The Lakewood BlueClaws opened the South Atlantic Leagues finals on the road in Lexington. Considered a pitching first team that relied on a corps of starting pitchers to carry them to their first and second half division titles, it was a little unnerving as they fell behind in game one.
What was even more surprising was that they were held to one hit through the first eight innings. They had also drawn four walks, but hadn’t come close to manufacturing a run.
Meanwhile, the Legends had built a 5-0 lead thru the first six innings. BlueClaws starter Damon Jones labored thru four innings and gave up four runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out four and gave up two home runs. Gustavo Armas followed with three innings where he limited the home team to one run on two hits and three walks. He struck out three. Luis Carrasco pitched a perfect eighth inning, striking out one.
The BlueClaws entered the ninth trailing by five runs, having managed just one hit, and facing a relief pitcher who had retired them in order in the eighth inning. So, of course, the first five batters of the inning tied the game. Josh Stephen led off with a pinch hit single. Jake Scheiner followed with another single. Rodolfo Duran blasted a three-run HR to left center. (I was reminded of a former Phillies great and recent color voice on TV broadcasts who once said three-run HRs were rally killers. Hah!) Jhailyn Ortiz pulled the BlueClaws within one run and knocked the pitcher out of the game with a solo HR to right. The comeback was complete when Nick Maton greeted the new pitcher with a solo HR, also to right.
Connor Brogdon took the mound and retired the Legends in order in the ninth with two strike outs. After the BlueClaws were retired in order, Brogdon faced a modicum of drama. He struck out the lead off batter in the tenth, but gave up a double to the next batter. He intentionally walked the next guy, then ended the drama with two strike outs.
The BlueClaws would score in the eleventh making Brogdon the pitcher of record. Duran led off with a single. Ortiz sacrificed him to second. A ground out moved him to third. And, Madison Stokes brought him home with an RBI single.
Zach Warren locked up the save. He struck out the first batter in the bottom of the frame and issued a two-out walk. But got the final out on a strike out.
- Damon Jones – 4.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR, game score 28.
- Gustavo Armas – 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K.
- Luis Carrasco – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K.
- Connor Brogdon – 2.0 IP, 1 H, 10 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.
- Zach Warren – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K.
BlueClaws’ pitcher collected 15 strike outs. Rodolfo Duran went 2-4 with 2 runs scored, a HR, 3 RBI, and a walk. Nick Maton also had 2 hits including a HR. Thirteen BlueClaws’ batters struck out.
- #7 Jhailyn Ortiz (.225) went 1-4 with a run scored, HR, RBI, sac, 2 K
- #17 Kyle Young (3-3, 3.10)
- #18 Spencer Howard (9-8, 3.78)
- #29 Nick Maton (.256) went 2-4 with a run scored, HR, RBI, BB
- #30 Simon Muzziotti (.263) went 0-3 with a K
Kyle Young draws the starting assignment for game two. The tall lefty hasn’t pitched more than four innings since coming off the DL. And, that only once in his last start on September 3rd. Wednesday is an off/travel day. RHP Andrew Brown is scheduled to pitch game three in Lakewood. If game four is necessary, RHP Spencer “No Hit” Howard will start. No announcement for game five.
Prospects who have finished the 2018 season.
- #1 Sixto Sanchez (RHP, Clearwater Threshers) spent most of the 2018 season on the DL. He was sidelined on June 2018 with an elbow injury. Up to that point he had posted a 4-3 record with a 2.51 ERA in 8 starts and 46.2 innings. His 45 strikes gave him a career-best 8.7 SO9. He also posted a 2.1 BB9 and a 1.071 WHIP. The good news is that Sanchez was selected by the Phillies to attend the Arizona Fall League.
- #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).
