Phillies Talent on Parade In Monday’s Instruct Game

Monday we saw more stars of the future at Phillies Instructs. They were playing the Pirates Instructs and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning on a long home run to the right of the batter’s eye in center at Ashburn Field by first baseman Greg Pickett.  Watch his blast HERE.

The situation was more than just a three-run homer, it was the Phillies future on parade. Remember the numbers 7, 13 and 28.  They just might be key Phillies jerseys of the next decade.

After two outs in the first inning, 2017 first round draft pick, No. 7 Adam Haseley, drew a walk. Then the top international signing from 2016, No 13 Jhailyn Ortiz, also walked to set up the three-run blast by Pickett, No 28.

Pickett who will turn 21 later this month was a 2015, eight-round pick in 2015.  He played for Williamsport in the New York/Penn League in 2017. He finish strong going 8 for 26 with a homer and six walks to end the season in September hitting .308 for a .938 OPS in the month.

The Phillies went the entire season without a start from a left-handed pitcher.  Highly rated lefty Elniery Garcia pitched two innings in the game allowing a run and striking out two.  He pitched to a 1.75 ERA in five starts for Reading after coming off an 80-game suspension for PEDs.   He will show his stuff next week in the Arizona Fall League.

Another lefty who pitched was David Parkinson who pitched a clean inning in the game with a strikeout.  Watch the strikeout, HERE.  He was a 12th round draft pick in 2017 out of Ole Miss.  He struck out 18 in nine innings combined in his first two starts for Williamsport in late August. Read HERE

Garcia will pitch at baseball age 23 and Parkinson will pitch at baseball age 22 next season. With the lack of the left-handed starters at the major league level in the Phillies system, both have a chance to move up quickly.

Though the Phillies Instructs lost 6-4 in the game we saw several Phillies prospects show major league promise in Monday’s game.





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A Phillies Star Is Born: Outfielder Carlos De La Cruz.

Instructs games are always interesting times of the baseball season for those of us who follow Phillies minor league baseball. Players ranging from 16 to 23 years old play for three or four weeks at the end of September to the first two weeks of October.

Some players we have seen many time before trying to make one last try to make it up the organization’s ladder. Some of them will be headed to the Arizona Fall League starting October 7th or winter ball in the Caribbean.

Others are younger kids, some of whom we have seen the last two or three years just trying to have a breakout 2018 season to chase their baseball dreams.

We came to watch the players who are the first or second year guys to see if any of them are made of the right stuff to play in the Show one day.

As one coach once said about whether any one of them is a major league prospect, “you know it when you see it”.

Mark Saturday, September 30th, 2017, on your calendar because we saw one!  His name is Carlos De La Cruz, age 17, who goes 6’8″, 210 lbs. He played right field for the final four innings in an Instructs game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

All De La Cruz did was come to bat with the bases loaded, two outs in the bottom of the 9th and the Phillies Instructs trailing 6-3.  On the first pitch he lines a double over the first baseman head to right to drive in two runs.  Watch HERE.

The Phillies Instructs would  go on and tie the game after nine  innings 6-6 when the game was called a tie. But it was the dramatic two out bases loaded single by an undrafted free agent who was playing on a New York City travel team this summer who made the difference.

What a way to break into professional baseball in your first game.

A name to remember is Carlos De La Cruz. You can easily find him on the field with his size and athleticism that we saw today on Robin Roberts Field at the Carpenter Complex in Clearwater.






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The Phillies Have Four Position Players and Four Pitchers Selected By Baseball America To It’s Classification Minor League All-Star Teams.

The 2017 Minor League season has come to an end and the awards are starting to roll in from Baseball America.

Lakewood BlueClaws pitcher Nick Fanti is going to need a U-Haul to haul away all of his 2017 awards.  Nick was selected by BA for its Low-A classification All-Star team and his no-hit baseball outings saw him selected for the first and ninth slots for the Top 10 Starts by all Minor league pitchers.  Read HERE.

Eight Phillies have been selected by BA for their 2017 All- Star Teams by Classifications. Read HERE.  Here’s the Phillies List including Rhys Hoskins:

AAA,  Rhys Hoskins, 1b/of and Tom Eshelman, (R) starting pitcher.

