The Phillies Josh Tobias, Sixto Sanchez, Andrew Brown and Greg Pickett Standout in Instructs Game Against the Yankees

Josh Tobias

Josh Tobias playing against the Canadian Junior National team to begin 2016 minor league spring training games back in March.

The Phillies Instructs were overwhelmed by the Yankees Instructs taking a 13-5 beating yesterday at Bright House Field.  Still, Phillies Josh Tobias, Sixto Sanchez, Andrew Brown and Greg Pickett stood out.

Normally a second baseman Josh Tobias was playing third base yesterday. He broke up a no-hitter in the fourth inning by bouncing a double down the third base line. Watch HERE.

The last time we saw the switch-hitting Tobias play, he drove a long home run in the final game of the Clearwater Threshers season in Dunedin.  Watch HERE.

Reports were circulating that Tobias will be one of three prospects the Phillies are sending to play Winter ball in the country of Columbia.

Two, 18 year-old Phillies pitchers did stand out.  Dominican free against, Sixto Sanchez struck out three in 2.1 innings relying on a mid-90’s fastball and good slider. Watch his first strikeout HERE.  A 13th round, 377 overall draft pick, right-hander Andrew Brown pitched the ninth and struck out two on big breaking pitches. He pitched in relief for the GCL Phillies this season.  He had a 2.75 ERA in 11 games striking out 20 in 19.2 innings.

Sanchez  had a breakout season with the GCL Phillies leading the Gulf Coast League  with a 0.50 ERA to go 5-0 in 55 innings-the lowest ERA of any qualifying pitcher in minor league baseball. He pitched another seven shutout innings to pick up the win over the Braves sending the Phillies to the GCL Finals.

Greg Pickett, playing in left field yesterday, went deep in the ninth inning to make the score more respectable. He lined a long home run that landed up on the berm in front of the flags in right center . Watch HERE.

The 6’4″ 230 lbs. Pickett, who will turn 20 years-old the end of October, did not play in the 2o16 season.  He showed yesterday has the power potential to be an impact MLB player someday.

So keep an eye out for Tobias, Sanchez, Brown and Pickett.  They were the Phillies Instructs standouts of the game yesterday.

The Phillies infield coaches drill an Instruct on the ‘Phillies way” to play first base on the half field adjacent to Bright House Field below:

Darick Hall works with coaches at first base

Darick Hall works with coaches at first base yesterday






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Phillies Instructs Games Begin And Cornelius Randolph Goes DEEP!

What a way to start Phillies Fall Instructs!  Cornelius Randolph lined a three-run homer on to the berm in right at Brighthouse after the first two batters in the first inning, center fielder Simon Muzziotti and right fielder Malvin Matos, both singled to get a quick 3-0 lead over the Blue Jays.

Pitchers Franklyn Kilome, Edgar Garcia and lefty Nick Fanti came on and pitched shutout ball after the first five innings.  We love Fall ball where the stars of tomorrow play today. So lets get this party started!

Below are pictures that Baseball Betsy took from opening day of the Phillies, Florida Instructional League game:

Simon Muzziotti

17- year-old Simon Muzziotti leads off with a base hit in the first inning

Cornelius Randolph

Cornelius Randolph lines a three-run homer to  right in the first inning

Franklyn Kilome

Franklyn Kilome gets the start but the game was delayed by lightning in the top-of-the-second inning.

Lightning was too close to continue the game, leading to an hour and a half delay

To start the top of the second inning, lightning strikes were too close to continue the game leading to a long delay.

Edgar Garcia

Edgar Garcia pitched two scoreless innings.

Nick Fanti

Nick Fanti pitched two shutout innings.

Pat Gillick in peach and Ed Wade in green

Pat Gillick in peach and Ed Wade in green evaluate the Phillies young talent.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr hits a double

Vladimir Guerrero Jr hits a double off the left field wall in the sixth inning for the Jays.



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The Four “Under The Radar” Phillies Farmhands Who Stood Out In The Final Regular Season Game Of The Season

In my previous blog I wrote about the four, “crème de la crème”, prospects  who played the entire 2016 season in the Phillies minor leagues system.

