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 Future 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.



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Dyer, Randolph, Henriquez and Duran Standout In The Final Phillies Instructs Game

It’s all over.  Phillies baseball in Clearwater is over for another season. But not before the Phillies Instructs downed the Yankees Instructs  1-0 at Bright House Field on Thursday.

Bailey Falter

Bailey Falter

It was a good game dominated by pitching on both sides.  The Phillies used seven pitchers.  All pitched well led by starter Luis Carrasco who was followed by lefty Manuel Silva. Both pitched two innings.  The were followed for an inning each by Adonis Medina, lefty Bailey Falter, Jake Kelzer, Julian Garcia and Grant Dyer.

Adonis Medina

Adonis Medina

Luis Crarasco

Luis Carrasco

Jake Kelzer

Jake Kelzer

The most impressive pitcher was Grant Dyer who came on for a 1-2-3 ninth inning with two strikeouts for the save. Watch his last strikeout HERE and Duran’s pitch framing.

Grant Dyer

Grant Dyer

An eight round draft pick in the June draft out of UCLA, Dyer finished the regular  season strong by striking out 36 and allowing only three walks over 27.1 inning in the last ten games in relief for Lakewood.

In the post season he pick up a three inning win in relief in the Sally League Semi-Finals against Hagerstown and combined with Franklyn Kilome by pitching the last two innings in a one-hit, shutout against the Rome Braves in the Finals.  He struck out nine and walked only one over 7.2 innings in three games of relief in the playoffs.

Cornelius Randolph tracks a ball in left field

Cornelius Randolph tracks a ball in left field

The only run scored in Thursday’s game was in the third inning on a base hit into the hole to right by Cornelius Randolph for his second hit in the game.  Watch HERE.   He drove in second baseman Jesus Henriquez who had singled, watch HERE, earlier in the inning to score the only run in the game.

Jesus Henriquez

Jesus Henriquez

The other hitter who stood out in the game, as he has been in just about every game we have attended, was Rodolfo Duran. He caught the second half of the game and lined a single to right watch HERE.  Two batters later Henriquez pulled off a perfect hit and run with Duran on first. He drove a base hit through the vacated shortstop position. Watch HERE.

The 18-year-old Henriquez impressed us and should be one to watch in the future at second base.  Watch HERE, his Javier Baez-like play in Wednesday’s intra-squad game.  Watch the Baez play from Tuesday’s NLDS game HERE.

In the Dominican Summer League earlier this season Henriquez hit .337 in 264 at bats with a .411 OBP.

The Phillies roster listed 64 players at Instructs.  We saw most of them play and we will comment more on them in the future.  Also we will be following Phillies players now playing mainly in the Arizona Fall League and Venezuela Winter League along with the Phillies guys in the Dominican Winter League which starts October 20th.

Jhailyn Ortiz

Jhailyn Ortiz flies out to center against the Yankees Instructs

Mickey Moniak

Mickey Moniak








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As Phillies Fall Instructs Wind Down, Muzziotti, Pickett, Randolph and Duran Continue to Standout

Each Wednesday of the three week Instructs schedule, the Phillies play an intra-squad game. It gives us a chance to watch most of the players in action in a nine inning game.

Though no score was kept on the Bright House scoreboard, Team Henson appeared to defeat Team Borders as Tyler Henson was given a surprise water ice bath in front of the first base dugout after the final out of the game.

Thursday’s Phillies game at Bright House Field against the Yankees will signal the end of 2016 Instructs.    It will be the sixth Instruct game we will have attended over the three week Florida Instruction League season.

The  Instructs position players who have impressed us the most have been Greg Pickett (RF,  1B), Rodolfo Duran (C), Simon Muzziotti (CF), Cornelius Randolph (LF/PH) and Luis Encarnacion (1B).  According to his Facebook page, Luis underwent successful surgery on Tuesday for a leg injury suffered in game action last week.

These same four hitters had the best at bats again in Wednesday’s game.