AA,  Scott Kingery, 2b.

Nick Fanti

Darick Hall

Low A, Darick Hall, 1b and Nick Fanti, starting pitcher (L).

Jhailyn Ortiz

Short season, Jhailyn Ortiz, corner outfield.

Rookie League, Jhordany Mezquita, starting pitcher (L).

Dominican Summer League, Leonel Aponte,  starting pitcher (R).

We look forward to watching Mezquita and Aponte pitch in the upcoming Phillies Instructs. See list HERE.  They were selected by BA as one of five best starting pitchers in the GCL and DSL, respectively.

We did not get a chance to watch Mezquita pitch for the GCL Phillies.  He allowed only three earned runs in 37.2 innings.

Aponte finished up the season allowing only 2 unearned runs in 40 innings of pitching for the DSL White team to end the 2017 season.

We expect to chat with our good friend Feliberto Sanchez who is the assistant pitching coach of the DSL Phillies White team. He arrives in Clearwater for Instructs this weekend to help coach up the pitching prospects.

The Phillies DSL White team’s pitching staff led the entire 40-team Dominican Summer League in strikeouts.  They struck out 592 in 603 innings.




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The Phillies Rhys Hoskins Is Overcoming All Odds To Be The Best!

It has not been easy for the Phillies Rhys Hoskins as he continues to break all time MLB home run records against all odds.

The Phillies finally invited him as a non-roster invitee to the major league camp in the spring.  He had to wait until August 10th of this year to get an opportunity to play in the major leagues despite great offensive numbers at AAA and AA.

The No. 1 Baseball publication, Baseball America rated him at mid-season before his call-up only as No. 69 of the top 100 minor league prospects even though he hit 38 home runs last season in AA and 29 homers this season at AAA.

What I like about Rhys is that he is an intelligent player who studies the game.  Last night the TV camera caught him studying an I-Pad in the dugout while awaiting his next at bat.

Hoskins is the fastest player in MLB history to hit 18 homers, needing only 34 games to do it. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez had been the previous fastest, hitting his 18th and 19th homers in his 45th career game.

Watch the video all 18 of his home runs HERE.   Also HERE is the article about his record.

A few days ago I went out and bought a Topps Baseball baseball card that honored his record 1oth homer run in his first 17 games.  I thought that was an amazing feat but little did I know it will be only the beginning of rewriting the MLB record books by him.

He has done all this while in addition to playing first base, he is also seeing time in left field.  A position the Phillies only recently asked him to play.

What Rhys Hoskins has accomplished so far has demonstrated to all of us a teachable moment that with great skill, dedication and perseverance we have a chance to overcome all obstacles put in our way even by the most challenged of our superiors.



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Jacob Waguespack Is The Phillies Minor League 2017 Playoff Pitcher Of The Year

What a rapid riser! Jacob Waguespack goes from high A, Clearwater, to AA, Reading and then to AAA. In the process he goes from a reliever to an “ace” playoff starter this season to win the Baseball Betsy and Ross,” Phillies 2017 Minor League Post Season, Pitcher of the Year.”

Jacob was brilliant in pitching in a pressure packed elimination game for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in his AAA debut.  He threw a seven inning, 96 pitch, three hit, one run game with seven strike outs in the International League semi-final elimination game against the Yankees farm team from Scranton, Wilkes-Barre.

Jacob Waguespack

Waguespack struck out seven  in the first five innings. Watch three of his strike “threes” in the second and third innings, HERE.  The only run he allowed was a solo home run in the seventh innings which resulted in the 1-0 loss to SWB.

Jacob got the chance to start in the post season because the Phillies minor league department shutdown three Pigs starters for the Playoffs including Jose Taveras, Brandon Leibrandt and Tom Eshelman.  They reportedly all reached 2017  innings pitch limits set by the experts in the minor league department

Waguespack is a credit to the Phillies minor league pitching coaches and scouting department after going undrafted in 2015.  Read HERE.

He finished strong in 2017 allowing only three earned runs, 11 hits and striking out 17 in his final three starts over 21 innings including two starts for Reading to end the regular season.

The lean, lanky, 6’6″, right hander will turn 24 years-old in November and will no doubt get a good look in spring training to project as a potential major league starter sometime next season.


