Rhys Hoskins Finally Makes A Top Prospect Phillies List!

A tip-of-the-cap to Phillies minor league first base prospect, Rhys Hoskins.  Finally, he made a Top of a “Pick-A-Number” Phillies prospect list.

Hoskins hits a homer in the final game of the 2015 season.

Hoskins hits a homer in the final game of the 2015 season.

 

When Jesse Biddle was traded to Pittsburgh it opened up a slot on the MLB’s Phillies Top 30 List.  Quickly, the ‘experts” at MLB slotted Hoskins at 21st on the list.  See HERE.

All the rating experts have given the cold shoulder up to that point to Hoskins.  Still he has had an interesting 2015-16 season.  But the first baseman was the only reason I got up at three in the morning many nights to watch Australian Baseball.

Also, this past season we watched him have a big weekend in Savannah, Georgia for Lakewood and then lead the Clearwater Threshers to first place in the Florida State League.  He score the only run for the Threshers in the two losses in the playoffs when he lined a homer into the visitors bullpen at Bright House.  Watch HERE.  He also doubled in the Sally All Star game and singled and hit a rbi sac. fly in the ABL All-Star games.

He was always worth the price of admission or watching early morning internet TV.  Combined in three different leagues,  Hoskins hit .311 with 55 doubles, 26 homers and drove in 135 runs.  His OPS was over .900.  In Australia his all-around game came together when he stole five bases in six attempts and committed only one error in over forty games at first.  Watch his last hit, a base loaded double in his final game in the ABL, HERE.

What impressed me the most last season Hoskins was so consistent in over 700 at bats in three different leagues almost every category.  He hit over .300 in all three leagues and only in the ABL did his OPS drop just under .900.  His at bat to strikeout ratio was an impressive 5-1 in the states and 6-1 in Australia.  Unlike Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf, he had no significant split variations in his batting averages against lefties and righties.  His runners in scoring position batting averages were .329 in the ABL, .294 in the FSL and .363 in the Sally.

Still, the Phillies Front Office chose to make Kyle Martin, a left-handed hitting first baseman a fourth round pick in the 2015 draft. He went on to hit .278 with a .771 OPS in the second half at Lakewood.  Hoskins, a fifth round pick in 2014 hit .317 with a 904 OPS in the first half with the BlueClaws.  And Martin is about five months older than Hoskins.

It will be interesting to see what Hoskins does in 2016.  The Phillies need a right handed bat who has some pop in its lineup.

This looks to be Ryan Howard last season in a Phillies uniform.   He looks like a platoon firs baseman with Daren Ruf getting time against left-handed pitching.  Howard made the jump from the Clearwater Phillies and Jack Russell Stadium where he hit 23 homers back in 2003.  He went to Reading the next season and hit 37 homers in only 103 games before getting the call to Scranton/Wilkes Barre where hit 9 more.  Then, it was a September call-up to the Phillies where he hit 2 more homers.

Another Phillies player still with them is Carlos Ruiz.  In 2002 he hit five homers in 92 games at Jack Russell and went on to hit 17 homers in 101 games for Reading in 2004.

It will be interesting to see what Rhys Hoskins can do in 2016 though for some reason he was not invited to the Phillies major league spring training camp.

He hit 18 homers combined for Lakewood and Clearwater in 2015.  Places where homers do not come easy. With the wind always blowing out and the power alleys easily reachable at Reading, it will be interesting to see if Hoskins can double-up his home run totals in 2016 and be a Phillies September call-up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in February 2015, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Can The Pirates Develop Jesse Biddle Into A Major League Pitcher?

Jesse Biddle

Jesse Biddle

I have no doubt that Jesse Biddle will come back from Tommy John surgery and pitch in the major leagues in 2017 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

It will not be the first time the Pirates organization has turned a pitcher’s career around including a former Phillies lefty at that.

