Around the System–Starting Pitching, Lehigh Valley and Reading

Lehigh Valley

Mark Appel, 25, Acquired from Astros in 2015; 16 starts; 5-4 with a 4.87ERA; 81.1IP 88H 48BB 60K; 9HR allowed; .278 opp avg; 1.67WHIP; 5.3BB/6.6K per 9; .321 vs LHH, .246 vs RHH, .288 opp avg last 30 days; 2.50 ERA in 6 June starts; Appel seems to be showing signs of improvement however, put simply, needs to throw strikes.  Even in June, his walk rate was 5.2 per 9, which indicates he pitched out of many a jam, which ultimately will backfire.

Tom Eshelman, 23 Acquired from Astros in 2015; 16 starts between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 10-2 with a 2.27ERA; 107IP 91H 14BB 74K; 11HR allowed; 1.2BB/6.2K per 9; .234 opp avg; 0.98WHIP; For Lehigh Valley: 11 starts, 7-2 with a 1.96ERA; .225 opp avg; 0.94WHIP; 1.0BB/6.0K per 9; Eshelman has been outstanding all year, earning a AAA all star berth, in which he will be the starting pitcher.  Far from overpowering, Eshelman has pinpoint command and is a pleasure to work behind as he works very quickly.

Brandon Leibrandt, 24, Phils 6th round pick in 2014; 15 starts between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 7-2 with a 3.23ERA; 83.2IP 85H 28BB 62K; .273 opp avg; 1.35WHIP; 5HR allowed;3.0BB/6.6K per 9;  5-1 with a 2.44ERA in last 10 starts; 2 starts for Lehigh Valley: 1-0 with 2.45ERA.  Leibrandt has had a very good year, throwing well consistently. Spent a good portion of 2016 hurt, so the Phils will be watching his innings moving forward I suspect.

Jake Thompson, 23, Acquired from Texas in 2015; 15 starts, 3-9 with a 5.97ERA; 75.1IP 97H 29BB 62K; 6HR allowed; 3.5BB/7.4K per 9; .321 opp avg; 1.67WHIP; .305 vs LHH; .333 vs RHH; .345 opp avg last 30 days; 2017 has been an unmitigated disaster for Thompson.  While watching several of his AAA rotation partners getting called to Philly and having a modicum of success (or at least not all out failure), Thompson has basically been throwing batting practice all season.  After an outstanding 2016, I’m curious as to whether this is a health issue or the tinkering of his mechanics

Cesar Ramos, 33, Signed as a free agent in 2017; 21 games (9 starts); 4-3 with a 3.86ERA; 58.1IP 55H 18BB 41K; 2.8BB/6.3K per 9; .231 vs LHH, .260 vs RHH, .327 opp avg last 30 days; In his 9 starts, Ramos is 0-3 with a 5.75ERA; As a reliever, Ramos is 4-0 with an 0.81ERA; Ramos has been the sacrificial lamb when the ‘Pigs need a starter which has been fairly often due to injuries and callups.  The numbers speak for themselves…he is most effective in the ‘pen, as a long reliever.

DL: Zach Eflin.


Drew Anderson, 23, Phils 21st round pick in 2012; 16 starts; 5-3 with a 3.56ERA; 83.1IP 67H 27BB 71K; 10HR allowed;.216 opp avg; 1.13 WHIP; 2.9BB/7.7K per 9; .212 vs LHH; .221 vs RHH, .178 opp avg last 30 days; Anderson is one of those pitchers you watch who you think could be a major league pitcher; He has a mound presence and knows how to pitch with it showing in his results; Previous injury issues will have the Phils closely monitoring innings in the second half of the season.

Tommy Bergjans, 24, Acquired from Dodgers in 2016; 4 starts, 1-1 with a 6.75ERA; 17.1IP 16H 6BB 14K; 3.1BB/7.3K per 9; .246 opp avg; 1.27WHIP; .200 vs LHH, .300 vs RHH; Bergjans moved into the Reading rotation in June after spending the first two months of the season in Extended Spring Training.  He has pitched better than his ERA indicates but after watching him a couple of times, he probably maxes out as a AA arm.

Cole Irvin, 23, Phils 5th round pick in 2016; 14 starts between CLearwater and Reading; 6-6 with a 2.70ERA; 80IP 85H 17BB 60K; 1.9BB/6.8K per 9; .273 opp avg; 1.28 WHIP; 4HR allowed; Irvin has thrown very well this year, transitioning to Reading recently with two effective starts.  After holding the opposition to a .197 average last year, Irvin has been more hittable this season but shown a good deal of savvy on the mound.

John Richy, 24, Acquired from Dodgers in 2015; 11 games (6 starts) between Reading and Lehigh Valley; 1-2 with a 6.29ERA; 34.1IP 52H 7BB 22K; .354 opp avg; 1.72 WHIP; 1.8BB/5.8K per 9; Richy was injured to start the season and has been consistently poor since being activated from the DL.

Tyler Viza, 22, Phils 32nd round pick in 2013;14 starts, 6-4 with a 5.45ERA; 71IP 78H 23BB 50K; .275 opp avg; 1.42WHIP; 2.9BB/6.3K per 9; .295 vs LHH, .255 vs RHH, .247 opp avg last 30 days; Viza has had an ERA over 5 each month of the season thus far after a good 2016.  His last start was an excellent start in beginning to turn things around.

DL: Miguel Nunez, Mario Sanchez; Suspended: Eineiry Garcia


10 thoughts on “Around the System–Starting Pitching, Lehigh Valley and Reading

      1. Eshelman, Thompson, Irvin and Anderson all have the potential to be somewhere among MLB 3-4-5 starters in a rotation.

        1. To me, all 4/5s right now. Anderson has to sustain minor league success first. Eshelman has an outside chance of being a 3. Thompson should transition to the bullpen and see how he does. Being a lefty, Irvin could become a solid 4.

          1. Look around the league at current number 3 starters…..outside of a few teams…Nats, Mets, maybe Astros….all pretty much average..

            1. Zona and the Dodgers are pretty good too. They are 1,2 in runs allowed followed by Cleveland, Houston. The Mets have the 5 the worst pitching staff in baseball. Harvey and Wheeler have been on the trading block . both might be in the bullpen next yr.

    1. your clueless, Anderson is 93-95 with 4 pitches legit top 3 starter type arm and young

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