My End of Season Top 10 Prospects in the Phillies’ System

Baseball Ross and I have lived in Clearwater for the last two years. We moved here specifically for the baseball. From Spring Training, to Extended Spring Training, to Gulf Coast League, to the Fall Instructional League and the Florida State League Clearwater Threshers, there’s a lot of baseball to see.

For the ten prospects on the list, they are players I have watched and am excited to see progress.

  
1.  Cody Asche. Recently called up to the majors, he has always been a guy that we’ve had our eyes on. He’s a solid third baseman and has the numbers to back that claim. We watched him most of last season with the Threshers before he was moved up to Reading.

  
2. Maikel Franco. He started the season here in Clearwater before moving to Reading. He plays third and what we like about him is that he has soft hands. He will field the ball, taking time to catch it, then will fire it with laser-like precision. He can also hit the long ball.

  
3. Jesse Biddle. This much-touted southpaw certainly has what it takes. During a game in April that we watched on MiLB.tv, he racked up sixteen strike outs in seven innings against Harrisburg. He also lead the Eastern League in strike outs at the all-star break.

  
4. Severino Gonzalez. He’s moved around a lot this season, Extended Spring Training, Lakewood and Clearwater. Gonzalez has been both a reliever and a starter this season and been successful no matter when he’s pitched.

  
5. Kelly Dugan. He started the season on the disabled list but has come back to amaze. He has a bat that most people notice, but what impressed me was his arm. I saw him catch a ball deep in right field and fire it to third with pinpoint accuracy. No bounce.

6. JP Crawford. A first round draft pick this year, he’s already shown why. He started in the Gulf Coast League and has already leap-frogged over Williamsport to Lakewood. This 18 year old short stop was hitting as high as .380 before being sent to Lakewood last week.
  
7. Cameron Rupp. Rupp played in Clearwater last season, started this year in Reading and has already moved up to Lehigh Valley. He’s a solid back stop. He hits and is a great defensive player. While he may not be the replacement for Ruiz next year, could he be a solid back up for the Big Team?

  
8. Roman Quinn. This shortstop had an on-base percentage of .669 and 32 stolen bases before being sidelined by a broken left wrist. He’s one of the fastest players we’ve even seen. While he’s been a little error-prone, his speed more than makes up for it.

Cameron Perkins
Cameron Perkins
9. Cameron Perkins. He is a solid outfielder with a very strong arm and bat. He was hit by a pitch during a game and suffered a broken wrist. He’s returned to the team though he is just getting his timing back and looks to finish the season strong.

10. Kenny Giles. This reliever is one to watch. Last season, we saw him hit 101 on the speed gun in Dunedin. While not quite as fast after his injury this year, he still has a fast ball that just can’t be hit.

Honorable Mention:

  
Hobby Milner-This Threshers pitcher is one to watch. He’s one pitcher we will go out of our way to see. After his first three starts of the season, he’s become one of the most consistent pitchers. With 11 wins and is tied for the most wins in the Florida State League.

Finally, our ‘Unsung Hero’ award would go to Carlos Alonso. Alonso is spending his second year in Clearwater. He’s one guy that we truly admire, we can’t think of another player who plays as hard, every single play. He’s a solid second baseman who has only had two errors all season. He also has a knack for getting on base, drawing walks and scoring runs.

Carlos Alonso posing with me after signing his jersey for me.
Carlos Alonso posing with me after signing his jersey for me.
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A Great Time in Reading, Even Though They Lost

Twilight in Baseballtown
Twilight in Baseballtown

Back in Baseballtown, it was good to be home.  There’s something special about First Energy Stadium, to me. I love it’s brick, the way the players have to cross the concourse to get from the locker room to the field, the BEST hotdogs in all of baseball, the ostriches.

Wait! Ostriches?

The Ostrich

Ok, I’m not sure I like the ostriches. There’s a whole load of reasons and I’m not really into the “rebranding”, but I’m not going into that now. Let’s just look at this picture of a large bird in a little truck and leave it at that.

I really had a good time. I got to see my favorite players, Derrick Mitchell, Jesse Biddle, Kelly Dugan, Austin Wright, and Seth Rosin before the game.

Derrick Mitchell led off. Now before I start, I want to go back to two years ago this week. Back then Baseball Ross and I lived in Harrisburg, PA and we went to a lot of games in Reading. I had talked to Derrick Mitchell that night and had complimented him on his home run the night before and asked him to hit one for me for my birthday. He laughed and said, “It doesn’t work that way.” Well that night it did. He hit a home run for me for my birthday. I always tell Derrick that that was one of the coolest birthday presents I had ever gotten. (If you want to read the blog from that night and see the video, you can click HERE)

So Derrick was up to bat and then…it happened (again) he KILLED a ball right over left center near the 370 sign.

Derrick Mitchell sends one over the fence
Derrick Mitchell sends one over the fence

Another homer…and what is this week??? That’s right, my birthday.  After the game, I saw Derrick, he had remembered that my birthday was this week and he even said, “I felt really good after that first one, I’d have hoped to hit you a second for your birthday.” It blew me away, that he could remember! (And people wonder why Derrick is my favorite.)

I also have to mention a funny thing that happened after the game…I was talking to Derrick as I mentioned above and a kid about ten years old kept interrupting while Derrick and I were talking. When Derrick left to go back to the locker room, we said our goodbyes and he gave me a hug. The kid then looked at me and asked me if Derrick was my dad! (ROTFL) Considering that I had been feeling, err older since it is my birthday this week, that kid really made me feel good.