Just last year the Pirates may have saved J.A. Happ’s career. Read HERE.  Yes, another former Phillies left-handed pitcher who struggled in previous major league stops.  Happ signed again with the Blue Jays in November for a 3 year, $36 million contract.

For some reason the Phillies have been unable to develop a starting pitcher since Cole Hamels.   It will be interesting to watch Aaron Nola for a full season.

We first remember Hamels and his battery mate Chris Coste almost lead the Phillies to the post season in 2006 and then to the World Series in 2008.  That was a long time ago!

Good luck Jesse!  Remember “luck” is a combination of “opportunity” and “hard work”.  You are getting a great opportunity with Pirates and we know you will do the hard work.

Here is a video of one of my favorite memories of Jesse Biddle when he got his 12th strikeout in seven innings of pitching on a hot Sunday afternoon at Bright House. It was back on June 3rd of the 2012 season in a Florida State League game .  Watch HERE.

 

 

Posted in August 2012, February 2015, February 2015 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Offseason Leagues Finally Come To An End With Only One Phillies Player Winning A Championship!

As you know if you have read our blog, we like offseason baseball.  We know personally many of the guys who play from our time watching them in spring training, extended spring, Gulf Coast and Florida State League games over the years at Bright House and the Carpenter Complex.  We even broke bread with a few of them at Monty’s Pizza, the Dominican Market, Casa Tina and especially Chipotle in Clearwater/Dunedin area.  And yes, even a very few times at McDonald’s.

Most of the games from the Caribbean and Australia can be found on video in some fashion so you get a  good feel for what is going on all Fall and Winter long.  The Aussie games are the toughest to watch live because most of them start at three in the morning Clearwater time.

In September the Phillies had three teams make it to the post season: Reading, Clearwater and Williamsport.  Only Reading won a first round series but  were eliminated in a deciding Game Five to Bowie in the Eastern League playoffs.

In the Offseason Leagues, the Phillies were represented in post season games in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.   Logan Moore’s Licey team lost in the Dominican Finals as did Indios de Mayaguez in the Puerto Rico League Finals where Dylan Cozens, Jesmuel Valentin and Hoby Milner played.

The only Phillies organization player to play and win a Championship in the 2015-16 offseason was Herlis Rodriguez.  He had a strong season with Lakewood during the summer.  Herlis served as a last inning defensive replacement left fielder for Tigres de Aragua in most of the games in the Finals.  He caught a line drive hit right at him to end Game Four in a 6-2 victory.  Watch HERE.

 Tigres de Arugua celebrate winning VWL Championship (Photo Courtesy of AVS FOTO Report)

Tigres de Arugua celebrate winning VWL Championship (Photo Courtesy of AVS FOTO Report)

Aragua went on win the best of seven Championship of the Venezuelan Winter League four games to two games on Thursday night.  Other Phillies prospects who played earlier in the season for Aragua were centerfielder Carlos Tocci and reliever Alexis Rivero.

Gabriel Lino catching in the VWL (Photo Courtesy of AVS Photo Report)

Gabriel Lino catching in the VWL (Photo Courtesy of AVS Photo Report)

Another player who won notoriety for his catching in the VWL was Gabriel Lino.  He was recognized as the best defensive catcher in the League playing for Cardenales de Lara.  Read HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

For Dylan Cozens and Hoby Milner the End Of The 2015 Season Is Finally In Sight

Dylan Cozens gets the walk off hit

Dylan Cozens gets the walk off hit

The end of a long 2015 baseball season is finally in sight for Phillies prospects right fielder Dylan Cozens and left-handed specialist, Hoby Milner.

Their team Indio de Mayaguez is down 3 games to 2 in a best of 7 series finals to Santurce in the Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente Finals in Puerto Rico. They play again Friday night in a must win Game Six.

Cozens has had a long 2015 season fighting through injuries but has played 160 games total now extending 29 days into January.

