Joaquin and Singer Shine in Winter/Fall Ball For The Phillies

Winter ball continues in the Caribbean for Phillies prospects. But especially good news for the four Phillies playing in Columbia is that the FARC rebels signed a peace agreement with the government there last week. Most of the Phillies farmhands from the USA mainland have returned home after playing a month or so in the Dominican and Venezuelan Winter Leagues.  Two relievers Ulises Joaquin in the DWL and lefty Jeff Singer in the AFL have stood out in relief.

The battling four Phillies prospects continue playing in the Columbian Winter League for the first place, 12-9, Toros and continue to produce. Catcher Chace Numata is still one of the top hitters in the league with a .372 average.  But the hottest hitter is Josh Tobias who just went over .300 for the first time in the season by going one for three last night. His two RBIs provided the margin of victory for Jacob Waguesback to pick up his league leading fourth win as a starter for manager Eddie Dennis, a Phillies minor league coach, who runs the Toros.  Grenny Cumana has settled in at second base after struggling defensively at short to start the season there and is hitting .309 after 21 games.

Few Phillies U.S. minor league position players are still playing winter ball and most have returned to the mainland.  Rhys Hoskins has been tweeting from the banks of Lake Tahoe after hitting four homers and 16 RBIs in 21 games in the Dominican and Dylan Cozens has left there after hitting four homers off of left handed pitching for the Winter Meetings to receive the Joe Bauman Award for his minor league most 40 home runs in 2016.  Only mainlanders, catcher Logan Moore and pitcher Alec Asher, appear to be still toiling on in the Dominican. Licey always seems to win when Moore catches and Asher leads the DWL in innings pitched and has the lowest WHIP for the Gigantes.

Jeff Singer

Jeff Singer

Ulises Jaoquin

Ulises Joaquin

Also some of the most impressive Phillies arms in winter/fall ball have come from two relief pitching prospects. In the D.R., Ulises Joaquin, has been outstanding pitching 13 innings, giving up only one earned run and striking out 20.   The other one was in the Arizona Fall League where 23-year-old lefty Jeff Singer recorded the sixth lowest ERA of 64 listed pitchers in the league stats.  He had a 1.42 ERA in ten games over 12.2 innings in relief with three holds.  Against left handed hitters he gave up only one hit in 10 at bats in   and no runs in the AFL.

Left-handed relief is a commodity in demand at the Winter Meetings tweets Jon Morosi
@jonmorosi
Many teams at Winter Meetings looking for left-handed relief;

Watch Videos of a Joaquin strikeout and Singer retiring a left handed batter HERE and HERE.

Down in Venezuela, native center fielder Carlos Tocci and first baseman/catcher Wilson Garcia continue to hit over .300 in the VWL.  Columbian native, catcher Jorge Alfaro, has tailed off after a strong start in the VWL but he is still hitting .247 with three homers and 15 RBIs in 21 games.

Over in Puerto Rico, 40-man roster second baseman Jesmuel Valentin is hitting .271 for the 12th highest average in the PRWL.

So as the Winter Meetings heat up and the the new year is only a few weeks away, the young Phillies minor league prospects continued to get ready for the upcoming season.  It is only a little more than two months away when pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater to get the 2017 season started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If The Rome Braves Are The Minor League Team Of The Year, Does That Mean That Lakewood’s Franklyn Kilome Is The Minor League Pitcher Of The Year?

We watched several hundred Phillies minor league games in 2016 combined in person and on MiLB-TV.  From the minor league camp in March to the last pitch against the Baby Bombers in October Instructs, even a fan in the stands eventually gets a feel for which players will or will not play at the final level some day.

In an earlier blog we cited pitcher Elniery Garcia for his outstanding work in his 11 strikeout playoff qualifying elimination game for Clearwater.  Then in his next start he won the only game for the Reading Fightins’ in the semi-finals in the Eastern League playoffs where he struck out the side in the second inning. He is one who will pitch some day at the final level.

Franklyn Kilome

Franklyn Kilome

Another pitcher who stood out in the minor league playoffs for the Phillies organization was Franklyn Kilome.  He has been one of the very best post season pitchers in minor league baseball the last two seasons.

