are 3-2 in 2011.

–OF Domonic Brown was in the midst of an 18 game hitting streak when called up to Philly.

Transactions: Clearwater and Lehigh Valley exchanged back up catchers with Joel Naughton going down to Clearwater and John Suomi, who spent parts of two pervious seasons with the ‘Pigs is back in Lehigh Valley, presumably until Dane Sardinha returns.

–Infielder Pete Orr joined Lehigh Valley after being optioned from Philadelphia.  To make room on the roster, INF Niuman Romero was sent down to AA Reading.  Orr, who can play 2B, SS and 3B is a career .273 hitter in AAA, with over 1800 at bats at this level. Last year he led AAA Syracuse in several offensive categories.

Vance Worley was called up to take Joe Blanton’s rotation spot for the forseeable future, while RP Scott Mathieson was returned to Lehigh Valley.

27 thoughts on “Lehigh Valley Weekly Report

  1. Victorino is due to come off the DL early in June, so I think that it is make or break time for Mayberry to show what he can do, or he will be back helping the Iron Pigs. If Mayberry does well in the next week plus, it may be D. Brown who is back with the Pigs to continue his hitting streak there, unless he steps it up. Despite many of the comments I’ve seen, I don’t think that the Phils will offer Martinez back to Washington in order to keep Mayberry in the majors if he is not at least hitting lefties or Brown if he is not even hitting righties.

    1. I don’t see Mayberry or Brown getting sent down. If no other injuries occur between now and then, I think it has to be Martinez getting offered back to Washington. Having said that, it doesn’t leave a very good bench in terms of defensive flexibility with only one backup infielder to cover 3B, SS, and 2B.

  2. It is nice to see the Pigs doing well. Remember a few years ago there were a couple of long, long winless streaks?

    The only way to throw Thompson out while stealing is to catch him off 1st base. Everybody in the park knows he’s running and he makes it. the only blemish is that one pickoff.

    1. And I forgot to mention: Thanks Gregg for your input into this site. I look forward to your weekly reports. If we had a bunch of prospects at LHV, this would be the most read and replied-to section.

  3. Mayberry plays a very good outfield, but is hitting after deteriorated in the month of May. It is awkward to see such a big and strong guy keep squirting grounders to third base. When he was making solid contact, he was very fun to watch. Gliding to balls in the outfield, stealing bases, hammering balls into the seats, throwing out baserunners. I think with Mayberry we could be seeing someone who is extraordinarily athletic but who cannot consistently barrel the ball up because this involves the eyes and the mind as well as the body. Assessing and timing a moving baseball is not an athletic ability.
    As for Brown, he has not picked up a ton of hits in his very brief stay in Philly, but I like what I see. He is very fast and he has shown that he can drive the ball with authority. I think his presence in the lineup improves it. He is a more dangerous hitter than Fransisco. He is also more athletic in the outfield, although he needs to work on charging the ball and his routes. As for Martinez, I see him as like Valdez. Faster and better defensively, but not much of a hitter. I am curious to know what the Phils are planning to do with him in the future. He is not going to beat out anybody in our infield. Valdez seems to have the inside track on the backup infielder role. Why not offer him back?

    1. I think that they view Martinez as a possible alternative to Rollins. It would help their plan if he could show that he can hit a little (so far, unfortunately, it has been very little). That is the only way I can make any sense of the whole Rule 5 thing with Martinez. As of now, they really don’t have an alternative to Rollins (let’s go Galvis!) and Rollins could hold them over a barrel with demands that they don’t view as fiscally responsible.

    2. Well he was nowhere near the ninth inning drive last night. Did he go out for peanuts and crackerjacks

  4. I’m not that impressed with Martinez as some of you are. I would keep Mayberry over him when Victorino is back. I would try and offer some minor deal with Washington to keep him and send him down to AAA. He is not a major league SS. Maybe a 2b and maybe playing some outfield.

    1. Why do you think the Nats would even take him back? He’s got a .419 OPS in the Majors and he’s not young. He’s hardly an up and coming prospect. Hell, Bocock is a better version of him anyway who is also on our 40 man roster.

    2. Martinez has a lot more flexibility. He can play the IF and OF. He’s a switch-hitter. He can’t hit but how much of a chance has he gotten. He’s had 37 ABs.

      I’m a big Mayberry fan so I’m really torn here. Mayberry can win games with one swing of the bat. I know if they send Mayberry down, we’ll be talking about this or that situation where Mayberry could have changed the complexion of the game. Like he did against Hudson in Atl. 2 run HR and they are back in the game. They didn’t win it but Mayberry put them in a spot to win it.

      1. He’s 28…he’s had plenty of chances in the minors to show something and he really hasn’t. He’s AAA filler on a good day.

