With Jorge Alfaro and Dylan Cozens, The Phillies Future Was Right Before Our Eyes On Friday

The Phillies have the worst winning percent in major league baseball going into Saturday’s games.  But help is on the way!. That’s why Baseball Betsy and I like to look into the future and that is what we did yesterday when we watched Jorge Alfaro catch three innings for the GCL Phillies at Ashburn Field in Clearwater and then later in the evening we tuned-in MiLB-TV to watch right fielder Dylan Cozens make his AA debut for Reading.

Alfaro looks like a major league catcher. Big in size, he makes a nice frame for a pitcher.  Watch HERE to see him frame an Adonis Medina strikeout.  Also, he showed a strong arm in a throw to second.

It is Alfaro’s bat that caught our attention.  Against a left to right breeze, he hit two long drives to left that the wind kept in the ball park to be caught.  We could tell by his catching and swings he will be a potent force not only behind the plate but with the bat.  Watch his long drives to left HERE and HERE.

Jorge Alfaro

Jorge Alfaro

Jorge Alfaro

Jorge Alfaro

 

Alfaro could be the key player in the Cole Hamels deal that gives the Phillies another potent right handed hitting power bat in future  major league lineups.  With the like of Maikel Franco at third and Rhys Hoskins, who went 3 for 4 last night for Clearwater, at first, the Phillies look set with power bats from the right side of the plate.

After the GCL game we headed back home to watch Dylan Cozens make his Easter League debut.  Cozens earlier in the game hit a sacrifice fly to left for his first run batted in to give Reading a 5-4 lead.  It was his last at bat when he just reached out and flicked a three-run homer over the right center field wall at the old Reading ballpark that caught our eyes to bring his total to four RBI’s on the night in Reading 9-4 win over Bowie.  Welcome to AA! Watch HERE.

The left-handed hitting Cozens is a key to providing balance to future Phillies major league lineups to go with recently acquired Nick Williams, also from the Hamels deal.  Cozens and Williams look to be big left-handed hitting bats  at the corner outfield positions in future Phillies lineups..  Williams had hit four homers in his first 21 games for Reading before going on the seven-day DL with a concussion and is expected back soon.

With Alfaro behind the plate, Franco at third, Hoskins at first to go with Cozens and Williams patrolling the outfield, the Phillies lineups of the future look balanced and very, very potent!

 

 

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Eliminated From The Playoffs, The Phillies GCL Season Is Coming To An End With Pitcher Felix Paulino and Left fielder Cornelius Paulino Standing Out.

On Tuesday the GCL Phillies were officially eliminated from the Gulf Coast League playoffs.  They put up a good fight in the bottom of the last inning in the game but could not come back from a 3-0 deficit to keep their playoff hopes alive.  GCL Blue Jays have clinched the northwest division and will move into the post season starting next week.

We were impressed with the fight of the second place GCL Phillies in Tuesday’s game against the Yankees1 team.  Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the last inning of the scheduled seven inning game, outfielder Yunior Reyes hit a two-out double to drive in two runs to bring the Phillies to within one run. Watch HERE

Then with runners on second and third and two out catcher Rodolfo Duran hit a long drive to the track in left center.  It was caught as Yankees1 centerfielder laid out to make a game saving catch to end the game resulting in a 3-2 defeat and elimination of the Phillies from the playoffs. Watch HERE.

Our two top players for the GCL Phillies this season were starting pitcher Felix Paulino who took the loss, Watch HERE, and left fielder Cornelius Randolph who singled earlier in the game, Watch HERE. 

Paulino with his five wins is our GCL Phillies Pitcher of Year.  He struck out 46 in 50 inning in 11 appearances with a 2.34 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP.  He has the sixth best ERA and second best WHIP in the 16 team GCL.

Randolph is our Phillies GCL Position Player of the Year.  He is hitting .298 and .326 with runners in scoring position.  He is tied for the league lead in doubles with 15 and second in OPS.    He has a nice slash line of .298/.423/429 for an .852 OPS in 52 games.

The GCL season wraps up on Saturday morning against the Blue Jays.  Several of the GCL Phillies are expected to return for the Fall Instructional League which starts September 2oth with workouts and followed by a three week season of games with nearby teams in the Tampa Bay area.

