Travel Day Recap – 9/12/2018

Wednesday was an off day in the South Atlantic League championship series.  The venue changes to Lakewood and resumes Thursday night.  The series is tied at a game apiece. The BlueClaws will send Andrew Brown against the Lexington Legends in game three. Spencer Howard will start game four.  No announcement for game five.  If necessary, it will be in Lakewood.

  • #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)

No baseball action to report, so a couple of random thoughts.

First thought.  Director of Player Development, Joe Jordan, resigned last week. Today, Minor League hitting coordinator Andy Tracy, assistant hitting coordinator Frank Cacciatore, Triple-A Lehigh Valley hitting coach Sal Rende, and Class A Advanced Clearwater hitting coach John Mizerock were told they would not be tendered contracts for next season.  I also heard that Doug Mansolino, Field Coordinator is retiring.  It’s possible that more changes are coming.

Those of you who were clamoring for change in player development should be happy that changes are coming.  However, consider the players.  Mr. Jordan’s departure is a concern for players and parents alike.  He is probably the one constant for them as they moved through the organization.  For the newer players and parents, he is likely the face of the organization.  He, and his people, have been very much involved in the programs set up for each individual player.  Those I have spoken with and been in other contact  with are confused and feeling some level of anxiety.

I’m not saying that instructors should be retained forever, I’m just pointing out a portion of the equation that is not very obvious.  To be honest, I didn’t consider it until a conversation at the ball park the night the Jordan announcement was revealed.

Among the changes, I hope the organization becomes better at informing the players and their families regarding things.  That’s a non-specific word, but I am aware that players and families are routinely not told the organizations plans regarding themselves/their sons.

I also think they should educate the players on the reasons for the information that their army of stat geeks are gathering.  Especially the new stuff that seems intrusive like hours slept, snacks eaten.  Even tracking the number of pitches thrown on an off day or miles run during the week could be explained.

Second thought.  I don’t understand the hue and cry over 40-man call ups.  The Phillies hardly ever call up all or even most of the available players on their 40-man roster.  They were slow to call up the last three players available and I was amused that this was an issue.

I also don’t understand the similar uproar over the non-use of J.P. Crawford.  I do understand that September is a good time to see how prospects handle themselves in the big leagues.  But, Crawford started the season in Philadelphia.  Maybe they’ve seen enough?  I thought it was telling when, after a horrible rehab in Clearwater, he was activated and optioned to Lehigh Valley.  And equally telling when he wasn’t in the first wave of call ups after September 1st and was left behind for the International League playoffs. If I remember correctly, he wasn’t brought up until Maikel Franco suffered an injury that wouldn’t require to a DL stint.

My assumption at that point was that he would be the back up for the guy who was Franco’s back up, just a bench piece in case of another injury.  But for a resurgence of sorts at Lehigh Valley in August, Crawford really hasn’t performed well this season.

And one final thought.

On more than one night at Spectrum Field.  I noticed how much “faster” opposing players seemed to be home-to-first.  The only guy who looked like he had any speed at all (someone who stood out) was Kevin Markham, but you expect that from a Roadrunner. Could that be part of analytics?  Save your energy if you are likely going to be out?  I don’t know.  I just notice how close the plays are on balls hit to the left side of our infield as opposed to the balls we hit the left side of the opponent’s infield.

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 12th.

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

20 thoughts on “Travel Day Recap – 9/12/2018

  1. On cue JP goes 3-4 with a dinger. Judging JP on the year he’s had and a total of just 206 MLB PA’s fragmented over 2 seasons seems unfair to a kid that hammered every level until he got to AAA last year and even then he finished that level strong after a rough start.

    But what do I know go Claws

  2. Given Gabe’s tenure in LA when he brought in “hitting consultants” and then fired the coaches when they weren’t on board with the consultants, I’d expect very little communication. I’d expect more stab in the back type operations. Everyone in the organization is now officially on notice: you’re either with Kapler, or you’re against him. And Klentak has staked his career to Kapler now, and the ownership is invested as well.

