Clearwater Threshers Recap – 9/4/2018

The Clearwater Threshers (77-60) opened their 2018 playoffs with an exciting 7-6 win over the Daytona Tortugas.   Adonis Medina started and had an uneven start that matched his 2018 season.  He showed flashes of brilliance like when he struck out Ibandel Isabel, the FSL HR leader with 35, on 3 consecutive change ups.  But, he also had lapses like when he served up fastballs for big hits like Courtney Hawkins 2-run HR.  

The Threshers were resilient.  After Medina dispatched the Tortugas on 8 pitches in the first inning, they took an early lead on three first inning runs.   Daniel Brito singled and Arquimedes Gamboa walked.  Mickey scorched a ball to the right of the first baseman that he laid out to keep in the infield.  The defender saved a run momentarily, but his only play was at first and Moniak had moved both runners into scoring position.  Henri Lartigue doubled home the games first two runs and scored on a ground out after Luke Williams moved him to third with a single.

Medina had a 13-pitch second inning, but he threw just 7 strikes and walked batter.  A double play helped him out of the inning.  The offense tacked on a run in the bottom of the inning.  Raul Rivas reached on a high throw on an infield b grounder.  He stole second and eventually scored on Gamboa’s RBI single.

Medina walked the lead off batter in the third.  A fielding error put runners on first and second.  Another double play and a strike out helped him escape the inning, but he threw only 8 strikes in 15 pitches.

Medina opened the fourth with his 3-pitch strike out of Isabel.  He had gotten big outfielder looking at a change up in the first (also on three pitches), and fed him three of the same in this at bat.  Medina got the next batter looking.  But with two out, he gave up a single and a first-pitch home run.  He gave up 2 more hits in the 20-pitch inning before getting an inning-ending ground out.

The Threshers came right back and scored 2 runs in the bottom of the inning.  Rivas singled wirth one out and scored on Kevin Markham’s RBI triple.  Brito brought him home with am RBI single.

Daytona got one run back in the top of the fifth.  Medina hit Isabel with two outs.  A walk moved him into scoring position and a single brought him home.

Medina pitched a 1-2-3 sixth (7 pitches) and turned the game over to the bullpen.  He gave up 3 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, and a HBP.  He struck out four.  He threw 48 strikes in 79 pitches (60.8%), 12 of 27 first-pitch strikes (44.4%) and 4-three-ball counts.  His FB was 91-95 mph and sat 93-94 all six innings.  He 97 mph once in the third inning.

Trevor Bettencourt got knocked around in 1.2 innings.  He gave up a 2-run HR in the seventh and blew the save with another run in the eighth.  The inning ended when the Daytona batter hit a hard ground ball thru the 5-6 hole off reliever Addison Russ.  Grenny Cumana got a great jump, scooped the ball cleanly, had time to take an extra crow hop, and threw a strike to Edgar Cabral to nail the runner trying to score from second.

Cumana led off the home eighth.  As he approached the batter’s box, I called out, “Throw ’em out, hit it out, Grenny!”.  Six pitches (and 4 foul balls) later, he crushed a HR into the left field bleachers.

Russ retired the turtles in order in the ninth to nail down the first game of the 3-game series.  He needed just 8 pitches to induce 3 ground balls to Gamboa.

The Threshers collected 9 hits and 3 walks.  Brito had 2 hits and an RBI.  Henri Lartigue had 2 hits, a double, and 2 RBI.

Alejandro starts game two in Daytona.  If needed, Mauricio starts game three.  Assuming they win the series, Bailey Falter and David Parkinson are scheduled to start games one and two at the South Division’s representative.  Ramon Rosso would be on tap for game three at Spectrum Field.  Then Medina and Requena.  Of, course, this could all change if they sweep or a starter gets knocked out early.

BTW, I’m not taking credit for Cumana’s HR just because I called out a silly remark.  But, isn’t it amazing how often a player makes a great play to end an inning and then leads of the next half inning.  And often makes another contribution.

