The Reading Fightin Phils and Clearwater Threshers Play Two of Their Better Games of the Year

Friday night in Palm Beach, Florida might have been the site for the coming out of over-hyped Sixto Sanchez.  It was the first time Sanchez has struck out four more batters than innings pitched in his now four seasons in the Phillies system.

Sixto struck out ten in six innings but more importantly he walked none. It was the first time he struck out double digits in his career.  Though he can hit triple digits on the speed gun, he was not considered a strikeout pitcher until last night against the Palm Beach Cardinals.

Sanchez needed only 78 pitches, 56 for strikes, to even his record at 3-3 this season.   He allowed only one run on a homer in the 8-1 Threshers victory.

On the other extreme, it was home run derby time in Portland, Maine as the Reading  downed the Boston Red Sox’s Sea Dogs farm team, 12-5.

Reading showed off its power by hitting six homers and Portland hit three more long balls in a ball park configured to resemble Fenway Park ‘s Green Monster in left. Portland has a Maine Monster in left.

Deivi Grullon homered down the line to right in Friday’s game. It was his eight of the season.  Even in Saturday afternoon’s game, the Portland play-by-play guy was still talking about Grullon’s power to the opposite field.

Others who homered for Reading were Emmanuel Marrero, who hit his first two homers of the season, Jan Hernandez and Damek Tomscha.  Also the team’s home run leader, Zach Green, hit his ninth of the season and then hit his tenth homer in Saturday afternoon’s game.

The two Phillies farm teams who are both playing under .500, did not look like it last night.  They outscored their opponents 20-6 in winning both games with a winning combination of good pitching and hitting.

 

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Reading’s Edgar Garcia and Deivi Grullon Are Both Coming of Age In May

This is a no brainer. Reading’s closer Edgar Garcia and catcher Deivi Grullon are my Phillies minor league players of the month for May!  Garcia is 4 for 4 in saves in the month. Also he is 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA in May.  Grullon is hitting .370 going 2o for 54 with four homers, including a grand slam, this month.  Can’t do much better than that!

Garcia closed the ninth inning last night with two strikeouts to preserve a 4-3 Fightin Phils win.  On Wednesday night, Grullon went 3 for 4 to raise his OPS for the month of May to an amazing 1.o19.

It’s hard to believe both of these guys are young even for AA.  Garcia will not turn 22- years-old until October 4th and Grullon turned 22 in February.

Though the Nationals just promoted a 19-year-old to their major league roster from AA Harrisburg, the Phillies are known for taking a much slower route to their major league roster.  Both Garcia and Grullon will be Rule 5 eligible in December so they will force themselves on to the 40-man roster for next season.

Two names to remember this season: Edgar Garcia and Deivi Grullon!  They are coming of major league age this season right before our eyes.

 

 

 

 

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Jose Taveras Strong In 2018 Debut For Reading; Strikes Out Vladimir Guerrero Jr., “TWICE”!

What a to start to his 2018 season!  Coming off a shoulder problem, Reading’s Jose Taveras made his 2018 debut start by striking out the leading hitter in all the minor leagues, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TWICE!

Jose Taveras strikes out Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. in the fifth inning of his 2018 debut (Photo courtesy of MiLB.tv)

 

Taveras pitched 5.1 innings of shutout baseball allowing only two hits.  He did walk four and struck out four.  After Taveras left the game, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats went on to down the lowly Fightin Phils 7-2.

Guerrero is hitting .423 to lead the Eastern League in batting average, hits, doubles, RBIs, total bases and OPS among other offensive categories. He is hitting .526 in his last ten games.  Coming into last night’s game Vlad had struck out only 15 times in 152 at bats this season.

In addition to getting Guerrero on a called third strike in the third inning and a strike three swinging in the fifth, Taveras did give up a hit to Vlad in the first inning.

Pitching seems to be a strong point of the Phillies organization. The three other starting pitchers pitched well last night. Lehigh Valley’s Enyel De Los Santos and Clearwater’s Adonis Medina and Connor Seabold each gave up just one run in their winning starts.

 

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Wilson Garcia Named Carolina League Player of the Week for his .556 Average

Yes, that’s our Willie who was named the Carolina League Player of the Week.  Garcia was  in his eight year in the Phillies organization before he was sent to the Frederick Keys, the Orioles high A team in the Carolina League.

Frederick Keys wrote in a press release for the team,  “One of the most productive hitters in Minor League Baseball last week, Garcia, 24, went 10-for-18 with two home runs, two doubles, 10 RBIs and five runs scored. Garcia also posted a 1.550 OPS. The 10 RBIs by Garcia were tied for the sixth-most in the MiLB last week.”   Read the full press release HERE

Unfortunately, the “experts” in the Phillies minor league department had no place for Willie in the Phillies organization.  To start the season he was used by them as a designated hitter in four games and caught three more games for Clearwater before he was sent packing.

Wilson Garcia watches the ball sail over the fence at Spectrum Field

Willie has played first base for Frederick in eight games and has been the DH in another eight games.  In the 16 games for the Keys he is slashing at .393/.424/.672 with 3 home runs and 12 RBIs.