      1. It’s a bad way to run any organization, sports or otherwise. My way or the high way, stifle dissenting opinion. And employees need to know where they stand, in earnest too, not in Gabe-speak “everything is awesome and we are tremendously confident in X”. If they are anxious as Jim is saying they are, they will not perform at their best. Sad that the organization is putting our youngest players in that situation.

        1. I don’t think there’s anything to really suggest that’s how Kapler’s run his team this year. He adjusted after complaints from Pat Neshak about lack of defined roles.

          If you’re trying to implement a hitting philosophy top to bottom in an organization it really doesn’t make sense to have instructors on board who don’t preach that message, at least not to me.

    1. Please provide links to the hirings and firings you speak of. I just spent an hour researching and can’t find the things you allude to. If you want to express your expectations based on these “facts”, please provide the content.

      1. One Jimmy let’s not bury this story or take it as the gospel

        According to the Yahoo! Sports report, Dodgers staffers have told MLB investigators that Francona’s issues with the team stemmed from a personality conflict with his boss, director of player development Gabe Kapler, and not any lingering problems he might have had as a result of his Marine Corps service. Francona, a graduate of Wharton School of Business before he joined the Marines as an officer in 2009, otherwise received high marks for his work with the Dodgers.

        http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/19353967/nick-francona-alleges-firing-los-angeles-dodgers-was-discriminatory

          1. https://www.milb.com/midwest/news/dodgers-fire-managers-berryhill-shines/c-150154442

            “Berryhill, who led Triple-A Oklahoma City to an 86-58 first-place record — the best in the Pacific Coast League — a division title and a playoff appearance, was one of nine managers, coaches and instructors fired by the Dodgers this week as Los Angeles continues to revamp its farm system. A 10th coach is reportedly out as well.”

            “”All our Minor League staff put forth a tremendous effort in 2015, and we appreciate all their work and dedication,” said Gabe Kapler, the Dodgers’ director of player development. “At this moment in time, we wanted to bring in some new voices in some key areas. Our changes should not be viewed as a reflection on any performance; they simply reflect that we are heading in a different direction.”

            Later in the story…

            “The moves came on the heels of the Dodgers firing a dozen international scouts in August.”

            Via Wikipedia…
            “On November 7, 2014, he [Gabe Kapler] became the Dodgers’ new Director of Player Development.

  3. I think the uproar over Crawford is understandable. Guy was a top prospect for years and isn’t seeing the field for reasons unknown. He’s lost playing time to a quad-A journeyman and a fellow prospect who has performed worse in a larger sample and has lesser defensive tools.

    1. I think Phillies success has hurt Crawford’s playing time. He was hitting poorly and costing team while Kingery was hot early.

      Then Franco was bad and Crawford was playing 3rd until injured.

      His rehab hitting was terrible. I figured his defense would be valuable upon return as sub while Kingery could have been sent down instead; with Cabrera and Franco the everyday players.

      Now with Franco out and playoff chances gone, playing “decision” guys makes sense. But for Altherr, Crawford, Knapp, Santanna at 3rd, the rest of season will be quite short for evaluation.

      1. Sorry, should have posted in general discussion, but 40man will be interesting to watch. I do want to see more of the prospect pitchers in the majors.

  4. I second Jim’s point. Where are the facts – not speculation, rumor or innuendo – which support the assertion that Kapler is a “my way or the highway guy”? The Yahoo article relied upon unidentified sources. Until these nameless “Dodger staffers” come forward and speak on the record, consider me unimpressed.

    1. When he was hiring a coaching staff he mentioned he wanted “diversity of thought” and wanted coaches willing to challenge him. I don’t understand where this narrative is coming from

  5. Comment on Joe Jordan’s departure being of concern to players and parents is a BIG Consern with respect to future and positional issues. Having five players I have personally know loved that one on one and made them feel like Joe Jordan took a personal interest in them succeeding. Knew there were changes coming with hitting philosophy because of changes in swing early in season, second half success with philosophy change .
    Hopful New DPD will be approachable

  6. Can someone explain to me what the “change” in approach went to? I know Mickey had a very good second half, and his Dad said it was because he had been asked to change his swing, and then went back to what got him picked in the First Rd. What did they try to change him to? The instructors who were let go after Jordan left were from which school of thought?

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