Finally, the 2018 Phillies minor league season is over. The GCL Phillies, Lakewood BlueClaws, Clearwater Threshers and Lehigh Valley IronPigs all made the post-season. The teams finished with a combined 5-9 record playoff record with only Lakewood advancing to and eliminated in the Championship round.
To say the Phillies Front Office put little emphasis on minor league playoffs would be accurate. Even the Phillies Farm Director quit and left town the day the playoffs started. A few days later, four minor league hitting coaches and the minor league team field coordinator were cut loose.
Baseball Betsy and Ross are not quitters and no one can fire us. We watched most of the Phillies playoff games even to the the bitter end Friday night on MiLB-TV. There, the Lexington Legends eliminated the BlueClaws in Game 4 of the SAL Championship game by a 2-1 score to finally end the minor league season.
The one game we were able to attend in person was the Clearwater Threshers first and only playoff win, since the 2007 season, to start the 2018 FSL playoffs. With Grenny Cumana’s play in left field and with what he did with his bat both in the eight inning of that game, he played like no other player ever has played in one inning in our memory. He threw out the potential winning run at the plate in the top of the eight inning and hit a home run in the bottom half of the eighth to give the Threshers a 7-6 win. Cumana is our Phillies minor league co-Phillies Position Player of the Playoffs.
Our other Phillies Position Player of the Playoffs is catcher Rodolfo Duran. All Duran did was hit three homers in six playoff games for the BlueClaws. He led the SAL post season in homers and was tied in RBIs and total bases. He was third in OPS with a .956. Rodolfo threw out 42% of base stealing attempts to lead the league during the regular season and threw out 67% stealing attempts ( 4 0f 6) in the playoffs. He caught Spencer Howard’s n0-hitter in the Semi-Final Game 2 clincher.
Unarguably, the two top starting pitching prospects in the Phillies system are Spencer Howard and Mauricio Llovera coming out of the 2018 season. They each can sit their fastball at 94-97 mph and can drop the hammer on their breaking pitches. They did exactly that in the playoffs.
For Lakewood, Howard pitched the rare, nine-inning no-hitter in his first playoff start and went the next four innings in his second start without allowing a hit. Overall he allowed only a run and three hits in 14 playoff innings. For Clearwater, Llovera had a one-hitter going into the seventh inning when he allowed a two-run homer in his only playoff start which resulted in a no decision. They each averaged a strikeout an inning in the playoffs.
Both of them finished strong in the regular season too. In August, Howard went 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA striking out 28 in 22 innings for Lakewood. Llovera went 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA striking out 38 in 31 innings They are both baseball age 22 with a very bright future ahead of them for next season.
We have compiled many videos from throughout the 2018 season on our YouTube channel. If you’d like to see video clips of the Clearwater players, click HERE.
Baseball Betsy and Ross congratulate Grenny Cumana, Rodolfo Duran, Spencer Howard and Mauricio Llovera for being named our 2018 Phillies Players of the Playoffs.