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The Phillies Rhys Hoskins Is In “A League of His Own”

One of my favorite words is “penultimate” and favorite acronym is the baseball stat, “OPS”.

Penultimate simply means the second to the last thing in a series.  For a baseball player it is the moment in the minors when you know that player is major league ready.

OPS simply means “on base plus slugging which is the ability of a player both to get on base and to hit for power, two very important offensive skills.

For Rhys Hoskins of the Phillies his coming out as a future major league star was actually two moments in back to back big games six months apart at the end of the 2015 season and the beginning of the 2016 season.

It was his home run in the final Florida State League playoff game of the 2015 season for the Clearwater Threshers. Watch HERE. It was to be the only run the Threshers would score in the two-game playoffs.

And just before the start of the 2016 season when Rhys homered in the Phillies Future game at Citizens Bank Park off of major league pitcher David Hernandez. Watch HERE.

These two moments told me that Hoskins was major league ready but it said little to the Phillies Front Office. He would have to go through the minor league regimen of AA and AAA ball in the 2016 and most of the 2017 seasons.

Finally on August 10th of last month Hoskins appeared in his first major league game.  He would go 0 for 12 in his first three major league. games.  After that as we would say, “the rest is history”.

Saturday night, he hit is 14th home run in 104 at bats. According to CSN Philly, Hoskins now has 14 homers in 30 big-league games. That’s the most homers ever by a player who made his big-league debut after August 1.

“On base plus slugging” is one of the best indicators of baseball players offensive contribution.

To me what is even more impressive than his home runs is his 1.183 OPS after 30 days in the major leagues.  According to Baseball Reference the top five career leaders in the history of baseball for OPS are: 1.Babe Ruth, 1.164, 2.Ted Williams, 1.116, 3.Lou Gehrig 1.080, 4.Barry Bonds and 1.051, Jimmie Foxx.

Last night in addition to hitting his 14th home run, he walked three times. His homer and base on balls were essential to the 5-4 Phillies win especially when one of his walks came with the bases loaded.

For the first month of his major league career Rhys Hoskins has been in a “league of his own”.






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2017 GCL Phillies All Stars Include Ben Pelletier, Quincy Nieporte, Manuel Silva and Anton Kuznetsov

Four GCL Phillies players, most of any team in the league, have been selected to the 2017 GCL All Star team.  They include pitcher Manuel Silva, reliever Anton Kuznetsov, corner outfielder Ben Pelletier and first baseman/DH Quincy Nieporte. Read HERE 

Quincy Nieporte

One of out highlights of the Clearwater baseball season is watching the Gulf Coast League  GCL Phillies.  This season ended abruptly for them Sunday afternoon as the GCL Yankees East downed the GCL Phillies 4-0 in the knockout, semi-final game of the playoffs.

Manuel Silva

We still got to seen Phillies, Dominican, lefty, starter Silva pitch a good game. He went five innings allowing two earned runs while striking out five to take the loss. Watch three of his strike “threes” HERE. He went 6-0 with a 2.60 ERA in the regular season.

Nieporte, out of Florida State, had one of the four Phillies hits in the game.  He hit five homers in 41 games to lead the team in the regular season. His 35 RBIs were the fourth highest in the league.  Watch a RBI base hit from the previous week by Nieporte, see HERE.

The offense was lacking as the Phillies could only muster four hits in the semi-final game.  They were missing corner outfielder Pelletier out with a lower body injury.  He was a key bat in the lineup all season.

Ben Pelletier

A 19 year-0ld Canadian from the Montreal area, Pelletier ended the regular season third in the league in batting average hitting .333 and finished his last ten games hitting .368.  Watch Pelletier hit a tape measure home run at Ashburn Field earlier in the season.  HERE.

Selected as the top relief pitcher in the GCL, Kusnetsov was outstanding all season long going 2-1 with five saves allowing only one earned run in 15 games over 25.1 innings. Read an MLB article about the Russian from Moscow, HERE.  Watch him pitch against the GCL Braves earlier in the season HERE.

Below is a picture of the 19 year-old Kusnetsov with his GCL fans John Berry and his wife Anna who is a native of Russia.

Anton Kuznetsov with John and Anna Berry (Photo courtesy of John Berry)




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