Including the playoffs, Dylan Cozens (41 homers, 128 RBIs) and Rhys Hoskins (39 homers, 118 RBIs) were one and two in all of minor league baseball in hitting long balls out of the park.

Also, including the playoffs, Ben Lively, 18-6, .750 winning percent, had not only the most wins in the entire Phillies system but all of minor league baseball.  Elniery Garcia pitched to a 13-4 record.   His .765 winning percent was the highest in the Phillies system and one of the highest winning percents in all of minor league baseball of those pitchers with at least 17 decisions.

Combined, Cozens and Hoskins hit 80 homers and drove in 246 runs.  Lively and Garcia had a 31-10 won-loss record with ERA’s well under 3.00 combined during the regular season and playoffs.

So now lets take a look at four Phillies farmhands who caught our eyes in final game of the 2016 regular season when the Clearwater Threshers took on the playoff bound Dunedin Blue Jays.

Baseball Betsy and I sat in limited shade behind home plate for a Sunday afternoon three o’clock start in blazing 90 degree heat in the old Dunedin Stadium.  A Stadium which is awaiting badly needed renovations.  Read HERE.  But, we were at the game and glad we came.

We got to see the final at bats of the season for outfielder Jiandido Tromp, second baseman Josh Tobias and catcher Austin Bossart.  The starter that day was Brandon Leibrandt who missed most of the season on the DL.

Jiandido Tromp

Jiandido Tromp

Tromp had a strong 2016 season.  He turns 23-years-old on Tuesday.  He hit 20 home runs and was one of only six players in the Phillies minor league system to hit at least 20 home runs, ten each with Lakewood and Clearwater. For the season he was 14 of 18 in stolen bases.  He has five-tool ability and finished the FSL season strong in the last ten games going 10 for 38 with three homers and 12 RBIs. He is eligible for the Rule Five Draft in December. Watch his sacrifice  fly in the last game of the season against Dunedin HERE.

Josh Tobias

Josh Tobias

Second baseman, 23-year-old Josh Tobias can hit a baseball.   Playing with Lakewood and Clearwater this season he finished up hitting .291 with 9 homers and 69 RBIs.  Watch his long home run in the last game of the Threshers season against Dunedin, HERE.

Austin Bossart

Austin Bossart

Catcher Austin Bossart had a great season.  The only problem was he did not play much. He only caught a game or two a week for the Threshers.  Over his last ten games covering the last six weeks of the season, he hit an amazing .429 (12 for 28) with six RBIs. We all would like to see a little more of the  23- year-old University of Penn graduate next season.

When is the last time you have read about a backup catcher who hit over .400 at any p0int in the season?.  I have read about only one ever and that was Austin Bossart in the Phillies minor league system this year.  Watch Bossart’s double driving-in two of his three RBIs in the final game of the season against Dunedin HERE.

Brandon Liebrant

Brandon Leibrandt

Left-handed, starting pitcher Brandon Leibrandt finished up an injury plagued second season with the Threshers.  He picked up the win in the final game of the season to go 4-1 on the season. In two seasons with the Threshers, the 23-year-old sixth round draft pick out of Florida State has gone 11-4 in 23 starts.  Watch one of his strikeouts against Dunedin HERE.

It will be interesting to watch what happens in the future to Tromp, Tobias, Bossart and Leibrandt.  They all finished strong in the final game of the 2016 season.








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Cozens, Hoskins and Lively Are The Phillies Minor League Players Of The Year, But Why Not Include Elniery Garcia Too?

Congratulations to Dylan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins and Ben Lively for receiving the Paul Owens Award as the best position players and pitcher in the Phillies organization.  They put up some of the best numbers of any player in  MLB minor league baseball.

Cozens led all minor league players in homers with 40 and 125 RBIs.  Hoskins was second with 38 homers and 116 RBIs.  Plus, they each homered once in four playoff games and Cozens added three more RBIs and Hoskins added two more RBIs in the post season.

The Bash Brothers-Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens (Photo courtesy ofDON HOLOHAN/FOR PHILLYVOICE)

The Bash Brothers-Rhys Hoskins and Dylan Cozens (Photo courtesy ofDON HOLOHAN/FOR PHILLYVOICE)

Lively led all minor league pitcher going 18-5 between Reading and Lehigh Valley and went 0-1 in the playoffs allowing two runs in a 7.2 inning start in the post season.