- #3 Adonis Medina (RHP, Clearwater Threshers) had an up and down season. He posted a 10-4 record but with a slightly high 4.12 ERA. He has electric stuff and routinely throws in the mid-90s. For the second year in a row he struck out more batters than innings pitched (9.9 K/9). His 2.9 BB/9 is the same as what he posted in 2017. His WHIP rose only slightly to 1.249. His inconsistency wasn’t just from gama to game, but also could happen from inning to inning. He could breeze through the first 6 batters in 15 pitches, then suddenly need 20-plus as he started an inning with the bottom of the order. Still, he minimized losses. When the consistency comes, watch out. He could be the best pitching prospect in the system.
- #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.
- #6 Mickey Moniak (CF, Clearwater Threshers) finished the season with a slash of .270/.304/.383/.687, a 21.5% K-rate, 4.7% BB-rate, and 55 RBI. After a slow start that saw him batting .217 on May 24th, Moniak finished strong. From May 25th thru September 1st, Moniak hit .303/.346/.464/.810 with 5 HR, 22 doubles, 41 RBI.
- #8 Ranger Suarez (LHP, Lehigh Valley IronPigs) made 21 starts with Reading (12) and Lehigh Valley(9). He postd a combined 6-3 record and 2.75 ERA. He remains consistent with a 2.5 BB/9. His K/9 dropped dramatically from 9.4 in A-ball in 2017 to 6.2 in the upper levels. Still he was called up to Philadelphia and posted a 1-1 record in 2 starts (9.0 IP). He is on the 40-man, but has pitched a career high 133.1 innings. So, maybe he doesn’t get a call back up for the final weeks.
- #9 Enyel De Los Santos (RHP, Lehigh Valley IronPigs) made 22 starts and posted a 10-5 record and 2.63 ERA. He struck out 110 in 126.2 IP and walked 43. He had a BB/9 of 3.1, K/9 of 7.8, and a 1.161 WHIP. De Los Santos was called up to Philadelphia and made 3 appearances (2 starts). Including the 12 IP he accumulated in the majors, he has thrown 138.2 innings, a little below his career high of 150 innings in 2017. Maybe he gets another call up.
- #10 Cole Irvin (LHP, Lehigh Valley IronPigs) made 25 starts and posted a 14-4 record and 2.57 ERA. He is not on the 40-man, so don’t expect to see him in Philadelphia this month. Besides, he has 161.1 IP this season, a career high. Irvin had 131 strike outs, allowed 35 walks, had a BB/9 of 2.0, K/9 of 7.3, and a 1.054 WHIP.
- #11 Arquimedes Gamboa (SS, Clearwater Threshers) started strong and was batting .261 as late as June 19th, but he showed a gradual decline over the rest of the season to a .214/.304/.279/.582 slash with a 22.3% K-rate and a 10.7% BB-rate. He committed 12 errors and had a .971 Fld%.
- #12 Daniel Brito (2B, Clearwater Threshers) split time between Lakewood and Clearwater. He accumulated 100 PA at Advanced-A and his numbers at each level were remarkably similar. He finished with a .252/.307/.342/.649 slash. He posted a 17.7 % K-rate and a 7.1% BB-rate.
- #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.
- #15 Dylan Cozens (OF, Lehigh Valley IronPigs), at first glance, might have had an indifferent 2018 season. He posted a .246/.345/.529/.873 slash with 21 HR, 58 RBI, 46 BB, and 124 K in 348 plate appearances. He also struggled to a .095 AVG when called up to the parent club during the season. But, his Lehigh Valley slash is in line with his career norms, which are probably skewed by his time in Reading. However, he’ll need to approve on his K% which is still around 35%, although his BB% ticked up to 13.2%.
- #16 Jose Gomez (INF, Clearwater Threshers) finished with a .l224 AVG. He never got above .235 for the entire season. He had a low K-rate of 16.9% and a low BB-rate of 3.9%. He played 3 positions. His Fld% was .977 at 2B, .951 at 3B, and .989 at SS. He had 93 or more chances at each position.
- #19 David Parkinson (LHP, Clearwater Threshers) spent most of the 2018 season with the Lakewood BlueClaws before a late season promotion. He was even more dominant after the move up a level. He posted a combined 11-1 record and 1.45 ERA. In 124.1 innings, he struck out 141 (10.9 K/9) and walked 35 (2.5 BB/9).