        1. 28 with lots of chances in minors is inaccurate. Personal history- played professional Basketball in the Dominican and signed at 24. Made MLB in 4 years. If things remained same and had started at 16 like the normal Dominican he could have made it at 20. How people make all these grand assumptions based on the limited exposure as seen in Philly unknown. Minor League numbers not bad and has played regularly at SS in past as well as the other positions. Best choice to finish season as 2nd MI reserve, and a team needs at least 2 , because having only one leads to roster inflexibility. Following season – J-Roll will be in demand and shortage of SS’s plus possible openings in SF and Oak could lead to a contract too long and expensive to make it worth keeping J-Roll and prolonging the 2B-SS-3B age similar- collapse at once effect. Martinez would be the best alternative starter in the next season for a low cost option which would free up some cash for other things.

    3. As I understand it, the thing about Martinez is that he started as a basketball player, and was about 3 or 4 years late in starting his baseball career. So think of him as 24 or 25, not 28, years old. I agree his potential is as a utility player like Wilson Valdez, so his competition is guys like Pete Orr, Josh Barfield, and Luis Castillo. As long as Utley is not playing everyday, the Phillies need somebody to back up Valdez.

  5. The only spot Martinez is possibly being groomed to take would be Valdez’s bench role as a utility guy who can play defensively anywhere. He’s shown absolutely nothing in his career that indicates he could be a starter.

    When Victorino returns it will either be Mayberry or Brown who gets sent down. Martinez is their only other backup who can play the IF and they won’t keep 3 bench guys who can only play OF or 1b (Gload, Mayberry, & Francisco)

    1. Agreed. For now it is really a competition between the two big guys to see who gets to stay in the majors and who goes back to LHV. One of them needs to step up. Unless, of course, Gload goes on the DL.

  6. I can’t be the only one who would love to see Suomi catch one game in a Phils uniform, can I? He’s got as much if not more pop than Sardinha and he’s solid behind the plate. It’d be cool to see him get to the big leagues after five shots in Triple A.

    1. Suomi is not even close to a major league catcher. His arm probably is not even a AAA arm.

    2. Suomi would be a nice human interest story, but that’s all he really brings to the table. His willingness to travel and fill in wherever needed is what keeps him in professional baseball. A couple years ago I went to a game in Binghamton and sat in front of family members who traveled to see him play.

      Players like Suomi are always fun. Guys determined to stay in baseball far beyond their talent. I hope he can make a good coach someday.

  7. Looking at Browns playing time so far i hope it is him sent down when Vicky comes back. I am so sick of Brown wasting away on the bench. PLAY HIM EVERY DAY OR LET HIM GET AB’S IN AAA!!!!! Sorry, but i had to vent. Really sick of how they play Brown. Am i wrong to think a platoon role for Brown is a total waste?

    1. He is sitting against the lefties…I have no problem with that for now…overtime he will see more time then Francisco in right.

      1. i have a huge problem with it. He needs to learn to hit lefties and pinch hitting will only kill his confidence and sitting kills his rythm. Play him everyday somewhere. You have too for his development

        1. Brown has gotten plenty of playing time since his arrival in Philly. the Majors isn’t a developmental league, especially for a team with plans to win a WS so he’s going to have to earn more time. So far in a very limited sample, he doesn’t appear to be quite ready yet.

          Chase Utley platooned when he arrived in the majors as well and it didn’t hurt his development. As he produced in his role, his opportunities increased.

  8. I trust Charlie when it comes to bringing Brown along. What I cannot believe is the way this kid has been crucified before he has gotten a chance to show what he can do. Ricky Bo today discussed how Brown might never pan out. Last year, Ricky Bo said, Brown stunk and he failed to distinguish himself like Heyward and Stanton. Ricky Bo has repeatedly mentioned how long Brown’s swing is and how he has a hole on the inside corner. Of course, Ricky Bo really knows how to pitch. From my perspective, I throw last year out the window because Brown was coming off the bench and getting irregular at-bats and thus was not able to establish a rhythym. He didn’t have many at-bats anyway. After all, he remains a rookie. This year, he has played a grand total of about 4 games. And Ricky Bo is saying that we can now say that Brown will never pan out?! I don’t think we’ll know that Brown won’t pan out for 3-6 years. Also, I think he has played well this year. He’s not getting hits, but he has hit some balls very hard. Yes, he made an error, but he is working on his defense. How can you be a baseball analyst and not know anything about baseball?!

    1. Why do you put so much weight on the opinion of one guy vs. the opinions of a number of other sources.

      I don’t think Brown is as good as Heyward or Stanton either but that’s a rather high standard to have to meet since both of those guys are going to be cornerstone players for many years (If Heyward can stay healthly)

      Brown seems to be a guy who will become a productive regular with a chance to be an occasional all-star. He still has some holes in his swing that ML pitchers will exploit until he adjusts but he has plenty of time do it.

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