Lehigh Valley Report

Lehigh Valley enters the last week plus of the season at 75-60 and in 2nd place of the Northern Division, 1.5 games behind first place Pawtucket.  The ‘Pigs remain two games ahead of Gwinnett for the wildcard position with their magic number being nine to clinch a playoff spot.  Lehigh Valley return home for a six game home stand with two each against Syracuse, Scranton and Buffalo before closing out the regular season with two games in Syracuse next Sunday and Labor Day.

‘Pigs leaders (thru Friday’s games): Rich Thompson is 2nd in runs (74); 2nd in triples (6), leads the league in SB’s(39); ; Brandon Moss is 4th in homers (23), 7th in SLG (.510), 6th in RBI’s (76); tied for 8th in walks (58); and 5th in OPS (.872).

Pitching: Michael Schwimer is tied for 7th in wins (9); Ryan Feireabend is tied for 7th in wins (9), has the 5th worst ERA (5.53), 5th in HR allowed (20); Nate Bump is tied for 9th in losses (9), 8th worst ERA (5.33), and 5th worst WHIP (1.52); Brian Bass is tied for the league lead in starts (26); 6th in IP (145.1)

A look at the Outfield and Bullpen this week:

Domonic Brown is hitting just .212 over his last 10 games and is suffering through his worst slump in AAA, dropping his line to .256/.397/.372. He is trying to compensate for his lack of run production at the plate by running on the basepaths, and has had success racking up 5 SB’s over the past week.  Brown will be a September callup but his projected September role may be decreasing.

Brandon Moss has been playing all around the OF, as the Phils seem to be gearing up for a September callup.  While he does strike out alot, Moss has been the best run producer on the Lehigh Valley club with his 23 HR and 76 RBI.  Moss seems to be rising to the challenge lately with a .325 average over the last 10 games to go along with 3 HR and 11 RBI. Additionally, Moss continues to be among the league leaders in OF assists.

Delwyn Young’s season seems to continue to be mired in mediocrity with a .213 average in August has settled him in at .253/.308/.402 on the year. AFter an excellent July hitting for average and producing runs, the Phils focus remains on others for a September callup.

Rich Thompson has been struggling, hitting just .194 over the last 10 games and has seen his playing time dwindle a bit as AB’s continue to get spread around.  Thompson remains a catalyst at the top of the lineup and leads the league in stolen bases. Thompson has not gotten caught stealing since June.

Bullpen: Justin DeFratus has taken on Michael Schwimer’s late inning role since Schwimer’s departure and has been excellent, throwing 5 shutout innings over his last 4 appearances, which have included 3 saves and 8 k’s, allowing just 3 hits.   Right handed hitters are hitting just .207 against DeFratus.

Phillipe Aumont is 0-0 with a 3.97 ERA and 2 saves, in his 10 appearances since coming off the disabled list with shoulder issues. Dominant at times in his 11.2 innings, the six walks allowed have gotten Aumont into a good deal of trouble, which he was sometimes able to combat with 17 K’s.

Mike Zagurski has hit a rough patch with several rocky outings lately, and is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in his 9 August games. After a dominant early season, and two call ups to Philly, Zagurski remains a candidate for a September callup as a member of the 40 man roster.

Drew Carpenter is 0-1 with a 3.09 ERA in his 8 August appearances, throwing 11.2 innings.  Carpenter continued his outstanding BB/K rate with a 2/12 ratio thus far through the month, and while hitting a bump or two lately remains one of the most dependable AAA arms Lehigh Valley has in the ‘pen.

Joe Savery may be pitching himself into consideration for a September callup, as while other lefties have faltered, Savery has stepped it up. Savery has not allowed a run in August, spanning 8 appearances and 11 innings, showing excellent control (1 walk) and setting up hitters nicely (13 k’s). Lefties are hitting just .190 against him and Savery remains very effective with RISP (.182).

Juan Perez has been simply awful since coming down to Lehigh Valley from Philadelphia, accruing a 0-1 record with a 15.43 ERA since coming back down (7 games). In his 4.2 innings, he has allowed 11 hits, walked four and may have effectively taken himself out of any consideration for a September callup.