  • #1 Sixto Sanchez (4-3, 2.51) – placed on the 7-day DL in June, 2018
  • #3 Adonis Medina (10-4, 4.12) – 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, HBP, 4 K, HR
  • #6 Mickey Moniak (.270) went 0-4 with a K
  • #11 Arquimedes Gamboa (.214) went 1-3 with a run scored, RBI, BB
  • #12 Daniel Brito (.250) went 2-5 with a run scored, RBI, 2 K
  • #16 Jose Gomez (.224)
  • #19 David Parkinson (3-0, 1.24)

Lehigh Valley (84-56)  starts their playoff series at Scranton on Wednesday.  Enyel De Los Santos gets the start.  Subsequent games will see Cole Irvin, Drew Anderson, Ranger Suarez, and Tom Eshelman draw the starting assignments.

  • #8 Ranger Suarez (2-0, 2.74) –
  • #9 Enyel De Los Santos (10-5, 2.63) –
  • #10 Cole Irvin (14-4, 2.57) –
  • #15 Dylan Cozens (.246) recalled to Philadelphia
  • #20 Drew Anderson (9-4, 3.87) –
  • #27 Tom Eshelman (2-13, 5.84) –

Lakewood (87-51) starts their playoff series at Kannapolis on Wednesday.  Andrew Brown gets the start.  Spencer Howard and Damon Jones draw games two and three.

  • #7 Jhailyn Ortiz (.225)
  • #17 Kyle Young (3-3, 3.10)
  • #18 Spencer Howard (9-8, 3.78)
  • #29 Nick Maton (.256)  
  • #30 Simon Muzziotti (.263)

Prospects who have finished the 2018 season.

  • #2 Alec Bohm  (3B, Williamsport Crosscutters) finished the season with a .224 SVG. The Phillies first round pick saw limited action due to a knee injury he suffered when he was struck by a pitched ball on July 9th.  The 22-year old lost valuable development time and wasn’t activated again until August 20th.  He was hitting .192 when he went down.  He finished the season 14-55 (.255).
  • #4 Adam Haseley (OF, Reading Phils) batted .316 for the Phils.  He was promoted mid-season after posting a .300 AVG for the Threshers in High-A in 79 games (354 plate appearances).  He hit a combined 11 HR across both teams.
  • #5 JoJo Romero (LHP, Reading Phils) made 18 starts and tossed 106.2 innings before going onto the DL on July 20th.  He posted a 7-6 record and 3.80 ERA.  He struck out 100 batters (8.4 SO9).  Romero ended the season on the DL.
  • #13 Francisco Morales (RHP, Williamsport Crosscutters) showed marked regression after a promising 2017 campaign in the GCL.  He made 13 starts and pitched 15 more innings but stumbled to a 4-5 record and 5.27 ERA.  He was young for the league and his SO9 ticked up to 10.9, but his BB9 also ticked up to 5.3.  Morales problem in XST was consistency.  It was still a problem in Low-A.
  • #14 Luis Garcia (SS, GCL Phillies West) finished the season with a league best .369 AVG.  His .433 OBP placed third, his .488 SLG placed 13th, and his .921 OPS placed seventh.  These were not only team leading but also the best of both Phillies GCL entries.  Garcia’s 33 runs scored were fourth in the league following team mate Yerwin Trejo’s 40.  He led the league with 62 hits.  Placed second with 32 RBI.  Trejo’s 23 stolen bases led the league, Garcia had 12.
  • #21 Kyle Dohy (LHP, Reading Phils) zipped across 3 levels in his second season.  He posted a 0.80 ERA in 24 games and 16.8 SO9 in 33.2 innings for Lakewood.  He posted a 1.64 ERA and 14.7 SO9 in 11.0 innings for Clearwater.  In 22.2 Double-A innings, Dohy has a 5.56 ERA but still posted an 11.9 SO9.
  • #22 Cornelius Randolph (OF, Reading Phils) hit .241 as a 21-year old at Reading.  He struggled mightily for the first 3 months, hitting .187 on the last day of June.  But, he rebounded during the final two months (July 1st thru September 2nd) with a .314 AVG.  He posted a .352 AVG in July.
  • #23 Connor Seabold (RHP, Reading Phils) was promoted from Clearwater midway thru the season.  He posted a combined 5-8 record with a 4.28 ERA.  He struck out 132 in 130.1 innings (9.1 SO9) and walked 33 (2.3 BB9).
  • #24 Dominic Pipkin (P, GCL Phillies West) finished with a 1-2 record and 3.64 ERA in 10 appearances, 8 starts.  In limited action, he pitched 29.2 innings.  In a SSS, he posted a 1.180 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.5 K/9.
  • #25 Kevin Gowdy (RHP, Williamsport Crosscutters) never made it off the DL as he spent the summer rehabbing from TJ surgery.  He has been throwing off a mound and should see action during Instructs.  Hopefully.
  • #26 Jhordany Mezquita (LHP, Williamsport Crosscutters) made 9 starts before being mysteriously shutdown on August 23rd.  He posted a 1-0 record and 3.60 ERA in 35.0 innings, striking out 41.  However,he spent the final days of the season on the GCL Phillies West roster.
  • #28 Colton Eastman (RHP, Williamsport Crosscutters) made 8 starts but was on an innings count and only pitched as many as three innings in his last two starts.  He went 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA, but struck out 23 in 18 innings.