Greg Pickett home run in instructs

Greg Pickett squares up a belt high pitch that caught too much of the plate with a classic home run swing at Instructs

Pickett hit a line drive home run over the fading 1980 World Series sign in right field and singled to right yesterday. This was the second home run we have seen him hit in Instructs. Watch video of his long ball HERE.

Muzziotti looks like a top prospect.   He hit .317 in 17 games this summer for the Red Sox  in the Dominican Summer League.  The Phillies were able to sign him for $750,000 on July 6th because because MLB said that the Red Sox had violated International signing rules. He hit .278 in his last ten games with the DSL Phillies after a slow start with them. Watch HERE, his single up the middle despite a great play by second baseman Jesus Henriquez.

Duran just won’t stop hitting when we are in the stands. He hit a rbi double into the gap in left-center and went to third on the throw to the plate as the run scored.  Watch HERE.

He had a stretch of five at bats in row over three Instructs games while we were in the stands hitting three doubles, a single, where he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double and a walk.

Randolph homered in the first Instructs game of the season which he started in the outfield. However, we have seen him bat only in two games since then, both late inning at bats.  Last week we watched him double to right against the Blue Jays and Wednesday he doubled to left.  Watch HERE.

It is not easy to get a read on all the pitchers used in the intra-squad games.  They pitch usually one or two innings each.  We were impress with the one inning start of Francisco Martinez, the Phillies top international pitching signing this year and this year’s second round draft pick, Kevin Gowdy.    Watch Gowdy’s strikeouts HERE and HERE.

In today’s final game of the Instruct season,  top left-handed pitcher Nick Fanti is scheduled to be one of the pitchers who will see action. The Phillies break camp on Friday.  That will be it for the Phillies in Clearwater until pitchers and catchers report in mid-February.








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Phillies Instructs Go Down 9-1 To the Blue Jays; Still Kilome, Muzziotti And Pickett Stood Out Today; Encarnacion Was Injured Late Last Week

Last Monday, I watched one of the best games of the season as the Phillies Instructs downed  the Blue Jays Instructs 8-5. Today’s game at Bright House Field was just the opposite as the Blue Jays won 9-1.

The final week of Instructional baseball got underway this afternoon on a sad note when we learned of an injury to first baseman Luis Encarnacion late last week.  He was just coming into his own with the bat and in field in recent Fall Instruct games.

Franklyn Kilome

Franklyn Kilome

Franklyn Kilome

Franklyn Kilome


Several Phillies did standout in today’s game including starting pitcher Franklyn Kilome, centerfielder Simon Muzziotti and first baseman Greg Pickett.

Kilome was outstanding in the South Atlantic League this season and pitched one of his best games of the season in the playoffs. He threw seven innings of one hit, nine strikeout shutout baseball to get the only Lakewood win in the Finals.

In today’s game, Kilome started and pitched two innings of one-hit ball, striking out one and otherwise throwing nothing but ground balls. The only run he gave up was unearned on an infield error in the second inning.  Watch his strikeout HERE.

Simon Muzziotti

Simon Muzziotti singles to center

Center fielder Simon Muzziotti came up with a couple of singles and scored the only Phillies run in the bottom of the ninth.  Watch his ninth inning single HERE.

Greg Pickett

Greg Pickett hits an rbi double

Normally an outfielder, Greg Pickett is learning to play first base. He came up in the bottom of the ninth and doubled in Muzziotti for the only Phillies run.  Watch HERE.

Finally, Baseball Betsy and I are sad to report Phillies Instructs regular first baseman Luis Encarnacion suffered a serious leg injury in a game late last week .  We hear he is scheduled for surgery tomorrow morning.  We hope for a complete recovery.


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The Phillies Best Starting Pitchers In The Minor League Playoffs Were Kilome, Lively, Sanchez, Taveras, Fanti, And E..Garcia

The Phillies had a great minor league regular season with four teams making the playoffs and another team which had the best overall record in the league but did not qualify for the post season because of coming in second in both the first and second half season standings.

