First Person Scouting Report – Reading Phillies – 24 April 2012

Loyal reader Warren was able to attend Tuesday’s Reading Phillies game and provided a well-structured, detailed report. I will provide that report to you here. Thank you Warren for the time and your opinions.


AA Game Review: Reading Phillies vs Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF Giants) – 4-24-12
Reading improved to an impressive 12-5 on a chilly Tuesday evening at First Energy Stadium, beating San Francisco’s AA affiliate 6-0. The big story here was Tyler Cloyd, who easily handled Richmond’s prospect laden lineup which includes top farmhands Gary Brown , OF, and Tommy Joseph, C / 1b. Reading’s own talented offense provided plenty of support, breaking things open with a four run seventh inning.

Starting Pitcher – Tyler Cloyd – 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5K, W

Cloyd was impressive throughout, throwing strikes and rarely falling behind hitters. Working fast, He relied heavily on his fastball, which sat around 88 – 90mph, keeping it down in the zone and blowing it by hitters for three of his five strikeouts. His breaking pitches are just average, but he located them well and successfully kept hitters off balance throughout. Most impressive was his command and control. He rarely fell behind hitters and pounded the strike zone from the first pitch, getting plenty of groundball outs and allowing no free passes. Cloyd has a smooth, compact overhand delivery and looks very comfortable on the mound. He improved to 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA and has yet to allow a walk in his three starts.

Catcher – Sebastian Valle – 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SO

Valle had an uneventful night at the plate, though he clearly is working on his plate discipline. He worked the count well in his first at bat but ended up striking out with a big, off-balance power stroke. His walk was intentional, and his contact was weak, failing to square up on the ball. He now has 19 strikeouts in 50 at bats. Behind the plate, Valle looked very comfortable and had a good rapport with his starting pitcher. He has a strong, accurate arm and a good pop-up throw to second. It’s easy to see his power potential – His swing is smooth and features good weight transfer, and he has a solid, filled out frame – but his timing seemed off and he struggled to get good wood on the ball.

2B – Cesar Hernandez – 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 RBI, 1 CS
Cesar had a good night, getting on base twice and showing patience at the plate. He worked an RBI walk in his 3rd at bat and hit a nice ground ball single through the left side in the first inning. He was caught trying to steal second, however; he didn’t get a great jump and was thrown out easily on a good throw. Still, he has plus speed and looks very comfortable in the field.

RF – Jiwan James – 2-4, 1 double, 2 RBI
James was impressive at the plate and in the field. He worked counts well, especially in his fourth at bat where he waited for his pitch and drove it into left field for a two run double. His speed is clearly a plus tool; in his second at bat he legged out a bunt single, and in the outfield he ran excellent routes, gliding to every fly ball and nearly making a spectacular diving catch in the seventh inning, missing it by inches. Jiwan is big and tall and looks like a natural at the plate and in the outfield with quick hands and a strong swing which features near textbook weight transfer. He entered Tuesday’s game with a .319 batting average and a.942 OPS. There is plenty to be excited about here.

CF – Tyson Gillies – 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB
Returning to action after missing nearly two full seasons to injuries, Gillies has plenty to prove and he looked good on Tuesday. At the plate, he took pitches and effectively worked the count, getting just his second walk of the season. He also added a line drive single to left field in the seventh inning, and then stole second easily. His swing looked polished; he has quick hands, and has already shown a glimpse of his pre-injury power with one HR, three doubles and two triples on the year thus far. A good start for Tyson’s “must-produce” season.


Leandro Castro – worked his first walk of the season but was lacking at the plate generally, unable to get decent contact on the ball. He looked fine in LF in limited chances

Darin Ruf – Hit the first pitch he saw over the left field fence and just missed another homerun in his second at bat. He added an RBI single in the seventh. Ruf is a big man and he swings for the fences. No mistakes in the field

Troy Hanzawa – the 26 year old Hawaiian made a couple of outstanding plays at SS, showing excellent range, glove work and arm strength.


Tyler Cloyd and Jiwan James were the standouts on Tuesday night, and there was plenty to like from the rest of Reading’s promising young roster, both at the plate and on defense. There is still plenty of room for improvement, and it will be interesting to see how the season plays out for Reading’s prospects.

