Phillies Top Prospects Struggling To Finish The Season “Strong”

As long as I have been following the Phillies farm system, the slogan has always been “finish the season strong”.  But this season many of the Phillies top prospects are running on fumes at the finish line.

Top 2014 international signing Jhailyn Ortiz and number one draft pick overall Mickey Moniak  are struggling in the rookie Gulf Coast League as are Dylan Cozens and Rhys Hoskins at AA.   Ortiz is hitting .184 and Moniak is hitting .205 over their last ten games while Cozens has gone 1 for 35 in his last nine games while Hoskins is hitting .235 over his last ten games.

Hoskins has shown signs of coming out of his end of season funk.  Over the weekend he hit two homers to tie Cozens for the minor league lead in homers with 37 long balls.  In those three games Hoskins drove in five runs to bring him within two RBIs of Cozens’ minor league leading 114.  Watch Hoskins two homers HERE and HERE.

The good news is that Reading has clinched a spot in the Eastern League playoffs which start after Labor Day.  The GCL Phillies magic number to clinch the Northwest division of the GCL is two with four games remaining.

2010 GCL Championship

2010 Phillies GCL Champions

However, a potential topical storm is expect to arrive over the Tampa Bay area Wednesday and Thursday when the final two game of the season are scheduled with the second place GCL Blue Jays.  Usually, those games would not be made up.  In any event the division winner will play the GCL Braves in a one game knockout for the right to play in the best of three GCL finals.

The good news is that is appears that Ortiz, Moniak, Cozens and Hoskins still have time to “finish strong” in the final week and in the post season playoffs.







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GCL Phillies Have The Best Record In Baseball, Here’s How They Do it!

Had a chance to watch the GCL Phillies in action on Friday and it was one of the best games I have seen all season.

Roly DeArmas’ guys pulled out a 3-2 with  over the GCL Tigers West to extend their lead to two games over the GCL Blue Jays in the torrid race for first place in the Northwest division of the Gulf Coast League.

They have now won seven games in a row in the battle for the playoff spot.

Thanks to a triple by catcher Rodolfo Duran over the centerfielder’s head in the fifth and scoring on a wild pitch gave the Phillies their first run.

Right fielder Josh Stephen lined a two-run, home  to right off the Tiger’s team bus sitting behind the right field fence in the bottom of the eight which turned out to be just enough for the 3-2 win.  The 18- year-old, 11th round 2015 draft pick is one to keep an eye on.

The blast by Stephen was hit so hard on the line that the bus driver immediately after  the long ball drove the bus for cover behind the scoreboard in right center at Ashburn Field.

It was great pitching by Mauricio Llovero who stuck out seven in five innings that held off the Tigers.

It was defense in the top of the ninth with a run in and runners at first and second that saved the day.

Jose Nin

Jose Nin during his brief appearance with the Threshers earlier in the season.

Closer Jose Nin induced a hard hit ground ball to third baseman Danny Zardon.  He just missed tagging the runner going by but threw to second baseman Daniel Brito for the force out at second and then on to first to get a double play that save the game. Watch the near miss triple play HERE.  Nin then got a fly ball out to right to end the game.

Danny Zardon

Danny Zardon

The GCL Phillies have the lowest ERA in the league at 2.57 and the highest OPS at .738 and scored the most runs.

It was just plain good baseball with timely hitting, good pitching and excellent defense that won this game for the GCL Phillies and the reasons why they have won all season.  Watch the celebration HERE.    They are learning not only how to play baseball but how to win!

They now have the best record in minor or major league baseball at 41-14 going into Saturday’s game for a .745 winning percent.

They have five games remaining including two games to end the season Wednesday and Thursday with the second place Blue Jays.  These games will likely determine which team makes the Gulf Coast League playoffs.





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Matt Hockenberry Strong Again Out Of the Clearwater Threshers Pen In The Push For the Playoffs

If the Clearwater Threshers make the Florida State League Playoffs, they need Matt Hockenberry coming out of the bullpen racking up saves.

Matt Hockenberry

Matt Hockenberry

So far so good. Over his last ten games he had gone 2-0 with 5 saves.  As the closer he has been key to keeping the Threshers in the playoff hunt, still two games behind the Dunedin Blue Jays for the final post season spot in the FSL North.

The good news is that the Threshers will finish the season with a four game home and home series to end the regular season on Sunday before Labor Day with the Blue Jays. This series will likely the determine which team plays the Tampa Yankees for the right to play in the FSL Championship Series against the winner of the Southern Division.

Last night it was Hockenberry who came on to preserve a 3-0 lead over the Brevard County Manatees in the ninth to pick up his seventh save in eight opportunities this season.  Watch his strikeout to end the game HERE.

Much like Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez, Hockenberry is not over powering.  Last night he used a 91 MPH fastball for his called strike three to earn his fifth save so far in August.

In his three-year career in the Phillies organization after he was a ninth round draft pick out of Temple, Hockenberry has 28 saves in 33 opportunities.


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Phillies Pitching Prospect Jose Taveras Rises To The Top Of The Minor League Pitchers’ Strikeout Leader Board

Jose Taveras

Jose Taveras

It was another great performance from Jose Taveras last night as he struck out nine in five innings to pick up the win against Delmarva.

His nine strikeouts moved Jose to the top of the South Atlantic League strikeout leader board for the season with 140.

Overall, Taveras is third in strikeouts in all of minor league baseball of pitchers with the same team all season.

The 22-year-old was almost an after thought by the so-called experts in the Phillies minor league department when the season started.  He was a three inning reliever for the first five games of the season before added to the Lakewood starting rotation.

He has struck out 140 and walked only 20 in 124.1 innings for an outstanding 6 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio.

