Watching The Phillies Stars Of Tomorrow Play Today

Some dates are more important than others in watching Phillies baseball. August 22, 2017, might be one of those dates.

We will be watching Rhys Hoskins to see if he can hit his second home run in Citizens Bank Park.  His first was back in a preseason Future game in March of 2016. Watch his first CBP home run HERE.   The Phillies, with the worst record in baseball, then buried him in the minors until two weeks ago.

What he did on the just completed Phillies road trip is what legends are made of.  Hitting five home runs in the seven road games is one of those “hard to believe, Harry” moments. Even more hard to believe is that he hit them in an only 25 at bat span.

We watched Hoskins play in his first professional game in Williamsport back in 2014 in the New York-Penn League.  Watch his first professional plate appearance in Williamsport HERE. This afternoon Hoskins plays in his first major league doubleheader.

JP Crawford’ s first professional hit at Pirate City.

We were also there back in 2013 when J.P. Crawford got hit first professional hit, a swinging infield hit down the third base line at Willie Stargell Field at Pirate City in a GCL game.

After his first two games and two fielding chances at third base Crawford, we expect, will take the field tonight again at third base in Allentown for the IronPigs.

Crawford’s play has been nothing short of spectacular in the last two month for Lehigh Valley. After hitting .281 (1.025 OPS) in July Crawford has heated up even more in August hitting .321 so far this month.  Read HERE.

Second baseman Scott Kingery is having a season to remember.  Between AA and AAA he is hitting .313 with a .924 OPS.  Over his last ten games with the IronPigs, he is hitting .372.  He is a true five tool player with 26 home runs and is 27 for 32 in stolen base attempts.

@ScottyJetpax25 was clutch last night, though going only one for five, his bases loaded single drove in the winning run in the tenth inning to keep his 19 game hitting streak alive.

Jose Taveras vs Canadian Junior National Team  Spring Training 2016

Tonight’s starting pitcher for Lehigh Valley, Jose Taveras, is fast tracking his way to the big leagues.  Since he was the winning pitcher in the Florida State All-Star game back in the middle of June, he has been on a rapid two month upward trajectory.  He has had three starts at AA and four starts at AAA to go with 16 starts at high A to start the season.

He brings a 1.17 AAA, ERA into tonight’s game against the Washington Nationals’ farm team from Syracuse, N.Y.  In his last start he pitched a six inning, one hitter against the Orioles farm team in Norfolk, Va.

I know what we will be doing starting about 4 o’clock this afternoon: Watching the Phillies stars of tomorrow play today!







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Threshers Struggle Again Against The St. Lucie Mets But Not Much Against Tim Tebow

With only 16 games left in the season and the playoffs hanging in the balance Thursday night, the Clearwater Threshers went back to their losing ways to the Tim Tebow Mets.

The St Lucie team won the four game series, 3-1, but the Threshers pitching held Tebow to only a two-run single in the first game on Monday. The four game series did draw about 23,ooo fans.

The Threshers have now lost 10 of their last 11 games as they fade down the stretch but several Threshers did stand out though as they try to end the season “strong”.

Edgar Garcia

Starting pitcher Edgar Garcia earned a quality start and a no decision in the 6-4 loss in 10 innings last night.  He went the first six innings giving up three runs on six hits and struck out six including a strikeout of Tebow.  Watch four of his strikeout on his breaking ball HERE.  The three runs he allowed were on a three run homer in the first inning.

Austin Bossart

It was catcher Austin Bossart and left fielder Cornelius Randolph who did the damage offensively for the Threshers.  Bossart drove in three runs on a single, double, watch HERE, and in the eight a sacrifice fly which gave the Thresher the lead at 4-3. Randolph tied it at three runs a piece in the seventh on a triple to center, watch HERE.