Ryan Feireabend has joined the bullpen after being removed from the rotation in favor of Dave Bush. Feireabend, a young left handed arm has looked good in the beginnings of this new role, throwing 4 shutout innings, while striking out 6.

Notes: Lehigh Valley is hitting just .238 with RISP, last in the IL by seven points.

–After a season of problems with the starting rotation, Lehigh Valley starters are 6-5 with a 3.19 ERA in their last 15 starts.

Erik Kratz was named the 2011 Lehigh Valley Player of the Year by the media, while Michael Schwimer picked up 2011 Pitcher of the Year honors.

Cody Overbeck is hitting .362 over his last 14 games.

Kevin Frandsen is hitting .415 over his last 10 games.

Freddy Galvis is hitting .346 over his last 40 games.

Probables: Sunday: Mathieson; Monday: Bass; Tuesday: Bump; Wednesday: Bush

Transactions: After two very short experiements, DH Jack Cust and RP Aaron Heilman were released. Quickly clearing up following the release of Cust and Heilman, were the turf toe issues suffered by Ryan Feireabend and left shin contusion of Tagg Bozied.  Both were activated.

INF Pete Orr was called up to Philadelphia with Jimmy Rollins going on the DL (groin).

24 thoughts on “Lehigh Valley Report

  1. Perez is a head-scratcher. He was unhittable maybe twice for Phils, especially the one outing where he threw a zillion strikes in a row. Nine pitches, nine strikes, 3 outs in the inning. That’s his upside. He get’s there like 5% of the time, it seems. Great stuff, terrible command.

  2. I’m tired of talking about this, but why are you so sure that Brown will be a September callup? Ruben Amaro Jr. is on record as saying that management has done Brown a disservice by not giving him quality and steady development time. How is taking him away from playing everyday in Lehigh Valley and putting him on the bench where, as you acknowledge, playing time will be very scarce, giving him steady and quality development time? I still believe that Brown won’t be called up, especially since he’s slumping. Also, management has said Brown needs time away from the game. So why would you put him in a role in which he struggled last year?

    1. They could still call him up after the I-Pigs finish the playoffs—-which could be somewhere around mid-September. That could be, at least, a confidence booster for the kid.

    2. Brown is on the 40 man roster, is hugely talented and can run the bases well. There is zero downside to bringing him up after the Lehigh Valley season is over, struggling or not.

      1. Agreed, in fact I think it’s important for his psyche. They need to build him up and reward him for being a “good soldier” by going down and trying to improve and not complaining about it.

        1. Alright Gregg and Catch 22, I’ll take your word for it. As a fan, I just want what’s best for the short and long-term health of the Philadelphia Phillies.

    3. imo, you have to call brown up on the 31st so he is eligible for the playoffs. even though charlie likes to go through relievers faster than underwear, he still should not need more than 6. with gload being an automatic out,(probably due to injury) i really can’t see how brown can be that much worse in that LH pinch hitting role.

      1. You don’t have to call him up before the 31st, for him to be eligible for the playoffs. He’s already on the 40 man. We seem to go over this every year.
        Even if he wasn’t on the 40 man, he could still be put on the playoff roster in place of anyone on the 60 day DL. I belive Contreras, Blanton and Harold Garcia are on the 60 Day. The Phillies could put Aumont, Jiwan James or Tyler Green on the playoff roster in place of those guys if they wanted.

    4. They’re going to call him up. He can play his way onto the post season roster if he has a hot September and Ibanez continues to struggle.

      I’d rather have Domonic Brown come off the bench than Ibanez. At least Brown can work a walk.

