The Phillies International Talent At The Gulf Coast League Level Including Pelletier, Kuznetsov and Gomez Continue to Rise As Prospects

After a couple of weeks off we finally made it to a Gulf Coast League at game at Robin Roberts Field on Saturday morning to see several of the best Phillies international standouts take on the GCL Braves. They included Canadian corner outfielder Ben Pettetier, late inning Russian reliever Anton Kuznetsov and Venezuelan shortstop Jose Gomez, a newcomer just acquired at the trading deadline in the Neshek deal with Colorado.

Pelletier started off with a long shot to the gap in left center that was run down by the Braves centerfielder just before he ran into the fence.  Later in the game Ben lined a single to left and singled to center.  Watch all of those at bats HERE.

Ben Pelletier singles to left against the GCL Braves

Ben who will turn 19 years 0ld later this month has to be one of the best young players from Canada.  He is hitting .317 with three homers and 18 RBIs in 101 at bats overall. He has really come on in his first five games in August going 10 for 19.  In his last ten games he is hitting .389. With runners in scoring position for the season he is hitting .406 going 13 for 36.

Anton Kuznetsov backing up a play against the GCL Braves

Kuznetsov came on in relief in the eight inning with two outs and a runner on third.  The first batter he faced hit a high catchable fly ball to left which Pelletier initially came in on  but the ball went over his head.  Two inherited runs scored on a hit ruled a double.  Both runs were charged to Jose Jimenez who started the inning. Anton struck out the next batter for the final out watch HERE and retired the Braves with no runs in the ninth inning.

Anton has yet to give up an earned run in nine appearances over 15.2 innings.  He has allowed seven hits, two walks and struck out 17 for a 0.57 WHIP.  At 19 years-old, clearly Kuznetsov is the best pitcher I know of to ever to come out of  Russia.  In fact he is the only Russian pitcher I know of to have ever pitched in affiliated baseball.

Jose Gomez singles to right against the GCL Braves

Jose Gomez looks like a keeper at shortstop. At 20- years-old he is a bit older than most of the players who played on Saturday. He had a nice line drive base hit to right in the game.  He is playing in the GCL on a rehab assignment from the Threshers and in two games he is 3 for 6 with a run scored and one RBI. Watch his hit from Saturday’s game HERE.

The GCL Phillies lost Saturday’s game in 11 innings, 7-6 to remain in second place in the Northwest Division of the GCL.




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Last Night’s Debut Tales Of Phillies Pitching Prospects Jose Taveras and Drew Anderson

Last night Baseball Betsy and I decided to skip the Clearwater Threshers game and stay home and watch the AAA debut of Jose Taveras on MiLB-TV against the Minnesota Twins farm team in Rochester New York.  And we’re glad we did!

Taveras put on a pitching clinic on MiLB-TV last night, pitching six innings, giving up two hits, allowing no earned runs, striking out eight and retiring the last 10 batters he faced for a 3-1 win.

Jose reminded me last night of a right-handed version of Cole Hamels with similar velocity.  He used a rapidly paced, change-up, fastball combination with an occasional curve ball just like Cole did for so many years for the Phillies.

If Taveras keeps it up as he has done all season with High A, Clearwater, AA Reading and now AAA Lehigh Valley, he has got to be a lock for a September call-up to the Show, hopefully as a starter!

While the Taveras AAA debut was outstanding, all the press wanted to talk about, in Drew Anderson’s major league, one inning “relief” debut last night against the Angels, was his strikeout of Mike Trout.  That’s fine but he gave up a two hits and two runs only one earned for a 9.00 ERA.   Not what you want to show on the back of your baseball card or internet page.

My question is why would you put a young pitcher who is a minor league AA starter and throw him in his major league debut as a reliever?  It was not fair to Anderson to put him in a situation which he has faced much if at all.  In fact in his pro career he has started in 61 of his 68 minor league appearances and has last pitched in relief in one appearance way back in the 2014 GCL season.

In any event we congratulate Drew Anderson in his major league debut and Jose Taveras in his AAA debut.



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Clearwater’s Jan Hernandez Continues To Lead The Threshers To Victory Down The Stretch

Several of the best reasons to watch development baseball are watching players move on up the chain and a player developing before your eyes into a major league prospect.

Several of out friends are on the move. Starting pitchers Jose Taveras has moved up to AAA after two starts at AA and Jacob Waguespack has moved up to AA Reading.  Moving on up what it is all about at the high A level here in the Florida State League.

But it is more exciting watching a position player suddenly come of age as a prospect as Jan Hernandez is doing.  Since leaving third base and going to right field, he has hit in nine straight games in which he has played including three home runs with in this stretch.

Last night against Ft. Myers it was a little different way he got the Threshers the lead.

His base hit in the fourth inning set up Zach Green to score the Clearwater’s first run on a wild pitch in the fourth inning. Watch HERE.

Jan Hernandez is hit by a pitch

The game was tied at 3-3  after a two-run homer by Carlos Duran in the seventh. Watch HERE.   In the bottom of the eight inning Hernandez was hit by a pitch on a full count with two outs.  Then Jan stole second base and scored on a base hit by Jose Pujols, Watch HERE, to give the Threshers a 4-3 lead.

Trevor Bettencourt

Later in the inning the Threshers added on two more runs and reliever Trevor Bettencourt came on to pitch the final two inning for the 6-3 win. Watch Bettencourt’s final out HERE.

The Threshers now go into the final month of the season with a chance to win a playoff spot after winning 6 of the last 7 games in July. It will be the play of Jan Hernandez that might be the key difference maker for the Threshers between making the post season or going home early.





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The Threshers Pitching Was Strong Last Night With Suarez, Hammer and the No-hitter By Arauz Standing Out In the Sunday’s Doubleheader

One thing about the Phillies organization is that it has a lot of strong pitching,  A Clearwater Threshers Sunday doubleheader split in the seven inning games was no exception against the Ft. Myers Miracle.

The starter in the first game was Ranger Suarez and he retired the first 12 batters he faced in four innings of work. See his six strikeouts HERE.

JD Hammer

The rains came in the fifth causing a lengthy delay and Suarez was replaced by just acquired J.D. Hammer. When action resumed  J.D. allowed an inherited run to score in the fifth inning in an otherwise clean two innings.  Watch the Hammer strikeout HERE.

The lack of offense is nothing new to the Threshers who were shutout in the first game 4-0.

The closest they came to scoring was a base hit by the hot Jan Hernandez but Zach Green was thrown out at the plate after attempting to score from second on the Hernandez single.

Hernandez now has hit safely in eight straight games including three home runs in that span.  Watch his base hit and Green’s double HERE.

But apparently that was too much hitting for the experts in  Phillies minor league department.  Jan was benched in the second game and did not play.

In the second game the Threshers Harold Arauz  pitched a seven inning no-hitter allowing only a walk in the seventh inning.  He made the two runs scored by Zach Green stand up. Zach scored, after he hit a triple, on an RBI single by Jose Pujols in the second inning. After his base hit in the sixth, Zach moved around the bases to score on a bunt single by Austin Bossart for the 2-0 win.

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Another Night, Another Walk-off Win For The Clearwater Threshers Led by Derek Campbell and “C” Randolph

Cornelius Randolph score the winning run

The most exciting play in baseball is the walk-off win.  The Clearwater Thresher have done it two games in a row to go to 17-17 in the second half of the Florida State League.  They are now 1.5 games behind the Dunedin Blue Jays for the final playoff spot in the northern division.

Thursday night Jan Hernandez homered into the bullpen in left in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-2 win and last night it was a seeing eye base hit through the 5-6 hole by Derek Campbell to score Cornelius Randolph to walk off the Daytona Tortugas for the second straight night in a 4-3 win. See HERE.

The Threshers scoring was paced by Campbell who also homered down the line in left in the second inning.  The second run was set up in the third inning by a lead off base hit by Grenny Cumana who then stole second. He scored on a double by Cornelius Randolph. Watch HERE. Randolph also doubled in the ninth to score Emanuel Marrero with the tying run. Watch HERE.

Randolph is finishing up a strong July where he is hitting .319 with a .925 OPS for the month. Jan Hernandez continued his hit a game streak, now with six straight one hit games including two homers. Watch his hit last night HERE . 

Franklyn Kilome threw a quality start giving up three runs, only one earned and striking out five over six innings.  Watch a strikeout HERE.  Blake Quinn pitched three shutout innings out of the pen for the win.




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Nothing Beats The Long Ball For the Game Winner! Just Ask Jiandido Tromp and Jan Hernandez

I must admit I am old school. Give me the long ball and I am happy.  I grew up in the era of Maris vs. Mantle and Earl Weaver and the three run homers of the great Orioles teams.   I have grown old of course following Charlie Manuel’s great Phillies of teams of the recent past.

So when I read that Reading’s Jiandido Tromp went yard last night in the seventh inning with a three run homer for the winning margin in the game and then moments later on the way back from the Threshers game Baseball Betsy told me that the Threshers’ Jan Hernandez hit a two run walk off  homer in the bottom of the ninth for a 4-2 win, everything was right in the world.

Tromp’s blast was his 13th homer of the year. With about five weeks remaining in the season he has an outside chance of tying the 20 home runs he hit last season which were equally divided between Lakewood and Clearwater.  This season he has hit nine at First Energy Stadium and last night was his fourth homer on the road.  Watch HERE.

Jan Hernandez at bat early in last night’s game

Hernandez went deep for the 14th time his season and trails the home run leader in the Florida State League by only two.  Previously the most homers he hit in one season was ten.  He has hit six at Spectrum Field and eight long balls on the road this season. Watch HERE.

Now a right fielder with a strong arm. He has hit well since moving from third base where he was error prone. Hernandez must decide what kind of hitter he will be. Will he hit like he has done in April and July this season batting .275 with a nearly .900 OPS and ten homers combined or like he did in May and June where he hit only .165 with a .575 OPS. and four homers.

At baseball age 23, Tromp is in his sixth season and baseball age 22, Hernandez is in his fifth season in the Phillies organization.  The next five weeks will be important for them, now both corner outfielders.  It will go a long way to determine whether or not they should be protected on the 40 man major league roster or will become career AAAA minor league outfield journeymen.





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Most of the Threshers Best Players Have Moved On Up But Some Of The Best Have Remained in Edgar Garcia, Jeff Singer and “C” Randolph

After losing a doubleheader to the team with the worst second half record in minor league baseball on Tuesday, the Clearwater Threshers bounced back with a 3-0 win over the forlorn Daytona Tortugas on Wednesday. The Reds farmhands are now 6-27 in the second half while the Threshers moved to 15-17.

Most of the Threshers better position players have moved on up or are injured while the lineup is littered with players struggling to stay over or get to .200, the dreaded Mendoza line. Pitching is not much better with ace Jose Taveras now pitching in Reading. The chance of getting into the FSL playoffs will be a difficult assignment in the final six weeks of the season.

However, three important players remain from the first half team that came within a game of first place in the FSL Northern Division, Wednesday’s starting pitcher Edgar Garcia, closer Jeff Singer and left fielder Cornelius Randolph. They keep getting better and better. And they came up big again in yesterday’s game.

Garcia pitched the game of his life throwing  6.2 innings of shutout baseball. Watch his five strikeouts HERE for the win. He has been brilliant in his last two starts allowing only one earned run in 12.2 innings while striking out 12 and walking only one.

Singer came on for a seven out save.  It was his league leading 19th save of the season. Watch his four strikeouts HERE.

Offensively in the sixth inning, Grenny Cumana singled, then Randolph hit a double sending Cumana to third. Randolph’s double set up Wilson Garcia’s two run RBI double.  Watch the highlights HERE.

Randolph hit his tenth homer of the season in the eight inning for the third run.  “C” as he is known is now hitting .321 with a .932 OPS in the second half.

Edgar Garcia, Jeff Singer and Cornelius Randolph are three Threshers who just might get a quick look see in Reading before the season ends..  They have earned it!







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