This season his signature game was back on June 25th when he struck out 15 in eight innings against Greenville.

The big 6’4, 210 lb. right-hander has come into his own over his last three starts going 3-0 in 19 innings allowing only one run, nine hits and striking out 22.

We watched Jose from the beginning this season when he struck out the side in his one inning against the Canadian National Junior team in the first spring training game. Watch a strikeout from that game HERE.

Later in spring training Jose retired in order three Phillies just sent down from the major league camp.  Watch the expression on Darnell Sweeney’s face as Taveras struck him out HERE.

HERE is a video of Taveras’s 15th strikeout in the game against Greenville.

With Lakewood now in a position to make the SAL playoffs,  Look for Taveras to be the likely No. 1 starter for the post season.











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Baseball America Gushing Over Adonis Medina In The NY-Penn League All Star Game

An organization can never have enough pitching.  Baseball America’s writer Hudson Belinsky posted interesting video and commentary on Williamsport’s Adonis Medina’s one inning at the New York-Penn League’s All Star Game last Tuesday.  Read and Watch HERE.

The Phillies low minor league system seems to be ripe with potential top of the rotation major league pitching prospects.  In previous blogs we have posted about GCL starting pitchers Sixto Sanchez (0.56 ERA) and Maurico Llovera (1.88 ERA).  Combined with lefty Nick Fanti (1.51 ERA), the three have gone 18-1 in the Gulf Coast League this season.

Medina, 4-2, has the seventh lowest ERA in the NY-Penn League at 2.35.

Jose Taveras

Jose Taveras

At Lakewood, Jose Traveras has the third highest number of strikeouts in the league, striking out 131, walking only 18 in 113.1 innings.  He has even out-pitched the highly regarded Franklyn Kilome this season for the BlueClaws.

But the real surprise at Lakewood has been Alberto Tirado acquired in the Ben Revere deal last season.  In nine starts he has gone 5-1 with a 2.55 ERA, striking out 62 in 42.1 innings.

The Phillies appear loaded with strong starting pitching in the low minors. They should only get better as they move up the system.

Over the weekend, Mike Drago conducted a survey of 15 bloggers and reporters that are familiar with the Phillies’ minor league system. Baseball Betsy and I were contributors. If you’d like to read it, you can read it or version and see Drago’s list as well  (for free) on Betsy’s Blog HERE.



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Phillies Top Minor League Power Prospects Dylan Cozens and Jose Pujols Continue To Rewrite The Record Books

It’s been a big weekend for the Phillies minor league power bats of Dylan Cozens and Jose Pujols.

The "Bash Brothers" Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens (Photo Courtesy of MiLB and Reading Fightins)

The “Bash Brothers” Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens (Photo Courtesy of MiLB and Reading Fightins)

Friday night for Reading, Cozens hit his 36th and 37the home runs of the season. His 37th tied Ryan Howard for second in Reading’s all-time home runs in one season.  Watch and read HERE.  He needs only one more to tie Darin Ruf’s all-time Reading home run record in a season of 38 from back in 2012.

Jose Pujols

Jose Pujols

Not to be outdone on Saturday night Lakewood’s Jose Pujols hit his 23rd home run of the season to break Lakewood’s single season home record record of 22 held most recently by Jim Murphy back in 2011.  Read HERE.

I was unable to find any video of the historic Pujols home run against Delmarva in Salisbury Md. Saturday night, but I have included  a video of his 14th home run back on June 26th in Greenville South Carolina.  It was a blast so far and so deep that even the Green Monster in left could not hold it as it went out well over 400 ft to center.  Watch HERE.

It was interesting to note that in Friday’s doubleheader Cozens played one game in left and the second game in right.  On Saturday night he played centerfield.  So it’s hard to tell where in the world Dylan will play in the outfield at the major league level though this season he has played 81 games in right, 26 in left and last night appears to be his first game in center for this season.

On the other hand, Jose Pujols has played all 100 games in the field this season in right field for Lakewood.

The Phillies, along with Rhys Hoskins who has hit 35 home runs this season, appear to have three of the top power bats in all of minor league baseball.  Cozens leads all of the minors in home runs with 37 and Pujols leads all of low A ball in long balls with 23.

Down here in Clearwater, we are looking forward to watching Jose Pujols take it deep next season in the Florida State League while Cozens and Hoskins should hitting long balls shortly in the major leagues.





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Jiandido Tromp Is Carrying The Clearwater Threshers On His Back In The Battle For The Final Playoff Spot In The Florida State League

He only hit .216 last season in Lakewood but this year Clearwater Threshers outfielder Jiandido Tromp is having a breakout season.  As he approaches his 2015 season total at bats, he has already surpassed most of his stats from last season.

Last night was no exception to Tromp’s exceptional play.  His two-run rbi, triple and then scoring on a sacrifice fly were the differences in a must win 3-2 victory over the Tampa Yankees in the three way race between Dunedin, Daytona and the Threshers for the second-half, FSL championship.  These three teams are fighting for the right to play the Yankees in the first round of the post season.

As the Threshers’ website reported on the just concluded Tampa series,  ‘Tromp wrapped up a big series, going 8-for-15 (.533) including two doubles, a triple, three RBIs, and four runs scored across four games.”

The key to Tromp’s success has been his dramatic reduction in strikeouts.  Over his last ten games he has struck out only 4 times in 39 at bats.

You won’t read much anywhere else about Jiandido even though he is a five-tool player.  He is not on the Phillies MLB Top 30 list.  Now in his fifth season in the Phillies organization the minor league experts never talk about him.

So Jiandido Tromp is flying under the radar.  And he has put the Threshers on his back for a ride into the playoffs with 16 games left to play in the 2016 season.

Jiandido Tromp

Jiandido Tromp squaring up another one against Daytona






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