Congratulations to Willie. He was always a favorite of ours to watch especially when he hit those long blasts to right at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.  Hope to see him some day going deep at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

 

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Phillies Prospects Jan Hernandez and Jose Pujols Battle For A Future MLB Right Field Job

Reading’s Jan Hernandez and Clearwater’s Jose Pujols are in a battle for the Phillies  minor league right fielder of the future. Nothing much is ahead or behind them in right field in the Phillies system. At AAA Lehigh Valley is Dylan Cozens, who has hit .111 in his last ten games . At low A is Jhailyn Ortiz who has not played since April 23 and is still on the disabled list with a sore non-throwing arm shoulder after hitting .158 to start the season.

Jan Hernandez

At AA Reading, the 23-year-old Hernandez has been a pleasant surprise hitting .321.  In the last two weeks his his power has started to come. Watch his two home runs HERE and HERE. Though a right handed bat, he has hit right handed pitching at a .351 and a .870 OPS pace. He has improved dramatically from last season at high A Clearwater where he hit only .212 but hit 16 home runs. The improvement in batting average and OPS this year has resulted in reducing his strikeout rate.

In second half last season, Hernandez was moved to right field from third base. Initially, the move helped but his batting average trailed off dramatically after the Phillies chose to platoon him in right with Pujols during the last six weeks of the season.

Jose Pujols homers

Like Hernandez, Pujols has responded well to playing every day this season.  The Phillies have had him repeat Clearwater. After a slow start hitting .254 in April, he has hit .339 and raised his OPS to .891 for May. He still continues to strikeout way too much having gone down on strikes 50 times in only 127 at bats this season. Watch one of his five home runs HERE.

Last season, Hernandez and Pujols shared the right field job in Clearwater the last six weeks of the season to neither’s benefit. Giving them the right field position this season full-time at Reading and Clearwater respectively has helped them dramatically. Each of them are hitting well. The only question remains will either of them get a chance to move up a level later this season and be added to the 40-man roster for next season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Phillies Minor League Left-handed Starters Standout On Saturday

For a major league team that has not started a left- handed pitcher since September 28th of 2016, yesterday was just the opposite: all the three Phillies farm teams in action started left-handed pitchers.

Cole Irvin

They all pitched shutout ball. Cole Irvin pitched six innings of six-hit ball for Lehigh Valley.  Bailey Falter threw five innings of four-hit ball for Clearwater and Kyle Young made his 2018 debut for Lakewood with five shutout innings.  Combined the three lefties pitched 16 no-run innings allowing 15 hits, walking only one and striking out 14.

Kyle Young

Bailey Falter

 

 

The other lefty starter who has pitched well has been Will Stewart for Lakewood.  In last two starts he has pitched two shutouts.  In 14 innings he allowed only 11 hits, walked two and struck out 13.

Will Stewart

On the season Irvin is 4-1,  2.81 ERA, Falter, 4-0, 1.60 ERA and Stewart, 4-0, 1.26 ERA. With Young’s win added they are now an amazing 13-1 after Saturday’s action.

Since the major league team has not started a left-handed pitcher in over 200 games, one would expect these four guys to be the most likely starters to be move up soon in the Phillies system with Irwin getting the call to the Show at some point this season.

 

 

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The Phillies Just Might Have Another Relief Pitcher at Reading Just as Good as Seranthony Dominguez

One of the writers for NBC Sports Philadelphia was so excited in a recent article that he could not get over the numbers Seranthony Dominguez has put up for the Phillies. Read HERE

He wrote, “Dominguez is the only reliever in recorded history (dating back to 1908) to record at least two outs and allow no runs, hits or walks in his first five major-league appearances.”

Yes, the 23-year-old Dominguez has been good so far out of the pen for the Phillies but they just might have another shutdown relief pitcher who has been very effective in Reading.  His name is 21-year-old Edgar Garcia.

On MiLB-TV Friday night we watched Garcia pitch two shutout innings in the bottom of the ninth inning in regulation and in the tenth inning with the “runner on second rule” in extra innings of a 1-1 game.  Edgar’s major league caliber slider was the key pitch in the three strikeouts he recorded. Unfortunately, after he departed the Fightin Phils could not generate any runs and went on to lose in 12 innings in Erie Pa.

Dominguez pitched only eight games for Reading to start the season before he was called up to Lehigh Valley and eventually the Phillies.  With Reading Seranthony was 1-2 with one blown save. He pitched to a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings, allowed 3 earned runs, 8 hits and struck out 18.

In Garcia’s last eight games for Reading, he is 2-0 and 3 for 3 in save opportunities.   In those eight games, he has pitched to a 0.00 ERA in 11.2 innings, allowed 0 earned runs, 3 hits, 5 walks  and struck out 16.

Garcia does not throw as hard as Dominguez, but his slider is the best I have seen since the days of Brad Lidge.

 

 

 

 

 

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