BlueClaws Playoff Recap – 9/14/2018

Sadly, the South Atlantic League championship series came to an end last night when the Lexington Legends bested the Lakewood BlueClaws, 2-1, in game four of the five game series.

In his first start since his series-clinching no-hitter last week, Spencer Howard retired the first ten batters he faced.  He hit a batter with one out in the fourth and wild pitched him to second, but retired the next two batters.

Howard finally yielded a hit to the lead off batter in the fifth inning.  A double chased that batter home with the game’s first run.  Another single put runners on the corners, but Howard retired the next three batters, two by strike out.

Howard turned the reins over to James McArthur in the sixth inning.  Howard had given up just the one run on 3 hits.  He walked none and struck out six.

McArthur conceded a two out walk and single in the sixth, and then retired the next seven batters in order.  In three innings, he struck out two.

Meanwhile, the BlueClaws had fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth.  Simon Muzziotti singled with one out and Jake Scheiner walked.  With two outs, Lexington made a pitching change to face Jhailyn Ortiz.  A wild pitch moved both runners up a base, and Ortiz lined a game-tying, RBI single to right field.  Scheiner was out at home trying to score on the play.

Connor Brogdon came on to pitch the ninth.  He walked the lead off batter and a single put runners on the corners.  A sac fly plated the go ahead run.  After an intentional walk, Brogdon retired the remaining two batters.

The BlueClaws threatened in the bottom of the frame.  Rodolfo Duran led off with a single. Matt Kroon entered as a pinch runner and was erased on a force out.  With two outs, Colby Fitch singled to left and Dalton Guthrie reached on an infield single to load the bases. Unfortunately, a force out ended the inning, game, series, and season.

Simon Muzziotti had three of the BlueClaws seven hits, all singles.

  • #7 Jhailyn Ortiz (.225) went 1-4 with an RBI
  • #17 Kyle Young (3-3, 3.10)
  • #18 Spencer Howard (9-8, 3.78) 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K (game score 67, 62 pitches, 41 strikes)
  • #29 Nick Maton (.256) went 0-4 with a K
  • #30 Simon Muzziotti (.263) went 3-4 with a run scored

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.
  • #7 Jhailyn Ortiz (OF, Lakewood BlueClaws) struggled at the start of the season and then spent a month on the DL.  He was activated on May 21st and began a slow recovery.  His average topped out at .272 in June and slowly declined and finally leveled off at .225/.297/.375/.673.  he hit 13 HR and 47 RBI.  In 454 plate appearances, he walked 35 times (7.7%) and struck out 148 times(32.6%).
  • #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.
  • #17 Kyle Young (LHP, Lakewood BlueClaws) had an injury plagued season.  He wasn’t activated until May 18th.  After 8 starts, he was pot on the DL for another 6 weeks.  He made 4 rehab starts before returning to Lakewood for 2 starts, one in the playoffs.  He finished with a 3-3 record and 3.10 ERA at Lakewood.  He had a BB/9 of 1.2 and a K/9 of 7.6.
  • #18 Spencer Howard (RHP, Lakewood BlueClaws) made 23 starts for Lakewood.  He had a 9-8 record and 3.78 ERA.  He had some high walk games, but also improved on the 5.7 BB/9 he posted in 2017.  This season he walked 40 in 112.0 innings (3.2 BB/9.  He also struck out 147 (11.8 K/9) and lowered his WHIP to 1.259 from 1.412 in 2017. Howard dazzled in the post season, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and one walk in 14.0 innings while striking out 15, including a complete game no hitter.
  • #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.
  • #29 Nick Maton (SS, Lakewood BlueClaws) completed a steady season in full season ball, batting .256/.330/.404/.734.  He hit 8 HR and collected 51 RBI.  He drew 43 walks in 466 plate appearances (9.2%) and struck out 103 times (22.1%).
  • #30 Simon Muzziotti (OF, Lakewood BlueClaws) had a solid season.  He was off to a great start when he went on the DL in mid-April.  He returned two months later and settled into a solid season batting .263/.299/.331/.630.  The nineteen year old walked in 4.7% of his plate appearances (14/299) and struck out 40 times (13.4%).

