The goal is to each weekend profile the most interesting matchup and give you a preview of the Phillies prospects involved and a glimpse at the opposing players.
In a weekend devoid of premium matchups, Saturday’s matchup in Reading is probably the most interesting. The Fighins are off to a hot start with an 8-4 record to begin the season. On Friday night Jesse Biddle will take the mound for Reading.
Taking the mound for Reading will be RHP Severino Gonzalez. Gonzalez is coming off what might be his worst start over the with 5IP 6H 3ER 3BB 4Ks against Richmond on the 18th. There is a lot of mixed opinion on Severino, and still a very limited data set, so every view is worth a lot. On the mound Severino will bring a 4-5 pitch mix of average pitches and a fastball that will sit 88-91 and touch 92. He normally will display plus command a good feel for pitching on the mound that helps the arsenal play up.
Harrisburg will counter with the A.J. Cole the Nationals #2 prospect. Cole’s last start was against Reading last Sunday where he hit Kelly Dugan with a pitch and ultimately went 5IP 3H 1ER 0BB 5K. Cole was drafted out of HS in 2010 and made a brief trip to Oakland for a year as he went out in the Gio Gonzalez deal, and came back in the deal that sent Michael Morse to Seattle. Cole will sit 94-95 on the mound and will touch 97+, his secondary pitches will flash fringy to plus, but lack consistency. If he puts it all together Cole profiles as a mid rotation starter who could be big league ready by the end of 2014.
It appears instead of Cole Harrisburg will have Matt Purke on the mound. Purke was taken by the Rangers with the 14th overall pick of the 2009 draft, but MLB vetoed the overslot deal when they took control of the Rangers during the sale. Purke was phenomenal in his freshman year, but lost it all in his sophomore year. The Nationals took him in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft and paid him 2.75 million. Since then Purke has continued to battle injuries and ineffectiveness. He’ll show a fastball in the low-90s and an above average changeup. The breaking ball is essentially gone, and if it all pans out he could be a back of the rotation starter, but he is likely a middle reliever long term.
In the Field for Harrisburg:
Playing center field for Harrisburg is another Michael Taylor, this one a plus defender with plus plus speed. Taylor is a prototype toolsy outfielder and will show plus raw power, but the hit tool is still coming along slowly (and he has a 34% K% on the year so far). But he is starting to put it all together in AA this year with a .289/.377/.400 line with a HR and SB. Taylor could be Denard Span‘s heir in Washington or he could be a bench outfielder, it all comes down to his ability to make consistent contact.
In the Field for Reading:
Cameron Perkins early season numbers are eye popping with a .413/.438/.696 line at the plate and a Eastern League leading 8 2Bs. The book on Perkins is funky swing and body, but he makes contact, though without the prototype power for a corner OFer. So far Perkins has been doing a lot of damage down the lines with 6 of his 8 doubles just inside the foul line
Perkins obviously won’t BABIP .462 on the season so the interesting thing will be where does he continue to find holes. It is a unconventional and non-typical profile so Perkins will have to keep hitting to prove himself.
Interesting Stat Line:
Power has actually been lacking in power this year, but they have been drawing walks. Currently 5 Reading regulars have OBPs that are higher than their SLG.
Cesar Hernandez .474/.545/.474
Edgar Duran .333/.400/.361
Chris Serritella .286/.389/.286
Carlos Alonso .273/.400/.394
Zach Collier .194/.265/.226