Cozens has put up some interesting numbers with the GCL Phillies, the Threshers, Reading, the Eastern League playoffs and now in Puerto Rico.   He has hit .289 overall going 166 for 582 with 35 doubles, 5 triples and 14 homer runs with 79 RBIs. Impressively, he has stolen 25 bases in 33 attempts.

The 2016 season should be a breakout year for Cozens.  He will be playing at baseball age 22. The hitting friendly confines of the Reading ballpark to start next season should play well with his swing.

The prevailing wind in Reading and close walls should be ideal for Cozens’ left-handed bat just as it was for Ryan Howard’s bat when he played in Reading. The two of his three homers Dylan hit in Puerto Rico were to left and the other one was the long drive to right a couple of nights ago.  Watch HERE, HERE and HERE.

Hoby Milner has made the transition from a starter to left-handed reliever this season.  He has definitely become a lefty specialist.  Last night in he was brought in to face three hitters to start the ninth inning including two lefty bats and turned a switch hitter around to his right side where he was hitting 150 points lower than from his left side.   He has yet to be charged with an earned run from a left-handed hitter in Puerto Rico.

Another Phillies  still prospect still playing that I have overlooked is Herlis Rodriguez in the VWL Championship Series.  He is being used as a late inning defensive replacement in left field. He had a fly ball putout last night in the ninth inning.  His Aragua team is up three games to two in the best of seven finals which continue tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Phillies Prospects Cozens, Valentin, Milner and Sandberg Keep On Playing In Offseason Playoffs

And four are still standing.  But another Phillies offseason player’s season came to an end last night.

Though he was not in the lineup catcher Logan Moore’s season came to an end when his Licey team lost the best- of-nine game Dominican Winter League finals, five games to one.  Moore has been invited to the major league camp, as a non-roster invitee, when pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater on February 18th.

Moore put up some good numbers in the DWL hitting .275 going 14 for 51 in the regular season including 5 doubles, a triple and 2 homers for a .936 OPS.   In the playoffs he went 9 for 36 with two triples.  Overall in the DWL, he hit .264 in 87 at bats scoring 17 runs and driving in 16 runs.

In the Puerto Rico Winter League, Dylan Cozens, Jesmuel Valentin and Hoby Milner are still going strong.  Though their Mayaguez team lost last night in 13 innings, 4-3, to see the best-of-seven final series get tied up at 2-2, Cozens homered (watch HERE), Valentin doubled and scored while Milner in his LOOGY role retired the only batter he faced, a left-handed bat.

Cord Sandberg finished the regular Australian Baseball League season this past weekend.  His Canberra Cavalry came in second place and will play Adelaide this weekend in a best-of-three semi-final series for the right to face the regular season champion Brisbane Bandits in the Finals.

Sandberg played mostly in right field hit .263 (42 for 160) with 7 doubles, a triple and a homer.  He drove in 13 runs.

We will be watching Sandberg in the semi-finals on ABL-TV this weekend.  Earlier this week his Cavalry team celebrated the the end of the regular season.  Cord was having some fun with his teammate at the regular season ending party.  It been a long season.

Cord Sandberg, back row with foam finger celebrates with his Cavalry teammates. (Photo courtesy of Canberra Cavalry)

Cord Sandberg, back row with foam finger celebrates with his Cavalry teammates. (Photo courtesy of Canberra Cavalry)

Cord Sandberg and teammate David Harris celebrate with Photo Booth props. (Photo courtesy of Canberra Cavalry)

Cord Sandberg and teammate David Harris celebrate with Photo Booth props. (Photo courtesy of Canberra Cavalry)

 

 

 

 

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

Rhys Hoskins Has Earned The Title Of The Phillies First Baseman Of The Future!

It’s finally over.  The 2015 season for Phillies top prospect Rhys Hoskins did not end until today, 24 days into 2016 half way around the world in Sydney Australia and 7o4 at bats later.