Since the position player award was split between left-handed and right-handed bats, I would have included lefty starting pitcher Elniery Garcia as a co-winner of the pitching award go with the righty, Ben Lively.  Garcia went 13-4 including the only win for Reading in the Eastern League  playoffs.

During the regular and post seasons Lively and Garcia had similar ERAs.  Lively pitched to a 2.69 ERA in the regular season and a 2.35 ERA in the playoff game.  Garcia pitched to a 2.68 ERA in the Florida State League regular season and a 3.00 ERA in the E.L. playoff game.

While Lively won 18 games compared to Garcia’s 13 games, Garcia lost only four games while Lively was charged with six losses.

Read HERE about the Owens Awards and included in the post are videos of a Cozens and Hoskins home run and a Lively strikeout.

Ben Lively

Ben Lively

Watch videos of Cozens home run in Reading and Hoskins home run at Citizens Bank Park in the two Phillies Futures games just before the start of the 2016 season.  HERE and HERE.

Elniery Garcia

Elniery Garcia

Watch a video of Garcia’s 11 strikeouts in his final game of the FSL regular season HERE.

Baseball Betsy and I would have been excited actually to watch the final several weeks of the 2016 Phillies season if Cozens, Hoskins, Lively and Garcia had been added to the 40-man roster and played and pitched in the MLB as September call-ups.

These four guys clearly proved on the field as the 2016 minor league season wrapped up, they are “the best they have” in the minor league system.





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Minor League Playoffs Are Over And The Phillies Teams go 6-11, Now On To AFL, Instruct and Winter Ball

“It’s always darkest before the dawn”.  For me that’s how I would sum up the Phillies minor league teams’ weak performances in the post season.

The Phillies are the only MLB organization not to have won a minor league championship over the last six seasons.

Two of four minor league Phillies teams which made the post season did make it to the Finals.  The GCL Phillies went down 2 games to 1 to the Cardinals in the Gulf Coast League Finals and Lakewood lost 3 games to 1 to  the Rome Braves in a best-of-five Sally League final series.

The four teams went 6-11 overall in the playoffs even though the Phillies farm teams had the best combined record in baseball during the regular season.

In two semi-final, best of five series, the Reading Fightins lost 3 games to 1 to the Trenton Thunder in AA and the Lehigh Valley IronPigs were swept 3 games to none by Scranton Wilkes-Barre in the AAA playoffs.

The only sliver of light was the pitching of several of the starting pitchers.

Ben Lively pitched 7.2 innings allowing only two runs in the first game lost to SWB.

Elniery Garcia won the lone Reading game giving up only two earned runs in his seven inning win over Trenton.

Franklyn Kilome threw a seven inning, one-hit, nine strikeout, shutout in the SAL finals against the Rome Braves and Jose Tavaras gave up only two runs to pick-up a seven inning win against Hagerstown in the semi-finals.

In the Gulf Coast League, the GCL Phillies several pitchers stood out with Sixto Sanchez pitching a seven inning shutout win against the GCL Braves in the one game semi-final and Nick Fanti pitched 5.1 innings of shutout baseball to get the a Phillies win in Game two of the best-of-three Finals against the GCL Cards.

Now its is on to Fall Instructs with the Phillies young invitees working out now at the Carpenter Complex.  The games start Monday.

The Arizona Fall League opens on Tuesday, October  11th.  Seven Phillies will join the Scottsdale Scorpions including pitchers, Victor Arano, Brandon Leibrandt, Miguel Nunez and Jeff Singer, infielders, Mitch Walding and Scott Kingery and outfielder Aaron Brown.

The Dominican Winter League opens October 20th with Phillies from the Dominican Republican playing there. Several Phillies from the USA are scheduled to play in the DWL as well. Read about several of the USA Phillies playing there HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.





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Tonight in Lakewood, Starts What Has Turned Out To Be A Best-OF-Three Sally League Finals And The BlueClaws Bullpen Will Play A Key Role

The Phillies Farm Director, Joe Jordan, has finally come around to winning matters in the minor league system.  Read HERE.

