Lots Of Homers In Phillies System But The Teams Still Go 1-3 On Monday

Umpire wears out his arm signaling the home run

Umpires were wearing out their right arms signaling home runs in the Phillies system on Monday

The old saying rings true, “Good Pitching Usually Beats Good Hitting”. The Phillies teams out homered the opposition 10-7 but still lost 3 of 4 games played on Monday night.

In the Clearwater game, the Threshers used five homers to finally win a game, 9-3, against the Palm Beach Cardinals but Reading, Lakewood and the Phillies lost even with lots of  long balls.

The Threshers broke out of homer droughts by Mitch Walding and Kyle Martin to end a three game losing streak to Cardinals.  Walding hit one over the Phillies Championships sign and Martin hit one just in front of it in right to build leads which they never surrendered.  Watch HERE and HERE.   (Photo below from earlier in season)

Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

For both Walding and Martin it was their first homers in their last 20 games.  Martin would hit a second home run later in the game which landed in front of the flag poles on the berm in right at Bright House  Each of them now have seven homers for the season, tying them for second place in the Florida State League.

Catcher Gabriel Lino and shortstop Malquin Canelo each homered for the second time this season to help put the game out of reach.

The Threshers No. 2 starter lefty Matt Imhof continues to struggle this season with command issues.  He lasted only one batter into the fifth inning as he walked seven and struck out six needing 90 pitches.

For the season Imhof has a 4-2 record but has walked 34 and struck out 34 in 41.2 innings. Last night he lacked fastball command, threw two wild pitches and needed his breaking stuff to get his six swinging strikeouts.

In the other games, Lakewood’s Jose Pujols hit his SAL leading ninth homer in the 7-4 loss to Hagerstown.

Reading’s infielder Jesmuel Valentin hit his first homer of the season and catcher Jorge Alfaro went deep for his third homer in an 8-3 loss to Erie. Watch HERE.

And for the Phillies, Tommy Joseph continues to hit the long ball as he hit his second major league home run to go with six he had hit earlier at AAA.  Also Maikel Franco went yard for the eight time this season in the 5-4 loss to the Tigers.  Watch HERE.

The Phillies organization is putting up some impressive home run numbers at all levels with nearly a third of the minor league season in the books:

Pujols leads the Sally league with nine.

Walding and Martin are tied for second in the FSL with seven.

Dylan Cozens is tied for the lead in homers in the Eastern League with eleven.

Andrew Knapp has the third most homers in the International League with six.

Now it is up to the pitching to do a better job of keeping them in some of these games and it just might be a good season in the Phillies system from top to bottom.







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Rhys Hoskins Makes Watching Phillies Minor League Baseball Worthwhile

One of out favorite players in the Phillies system has been Reading’s first baseman Rhys Hoskins.  As we like to say he has been always worth the price of admission.

Yesterday was no exception. This time it was the monthly cost of MiLB-TV that paid off with Rhys.

Baseball Betsy and I had just returned home Sunday afternoon from scorching hot Bright House Field in Clearwater after watching another listless performance by the Threshers and tuned into MiLB-TV for bonus extra innings baseball from wet and cold Reading.

We were just in time to watch Hoskins drive a bullet base hit to left to set up the winning run in the 9th inning of the second game of the doubleheader.

Angelo Mora hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Hoskins to win the game and the  sweep the twin bill over the Trenton Tunder.  Now that was exciting baseball.

Hoskins is now hitting .394 over his last ten games.

We had just suffered through three straight Threshers defeats to the Palm Beach Cardinals over the weekend   The last two games were especially frustrating when three Threshers struck out in turn, each representing the tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning in Saturday night’s game.  The loss dropped the Threshers out of first place for the first time all season.

Then, not to be out done on Sunday afternoon, the Threshers scored only a run on three hits in losing yet again to the Cards 5-1 who started the series seven games under .500 in the Florida State League Southern Division.

What a wasted weekend of watching baseball until Rhys Hoskins made it all worthwhile.



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Clearwater Threshers Flat in 4-1 Loss To Palm Beach Cardinals But Garcia Gets a Quality Start

Elniery Garcia

Elniery Garcia

It was one of those games that went quickly at Bright House last night. It took only about two hours to play as the Palm Beach Cardinals easily dispatched the listless Clearwater Threshers 4-1.

The Threshers are on the verge of falling out of the first place for one of the rare times this season as the Tampa Yankees continue to win and have moved to within one-half game of the fading Threshers.

Lefty Elniery Garcia was charged with the loss to go 3-2 as he struggled with fastball command. But he did top out at 95 mph on a couple of fastballs on the scoreboard pitch speed reader.

He had been averaging a strikeout an inning but only struck out three in six innings of work.

Also he picked off a runner on what appeared to be a potential hit and run play to get out of a jam in the second. Watch HERE.  This play helped him earned a quality start as he gave up only two earned runs over his six innings of work.  Watch his strikeouts HERE, HERE, and HERE.

