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.