Acccording to Matt Eddy of Baseball America on Twitter , The “Phillies are only org. in last 5 yrs to *not* win at least one domestic minor league title.”

If the Phillies are to win a title it will be starting tonight in Lakewood, New Jersey, when the BlueClaws take on the Rome Braves with the best-of-five SAL Finals tied at 1-1 after playing the first two games in Georgia.

What was a best-of-five series has now become a best-of- three  series tonight, Friday night and if needed Saturday night at 7:05 each night in Lakewood for the Sally League Championship.

Lakewood and the GCL Phillies were last Phillies minor league teams to win league titles back in 2010.

With two shutdown starters going tonight, Lakewood’s Alberto Tirado and Rome’s Kolby Allard, look for the bullpens to play an key role in the outcome.

Tirado has not pitched more than six innings in any of his regular season starts this season and Allard pitched a six inning, three-hit, no decision, shutout in the semi-finals against Charleston.

If the BlueClaws are to win the Sally League and bring a minor league championship to  the Phillies organization, the bullpen will play a key role the rest of the series.

The pitchers in the current BlueClaws bullpen have a total of 31 saves this season and is led by closer Sutter McLouglin with 14 saves who could be the key to the series.

Others in the pen with saves are Jacob Waguespack 6, lefty Zack Morris 3, Edgar Garcia 2, Grant Dyer 3, and Ismael Cabrera with 3 saves.  Recently called-up Blake Quinn had two saves with Williamsport earlier in the season.

Jacob Waguespack

Jacob Waguespack

Jacob Waguespack

Jacob Waguespack


Edgar Garcia

Edgar Garcia


Watch video of Waguespack and Garcia from spring training.  HERE and HERE.






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Error Free Defense and Late Inning Relief Pitching Likely Will Determine Whether The BlueClaws Or The Braves Win The 2016 SAL Title.

“Too many errors cost Reading in loss to Trenton” tweeted Reading Eagle baseball beat writer, Mike Drago.  Tweets about the Lakewood BlueClaws Sally League final could have read, “Two Rome Braves errors led to four unearned runs to propel Lakewood to Game One win in the SAL finals.”   “Two errors and a wild pitch by Lakewood in the 5th inning padded Rome’s 6-1 win in Game Two.”

In Game One of the SAL playoffs Monday night it was BlueClaws centerfielder Carlos Duran laying out and making a big catch to set the tone for Lakewood’s 5-0 win.

Last night it was Rome’s centerfielder, Ronald Acuna, catching a fly ball off the bat of Wilson Garcia and turning it into an 8-3 double play to set the tone in the second inning.  It would be the first of five putouts by Rome’s center fielder to help shut down the Blue Claws.

In the playoffs it is many times the defense that is a major factor in what team goes on to win the series.  Good or poor defense is many times a momentum factor with two teams of similar skills in playoff baseball.

I am looking forward to Thursday night’s Game Three as the two teams fly over 800 miles back to Lakewood N.J. to resume the best-of-five series final.

It should be a good one with the Atlanta Braves first round, 2015 draft pick, 19- year-old Kolby Allard on the mound for Rome.  He pitched a no-decision, six inning, three hit shutout against Charleston in the first round.  In his last sevens starts he is 5-0.

Alberto Tirado

Alberto Tirado

Lakewood will call on 21-year-old ace, Alberto Tirado who was acquired last season in the Ben Revere trade.  Tirado lasted only four innings in his last start against Hagerstown in the first game of the semi-finals giving up a run and three hits. He walked three and struck out five.  Watch a video from when he appeared with the Threshers last season HERE.

But over Tirado’s last eight starts has gone 6-0 giving up only eight runs, 16 walks and striking out 67 in 41 innings.  He has not pitched more than six innings in any start so it will be a battle of the bullpens in the end which will likely determine the outcome of this game and most likely the series.

Thursday night’s Game Three should be a good one and we will be listening on the internet for the play-by-play.  Which ever team wins will likely be determined by the team that plays the best defense and has the most effective bullpen.



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