In 2015 in the New York-Penn League and this year in Sally League he won his only two playoff starts. He has yet to be scored upon in the post season.   He was the only pitcher to pick-up a win for Williamsport and Lakewood in the playoffs.  Combined over 12 innings in those two games, he gave up no runs, three hits, walked 5 and struck out 15.

Kilome has shown he has the potential to be a big-game, top-of-the-rotation pitcher in the major leagues someday.

Recently, Baseball America declared that the Rome Braves were the publication’s 2016 Minor League Team of the Year.  Read HERE and HERE.  Kilome had little trouble in dispatching them with a seven inning, one-hit, shutout in the first game of the Sally League Finals back in September.

Rome would go on and win the next three games to win the Best-of-Five SAL Championship Series 3-1. They outscored Lakewood by a combined 14-2 in those wins.

As Franklyn told me during Instructs afterwards, he had his best curve ball of the season  in his win against Rome that day.

Watch, HERE, Kilome’s final strikeout in his win against Rome.  Video thanks to MiLB-TV.

Baseball America said in its October tabloid edition that Kilome’s fastball this season was sitting at 92-96 mph and touched 98.  But it was his curve ball that was his out pitch that day against the Braves.

Franklyn Kilome

Franklyn Kilome

Still, BA only rated Kilome as the fifth best pitcher in the Sally League.   He pitched like the minor league pitcher of the year down the stretch of the regular season and in the playoffs.

If you can make it to the minor league spring training camp at the Carpenter Complex in March, Kilome pitching will be must see baseball.  I would expect him to be the Clearwater Threshers opening day starter this coming  April 6th.

The 21-year-old should be a non-roster invitee to the major league camp but this is a bit much to expect from the normal inside-the-box thinking of the Phillies Front Office.

In any event Franklyn Kilome is someone very special– a future Phillies ace at the top of its major league rotation.

If the Rome Braves were the Minor League Team of the Year what does that say about Franklyn Kilome after how he dominated them in the first game of the Sally League Finals?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Phillies Protect 11 Prospects From The Rule 5 Draft, But Not Jiandido Tromp

It remains to be seen if any of the 11 minor league prospects the Phillies added to its 40-man roster will ever have much of an impact in the major leagues.  These guys did get Rule Five protection.  Only $50,000 would have been the cost to have drafted one of them on December 8th and retained them on a team’s 25-man roster all season. Read about all of them, HERE.

Of the seven pitchers added to the 40-man roster, you have to respect the likes of Ben Lively who, including a playoff loss, went 18-6 between AAA and AA and a rare lefty starter Elniey Garcia who went 13-4.  This included Reading’s only playoff win after his call-up from High A, Clearwater.  Garcia who turns 22-years-old on Christmas Eve is now the youngest player on the 40-man roster.  Lively compiled a 2.69 ERA at AAA and Garcia a 2.68 ERA at high A during the regular season.

Elniery Garcia, first appearance in Reading. (Photo courtesy of Milb.tv)

Elniery Garcia playoff start win in his Reading debut (Photo courtesy of Milb.tv)

What other organization can claim a righty-lefty starting pitching combo like Lively and Garcia at the minor league level?  They compiled a 31-10 combined record playoffs included with an under three ERA in 2016.

Some of the other five pitchers have question marks ranging from control problems to troubled arm histories.  Read Baseball America’s ratings of the players added to the 40 man rosters HERE.

The best starting pitching prospect in the Phillies system is not yet Rule Five eligible since he has only pitched three years in the Phillies system. He is Franklyn Kilome who will pitch at baseball age 22 next season.  He ended the season by pitching a seven inning, nine strikeout, one hit, shutout in the first game of the SAL Finals. It was to be the only game Lakewood would win in losing the next three games of the best of five series to the Rome Braves.

The other five pitchers added to the 40-man roster include Drew Anderson, Mark Appel, Ricardo Pinto, Nick Pivetta and Alberto Tirado.

Of the four position players added, all have flaws.  In 2016 right fielder, Dylan Cozens hit only .195 with a .640 OPS against left-handed pitching at AA.  Catcher, Andrew Knapp was charged with 16  passed balls and registered an a middle of the pack .709 OPS., only slightly below outfielder, Nick Williams’ .714 OPS both at AAA.  Second baseman, Jesmuel Valentin was even slightly worse coming in with a .706 OPS at AAA in the final six weeks of the season.