The 21-year-old Garcia continues to be the top young starting left-handed pitching prospect in the Phillies system.  Overall in the Phillies system with one quarter of the 2016 season in the books, he ranks fourth in WHIP (1.01) and seventh in ERA (2.38) among all the Phillies minor league starting pitchers.

Scott Kingery’s throwing error attempting to turn a double play set up a Cardinal unearned run in the first inning.

Veteran catcher Gabriel Lino continues to struggle defensively as he threw a ball into left field on a pickoff attempt at third base allowing the fourth run to score in the eight inning.

The Threshers only run was scored was in the first on an rbi single by Andrew Pullin after a double by Kingery and a single by Cody Asche.  Over the next eight innings the Threshers could muster only two hits.  Watch the Asche and Pullin singles HERE and HERE. 

Malquin Canelo continues to fade as a shortstop prospect going 0 for 3 in the game, striking out twice.  He is hitting .156 over his last ten games and has shown limited range at short. He has committed 11 errors at short so far and his range factor has drop to 4.00 compared to 4.45 last season.  He has already been charged with more errors this season in 37 starts, 11, than the 10 errors he committed all of last season with the Threshers in 62 games.

The Threshers Tyler Viza (5-1) takes to the mound and will attempt to rally the Threshers tonight against the Cardinals.  His 1.77 ERA is third and his 1.15 WHIP is sixth among all Phillies minor league starting pitchers.






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Measuring Up The Clearwater Threshers’ Casimiro, Garcia and Viza Against The Phillies Aaron Nola

One of the things about living four miles from Bright House is that you get to see most of the Phillies young home grown players from day one.  We get to see them in the GCL, Fall Instructs, minor league spring training and Ext. spring.

We even went to see Aaron Nola’s first game in the Phillies organization with the Threshers in Lakeland back in 2014.

Ranfi Casimiro

Ranfi Casimiro

We have watched three starting pitchers, now in the six-man Clearwater Threshers starting rotation, since the 2013 season: Ranfi Casimiro, Elniery Garcia and Tyler Viza.  They all followed a very similar development path: GCL Phillies, Lakewood and now Clearwater.

It seems they just keep getting better slowly but surely.  After yesterday’s win to go 5-2 this season, Casimiro is now 12-4 over his last 16 decisions from the second half in Lakewood until now.

Casimiro is a fierce competitor that gives all he has every start.  At 6’8″ Ranfi reminds me of  6′ 10″ Chris Young of the Kansas City Royals.

Elniery Garcia

Elniery Garcia

The only lefty of the three, Garcia goes tonight in St. Lucie, is 3-1 with a 2.27 ERA.  He studies Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and can top his fastball at 95 with a major league breaking pitch.  And as Vin Scully always tells us about Kershaw “he is the best they have”

Tyler Viza

Tyler Viza

Viza is 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA and can sit his fastball in the mid 90’s.

These three starters, though they are the Nos. three, four and five in the Threshers six-man rotation, are a combined 13-4 this season. And are key reasons why the Threshers have the best record in the Florida State League.

The Phillies top home grown starter in its current five-man rotation is Aaron Nola, the first round pick (no. 7 overall) in 2014.  Let’s see how they stack up at the high A level against him at the major league in 2016:

Nola       Casimiro       Garcia        Viza

Record             3-2          5-2                  3-1              5-1

ERA                  2.89        3.35                2.27            1.77

K/BB                58-9        40-10             32-9           36-6

OPP. BA.          .188        .227                .194            .250

WHIP               0.85         1.12                0.95           1.15

IP                           53         37.2                35.2          35.2

Baseball age        23           24                    21              21

It will be interesting to see if any of the Threshers Big Three  get a chance to pitch at AA at some point this season.  They all have paid their dues while working their way up the Phillies farm system.








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Clearwater Threshers Zach Green Comes Into His Own In His Last Three Games Including Two At Third Base

Zach Green

Zach Green

The last three games on Sunday and Monday might be the time we will recall that Clearwater Threshers Zach Green came into his own.

In those games, including a doubleheader on Sunday, he went 6 for 10 with 2 doubles and a homer including a 4 for 4 game with a homer last night in St. Lucie.  Watch his RBI single to right in Sunday’s second game at Bright House, HERE.  

He played third base in the last two games and looks so natural there that he reminded me of Michael Jack Schmidt at first glance.  Green struggled there defensively earlier in his career.

With Mitch Walding playing third base most of this season,  Green has been used mostly as a DH and a few games at first base to spell Kyle Martin.

Though Green went 0 for 3 Saturday night against the Tampa Yankees, it was his long drive  to the left of the batters eye at Steinbrenner Field that I will not forget.  With the dimension there similar to Yankee Stadium, the ball had little chance of going out but it was a 400 ft. or so drive that was caught up against the wall in the deepest part of the Field. Watch HERE. 

This is Green’s fifth season in the Phillies organization and he will be eligible for the Rule Five Draft after the season.  The Phillies need to find out now what they have in Green.