JD Hammer

Former outfielder Aaron Brown and J.D. Hammer, acquired from Colorado in the Neshek deal, were impressive in one inning relief stints in the seventh and eight innings. Brown picked up a strikeout on a 93 mph heater watch HERE.  Hammer relied on a fastball clocked at 95 and 96 MPH for strikes to get ahead in the counts in his one inning, watch HERE.

The Threshers closer Seth McGarry, acquired in the Benoit trade with Pittsburgh, was charged with the loss.  He was ineffective allowing the tying run in the ninth blowing a save opportunity and two runs in the tenth which turned out to be the winning runs.







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Will Jose Taveras Get The Call To The Show and Will the Clearwater Threshers Make The FSL Playoffs?

Right now the best starting pitcher in the Phillies organization might be Lehigh Valley’s Jose Taveras.

Today in Norfolk, Virginia, he pitched a six inning, one-hitter, giving up no runs, walking two and striking out six to get the win in a 6-1 game.  Jose now has a 1.17 ERA and went to 2-1 in 23 inning at AAA.

He started the season pitching in High A ball where he was the winning pitchers in the Florida State League All Star game and pitched to a  7-6 record and a 2.42 ERA in 101 innings.

Then he was called up to AA Reading for two starts and a 1-1 record prior to getting the call up to AAA Lehigh Valley.

One of the pitchers who took Taveras’s place in the Clearwater Thresher’s rotation was  lefty, McKenzie Mills, acquired from the  Washington system in the Howie Kendrick deal at the end of the July 31st trade deadline.

McKenzie Mills

Last night Mills was making his third start for the Threshers, first at home after moving up from Hagerstown in the South Atlantic League.

He pitched OK, allowing only one run going into the fifth inning before tiring after 4.2 innings.  He gave up four runs overall on 11 hits but showed promise by striking out seven, including Tim Tebow twice of the visiting St. Lucie Mets, and no walks on 96 pitches.

Watch his seven strike “threes”, HERE.  His out pitch was a mid-70’s breaking ball to go with his low 90’s fastball.

The Threshers came back and won the game 6-4 on five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to snap a nine game losing streak.  The win was fueled by a two-run double by third baseman Zack Green, watch HERE.  And a hard hit ball by first baseman Wilson Garcia, which was ruled a bad hop, two-run error charged to the Mets first baseman.

The questionable ruling by the home team’s official scorer ended the attempt at a ten game hitting streak by Garcia,  the Threshers’ first baseman. Watch HERE.

Two other things to watch for are still in play with the final 17 games of the minor league season remaining. One is the pitching of former Thresher Jose Taveras to see it he can earn a major league September call-up?  The other is can the Threshers earn a spot in the Florida State League playoffs now that they have broken their a nine game losing streak?








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Reading’s Damek Tomscha and Clearwater’s Wilson Garcia Now Hitting Over .400 In Last 9 Games

Talk about finishing strong. Nothing beats going on nine game hitting streaks in the final month of the season when it really counts. This is exactly what Reading’s Damek Tomscha and Clearwater’s Willy Garcia have done.

Both of them went deep last night. For Tomscha it was his second homer in his last four games watch HERE and HERE.  Garcia has hit a round tripper in each of his last three games.

Damek Tomscha from spring training

Over the last nine games Tomscha has gone 15 for 34 (.441) while Garcia has gone 17 for 39 (.436).

Wilson Garcia

The switch hitting Garcia has hit all of his 13 home runs left handed.  He has hit .277 with 4 RBIs in 101 at bats right handed and has hit .273 with 51 RBIs in 311 at bats left handed. He has walked only only 13 times in over 400 plate appearances this season.

Both can play multiple positions.

Tomscha has started at third and first while with Clearwater and Reading but primarily at third with Reading this season.

Garcia has played first base or used as a designated hitter almost exclusively this season.  But he has caught 111 games in his long Phillies minor league career including catching a two hit combined shutout by four Threshers pitchers against Palm Beach back on August 6th.