But the Phillies farm teams did not play well in the post season going 6-11 and winning no league championships. This marked the sixth straight season in which no Phillies teams won a post season minor league championship.  The longest stretch for any major league organization.

The Phillies seem not to stress post season success too much at the minor league level. For example the Front Office called up Darin Ruf from Lehigh Valley at the end of the regular season to sit on the bench in September for the most part at Citizen Bank Park.

Ruf was the clean-up hitter and led Lehigh Valley in homers, RBIs and OPS during the regular season.  The IronPigs were swept in all three games of the best-of-five series.  They were shutout in the first two games and held scoreless over the first 21.2 innings by the Yankees Farm team from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  Then to top it off the Phillies fired the manager afterwards.

After watching Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard both pitched so brilliantly in Wednesday night’s wild card game, let’s see how the Phillies pitchers compared to them in this year’s minor league post season.

Franklyn Kilome and Jose Taveras (Photo Courtesy of the Lakewood BlueClaws)

Franklyn Kilome and Jose Taveras (Photo Courtesy of the Lakewood BlueClaws)

This picture comes from the BlueClaws Blog where they discuss Kilome and Taveras being named to  Baseball America’s Top 20 of the SAL Prospects. You can read that blog, HERE.

In the six playoff wins, the starting pitchers won four of them: GCL’s Sixto Sanchez,( IP-7,  R-0, H-4, B-0, K-4)   Lakewood’s, Franklyn Kilome, (IP-7, R-0, H-1, BB-2, K-9) see HERE. and Jose Taveras (IP-7, R-2, H-7, BB-0, K 4)  and Reading’s Elniery Garcia (IP-6, R-2 earned, H-7, BB-1, K-4) see his first AA strike out HERE. He would go on and strikeout the side in order in the second inning.

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

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

Elniery Garcia was the big game “stopper” of the group. He won a game in the final series of the regular season to avoid playoff elimination at time for Clearwater and won the only playoff game for Reading the next week.

In a fifth win, GCL’s Nick Fanti, (IP-5.1, R-0, H-3, BB-0, K-6), came on in the third inning and threw 5.1 shutout innings in relief to pickup the win. In one of the losses, Lehigh Valley’s Ben Lively, (IP-7.2, R-2, H-5, BB-1, K-8) pitched seven shutout innings before giving up two runs with two outs in the eight inning to suffer a 2-0 loss.

Most of the winning pitchers induced more ground ball outs than fly outs except Kilome, 3 GO-6 FO and Garcia, 5-5. Sanchez and Taveras were extreme ground ball to fly out pitchers with 14-1 and 10-3 respectively.

So how do these Phillies minor league numbers stack up to what Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergarrd did Wednesday night?  Bumgarner pitched all 9 inning giving up no runs, 4 hits, 2  walks and 6 strikeouts.  He had  6 ground outs and 7 fly outs.  He threw 119 pitchers with 78 for strikes.  Syndergaard pitched 7 innings giving up no runs, 2 hits, 3 walks and 10 strikeouts. He had 5 ground outs and 5 fly outs.

RHP Ben Lively’s playoff game numbers came closest to LHP Bumgarner’s numbers, Wednesday night.  Lively’s game was 0-0 with two outs in the top of the eight. Ben had a shutout going for 7.2 innings allowing only 4 hits with a walk and eight strikeouts before giving up a two- run homer in the 2-0 loss.

Franklyn Kilome numbers came the closest to Syndergaard’s numbers.  Kilome was more efficient with his pitches. Each pitched seven innings. Kilome threw only 86 pitches, compared to 105 pitches for Syndergaard.

Both are listed at 6’6″ in height. Syndergaard weighs in at 240 lbs. and Kilome at 215 lbs.  The Mets pitcher is 24 years old and the Phillies top pitching prospect is 21.

It remains to be seen what will happen in the future but a case can be that the best starting pitching prospects to emerge from the 2016 minor league season in the Phillies system are four right handers: Ben Lively, Frankly Kilome, Jose Taveras and Sixto Sanchez.  Plus two left handers: Elniery Garcia and Nick Fanti.