- #20 Drew Anderson (RHP, Lehigh Valley IronPigs) lost a month on the DL at the beginning of the season with a forearm strain. He was activated in May and made 19 starts, posting a 9-4 record. His ERA rose slightly to 3.87 from 2017, but his BB/9 improved from 3.9 to 2.5. His 7.2 K/9 was similar to previous seasons. He was called up to Philadelphia for a start and relief appearance. With less than 120 IP this season, he may finish the season in the Phillies bullpen.
- #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.
- #27 Tom Eshelman (RHP, Lehigh Valley IronPigs) made 26 starts (plus one relief appearance) and threw 144.1 innings. He posted a 2-13 record and 5.84 ERA. Both career lows. Known for his impeccable command, Eshelman saw his BB/9 rise to a career high 2.9 and an increase in H/9 raise his WHIP to another career high of 1.667. Eshelman posted godd numbers in the previous two seasons in Clearwater, Reading, and Lehigh Valley. Hopefully, 2018 is an aberration from which he will bounce back.
- #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 Lehigh Valley IronPigs relentlessly compiled wins and had compiled a 70-43 record by COB August 5th. However, they played barely above .500 the remainder of the season (14-13) and finished with an 84-56 record. The IronPigs still had the best overall record in the International League ans qualified for the playoffs as the number one seed. Unfortunately, they faced as the wild card their nemesis, the Scranton RailRiders. Scranton also limped into the playoffs playing just one game above .500 from August 1st thru the end of the regular season. However, they finished 7-4 in their final 11 games, which included a split of a four game series at Lehigh Valley.
The Reading Fightin’ Phils finished the season in fourth place in the Eastern League Eastern Division with 64-73 (.467) record.
The Clearwater Threshers finished the season with the best overall record in the Florida State League, 77-60 (.562). They finished the first half in fourth place with a 32-36 (.471) record, but won the second half with a 45-24 (.652) record. They qualified for the North Division playoffs and beat first half winner Daytona 7-6 in the first game on Grenny Cumana’s solo HR in the eighth inning. Unfortunately, they dropped the next two games when they couldn’t protect early leads. The Threshers strength all season was their starting rotation, and the bullpen came on in the second half. They were a little offensively challenged due to the promotion of several key performers – Darrick Hall, Austin Listi, Adam Haseley, and Jose Pujols. In a combined 280 games these four put up some pretty good numbers – in 1064 at bats, 175 runs, 325 hits, 57 doubles, 10 triples, 43 home runs, 176 RBI, 104 BB (8.7%), 262 K (21.9%), and a slash of .305/.377/.499/.876.
The Lakewood BlueClaws punched their ticket to the SAL title game with a sweep of the Kannapolis Intimidators in the SAL semifinals. They clinched behind Spencer Howard’s complete game no-hitter on Friday night. They will face the Lexington Legends in the championship series.
Lakewood won both halves in the Northern division, 41-28 in the first and 46-23 in the second. They had the best overall record in the SAL at 87-51.
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 9th.
9/10/18–Lakewood placed RHP Ismael Cabrera on the reserve list
9/7/18–Lehigh Valley activated RHP Tom Eshelman
9/5/18–Lehigh Valley placed RHP Tom Eshelman on the reserve list
9/5/18–SS Malquin Canelo assigned to Lehigh Valley from Reading
9/5/18–RHP Tyler Viza assigned to Lehigh Valley from Reading
9/5/18–RHP Ismael Cabrera assigned to Lakewood from Reading
9/5/18–RHP Luis Cedeno assigned to Lakewood from Reading
9/5/18–1B Matt Kroon assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
9/5/18–LHP Kyle Young assigned to Williamsport from Lakewood
9/5/18–RHP Luis Ramirez assigned to Williamsport from Lakewood
9/5/18–RHP Tyler Fallwell assigned to Williamsport from Lakewood
9/4/18–Philadelphia recalled SS J.P. Crawford from Lehigh Valley