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 finished the season with the best overall record in the South Atlantic League, 87-51.  They won both halves of the Northern Division, 41-28 in the first and 46-23 in the second.  They swept the Kannapolis Intimidators in a best of three semi-final.  They dropped the championship series to the Lexington Legends 3 games to one. The season highlight may have been Spencer Howard’s complete game no-hitter to clinch the semis against Kannapolis.

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 13th.

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

24 thoughts on “BlueClaws Playoff Recap – 9/14/2018

  1. Thanks so much for the great playoff coverage… and equally high-quality first hand input all year!

    1. Yeah, it was great – I’ll almost certainly have Howard in my top 6 or 7. I’m very psyched about him. He is a potential top of the rotation arm. This year he was working on developing a stable of pitches because he spent most of his college career in the bullpen I believe until his last year. He could be a quick mover next year and could, along with Sixto and Medina, be knocking on the door to the big leagues in 2020.

  2. Another excellent outing last night, albeit shorter. He’s solidified as a top 10 prospect, perhaps top 5. Third among arms behind Sixto and Medina.

  3. Unfortunately their season long lack of hitting finally doomed Lakewood’s in the championship series, ending a successful season never the less. Will another hitting coach be let go also now? Has Ortiz improved? I’d say no.
    Our system does not have a single position player prospect who looks like a future all star (outside of a GCL SS many years away). Draft vs development???

      1. A light hitting 300 is okay but he needs to at least show doubles power with some homers. He might start in LHV next year or they might start him in Reading but I’m sure lots of people will hope he gets to philly by September.

  4. in light of the recent firings/resignations, it seems like the Phillies are pinning it on the development side….for now, anyway. Almaraz might have a short candle wick

  5. The lack of position players in a the upper levels who project as major league regulars is concerning

    1. That’s usually what happens when you promote 7 guys in a relatively short time period.


      Gonna take some time to restock. Hopefully by this time next year we’ll have another group knocking on the door.

        1. Kingery, Crawford, Hoskins and Quinn (when heathy) all projected as ML starters when they were still in AAA. The rest all had a reasonable chance, with Alfaro and Williams being former top-100 prospects.

          If you want future all-stars or surefire starters, they’re a lot more rare as prospects and much different than “projected regular”.

  6. Thanks Jim for all your work, reports and insights. Very very much appreciated.

    I am very angry over the seeming direction of this organization with the recent firings and resignations. It was shocking to hear that someone like Dylan Cozens who had his best progress is no longer working with Charlie Manuel. I guess it’s all about velo and launch angle. very concerned about the teachers in the system who will be gone. I saw Haseley this year and HOPE no one changes what he is doing. He hit the ball to left, left center, center, right center and right. Shift will have little impact on him. I worry they tinker with him and mess him up.

    Wonder how many coaches will be replaced on the major league team? They are a disaster hitting, fielding and running the bases. No idea on the pitching side.

    Marc H echoes my concern, My top hitter over the season in the upper levels was Moseley and Moniak for the second half. Other than that I see little. Deivi Grullon was my comeback hitter.

    1. My two dark horse bats in the lower levels right now are Vierling and Marchan. The latter needs to up his OPS but seems to show athleticism (a catcher who steals bases!). Vierling could become an impact player in the bigs, even if only a 4th OF. They are so valuable in today’s game.

      1. Vierling’s bat unfortunately went cold when the playoffs started, but he had a great debut for a 5th rounder. I think he’s going to start next year in Clearwater.

    1. Parkinson and Listi were underwhelming!
      They more or less dominated at their earliest for their first half to 60% of their seasons, …and continued at a plus to the end.
      Are they top 10/15 prospects in the rankings, probably not.

  7. With the caveat that time will tell, all the Phillies front office/player development group has done is replace one group of mediocre players (Galvis, Hernandez, Rupp, Ruf) with a similar group of mediocre players (Crawford, Kingery, Alfaro , Altherr and Williams)

  8. One addition-Nola and Hoskins are first division players and the organization can justifiably be proud to have produced them.

  9. Marc H, Williams is way ahead of Rupp and Ruf, and Altherr is ahead of them also. Crawford and Kingery have ceilings much higher than Freddy and Cesar. I think you are selling them short. No comp to Alfaro, but he is already a Major Leaguer, maybe not as good as we hoped, or still may be, but as a prospect, way ahead of Ruf and Rupp who were AAAA players.

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