This year’s Reading first baseman Jim Murphy and Clearwater Threshers relief pitcher Ken Giles have started strong after week one in the Venezuela Winter League and the Arizona Fall League respectively. Big Jim is among the top five in just about all offensive categories in the VWL by going 7 for 13 with a three run homer in the first four games. Ken Giles in two appearances in the AFL struck out five and picked up a save.
Murphy just turned 28 year old and probably is not considered a prospect but if he can put up big numbers in Venezuela he might get a shot with another organization or a place like Japan for teams looking for a big right handed power bat. Though he has played almost exclusively at first base we did watch him played a few games at third for Clearwater back in 2010 and he did play three games in left field for Reading this season.
The big first first baseman started strong for Reading this season but worn down in the second half to hit .273 with a career hit high 23 home runs for the season to tie for the Eastern League lead in home runs. He led the Eastern League in games played with 139.
Kenny Giles is one of our favorite players especially we he pitches in Dunedin where the scoreboard puts up pitch speed numbers. For the past two seasons Kenny gets the 00 or 01 to pop on the scoreboard. The old scoreboard there is not designed for the triple digit velocity that Giles has. He apparently is also lighting up the radar guns in the Arizona Fall League. Five of his six outs he has recorded so far have been strike outs including two called strike outs.
Giles’ problems has been command and health. So far in the AFL he has not walked a batter in his two innings. His 2.5 strike outs per innings pitched leads the AFL where the best young minor league pitchers are assigned. He has been bothered with back problems this season. He started on the disabled list and soon after he came back this summer Baseball Betsy and I watched him drop to the ground on the mound with back problems after throwing a pitch in a Threshers game.
While Jim Murphy is older from a prospect prospective, Ken Giles just turned 23 last month. The Phillies and just about any other major league team can always use a right handed power bat but first base is already occupied with the Phils with an injury riddled Ryan Howard but a power hitting backup at AAA might be important. The need for a power arm out of the pen is urgent with the rapid loss of velocity of Jonathan Papelbon and the injury to Mike Adams this season.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see lefty Jake Diekman at 96 mph and righty Ken Giles at 100 mph coming out the pen in close and late games for the Phillies next season. What both Murphy and Giles do over the next two months will go a long way to determining their future in the Phillies organization next season.