One Phillies minor league player did catch my eye in 2016 and is Rule Five eligible after five years in the Phillies system.  He was not protected.  He is outfielder, Jiandido Tromp.   The 23-year-old showed me all five tools in his second half stay with the Clearwater Threshers.

Jiandido Tromp

Jiandido Tromp

He hit for power with 20 home runs equally split between Lakewood and Clearwater for a .796 OPS, neither with home run friendly parks for a .796 OPS.  Watch a three-run home run of Tromp’s at then Bright House Field, HERE.

Tromp has a strong arm and is a good defensive outfielder.  He was charged with only one error last season for .996 fielding percent with 8 outfield assists in only 105 games in the field.  Watch him throw out a runner at the plate from left with Clearwater.  HERE.

Tromp is a good situational hitter. One of my favorite type of at bats is the rbi sacrifice fly.  He was one of the leaders in the Phillies organization in rbi sac flies in 2016.  Rhys Hoskins and Kyle Martin each recorded nine and Mitch Walding had eight sac. flies.  Watch two of Tromp’s six rbi sac flies HERE and HERE.

He also can steal a base. Between Lakewood and Clearwater he stole 14 bases in 18 attempts.

And even the Phillies Front Office admits they need outfield corner help.  Watch HERE.

Tromp would make a good 25th man, or 26th man, if MLB rosters are expanded as rumored.  He would be a Rule 5 pick who is a good situational hitter, who hit with power and can run, throw and field.

Another major league team in the December 8th Rule Five Draft could take a chance for only $50,000 on a young outfielder who plays all three outfield positions coming off the bench using the tools that JiandidoTromp showed in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in November | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phillies Middle Infield Prospects Scott Kingery and Grenny Cumana Standout in Fall and Winter Ball

It’s becoming clear the Phillies are attempting to move second baseman Cesar Hernandez if they can get anything for him.  That would make room for shortstop Freddy Galvis to move to second and former first round draft pick J.P. Crawford to takeover at short sometime during the 2017 season. Or even put newly acquired Howie Kendrick at second base.

In the meantime, two other middle infield candidates are developing quickly as well playing fall and winter ball.  Playing second base Scott Kingery is coming on strong as the Arizona Fall League winds down this week and Grenny Cumana is following up a strong season with Lakewood with an equally strong start in the Columbian Winter League.

“Scotty Jetpacks” as Kingery is known has had an outstanding 2016 season. Read HERE.

Kingery was the lone Phillies representative in the AFL All-Star game.  In his last ten games he has gone 11 for 38 with six walks, six RBIs and four for four in stolen bases. Read HERE.

Grenny Cumana (Photo Courtesy of the Toros de Sincelejo)

Grenny Cumana (Photo Courtesy of the Toros de Sincelejo)

Down in the Columbia Winter League, the just turned 21-year-old Cumana is off to a fast start going 12 for 38 with a home run in the first two week of the season.   Read HERE about the Toros 9-4 win last night led by Cumana, Josh Tobias and Chace Numata with Jacob Waguespack picking up the win.

At  5’5″ Cumana could become the next Jose Altuve who currently is the shortest MLB players at 5’6″.   Grenny is now playing shortstop after spitting his time this season between second and short with Lakewood.

Kingery and Cumana are two Phillies prospects to watch in spring training.

 

 

 

Posted in 2016, November | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Phillies Bash Brothers, Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens, Take Their Act To The Dominican Winter League

The more things change the more they stay the same for the Phillies “Bash Brothers”.

Playing winter ball in the Dominican Winter League is no different than playing in the Eastern League for Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens.

They are tied in homers with four each to lead the DWL after Hoskins hit a three-run homer last night for the Gigantes.   Cozens led all of the minor league baseball during the regular season with 40 homers and Hoskins was second with 38 l0ng balls.  They each added another homer in the E.L. playoffs.

Though Cozens led minor league baseball this season with 125 RBIs, his 10 RBIs trail Hoskins who leads the DWL with 14 runs batted in.

Cozens is hitting only. 206 overall.  The good news he has hit all his homers against left handed pitching where he has gone 7 for 28 for a .250 average. The bad news is that he has struck out 14 times against lefties.

