BlueClaws Playoff Recap – 9/11/2018

The Lakewood BlueClaws followed the same script as game one, falling behind 5-0.  But they fell short on their late-inning rally.  The South Atlantic League’s championship series is tied at one game apiece and switches venues to New Jersey for the conclusion of the final series.  

The Lexington Legends opened the scoring again with a one-out, solo HR of BlueClaws starter, Kyle Young in the first inning.  The lefty would issue his only two walks of his appearance after the blast before escaping the inning.  Young was more efficient in the second inning, allowing only a harmless, two-out single.

Young gave up a lead off single to start third inning, and balked the runner over to second. After a strike out, he caught a break when the runner failed to score on a sharp double to right.  (Nobody willingly runs on Ortiz.)  The play only delayed the Legends second run as they scored on a fielder’s choice.  Young retired the side in order in the fourth inning.

Young had thrown 61 pitches (41 strikes, 60.3%), and was lifted after four innings. (Remember, he’s only recently off the DL.)

Meanwhile, the BlueClaws were presenting very little in the way of offense.  They did manage to load the bases in the fourth on a one-out throwing error, two-out double, and a walk.  But, for the most part they went down meekly in six other innings – retired in order in the first, third, and fifth innings; a one-out single in the second, a lead off single in the sixth, and a lead off walk in the seventh.

Julian Garcia replaced Young and after a lead off single in the fifth, retired six Legends in a row.  He gave up another lead off single in the seventh, but retired the next two batters and looked like he was going to escape the inning.  However, two ground singles to center, a wild pitch, and a ground single to right provided Lexington with three more runs and a 5-0 lead.  James McArthur entered to record the third out and strand one inherited runner.

The BlueClaws started their rally in the top of the eighth inning, but weren’t as fortunate as they were in game one.  Matt Vierling led off with a single.  Two outs later, Rodolfo Duran launched a two-run HR to left.  That was the end of the scoring for Lakewood.  After McArthur retired the Legends in order in the bottom of the frame, the ‘Claws could only manage a two out single by Dalton Guthrie in the ninth.

The BlueClaws collected just six hits and two walks.  Jhailyn Ortiz had 2 hits including a double.  Duran’s 2-run HR was the only other extra base hit.  Nick Maton had both walks. Twelve BlueClaws’ batters struck out.

The series continues Thursday.  A pair of right-handers draw the next two starts for Lakewood.  Andrew Brown is scheduled to pitch game three in Lakewood.  Spencer Howard will start game four.  No announcement for game five, if necessary.

  • #7 Jhailyn Ortiz (.225) went 2-4 with a double, K
  • #17 Kyle Young (3-3, 3.10) – 4.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, HR
  • #18 Spencer Howard (9-8, 3.78)
  • #29 Nick Maton (.256) went 0-2 with 2 BB
  • #30 Simon Muzziotti (.263) went 1-4 with 2 K

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 11th.

Transactions (newest transactions in bold text)
9/11/18–Philadelphia recalled RHP Enyel De Los Santos from Lehigh Valley 
9/11/18–Philadelphia recalled LHP Ranger Suarez from Lehigh Valley 
9/11/18–Philadelphia recalled RHP Drew Anderson from Lehigh Valley 
9/10/18–LHP Kyle Young assigned to Lakewood from Williamsport
9/10/18–Lakewood placed RHP Ismael Cabrera on the reserve list
9/8/18–Philadelphia recalled 3B Mitch Walding from Lehigh Valley
9/8/18–LHP Josh Tols assigned to Lehigh Valley from Reading
9/7/18–Philadelphia recalled C Andrew Knapp from Lehigh Valley
9/7/18–Lehigh Valley activated RHP Tom Eshelman
9/5/18–Kansas City claimed RHP Ben Lively off waivers from Philadelphia
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

24 thoughts on “BlueClaws Playoff Recap – 9/11/2018

  1. Lakewood’s terrific starting pitching all season long failed them in the first two games. Brown and Howard get to bring things back at home. Need to win 2 games at home.

    1. Of their 5/6 man staff….lefties Jones and Young may be two that did not have as productive seasons as the other starters.
      Not have Stewart, Rosso and Parkinson really put them behind the eight-ball for this series.
      But that is minor league baseball….its about nurturing, development and finally progression

  2. I’m happy that Lakewood still playing meaningful games but I consider Lakewood’s success secondary to Howard’s performance after his no no. This kid has potential, obviously. I don’t know what his ceiling is or where he’ll be playing next year. Seems like Reading will be his next destination. Has anyone seen this kid pitch? Seems as though he flew under the radar a bit. Any knowledgeable opinions would be great to read. My interest is piqued. Lol

    1. Under the radar? He’s a 2nd rd pick who has been followed closely. He’ll be at Clearwater next year to start the year. His start on Friday will be watched closely to see how he does after his complete game no hitter with over 100 pitches. He certainly has a live arm and is in our top 15, maybe top 10, for sure.