The Reading Fightin’ Phils finished the season in fourth place in the Eastern League Eastern Division with 64-73 (.467) record.

The Williamsport Crosscutters finished the season tied for last place in the New York-Penn League Pinckney Division with a 32-44 (.421) record.

The GCL Phillies East finished in first place in the GCL North Division with a 30-24 record. They lost a one-game semifinal on the road against the Palm Beach Cardinals.

The GCL Phillies West finished in second place in the GCL Northwest Division with a 30-24 (.556) record.

The DSL Phillies Red finished the season 31-40 (.437) in fifth place in the DSL South Division.

The DSL Phillies White finished the season 39-33 (.542) in fourth place in the DSL San Pedro Division.

Here’s the affiliate scoreboard from MiLB.

The rosters and lists are up to date as of September 4th.

Transactions (newest transactions in bold text)
9/4/18–Philadelphia sent 3B Jesmuel Valentin outright to Lehigh Valley
9/4/18–Philadelphia recalled SS J.P. Crawford from Lehigh Valley
9/3/18–Philadelphia activated RHP Jerad Eickhoff from the 60-day DL
9/3/18–Philadelphia designated RHP Ben Lively for assignment.
9/3/18–Ranfi Casimiro assigned to Lehigh Valley from Reading
9/3/18–Lehigh Valley activated 2B Trevor Plouffe from the 7-day DL
9/3/18–Luis Cedeno assigned to Reading from Lakewood
9/3/18–RHP Ismael Cabrera assigned to Reading from Lakewood
9/3/18–Keylan Killgore assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
9/3/18–Lakewood activated LHP Kyle Young from the 7-day DL
9/2/18–Philadelphia activated 1B Justin Bour
9/1/18–Philadelphia activated LHP Austin Davis from the 10-day DL
9/1/18–Philadelphia activated SS Pedro Florimon from the 60-day DL
9/1/18–Philadelphia activated RHP Edubray Ramos from the 10-day DL
9/1/18–Philadelphia designated 3B Jesmuel Valentin for assignment.
9/1/18–Toronto claimed RHP Mark Leiter Jr. off waivers from Philadelphia
9/1/18–Philadelphia recalled RF Dylan Cozens from Lehigh
9/1/18–Philadelphia recalled RHP Yacksel Rios from Lehigh
9/1/18–Philadelphia recalled CF Aaron Altherr from Lehigh
9/1/18–LHP Jeff Singer assigned to Lehigh Valley from Reading
9/1/18–Clearwater placed 1B Kyle Martin on the 7-day DL
9/1/18–1B Quincy Nieporte assigned to Clearwater from Lakewood
On a somber note, Joe Jordan ended his affiliation with the Phillies Tuesday.  He was one of the nicest execs to interact with at the Complex.  I always called him Mr. Jordan and always got a kick when he acknowledged me, often before I acknowledged him.
I poked around and tried to piece together why.  I think it is nothing more than a difference of opinion.  I’ve heard that a lot of coaches and staff are in the last year of their contracts. I’m guessing he hired most, if not all, of them and that a lot, if not all, of them will not be rehired.  So, those of you who want an overhaul of this very effective development staff are probably going to get it.
Something occurred last off season that  may have been a portent of things to come.  Matt Klentak made what to me at the time was an innocuous promotion of Bryan Minniti to Assistant GM.  I think this may have set things in motion that culminated in today’s news.  I think any other non-Klentak hires may be sleeping a little uncomfortably tonight.