Dylan hit only .196 with 5 homers against southpaws in 127 at bats for Reading during the regular.season.

Hoskins who normally hits equally for average against both right handed and left handed pitching has gone 4 for 10 with one homer against lefties and 12 for 49 with three homers against right handed pitching.  Watch one of his home runs HERE.

What does stand out in his limited at bats with runners in scoring position is his 8 for 12 with 11  runs batted in.

In last night’s game against Estrellas in an 8-1 win, Rhys got the first place Gigantes off on the right foot with a three-run homer in the first inning in support of another Phillies pitching prospect, Alec Asher, who pitched six inning of one run, four hit baseball.

At least after the first 16 games for Hoskins and 17 games for Cozens, the “Bash Brothers” are for real so far in the Dominican Winter League.

Dylan Cozens homers in the DWL

Dylan Cozens homers in the DWL (Photo Courtesy of the Aguilas)

Dylan Cozens with the Aguilas (Photo courtesy of the Aguilas)

Dylan Cozens with the Aguilas (Photo courtesy of the Aguilas)

Alec Asher pitching (Photo Courtesy of the Gigantes)

Alec Asher pitching (Photo Courtesy of the Gigantes)

Rhys Hoskins celebrates with teammates after 3-run homer (Photo Courtesy of the Gigantes)

Rhys Hoskins celebrates with teammates after his 3-run homer (Photo Courtesy of the Gigantes)

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The Indians and Cubs Have Done It And They Are In The World Series! We Can Only Hope That The Phillies Give Young Prospects Like Hoskins and Kilome A Chance Next Season

We settled in the other night to follow Rhys Hoskins on the internet from the Dominican Winter League and watch Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians pitcher a gem in the first game of the World Series.  And we were not disappointed.

Rhys Hoskins homers-Photo Courtesy of MLB.com

Looking good in a Phillies uniform  Rhys Hoskins homers at Citizens Bank Park in the Futures Game-Photo Courtesy of MLB.com

Rhys Hoskins continues to star for the Gigantes playing first base after the first seven games of the season.  The Gigantes are off to a great start to lead the DWL with a 6-1 record.

In the first week of the DWL season Hoskins has gone 8 for 26 plus intentionally walked and hit by a pitch each twice. With runners in scoring position he has gone 5 for 7 for a .714 average and 5 runs batted in.

Kluber was brilliant striking out eight in the first three innings and nine in six plus innings on the mound for the win in the first game of the World Series.   He reminded us of  the job Franklyn Kilome did for Lakewood in the Sally League Finals.  Franklyn struck out nine Rome Braves in seven innings for a one-hit shutout in the only Lakewood win in the Finals. Watch his final strikeout in the game HERE.

It is prospects like Hoskins and Kilome of the Phillies farm system that keeps us interested in Phillies baseball.  Their future is bright when and if they ever get a chance.

It hurts when we watch all the young players on the Cubs and Indians who are under 25 and starring in the World Series.  All the playoff teams seem loaded with under 25-year- old players.  In Game Two of the World Series the Cubs starting lineup had six players 24 years-old or younger.  The Dodgers even started a 20-year-old in the playoffs.

Hoskins will play at baseball age 24 next season but has not played above AA.  Kilome will turn 22- years-old in the middle of next season but spent all season in low A.

Hoskins put up amazing numbers at Reading this season, including the four games in the post season, in 139 games hit 39 homer runs and drove in 118 runs. He had a Phillies organization high of  a .943 OPS during the regular season.

Watch Hoskins’ home run in the 2015 Florida State League playoffs HERE and his  home run in the 2016 Eastern League playoffs. HERE.   We can only dream of what he will do in the Phillies post season hopefully sooner than later.

Franklyn Kilome

Looking good in a Phillies uniform Franklyn Kilome pitches in Instructs

Kilome was brilliant as well and finish strong. In his last ten starts of the 2016 season including the playoff game, he went 4-1 with a 1.96 ERA, striking out 73 in 54.2 innings for the BlueClaws.

In 2015 Franklyn won the only Williamsport playoff win in the NY Penn League with a five inning shutout. In the last two post seasons, he has pitched 12 shutout innings to go 2-0 giving up only three hits and striking out 15. He is a legitimate No.1 prospect in a major league starting rotation someday soon.