Rhys Hoskins celebrates the win. Photo courtesy of ABL Facebook Page

Rhys Hoskins celebrates the win. Photo courtesy of ABL Facebook Page

The Phillies worked Hoskins hard but he responded by having a season that we will not quickly forget.  He ended his his 2015 season strong even though it was extended by 24 days into 2016.  In his final game Sunday, he drove in four runs on a RBI sac. fly and a bases clearing double in the 10-8 Sydney win over Melbourne.  Watch HERE and HERE.

Hoskins’ final game was not over until 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning ET, but those of us who are as true baseball fans or little bit crazy could not turn it off.

In 188 games this season, including two post-season and two All-Star games, he racked-up 221 hits including 53 doubles, 6 triples, 26 home runs to hit .311 overall. He drove in 135 runs.

It was a unique consistency that was Hoskins trademark in 2015. He hit over .300 and slugged over .500 in each of the three leagues he played: the South Atlantic, Florida State and Australian leagues.  In similar number of games in each league including All-Star and post season, he had 9 homers and 52 RBIs in the Sally;  9 homers and 40 RBIs in the Florida State League and 8 homers and 43 RBIs in the ABL.

What also caught my attention watching Hoskins play in the 49 ABL games was his fielding, he committed only one error though a few games were as a DH. His base stealing, he stole five bases in six attempts.   He puts the ball in play as he struck out only 32 times in at least 210 ABL plate appearances.

I have no doubt if you stick Hoskins in the lineup he will produce higher levels in the 2016 season.  I would expect him to start the season with Reading then quickly advance to Lehigh Valley and then get a September call-up to the Show.  After the 2015 season he has already earned it!

If we are projecting the 2017 opening day Phillies starting lineup, they could have some tremendous right-handed batting pop to generate offense with Maikel Franco at third and Rhys Hoskins at first. They are both of similar age with Hoskins only seven months younger.  Though, I hope not too many of those Phillies games end at 4:30 A.M.

 

 

 

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

Finally, The 2015 Season Is Ending For Phillies Prospects Rhys Hoskins, Logan Moore, Dylan Cozens And Jesmuel Valentin

The 2015 baseball season has ended for just about every Phillies prospects.  But not all!

The minor league Phillies bloggers are now slowly but surely ranking their top prospects sometimes one or blocks of ten at a time.  We just received a text from one of our boys in the Dominican Republic with a picture of him long tossing and getting ready to report to the Phillies academy.  And of course the fantasy campers will be gone this weekend so spring training must be right around the corner.

Though when we stopped by the Phillies box office at Bright House to get our Threshers season tickets last week, the line for tickets was not particularly long for Phillies spring training games. In fact it was non-existent.  The only other person in line was one of our Threshers season-ticket holder, Frank, who waited behind us.

Finally for several Phillies prospects this is likely the final weekend of the 2015 season.  We fired up the laptop last night at 3:30 a.m. Saturday morning to watch Rhys Hoskins get robbed of a base hit. Watch HERE.  He did  get his 39th rbi in the ABL later in the game in the last weekend of the Australian Baseball League regular season.  It was his 130th rbi for the entire 2015 season.

Hoskins should be headed back to the States soon since his team did not make the ABL post season and will get some rest until March when the minor league camp opens.  He was not invited to the Phillies major league camp.

Earlier Friday night we were watching Logan Moore catch for the Licey Tigers in the Dominican Winter League Finals.  Though he did single and score, Licey went down 3-2 for its third straight loss in the first three games of the nine game championship series.

Logan Moore batting in DWL Playoffs

Logan Moore batting in DWL Playoffs

Then, we checked the score from the finals in the Puerto Rico Winter League championship series and read that Dylan Cozens singled and scored a run and Jesmuel Valentin tripled and scored in the 4-0 win for the Indios de Mayaguez in the first game of the best of seven finals.

As far as Hoskins, Moore, Cozens and Valentin are concerned it probably has been for them the longest baseball season ever.  But it soon will be over.  Just think for Logan Moore, he has to report to the major league camp for pitchers and catchers on February 18th to start the 2016 season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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