He is hitting .280 with 8 doubles and 5 homers and slashing at .280/.338/.475 after 118 at bats, a few more at bats than he had all of his injury plagued last season.

Right now it’s looking like the Phillies have a future major league corner infielder on their hands who can hit a baseball a long way!






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Pullin Goes Deep, Sandberg Hit The Ball Hard And Viza Goes to 5-1 in Yesterday’s Clearwater Threshers Twin bill

Pully is back big time, Sandberg is driving the ball but lost a chance to get the Threshers back into the second game and Viza is now 5-1 to lead the Threshers pitching staff.  This about sums up our watching the Threshers in a doubleheader on Sunday at Bright House.

The Threshers won the first game 9-1 and lost the second game in extra innings 4-3  to hold on to a two game lead over the rival Tampa Yankees for first place in the Northern Division of the Florida State League.

Andrew Pullin

Andrew Pullin

Andrew Pullin was listed as retired on his MiLB players page on April 9th.  Then the 22-year-old’s page was updated to say he was signed to a minor league contract as a “free agent” by the Phillies on May 10th.

Recharged, Pully had a big first weekend back going 5 for 13 with a homer and five RBIs in his last three games. Watch his home run HERE.  He hit a long, two- run, homer to the base of the flag poles in right center at Bright House and doubled in yesterday’s first game to drive in a total of four runs in the game. His double on Saturday in Tampa was hit so hard down the line in right that it scattered the Yankee bullpen. Watch HERE. Even his outs have been hard hit.  Welcome back Pully!

I still don’t what to make of Cord Sandberg.   Yesterday, he threw a runner out from left, stole a bag, drove a ball off the wall in right just fair inside the foul line for an rbi double, watch HERE, and then hit another line drive to left for an rbi single in the second game, watch HERE, that gave hope for bigger and better things from him.

Later in the second game with the Threshers down 4-3 in the bottom of the eight of a seven inning game, he popped up a drag bunt attempt back to the pitcher leading off which effectively took all the steam out of a potential Threshers comeback rally. The situation beckoned for an extra base hit or long ball to set the table to get the Threshers back into the game.

Tyler Viza picked up the win for the Threshers in the first game, won 9-1.  Now Viza leads the Threshers in wins with a 5-1 record and ERA at 1.77.  Watch two of Viza’s strikeouts HERE and HERE.

Pullin, Sandberg and Viza are three key players in the Threshers battle to win the first half championship in the FSL.









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The Clearwater Threshers Take Advantage Of The 314 ft. Sign At Steinbrenner Field

It was a battle for first place in the Northern Division of the Florida State League in the twilight at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Saturday evening in Tampa.  Threshers won a good game 5-2 over the Tampa Yankees thanks to strong pitching and its hitters taking advantage of the 314 ft. sign down the right field line.  They now take a two game lead into today’s doubleheader with the Yankees at Bright House.

Derek Campbell

Derek Campbell

They hit the ball over, at and in front of  the 314 ft. sign.  Third baseman Derek Campbell just cleared it for home run in the second inning for what turned out to be the winning run.

The 314 Mark

The 314 Mark

Scott Kingery

Scott Kingery









Later in the inning Cody Asche hit a towering two-run homer into the party deck to the left of the .314 sign, Watch HERE, after Scott Kingery doubled to right to seal the game early.

Cody Asche

Cody Asche

Cody Asche's ball sails into the party deck

Cody Asche’s ball sails into the party deck









Later in the game Andrew Pullin drove a ground rule double down the right field line in front of the 314 ft sign. Watch HERE.

Andrew Pullin

Andrew Pullin

And not to be out done late in the game, Malquin Canelo hit a high fly ball that the Yankees rightfielder caught as he backed into the 314 ft sign.

Just like Yankee Stadium as Zach Green learned, you can hit long ball nearly 400 ft. but it is just a long out to left center at Steinbrenner.  Watch HERE

Elniery Garcia

Elniery Garcia

The Threshers lefty Elniery Garcia was strong in allowing only two runs and striking out five over six innings against the team with he highest batting average in the FSL to go 3-1 on the season. This season the 21-year-old Garcia has struck out 32 in 35.2 innings with a 2.27 ERA, a o.95 WHIP and opponents are just hitting .194 off of him.   Watch his first three strikeouts HERE, HERE and HERE.

As usual the bullpen was shutdown as Ulises Joachim came on for a two inning hold and closer Joely Rodriguez struck out two in the ninth for his third save of the season.

The Phillies minor league players have been taking advantage of the minor league ballparks that are designed to reflect the dimensions of the major league teams.  Earlier in the season Rhys Hoskins took advantage of the “Green Monster” in Portland, Maine to hit a home run against the Red Sox AA farm team.

The .314 sign down the right field line at Steinbrenner Field reflects the same dimensions as in  Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.  And most of the Threshers hitters took advantage of it last night to hold on to first place in the Florida State League.







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