      1. I agree Howard was kind of under the radar here. Most talk surrounds Sixto around here. All you have to do is look at posts involving trade proposals. I don’t recall but I can’t remember one involving Howards name.

        1. DMAR – Howard not mentioned in any trades doesn’t necessary mean that he’s under the radar or less valuable. Not sure if Jim shared the list, but if he shared it, I expect that some people expect him to be the breakout pitcher which includes me.

          It just happens that there are arms in the upper minors that’s note worthy too especially delos Santos and his LWD mates Will Stewart, David Parkinson and Ramon Rosso are having an amazing start in the season while Howard is struggling with his command because of the increase in velo.

        2. In my Top 30 that I posted here couple weeks ago I had Howard #6! Been high on this kid all year, like some others here too.

    2. Yeah, Howard in not flying under the radar for most of us. The surprise with Howard is the uptick in his velo and the struggle command it early in the season. He’s already #9 in my rankings that I posted here a month ago and I’m sure that he will be Top 12 in most rankings.

      And yes, I choose him as breakout pitcher this year. He may not win it (it probably belongs to his team mate – Will Stewart) but I expect that a lot are high on him this year so definitely not under the radar.

      1. KuKo…listening to Ruben this weekend talk about when they drafted Nola and what Matt Stouffer and the rest raved about him in college with his stuff, but more his poise…then his rapid pace development thru the system. Spencer Howard, if stays healthy, could also now be on that same tract of rapid pace. Clearwater to start next season, then maybe Reading to end it

        1. Nola’s advanced feel and command is what got him through the minors so quickly. Howard may need to work on those things the most, so barring an unexpected jump in command I actually think he’ll move relatively slowly.

          I mean if I told you we had a college SP with an upper 90s fastball and maybe some above average secondaries, you’d think he could finish his first full season in Reading, not Lakewood. I’m not saying it to knock him, just pointing out that he’s an unusual beast because when he was drafted most scouting reports described him as more of a Colton Eastman type. But he’s not that. He’s got a lot of arm talent but also some rawness.

          1. yeah..agree his BB rate is higher than Nola’s was, so that will have to be an adjustment he will need to make. Then again, that K/9 over the first 140 innings, screams TOR right now. The more advanced hitters in hi-A and AA will be the next test for him.

            1. He was mostly described as a strike thrower with average to above average stuff across the board. Similar to Colton Eastman or other recent college pitchers the Phillies have drafted in rounds 2-5. You hear that profile, you think safe pick, backend starter. The Phillies were clearly higher on him than most from the jump.

            2. Maybe I didn’t phrase it well enough. I never said that there were reports that compared Howard directly to Colton Eastman. Only that there were scouting reports that described Howard in similar terms as they describe Eastman.

              Anyway, the guy I meant to use as a comp was Connor Seabold because he finished his first full year in Reading, which you might expect from a highly drafted college pitcher. That’s my fault.

        2. @romus – I love Nola since he was draft because I like the pitchers of his type. I stood by my Nola love when roccom and the velo guys are critical of his success. The reasons why I love Nola are the same reasons why I Anderson, Howard, Bailey Falter (Sixto and Medina are obvious picks). I even tweeted before that Nola’s highest grade is not his CB or CU but his “make up” in the mound.

          I have no doubt that Howard will be in the fast track, in fact, I questioned before why is he still in LWD when everybody is coming up and why Seabold is 2 levels above him.

          He may win the breakout pitcher that i hoped he would, but I’m glad that a better Spencer Howard comes around.

  3. Fun fact: Spencer’s last no hitter was in Pony ball. Walked one and struck out the rest (7 IP, 21 K’s).

        1. I feel like I need to contribute my 2 cents here. In addition to being a prospect about whom I’m very excited, Spencer is also a very nice guy. He was very fan friendly and generous with his time both in spring training and throughout the season at Lakewood. Very easy to root for someone like Spencer!

  4. Given the dismal end to the Phillies’ season, there decreased likelihood that either Machado or Harper will choose to come here. Hence, the farm system has never been more important. The great Phillies teams of 1980 and 2008 were studded with players from the farm system — Bowa, Schmidt, Boone, Luzinski, Howard, Utley, Rollins, Ruiz, Burrell and Hamels. Right now the Phillies need much more from their system than Hoskins, Kingery, Nola, and Alfaro. Only Hoskins and Nola show genuine star power. Hence, this site has never been more important in charting the Phillies future. We are going to have to look beyond 2019 or perhaps even 2020.

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