All we can hope is that the likes of Hoskins and Kilome will be non-roster invitees to the 2017 major league spring training camp.  They have earned it!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in October 2016, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rhys Hoskins, Dylan Cozens, Ben Lively and Elniery Garcia Are My Phillies Top Prospects Of The Year

It’s that time of the year when everyone picks the top “Players of the Year” in some category or the other at the minor league level.  My picks for the top Phillies minor league hitting and pitching prospects are hitters, LH bat, Dylan Cozens, and RH bat, Rhys Hoskins and pitchers, RH arm, Ben Lively and, LH arm, Elniery Garcia.

The MLB Pipeline selected Dylan Cozens and Ben Lively as its Phillies Minor League Players of Year. Read HERE.

Paul Owens Award Announcement (Photo Courtesy of the Phillies)

Paul Owens Award Announcement (Photo Courtesy of the Phillies)

the Paul Owens Award  is given by the Phillies to its top minor league position and pitcher.  They selected both Cozens and Hoskins as a tie for the top position player and Lively was the top pitcher.

(Photo Courtesy of the Phillies)

Cozens, Hoskins and Lively receiving the Pal Owen Award At Citizens Bank  Park. (Photo Courtesy of the Phillies)

Watch a Cozens home run at Reading and a Hoskins home run at Citizens Bank Park in the two Phillies Futures games at the end of March, HERE. (Scroll down to the third video on the page.)

Cozens and Hoskins battled all season for the minor league home run lead. Cozens finished with 40 homers and Hoskins 38.  They both homered once in the playoffs.

My major concern with Cozens has been his extreme hitting splits.  He hit only .197 with a .640 OPS against left-handed pitching but did hit .302 with 1.037 OPS against RHP.

Hoskins hit .277 with a 1.024 OPS against LHP and .282 with a .920 OPS against RHP in the regular season.  His ability to hit both left-handed and right-handed pitchers indicates his bat is major league ready.

Lively lost his playoff start for Lehigh Valley giving up a two-run home run in the eight inning for a 2-0 loss to finish the season at 18-6 between Reading and Lehigh Valley for the most wins in minor league baseball.

Elniery Garcia

Elniery Garcia for Clearwater

Elniery Garcia in his first AA game. (Photo courtesy of MiLB.com)

Elniery Garcia in his first AA game. (Photo courtesy of MiLB.com)

 

 

 

Garcia went 13-4 including Reading’s only playoff win.  His .765 winning percentage was slightly higher than Lively’s .750 and one of the highest in minor league baseball for those pitchers starting at least 20 games.

Garcia’s regular season ERA was 2.68. Lively’s regular season ERA was a combined 2.69 between Reading and Lehigh Valley.   Can’t any closer than that!

Garcia won his last two starts which were both elimination games–Clearwater to qualify for the FSL playoffs and Reading in the first round of the EL playoffs. Both teams were eliminated in their next games.

In my opinion Garcia is the best “big-game” pitcher they had in 2016 and a rare left-handed starter at the higher levels of the organization.  In his last three starts down the stretch when it really counted including his debut at Reading in the playoffs, he went 3-0, pitching 20 innings, giving up only 12 hits, 4 earned runs and striking out 22. He, as we like to say “finished strong”.

Garcia put up some other interesting numbers at high A. In six of his 19 starts at Clearwater he gave up no earned runs. In one game with the Threshers he threw 115 pitches for the second most of any pitcher in one game in the Phillies minor league system.

Garcia struck out 14 in a nine-inning combined stretch over his last start in high A and his next and last start of the season in the AA playoffs.

Watch below the best nine inning stretch of pitching that I saw anywhere in the 2016 season:

  1. Garcia struck out 11 in 7 innings in his final start and playoff qualifying elimination game with Clearwater . Watch HERE.
  2. Then, Garcia struck out the side in order in the second inning of his next start in his Reading debut against Trenton in an Eastern League playoff elimination game. Watch HERE.

Finally to end the 2016 Phillies minor league season, the Reading Fightins put together an end of year team summary. It’s a great review of an impressive year for Reading. Watch  HERE.

 

 

Posted in October 2016, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment