Home runs in back to back games on the final weekend of the season by Cord Sandberg in Williamsport; Herlis Rodriguez hitting .382 in his last ten games for the Threshers and Maikel Franco hitting .417 over his last ten games with 13 RBIs for the IronPigs are several examples of Phillies prospects finishing strong.
It is how they finish the season that will be talked about over the winter in the Hot Stove League, not what they did to start the season or how they were playing at the All-Star break.
My pitcher for finishing strong is Lakewood’s starting pitcher Ranfi Casimiro. The tall 6’8”, 22 year old right-hander finish the season in grand style going 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in August, striking out 27 in 26.1 innings of work in five starts. Batters hit only .238 against him in the month.
Saturday night in his 24th and last start of the season Cassie, as the coaches call him, came so close to winning his fourth game of the month. He ended the fifth inning against Hagerstown by striking out the side swinging and after a Lakewood put up a four spot in the top of the 6th to go up 4-1.
He tired in the bottom of the sixth and after two batters got on base he gave way to the bullpen which eventually blew the save in the 7th inning though the BlueClaws did hold on and came back to win the game.
What was the key to the strong showing by Casimiro in August? He pitched strong with runners in scoring position during the month. As I figure opponents hit only 5 for 32 against him with runners in scoring position during the month for a .150 batting average.
Cassie is a fierce competitor and he showed it in August by being the toughest when it counted the most and that was with runners in scoring position.
Ranfi Casimiro is my Phillies minor league pitcher of the month for August and it is the most important month for any minor league player IMO.
Ranfi’s fellow Dominican Maikel Franco is obviously again the Phillies position player of the month for hitting .308 with seven home runs, 15 runs scored and 24 RBI’s in 29 games in August for a +10 offensive rating. That’s after his unheard of +13 for July on the Baseball Ross +/- offensive rating chart.
By finishing strong and putting up big numbers in August should help pave the way for Casimiro to start the 2015 season on the starting staff of the Clearwater Threshers and Franco with the Phillies.