 

 

 

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Rhys Hoskins’ Bat Carrying the Clearwater Threshers To Victories

Three rbi’s in Sunday’s game and the only two rbi’s in yesterday’s game means that Threshers first baseman Rhys Hoskins has now driven in five of the 12 Clearwater runs in the last two victories.

Hoskins has now taken the lead in the Phillies organization rbi race with 85 including 51 with Lakewood earlier in the season, two more than Reading’s Brock Stassi and six more than Andrew Knapp, now with Reading after starting the season with the Threshers.  Ryan Howard leads the Phillies with 70 rbi’s.

If the Threshers are to defeat Daytona in the post season and then go on and win the Florida State League Championship it will be because of the bat of Rhys Hoskins.

In Monday’s 2-0 win over the Daytona Tortugas, Hoskins picked up an rbi on a bases loaded walk.  His second rbi came on a double to the gap in left center.  Watch HERE.

His two RBI’s gave the win to Mark Leiter Jr. to raise his FSL record to 6-1. Watch a Leiter strikeout HERE.  But Hoskins best play might have been a tremendous stop of a hard hit ball in the hole between first and second to end the game with a runner on second base.  His flip to closer Ulises Joaquin ended the game and preserved the 2-0 win.  Watch HERE.

With eleven games remaining in the FSL regular season, we can’t rule out Hoskins driving in 100 runs this season.  He is hitting .296 with runners in scoring position for the Threshers after hitting .363 with runners in scoring position with Lakewood earlier in the season.

 

 

 

 

 

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Pullin, Hoskins And Rivero Were The Key Players In The Clearwater Threshers Win Against Daytona

Yesterday at Bright House Field we saw a preview of the first round of the Florida State League northern division playoffs.  The Clearwater Threshers won 10-6 over the Daytona Tortugas but it was not easy.

The Daytona  jumped off to a 5-0 lead after five and half innings but the Threshers put up a six spot in the sixth and added on four more runs in the eight for a 10-6 win.

These teams will open the first round of the playoffs in a best of three series and it should be a good series.  The first half champions Threshers battled Daytona to the final game of the first half to clinch.

In the win yesterday it was all about three players as left fielder Andrew Pullin hit two, two-run homers.  Watch HERE, HERE.  First baseman Rhys Hoskins drove in three more on a double and single.  Watch HERE, HERE.

Pullin leads the Florida State League in homers with 14 and is third in runs batted in with 70.

Hoskins is having a season to remember.  Combining his numbers with Lakewood in the Sally League he has a slash line of .314/.390/.519 to account for 16 home runs and 82 runs batted in.   Only 15 or so players in minor league baseball at the AAA, AA and A+ levels  have an OPS of over .900.  He currently has an OPS combined of .909 and an .892 OPS in the pitching dominated FSL.  Only one player even has an OPS over .800 at .808 in the FSL.

Young, 20-year old reliever, Alexis Rivero also called up from Lakewood in mid-season picked up his third save of the season.  He came on in the top of the eighth yesterday protecting a 6-5 lead and struck out the side in turn. Watch HERE, HERE, HERE.  It was his second appearance in row he has come in from the pen to strike out the side in turn in his first inning of work.  He also did it Tuesday night against Dunedin for a save.  In the ninth he also used his sinker to induce a 4-6-3 double play in the ninth.  Watch HERE.

The Threshers and Tortugas will likely battle each other in the first round of the playoffs on September 8th in a best of three starting at Daytona and moving to Clearwater the next night. Right now they are evenly balance for the season with the Tortugas holding a .568 winning percent compared to the Threshers a .567 percent with two weeks left in the season.  Hoskins, Pullin and Rivero will be the keys to the Threshers moving on to the FSL finals just as they were yesterday.

 

 

 

 

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Clearwater Threshers’ Rhys Hoskins and Aaron Brown Are Finishing Strong Hitting .359 Each Over The Last Ten Games

One of the things we look for watching minor league baseball is “Who Is Finishing Strong”. With only two weeks or so left in the 2015 season, it’s always better to finish “strong” than to get off to a “good start” and fade at the end of the season.

The buzz around the the Carpenter Complex is about who will be going to Fall instructs, the Arizona Fall League and off- season ball in the Caribbean or Australia.  These coveted assignment are important in player development and next year’s assignments.

No two players on the Clearwater Threshers are finishing stronger than first baseman Rhys Hoskins and outfielder Aaron Brown.  Over the last ten games both are hitting .359. going 14 for 39.