Both of them this season have hit double digit home runs for the first time in their Phillies minor league careers.  Last night Tomscha went deep for the 10th time last night and Garcia hit his 13th long ball this season.

Now in his fourth season in the Phillies system after being drafted in the 17th round in 2014, Tomscha turns 26 years old next week and Garcia, signed as a 16 year-old from Venezuela, will not turn 24 until January even though he has been in the Phillies organization since 2011.

Look for both of them to get invites to the major league camp next spring.

Wilson is eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December if not protected on the 40 man ML roster.

Consider this: I can’t name another left handed hitting catcher/first baseman in baseball who has hit 13 long balls so far this season, is hitting over .400 so far in August, who has caught a two-hit shutout in the same month and will play only at baseball age 24 next season other than Wilson Garcia.



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Which Phillies Position Prospects Are Finishing the 2017 Season “Strong”?

The remaining three weeks in the minor league season are the most important for any minor league player.  Every player evaluator for the 30 major league organizations asks the question “did he finish strong”.   It the answer is “Yes” many doors for 2018 will open.

In the minor leagues it’s better to be known as Mr. August than Mr. of any of the other of the five month season.  Just ask Mr October, Reggie Jackson  and Mr. November, Derek Jeter, at the final level.

We ranked below the Phillies top prospects for August based on OPS (on base percent plus slugging) after the first half of this month.

Lakewood’s first baseman Darick Hall leads the pack with  1.147.

He is followed closely by Clearwater’s first baseman/catcher Wilson Garcia at 1.141.  Yes, Wilson has caught one game so far this season.   Let’s hope we will see him more behind the plate in the future based on how he can hit for power.

Reading’s outfielder Cord Sandberg is third  at 1.076.

Fourth is Lehigh Valley’s shortstop J.P. Crawford at 1.026.

Fifth is GCL Phillies corner outfielder Ben Pelletier at .989

Sixth is Lakewood’s catcher Colby Fitch at .983 .

And seventh is Reading’s corner infielder/left fielder Damek Tomscha at .926.

Going into Tuesday’s action Pelletier leads in OBP at .489 and Hall leads in SLG. at .729, Home Runs 5 and RBIs 9 for the first half of August.  Hall is the Baseball Ross morning line betting favorite for Mr. August.

Wilson Garcia goes 4 for 4 with a homer and an rbi single against the St. Lucie Mets

Last night we were at the Threshers game where Wilson Garcia went 4 for 4 with a solo homer and a RBI single.  Watch Wilson’s homer and RBI single, HERE. While the Threshers lost their eight in a row last night, he has been one of the best players for them in the first half of August.

We will be we watching if these guys and others finish final three weeks of the 2017  season “strong”. For some it might be the most important three weeks of their baseball careers.






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Sixto Sanchez’s Fastball Topped At 100 mph But Struggled In The Fifth Inning; Zach Green Drove In Two Runs But Struck out Representing The Tying Run In The Ninth

Clearwater Threshers Sixto Sanchez (0-2 at A+) looked good for all but the fifth inning when gave up three runs.  Zach Green was three for three with two RBIs until the ninth inning when he struck out representing the winning run in a 3-2 loss to the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

Nineteen year-old Sixto Sanchez will be a major league pitcher some day but right now he has a way to way to go.

Sixto Sanchez

He started the game with high 90’s mph fastballs in the first inning.  He ended it after six innings on only 74 pitches with a 99 mph fastball for a swinging strike three. In between in the early innings he topped at 100 mph on the scoreboard gun including a swinging strike three on his first strikeout of the game in the third inning.  Watch his four strikeouts HERE.

Sixto Sanchez looks up at the scoreboard to see 100 mph after his first strikeout.

What is troublesome though is that in his two starts in the Florida State League, Sanchez has pitched 12 innings and has given up 16 hits and 8 runs.  He is throwing strikes, walking only one but has only struck out seven.  Hard to believe a pitcher whose fastball comes in at 96-100 mph has only seven strikeouts in 12 innings.