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Phillies Instructs Win Over The Blue Jays 8-5 led by Walding, Encarnacion And Duran

What a game.  It came down to Blue Jays runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and power hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr., representing the tying run at the plate in an 8-5 game.  Junior had just missed a homer to left earlier in the game.

With lefty Jonathan Hennigan on the mound, he induced Junior to hit a high fastball down the right field line.  First baseman Luis Encarnacion made a good running catch to end the game and preserve the win.

The Phillies led all the way.  Mitch Walding, who is playing games in left field, got the game started with a home run to left.  Also, Mitch seemed to be always on base by getting hit by a pitch and a couple of walks.  Next week, he will be playing in the Arizona Fall League, apparently some games as a left fielder.

I have been watching Encarnacion for it seems like forever, but he just turned only 19 in August. Luis had the game of his life yesterday after hitting only .162 with two homers in Williamsport this season.  He hit two doubles and a triple in yesterday’s game.  Watch his two-run, RBI triple HERE.

Two other players who are squaring up and barreling the ball in Instructs have been Cornelius Randolph and Rodolfo Duran.

In the first Instructs game last week Randolph homered to right on to the berm at Bright House. Yesterday in a pinch hitting role, he lined a similar shot that hit the wall at the Blue Jays field in right for a double.

Duran has been a standout in his last four at bats over two Instructs games.   Winning the game on Saturday morning against the Yankees, he hit a two-run double to right and added a singled in his next at bat.

In the game yesterday Duran worked a walk after getting behind with an 0-2 count and came around to score.  In his other at bat, he doubled. Watch his double HERE.

But what caught my eye in the game was his stop of a slider into the dirt that was breaking down away from the batter. He shifted to block the ball and kept the runner on second base with less than two outs.  Watch HERE.

Rodolfo Duran blocks a pitch

Rodolfo Duran blocks a pitch against the Blue Jays

Instruct games are over a week fromThursday and the Phillies break camp the next day.  In the meantime, the Phillies Arizona Fall League players report Monday to Scottsdale Arizona.  They include pitchers Brandon Leibrandt, Victor Arano, Miguel Nunez  and Jeff Singer along with position players Scott Kingery, Aaron Brown and Mitch Walding.









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Phillies Instructs Catcher Rodolfo Duran Comes Up Big With A Bases Loaded, Two-Run Double

It was a well played Instructs game with the Blue Jays Saturday morning on Roberts Field at the Carpenter Complex.  Good pitching and a big two-run double with the bases loaded by the Phillies catcher Rodolfo Duran was the difference in the 2-1 win over the Blue Jays.

We saw good pitching from Brandon Leibrandt, Victor Arano Jeff Singer who are headed to the Arizona Fall League next week.  Lefty Nick Fanti came on and pitched two shutout innings watch HERE and HERE for two of his outs.

Victor Arano

Victor Arano

Nick Fanti

Nick Fanti

Jeff Singer

Jeff Singer

Other Phillies Instruct players headed to the AFL also played including Mitch Walding, Aaron Brown and Scott Kingery.  Walding doubled in the game. Watch HERE.  He also played first base after spending his minor league career at third base.

Mitch Walding

Mitch Walding

Headed to winter ball in Columbia, Josh Tobias doubled and scored a run on the Duran double in the game. Watch HERE. Tobias played third base and left field in the game after playing second base in his two year Phillies minor league career.

But the big hit in the game was the bases loaded double by Duran who drove the pitch to right field to score two runs late in the game. Watch HERE.  In his final at bat he lined a hit to left center but was thrown out trying stretch it into a double. Watch HERE.

The 18-year-old Duran is one of the top hitting catchers in the Phillies system.   This season in the Gulf Coast league he hit .315 with three homers in 73 at bats.  With runners in scoring position he hit .333.

Though he is not big for a catcher, listed at 5’9″, 170 lbs.,  Rodolf0 Duran came up very big  at the plate in an interesting Instructs game on Saturday.


Carlos Alonso coaches first base

Carlos Alonso coaches first base


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