The difference is that Hoskins in his last ten games is on fire.  He has 12 RBI’s, 12 runs scored to go with three home runs.  Brown has only three RBI’s including two homers over his last ten games.

In Hoskins last 12 at bats, he was just a single shy of the cycle.  He has a homer, a triple and three doubles to score and drive in six runs each.  Can’t be any hotter than that only a dozen at bats!

Last night Hoskins tripled to right center and doubled off the wall in left in the Threshers 11-1 lacing of the Brewers farm team, the Brevard County Manatees.  Watch HERE and HERE.  Aaron Brown added two doubles in last night’s game also.  Watch HERE and HERE.

Hoskins and Brown are finishing strong which looks good for next season’s likely advancement to AA Reading for both of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clearwater Threshers: Winning The Right Way ON The Road With Timely Hitting, Good Pitching and Strong Defense.

Last night the visiting Clearwater Threshers completed the sweep of a three-game series against the Dunedin Blue Jays in Florida State League action.  They won 6-2 and are now an amazing 22-9 on the road in the second half.  They seem to do it with timely hitting, good pitching and strong defense.  Last night’s game was no exception.

The offense in the three game series has been led by first baseman Rhys Hoskins.  In the three game series he hit long home runs in each of the first two games and last night got the Threshers on the board with an rbi double off the wall in left.  Watch HERE.

In the three game sweep they outscored the Blue Jays 21-9 and out hit them 33-18.  They played errorless ball with great defense.  Right fielder Dylan Cozens was catching everything hit his way including making another great catch to end last night’s game. Watch HERE.

Still it was the pitching that led the way and last night’s game was no exception.  Mark Leiter Jr. held the Blue Jays to only two runs in six innings to pick up the win and extend his FSL record to 5-1 with a 2.18 ERA.  Watch HERE for one of his five strikeouts.  Each of the three starting pitchers in the series Ricardo Pinto, Matt Imhof and Leiter picked up quality start wins.

The bullpen was strong as well.  Last night was no exception.  Twenty-year old Alexis Rivero came on and and faced only ten batters, allowing no runs or hits over the final three innings on only 37 pitchers.  He came on in the seventh to pick up his second save of the season by striking out the first four batters in turn he faced. Watch HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.  He struck out five total and the only baserunner to reach base was on a  full count walk.

The Threshers three-game series sweep on the road in Dunedin was about as close to perfect baseball as it will ever get.

 

 

 

 

 

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Clearwater Threshers Middle Of The Lineup, Cozens, Hoskins Astudillo and Brown Deliver Big In 9-4 Win

The heart of any lineup is its third, fourth, fifth and sixth hitters in the order.  It’s nice to have some table setters in the one and two holes but as the Clearwater Threshers proved last night in a 9-4 win over the Dunedin Blue Jays that is not always necessary.

The middle of the Threshers lineup went 9 for 16 with 3 doubles, 2 homers, 7 runs scored and 7 RBI’s.  The Blue Jays did not have a chance with such offensive power against them even though the top two hitters in the Threshers lineup generated only one run scored and one RBI in ten at bats.

Batting in the three hole, right fielder Dylan Cozens went 2 for 3 with 2 walks and 3 runs scored.  Watch one of his hits HERE.  He also laid out in right field to made a great catch to save a run.  Watch HERE.

The big star of the night was first baseman Rhys Hoskins who hit a RBI double, watch HERE, and a three-run homer to put an exclamation point on the game with his  his four RBI night.  His homer went far into the night in left center, lost among the old oak trees out there. Watch HERE.  It was his second long ball in two nights to give him 16 combined with his time with Lakewood for the season.

Not be out done, the Florida State League’s leading hitter with a .331 average, Willians Astadillo went 2 for 4 with two RBI’s, Watch HERE, and Aaron Brown went 3 for 5 with his tenth homer to get over .250 mark for the season.  Watch HERE for his single to right.

The Threshers pitching was strong with Matt Imhof striking out 6 in a five inning start to pick up the win.  Watch HERE to see one of his strikeouts and former Dunedin Blue Jays pitcher Alberto Tirado who struck out three of his old teammates in three shutout innings.  Watch his most important strikeout on breaking pitches HERE with the base loaded and the tying run at the plate in the sixth inning.

The first half Northern Division FSL Champion Threshers look ready for the playoffs as they are getting good fielding and pitching to go with hitting with power as the regular season is quickly coming to an end just before Labor Day.

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