30 thoughts on “Clearwater Threshers Recap – 9/4/2018

  1. Wondering why Lehigh Valley needs a 5 man playoff rotation? Eshelman has just been so brutal that it makes no sense to me to start him, could they not go to a 4 man rotation?

      1. Wawamike. Yes it is about development but he has pitched very poorly recently to the point that I thought maybe he was hiding an injury. His once pinpoint control has abandoned him. I see no reason to put him out there.

  2. Congrats to Clearwater on the first win, keep it going. Russ is really a shutdown guy there, I look forward to watching he and Dohy reunite in Reading next year. It was nice seeing Brito and Gamboa atop the lineup with both contributing to the win. They’re both still big prospects.

    1. And you know this how? Farm directors move on all the time and he wasn’t hired by Klentak.

      The only thing I can see that Klentak has done that was lousy and low-down was how he set up Pete Mackanin to fail. It was very obvious that the new regime wanted a metric-friendly approach to the game including line-up construction. And it was very obvious that Mackanin would do silly things like bat Freddy Galvis leadoff – things that it’s clear the new management hated. But they didn’t demand that Pete change his approach. Rather, instead of telling him what they would like him to do, they let him hang out to dry so they could say he was out of touch and fire him. That was really crummy in my view and they didn’t need to do that to move on from Pete.

      1. The McKlentak team is still out of touch by overusing analytics and not enough scouting. There needs to be a balance of the two techniques.

    1. I hope I can continue to provide such information. Jordan’s retirement and the expected purge of Player Development and Baseball Operations is very likely to return me to ground zero with regard to “sources”.

      Not that Mr. Jordan was a source, but he did answer questions, And I made it a point to ask him one every time I had an opportunity to speak with him.

      The first question I ever asked was during Instructs after the Phillies signed Simon Muzziotti. I wanted to know if his Rule 5 clock started over since his Boston contract was voided. He didn’t know.

      The last question I asked was regarding Jake Holmes. I bumped into Mr. Jordan in the hallway outside the Home Media Suite as he exited the Phillies Suite at Spectrum Field. There was intense debate here that Holmes should be promoted to Williamsport. I told Mr. Jordan about the discussions here and asked if Holmes would be promoted. He replied that he thought Holmes was right where he needed to be at that point in his career. Two weeks later, he promoted Holmes.

      He was the first exec I worked up the nerve to speak with. Now I gotta start all over again.

  3. From the Hard to Believe Category:

    Hector Neris is the NL Reliever of the Month for August.
    Hector pitched 9 innings…struck out 20, allowed no runs…all over 10 appearances.
    If you had told me back on July 4th, after a couple of disastrous months with the Phillies, he would be back and accomplish this I would not believe you.
    Relievers can be funny birds.

    1. It’s been an odd journey, but Hector’s stuff is electric. He probably has one of the 4 or 5 best splitters I’ve ever seen. If he keeps his confidence, there’s no reason he can’t pitch effectively in the majors for the next 10 years. I know he’s a bit of a wild card, but if I’m the Phillies I’d probably try to lock him up for the next 5 years and you can decide later what his precise role would be. But stuff like that doesn’t come along too often.