12 thoughts on “First Person Scouting Report – Reading Phillies – 24 April 2012

  1. Good early showings from James. 5-tool guy, but so far power hasn’t shown up on a consistent basis. If he can sustain this sort of production, he’ll certainly shoot up the prospect ranks.

  2. Thanks a lot Warren, this was great. A very encouraging report on James! Good to hear.

  3. Thanks a lot Warren!

    Despite the good performance from Cloyd, this firsthand report isn’t too encouraging. He’s not going to get many strikeouts in the majors on a 90 mph fastball like he did in this game, especially if he’s got an overhand, non-deceptive, delivery. Sounds like he’s going to need at least one pretty good secondary pitch if he’s going to pitch in the majors in any capacity.

    1. Just read that Cloyd got Phillies minor league pitcher of the week back on 4/15, and that apparently marks his third time getting it in the last 6 awards. Pretty impressive. Seems he has at least 4 or 5 pitches and he can throw them all for strikes. Maybe not a strike out kind of pitcher, but it seems he knows how to pitch and can get outs quick. No walks on the year yet?

    2. I should have mentioned that he was throwing a cut fastball as well which was getting a lot of swings and misses. But I agree, his delivery, while smooth and very good mechanically is not deceptive. Still, his ability to throw strikes is important, he was clearly not challenged by the AA hitters he was facing and, I’d imagine, would throw less fastballs for strikes and mix things up more in AAA or the MLB.

    3. On the other hand it is working for Jamie Moyer as he finishes his third decade in pro bal. If Cloyd can pitch with the control, command & smarts he has shown in the high minors, he is likely to get a deserved chance to see if he can do it at the major league level.

      Whatever we might judge or presume about the quality of the rest of his assortment of pitches he does seem to get batters out with impressive consistency There are many guys who have pitched successfully with velocity 90. 91,92 MPH–some even less.

  4. If Kyle Lohse can pitch well in the majors so can Tyler cloyd. Ive seen a bunch of pitchers already this year with only a 90 mph FB and beat the phillies.

    1. I was attended both the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and Reading Phillies games on Wednesday, April 26, 2012. I have been able to attend several of these “doubleheaders” in the last several years and it seem that almost every time many people from the Phila Phillies front office also attend these “doubleheaders”. Last year the front office group was headed by Ruben Amaro, this year it was headed by Ben Looper. Mostly they are comprised of scouting and development people.

      Needless to say Trevor May made a sufficient ‘good’ impression on them while Domonic Brown made an equally ‘negative’ impression. I should note that when I attend a game I tune into the radio broadcast of the game to receive additional insight while I am watching the game. It was announced on the radio of the attendance of “many Phillies front office personnel attending the game”. At the Reading game Reading Eagle sportscaster Mike Drago assisted in broadcasting about half the game.

      I will start my comments on the Lehigh game first. The radio announcer started his comments by stating that Mike Stutes had been put on the DL and Mike Schwimer had been called up to the Phillies. To fill his spot on the Lehigh Valley roster B. J. Rosenberg was told at 8:00 am that morning to drive immediately to Allentown to be there for the 10:30 am start of the game. He got there just before the game began.

      The top of the first inning was the only positive point of the game. It included a Lehigh Valley DP with an assist to Lou Montanez.

      In the bottom of the first Domonic Brown struck out on two horrible swings maybe missing the ball by a foot on two of the swings. The second inning began the pounding of Scott Elarton who looks like he should be able to throw a ball thru a brick wall. For being so big, he could only put up radar gun readings of 88-89 and a few times touching 90. The first hit of the inning was a double to left which D. Brown did not read correctly and got a late start on the ball but it did not matter because even if he had gotten a good read I do not think he would have caught it. A passed ball followed and the run came home on a sac fly. The next play was an easy pop fly to short left field. D. Brown called off the SS then proceeded to drop the ball. A hit followed and then a HR that made the game 4-0.

      The next few inning was more of the same with Rochester putting at least 2 runs an inning in each of the next several innings. In the middle of one of these innings D. Brown miss-played a simple ground ball into a extra base for a big, lumbering Val Paccucci who would then score an the following play.

      In the bottom of the 4th D. Brown would strike out looking. The radio announcer swore that it was not a strike. I did not see the strikeout as I look up to see how deep the outfielders were playing D. Brown. They were playing him very deep.

      An inning later D. Brown would make a catch on a simple fly ball to left and receive a loud mock cheer from the fans. Latter in the game D. Brown would crush a drive into the power alley in left for a double.

      B. J. Rosenberg would come into the game to relieve Scott Elarton. I thought he was throwing decently well. His fastball was generally at 93 with movement and recorded 1 or 2 at 94. He also seemed to throw a good slider. The radio announcer also said he was throwing a change-up. However, he did give up a walk which was then followed by a HR by the opposing pitcher.

      All-in-all the game was very forgettable.

      The game latter that afternoon in Reading was a much better game and certainly more memorable.

      From the very first pitch Trevor May totally dominated the game. I should mention that throughout the game they were having problems with the radar gun so I was unable to get many readings but the radio announcer kept referring to mid 90’s readings for T. May.

      I should say that only one possibly two balls were hit hard off of T. May throughout the game and with one or two breaks could have pitched perfect innings while he was in there. Most of the outs were strikeouts, weak pop-ups or weak ground balls. Even the two walks were questionable calls in my mind.

      The first batter started an annoying trend that would continue throughout the game of barely fouling off a 2-strike pitch straight back to the crowd behind home plate thereby driving up T. May’s pitch count. I believe that T. May must have allowed 12-14 2-strike foul balls. Although he got most of his strikeout on the curve or change-up (probably at least 5 of his 7 strikeout were on the curve or change-up), I believe T. May tries to get strikeout by elevating his 4-seam FB so that the batter swing under it. I noticed that he tends to get swings and misses early in the count but when he gets 2 strikes on the batter, the batters cuts down his swing and tends to foul it straight back. This means that T. May is get the ball above the bat but not quiet enough to get the strikeout. After several fouls the batter grounded out. The next batter hit the only ball that was really crushed. The batter hit a ball on a line to the right center gap that carried to the wall. Amazingly, out of nowhere both centerfielder T. Gillies and rightfielder J. James both got to the ball on the warning track with T. Gillies catching it in front of J. James. T. Gillies caught it a bit awkwardly. I was truly amazed by the amount of ground covered by these two.

      In the second inning T. May got two strikeouts, one on a curve ball and the second on a changeup. The two batters did not come close to hitting either pitch. The radio announcer commented that it was almost unfair to the batters to throw pitches that unhit-able after throwing the hard fastballs.

      The Reading Phils run came in the bottom of the second. S. Susdorf hit the first of his three BB’s up the middle for a single. He advanced to second on a botched pickoff. J. James then hit a ground ball to second to advance S. Susdorf to 3rd where he scored on a sac fly.

      Weak pop-up’s, groundouts and strikeouts continue for the next several innings.
      T. May’s first walk was leading off the 4th. He got ahead of the hitter 1-2 then threw three straight ‘rule book’ strikes at the letters that were all called balls. Umpires many times will not call the high strike. To be fair T. May did not argue these calls. The second batter to walk who was also the pitcher also received the benefit of a ball called on a ‘high strike’.

      The second ball that was hit hard was the ground ball to left that was right between 3rd baseman and the shortstop for the only hit of the day.

      Interesting was the banter on the radio between the Reading radio announcer and Mike Drago concerning the difference between T. Cloyd’s game and T. May’s game. They basically said that the Richmond batters had an easy game against T. Cloyd but wound up with an ofer but against T. May they knew that they were totally dominated and beaten down.

      The final three innings was up to the bullpen. While those innings look good on paper there were a number of hard hit balls to the outfield that were run down by T. Gilles and J. James. This outfield may be the best defensive outfield in all of baseball for their ability to run down ball.

      Several parting thoughts. I believe that when you add Castro to leftfield, this outfield will save a lot of doubles and triples for the Reading pitchers. This is especially true for T. May who is a flyball pitcher who seems to elevate his pitches to get strikeouts. However, I believe that T. May over the entire season will probably give up quite a few HR’s because he is a flyball pitcher who elevates to get strikeouts and is pitching in a HR park. One final note T. Gilles 9-game hit streak came to an end in this game.

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