  3. I spent time tonight watching both DeFratus and Aumont (from last night).

    Aumont is a huge person. He is all of 6’7″ 255 lbs and perhaps more. He is not fat, but he is a little soft. But the dude has killer stuff. Last night he was sitting between 96-98 MPH with his fastball. He also has a lethal curveball. It’s a 12/6 or 11/5 pitch with a very sharp break – he does not always command it well, however. He also throws on a downward plane with good movement, although he can throw a moving 4 seem fastball that sits up in the zone, but that also moves. He appears to struggle a little with command and his mechanics seem to come and go. Personally, I’d like to see him firm his body up and so that he is squeezing all of the talent there is out of that body. That having been said, he has dominant closer stuff if he puts it all together.

    I saw DeFratus pitch a little and he appears to have the potential to be a closer too. He flashed a good, moving fastball. I don’t know the velocity, but it appeared to be in the 94-96 MPH range. He also has excellent breaking stuff. I saw him throw a curve that was better than the very effective curve that Aumont threw.

    Both players have bright futures and could easily become stalwarts of the bullpen by this time next year. If I were Ruben Amaro, I might consider just offering Madson arbitration and then go out and get an okay closer to start the year, with the hope that one of the young guys would commandeer the job by June. Interesting.

    1. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The Phillies are contending next year… they’re not going to take a chance and let a sure thing like Madson walk away because they have two good arms down in Lehigh. If Madson leaves, he leaves, nothing they can do. They’d give the job to Bastardo.

      I’d like to see these guys pitch to major league hitters before I anoint them the future closer/whatever.

  4. It is far from certain that without both Madson and Lidge the team’s need for a top-notch closer will be easily found. Don’t be surprised if the Phils pursue Bell–of the Padres–during the off-season. The Padres have indicated they are open to moving him when they put him on waivers but the Giants couldn’t come up with viable prospects satisfactory to the Pads.

    I haven’t checked this but I believe Bell has a couple years or so before he hits free agency…and his current salary (?) is less than Madson’s uber-agent will be demanding as he hits free agency at the end of this season.
    Keeping Bell for a couple or more seasons would allow both Aumont and DeFratus to refine their skills as candidates for the job post-Bell time in 2 yrs or so. Both could pitch at LV next season and come up when opportunity presents itself.
    I also like that the Phils would offer Maddog arbitration for decent $$$s but probably not enough (I hope) to prevent him from to go elsewhere resulting in a high draft choice…at least under present rules. Lidge is gone for sure!

    1. Heath Bell hits free agency this offseason and it’s not for sure that the Padres will even offer him arbitration because they don’t want to pay for it. 1 year deal a real possibility for Phils

      1. I doubt Heath Bell is going to go for a 1 year deal. I think this is his best shot at a big money contract, he wants to get paid.

        1. Exactly. He is close to his mid-thirties. This is his first and last chance at a multi-year deal. He is already trying to position himself for a bigger payday, by threatening to accept arbitration.
          He doesn’t want the Padres to offer arbitration because that might give a prospective bidder less incentive to bid for him over Papelbon, KRod and Madson. He doesn’t want that loss of a 1st round pick attached to him. Ryan Madson may have the least leverage of the 4 closers. He will be a type A, and cost a pick. Those others may not.

  5. If he hits free agency this off-season, I believe that the Pads WILL offer him an inadequate amount in arb and allow some team to pay a price the Pads couldn’t afford and get an early draft choice. His free agency makes it less likely any deal could be made ahead of time by the Phils, I guess.

    1. That’s not how arbitration works for free agents. At some point they must decide, yes or no, on whether to offer him arbitration. They do not exchange salary figures. Bell could decline (almost certainly will) or accept. If he were to accept, then they would exchange numbers. I highly doubt Bell will sign anywhere for less than 2 or 3 years.

      1. I remember reading that Bell said hed like to stay in SD and would seriously consider accepting arbitration. Either way, I don’t think closer is a top priority. Rollins and Hamels are bigger priorities, and Bastardo can do the job, and contreras is still under contract if he can get healthy

    1. Players and agents often say that to scare the team from offering it. If arbitration isn’t offered, it can expand the market for the player since a pick doesn’t have to be forfeited.

      1. Heath Bell is going to have a good market regardless. There’s no real reason for him to say that unless he is really considering it.

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