Still Sixto did earn a quality start and was in control of the game other that the fifth inning when the Flying Tigers put a three spot on the scoreboard against him. The Tigers farmhands put together a walk, double and two single to push across the three runs.

Sanchez was charged with the 3-2 loss as the weak hitting Threshers could only muster two runs thanks to a RBI single and a homer from Zach Green.  Watch Green’s RBI single HERE.

Some games Green looks like a top major prospect with the bat.  Last night was a game  Green showed he deserved to be in Reading except for the ninth inning strikeout.  His home run was one of the highest big flies to leave the park I have ever seen hit at Spectrum Field.  It landed in the seats in front of the Tiki Bar in left for his 8th of the season in only 136 at bats.  It was not wind aided with the 9 mph cross wind blowing left to right.

Zach Green touches ’em all

I was disappointed that the Phillies minor league department has not yet chosen to send Green to Reading to end the season. His bat would play well there!  Zach has the tools to put it all together.

Zach is in his sixth season in the Phillies organization. At baseball age 23, if he can stay healthy, he still has a chance to be a powerful right handed bat at the infield or outfield corner positions eventually for some major league team.



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The Phillies Farm System Has An Interesting Starting Left/Right Starting Pitching Combination and Several Home Run Hitting First Basemen

Growing up I watched many great major league lefty-right starting pitching combinations such as Spahn and Burdette for the the Braves and later Short and Bunning for the Phillies.  The Phillies have a left-right starter combination in the low minors who could fall into that category someday.

Kyle Young

Williamsport’s 19 year-old lefty Kyle Young retired the first 14 Yankee Baby Bombers he faced last night on Staten Island. Only an error by his shortstop broke up his El Perfecto with two out in the fifth inning.

He left with a 2-0 lead with one out in the sixth after 88 pitches and seven strikeouts, allowing two hits, one on a bunt.  But his reliever quickly let score the two inherited runners in the sixth and the Yankees went on to win 3-2.

Sixto Sanchez

Young’s outing was in contrast to 19 year-old righty Sixto Sanchez who lost to the Palm Beach Cardinals in his Florida State League debut Saturday night. He gave up five runs and ten hits, striking out only three in six innings.

The Sanchez fastball sat in the 95-98 mph range according to reports from the Threshers play by play accounts of the game.  Sanchez had an 83-63 pitch count.

Young’s fastball was 90 mph and his off speed stuff was in the 70’s which kept the Yankees batters off balance according to the play-by-play announcers on MiLB-TV last night. His pitch count was 88-61.

Both Young and Sanchez did not walk a batter.

The Phillies do appear to have a future lefty-righty starting combination someday at the MLB level.  But they appear to be rushing Sanchez up to high A while keeping Young locked at the low A, half season NY-Penn league this season.

While watching the New York-Penn game, I watched Williamsport’s first baseman Greg Pickett hit s solid line drive home run. Watch HERE.  The ball appeared to leave not only the ballpark but Staten Island and land over the right field wall into Lower New York Bay.

Greg Pickett

But Pickett was not the only Phillies minor league first baseman to go deep last night. He was joined by Kyle Martin who hit a three-run blast for Reading, watch HERE, and a long ball from Darick Hall for Lakewood.  Lehigh Valley first baseman Rhys Hoskins also went yard for the first time as left fielder. He now has 28 homers this season.

The Phillies minor league first basemen who homered last night-Hoskins (28), Martin (19), Hall (22) and Pickett (3)- have now combined to hit 72 home runs so far this season.

Hoskins broke the all time home run record in a season for Lehigh Valley on Saturday with his 27th. Watch HERE.

The Phillies seem to have a lot of starting pitching and first base power hitting depth at the minor league level.  It will be interesting to see how the pitching and power will translate some day at the MLB level.






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