I got to see Kelly Dugan and Maikel Franco in their Fightins uniforms for the first time as well…

Maikel Franco
Maikel Franco
Kelly Dugan
Kelly Dugan

Another cool thing that happened was that I got to visit the press box. I had the privilege of becoming friends with a talented local writer who kindly invited me to visit him in the press box. It was my first time in a press box during a game. I found it quite cool and was grateful to have had the chance to check out the game from that very different perspective.

Something that Ross and I love is the Berks hot dogs. When you see as many games as we do, you get stuck eating a lot of food from the concessions. Over the years, you get to appreciate the places with good food and loathe others where the food is not palatable. I love the concessions in Reading. The Berks hotdogs are the best in baseball.

Reading lost that night, but while I wish they had won, I still had a great time. I saw my favorite players, had a homer hit for my birthday, saw my new friend in the press box, saw my favorite usher and had a great hot dog. We saw a beautiful sunset (picture at the top of the page).

It was an awesome night in Baseballtown.

Baseball Betsy’s Six Quick Questions with Adam Morgan

Adam Morgan

Over the summer I had the privilege of getting to know a few of the players for the Clearwater Threshers. One if them, Adam Morgan, began the season in Clearwater and was promoted to Reading.

Adam is a really great guy and was kind enough to take time to answer my Six Quick Questions:

1. Who was your baseball idol growing up?

Well growing up a braves fan it was hard not to enjoy watching the three stud pitchers atlanta had,Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux. Glavine was who I watched all the time. Just cause he was left handed. (haha)

2. Do you have any special sports memorabilia?

I got to meet Glavine at a local high school and got him to sign a ball. I also had a Tony Gwynn autographed baseball but the dog got ahold of it.

3. If you weren’t playing baseball, what would you want to do?

Well I was going to school majoring in criminal justice hoping to become a private investigator. If that didn’t work out, I was planning on going to fire fighting school to become a fire fighter. Basically, I wanted to be outside. Didn’t want to be stuck in a cubicle.

4. What was your favorite moment of the 2012 season?

My favorite moment had to be almost throwing a perfect game in Jupiter…almost is the key word, still have a bitter taste in my mouth after that one. Also getting called up to double A was awesome.

5. What are your plans for the off season?

My plans for the offseason are obviously lifting and staying in shape, but when I’m not doing that ill be spending most of my time in the woods. Deer season started in September so I spend majority of my weekends in South Georgia.

6. What are you most looking forward to next spring? I look forward to playing again! Coming into spring training in great shape and doing what I’m capable of doing will hopefully point me in the right direction to having a successful 2013!

I want to close by thanking Adam for taking the time to help me with my blog, I greatly appreciate it!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Thanksgiving Feast

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up for my special article coming for THANKSGIVING! I will be posting an interview with the Phillies Up and Coming Pitcher, ADAM MORGAN!

Adam is a great guy that I got to know a little bit when he began his season in Clearwater. By the end of the season, he had been promoted to Reading. He was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions and I will post them on Thanksgiving for you to feast upon!

Adam Morgan

Elevator Day–What can it mean?

It’s a day of moment in the pharm system. Some going up, one coming down. Jordan Whatcott, Frank Gailey and Ryan Duke were all promoted from Reading to Lehigh Valley. Pat Misch was sent from Lehigh to Reading.

So what does it mean?

Personally, between trading Thome (especially without consulting Manuel, who was quoted as saying that he didn’t know that they had traded Thome until after the game) the rumors rabidly circulating that they are looking to deal Cole Hamels to the Rangers OR that the Reds, Dodgers and Yankees are all interested in Shane Victorino and now, all these moves….

I think they are floundering, they are desperate and hopelessly flailing, trying to find something, anything to staunch the bleeding.

As much as I’ve questioned Amarro’s actions over the last year or two, this is the most concerning to me. He obviously knows that his job is on the line. He bet everything that the veterans on this year’s team would be able to pull him through. He spent every dime he could on older players, making a team for now, but the problem is that he over paid and gave older players long term contracts that keep them tied to the franchise. The contracts are also so large that very few teams could afford to inherit these contracts IF we could convince them to take them in a trade.

I’ve come to think of Ruben as “Rabid Ruben”, foaming at the mouth and running around and biting at anyone and anything trying to find something to work. In the meantime, the team is floundering, foundering and nothing will get better until Rabid Ruben is “cured”. By cured, I mean excised like a cancerous tumor.

At this point, it’s OBVIOUS that he’s grasping at straws, throwing in not only the towel but every other piece of laundry in the basket too. Let’s stop the cancer from growing, excise it now, get someone else in there and stop the damage before it gets any worse. Why not do a wholesale housecleaning at the top and also replace Manuel with Hall of Famer, Iron Pigs’ Manager Ryne Sandberg?

They need to keep Hamels. We do not have enough pitching talent for next year without him. I think we have pitchers coming up that might be ready in the future, but not this year and not next year.

As far as Victorino, I like the guy, BUT as I’ve written before, we are flush with young talent that could grow into the position, Derrick Mitchell, Tyson Gillies, Jiwan James, Steve Susdorf, Domonic Brown (if he ever gets healthy) and those are just the guys I can think of off the top of my head. We have to look to these young, talented guys for the future; Rabid Ruben’s habit of looking outside the pharm for senior talent obviously isn’t working, let’s use the talent we’ve home grown and let them lead us into the future and stop looking back.