        1. That’s okay, end of a long season, stuff happens. But, I agree. “They” detected a “tell” on Neris’ splitter and opposing batters would wait on his fastball. He was sent down to correct it with a different arm slot, and as long as he doesn’t tip the pitch in the future, he should remain effective.

      1. A good splitter is probably the hardest pitch for a batter to square up….if hit the bat at all.
        Trouble is…the pitch is not sustainable to command over time, or for a pitcher’s arm to endure who keeps it as his main weapon in his arsenal.
        And starters rarely want to throw it…Dan Haren did , but he said only 20% of the time, and as one of his out pitches.
        The shelf life is probably the shortest of all for the pitch and pitcher, sort of like the pitchers who in the past just threw screwballs.
        Hector will be 30 next season, and still under control for at least 3 more years….so they will make a reasonable arb offer

        1. It is hard to control and the strain issue is real. Still, since his innings are limited, I’m less concerned about that. The three years of control is a good point.

        2. I’ve always felt the key to hector was his fastball command. when he has to throw splitter after splitter after splitter eventually hitters adjust. the other day he was getting strikes and Ks with his fastball.
          kind of like brad lidge was with his fastball to keep hitter honest with his slider

        3. Curt Schilling threw the splitter for 15 years… The pitch profiles for a reliever’s arsenal more than a starter for several reasons… it’s learned by bullpen guys in the minors who haven’t had great success with the other pitches… (ie Schilling, who went from the pen to the rotation.) it’s a pitch that’s typically learned to save your career or to get you from the minors to majors. It’s also a swing-and-miss pitch favored by closers. Starters still try to pitch to weak contact, which they prefer over swing-and-miss stuff, because they want to keep pitch counts down.

          1. Not sure if Schilling used it extensively….though do know, besides Haren, David Cone, who was among the elite who thrived by using the splitter during the ’80s and ’90s.,Though he belived the pitch doesn’t cause injury on its own.
            Cone developed a life-threatening aneurysm in his shoulder that required surgery to fix in the mid-90s, and a lifetime of piling up innings was blamed. But he said that was from an accumulation of pitches, not any one type in particular. Cone dabbled in a variety of deliveries and grips, but the splitter was a signature punch-out weapon, and he never thought it was inherently dangerous.

  4. Sorry to hear Joe Jordanleft. No whoyou were, fan, parent or? He always acknowledged you. He was always thinking of development for the players, will be missed.
    Don’t quiet understand Clearwater leaving in Bettencourt after bad inning to start additional inning putting winning run on. Bullpen has arms to finish. That goodness Cumana played Big

    1. If not for the uneven year, Medina is already in AA. Long ball hurt him this year with some spotty command, but his stuff is close to MLB ready. Medina will be added in the 40-man so he is close to the majors. He’ll start in REA next year. Sixto might make a cameo in CLW but eventually move to REA.

      Haseley will be LHV bound and Randolph will follow Haseley in LHV soon.

      1. Yeah, I personally think that Haseley and Moniak profile as essentially the same player and should be playing separately. Haseley should start in Lehigh while Moniak gets a full season in Reading. Otherwise, they would be sharing time at their natural position, CF. Don’t see how that makes sense. Plus Haseley is a couple years older anyway. Then let’s see who emerges as a keeper and who serves the organization better as a trade commodity.

  5. You basically have one very good starting pitcher today who throws the splitter…. Tanaka.

    Starting pitching is about hitting your spots with a good fastball & keeping hitters off balance with off speed. I’m your authority on pitching, my friends. My background is in a word – impressive. Enough bragging.

    1. Always wonder if what a pitcher said was a split finger , was actually not the old forkball.
      I mean they are practically held with the same grip with the gap between index and middle finger.

      1. I think the splitter is held more at the fingertips – the forkball is jammed into the fingers and thrown closer to the palm. That’s my understanding anyway – they aren’t the same pitch.

        1. Correct. And a forkball is an off spead pitch. It was popular in the 70s and early 80s. The circle change has made it obsolete. Same movement, less strain on hand and arm. I’m here for you, people.

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