Weekend Preview – 6/12/15

Quick programming note – I will be on vacation for the next week.  Outside of breaking news and major signings I won’t be posting articles.  Don’t worry I haven’t left and will be back slightly more relaxed in about a week.

No best matchup this week because there are none.  Aaron Nola pitches on Saturday in what might be his last AA start.  Rather than just the weekend, I am going to look at the rotations for as far out as they have starters listed.

Lehigh Valley:

Friday: Adam Morgan
Saturday: Joely Rodriguez
Sunday: Phillippe Aumont

The IronPigs are still a wasteland of fringe starting pitchers (not listed is Severino Gonzalez and Anthony Vasquez).  Gabriel Lino is the only interesting prospect, and Domonic Brown is still intriguing if maddening.  The good news is that the cavalry is likely on its way.  Aaron Nola should be up soon, Kelly Dugan is playing again and could finish in Lehigh Valley.  Then you have Aaron Altherr and Cameron Perkins who are heating up in Reading.  Pretty soon the IronPigs will be interesting again.

Reading:

Friday: Tom Windle
Saturday: Aaron Nola
Sunday: Ben Lively 
Monday: Jesse Biddle

With Crawford, Nola, and Quinn, Reading has the top 3 prospects still in the minors.  Throw in a rejuvenated Altherr, a recently powerful Cameron Perkins, and 4 pretty good pitchers and Reading is still doing good.  Crawford has taken to AA rather well and should be a Top 5 prospect in baseball by the end of the year.  The Fightin’s could lose some players soon to promotion and may or may not get Kelly Dugan when he is done in Clearwater.  Outside those doing really well there is some interesting things going on with Jesse Biddle.  Mike Drago wrote that Biddle has added a 2-seam fastball, reintroduced his slider, and forgone the loopy curve for a tighter offering, all with the goal of “pitching to contact” more.  In this case this means attacking the zone with a variety of offerings and make guys hit them, rather than nibbling around the zone or hanging curveballs.  So far Biddle’s walks and strikeouts are down, and his ground ball rate is up.  I think the strikeouts will rebound some as he gets feel for the slider (which flashes plus) and the new curveball as batters will need to respect his ability to throw strikes.

Clearwater:

Friday: Victor Arano
Saturday: David Whitehead
Sunday: Mark Leiter Jr.
Monday: Colin Kleven

Matt Imhof is back and made a start yesterday.  He is likely to be limited in his innings for a little bit while he ramps back up.  Brandon Leibrandt is on the DL for an undisclosed reason.  Yoel Mecias is still mysteriously in the bullpen.  Yacksel Rios looks like he will be a long man in the bullpen, and so far has looked good as a reliever (so has Miguel Nunez).  Clearwater gets the benefit of having Kelly Dugan around which should help an inconsistent offense.  It appears much like every other level of the org, reinforcements are on the way for the Threshers as well as there is a lot speculation that Carlos Tocci, Rhys Hoskins, and Malquin Canelo are running out of days left in Lakewood.

Lakewood:

Friday: Chris Oliver
Saturday: Elniery Garcia
Sunday: Ricardo Pinto
Monday: Josh Taylor

Lakewood might have the most consistent rotation in the system.  Whether it is the extra day of rest or their talent level, they are not walking many, not giving up many home runs, and striking out a decent number of batters.  The rotation is needed because only their 1st, 3rd, and 4th batters are really their only offensive threats most nights.  Those three guys (Canelo, Tocci, Hoskins) are likely ticketed for Clearwater soon.  The good news is that the BlueClaws might get 2015 draftees like Scott Kingery or Kyle Martin to fill those spots.

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.

3 comments

  1. lifer711

    Hey Matt, I’ve lurked on PhuturePhillies when you were writing there and I’ve followed you here as well, I find myself agreeing with you often and you seem to be extremely well educated on Phillies prospects.

    So if you don’t mind if I could ask a few questions?

    1. Gabriel Lino gets me excited and I’d like to know your thoughts? Is there a site that tracks minor league pitch framing for catchers?? I know his defense is rough with the passed balls and what not, but he seems to have a solid arm and even though he has a fair amount of swing and miss in his game, he still seems to make decent contact. Is it possible he could contribute defensively enough to have a positive defensive WAR on pitch framing and his ability to control the running game alone, all while working on his game calling and ability to block balls in the dirt?? I’d assume he has more upside than Cameron Rupp, would you agree? Even though Lino may have a lower floor. This was one of RAJ’s most unheralded trades in my opinion.

    2. On the Lakewood roster, who has you more excited right now out of Canelo, Tocci, and Hoskins? Canelo has surprised the hell out of me with his offense! It seems like the scouting report I remember reading was that he was glove first and the bat had to come around…well he obviously is showing he can hit quite a bit, and surprisingly hit for power. Has anybody got a first hand report on his defense? I’ve been a huge Tocci fan for a good while now and I’m so stoked to see the power and walk rate increase while still playing a great center field, and the dude’s still crazy young!!! I wouldn’t mind seeing him and Hoskins promoted soon. Hoskins is limited defensively so I’d like to see him fast tracked to see if he can really keep mashing like he has been, would even a double jump to Reading be out of order?

    3. Speaking of Reading, man is that a fun team to watch right now, loaded with prospects although Roman Quinn just went down which is so unfortunate…I just feel terrible for the guy. You’re playing possibly the best baseball of your life and bam, leg injury which scares me considering his only truly elite tool is his speed. But onto less depressing questions lol, what’s your opinion on Eflin? I notice he always works really deep into games but doesn’t really strike out that many, though he doesn’t issue many free passes either. Does his lack of strikeouts concern you or do you like the fact that he has the Halladay-put the ball in play early mentality? Does he lack a strikeout pitch? Does he use a cutter or sinker or both to generate such weak contact?? I’d say Ruben definitely won the Rollins trade as well. Maybe Windle can hang around Cole Hamels next year (if he’s still here) in ST and learn Cole’s circle change grip, he’s a plus change up away from being another solid workhorse starter from my understanding. What are your thoughts on Ben Lively also?? Say Windle ends up in the pen, do you think there’s a legitimate shot of Nola, Eflin, and Lively all ending up in the Phillies rotation or do you think Lively is also a bullpen piece? One last question for Reading, do you believe in Cameron Perkins’ power surge? I read an article where he has added a minor leg kick to generate a little more power and get a little more loft in his swing. With his already solid contact skills, if he starts to hit for power as well, do you think he has the makings of a starting outfielder or does he still top out as a 4th or 5th guy? I want so badly for Perkins, Altherr, or Dugan to step up and really take the reigns as one of our top OF prospects. I’d say Dugan is the most likely IF and that’s a HUGE if he can stay healthy. I love Altherr’s athleticism, but his swing and miss really scares the crap out of me…I see he has really improved his plate discipline this year and is athletic enough to have the highest ceiling of any OF prospect in the system not named Roman Quinn, but I keep feeling like he’s John Mayberry Jr all over again…I hope I’m wrong!

    4. Now finally, Lehigh, how has Adam Morgan looked so far? Anybody with a first hand account?? I’m honestly just happy he’s back pitching pain free again. I’m comfortable taking any positive out of this year as gravy really. I know his staff’s not crisp and his velocity is down, but I was really high on this guy and I would love to see him claw his way back into the prospect conversation. Has there been any news on Jon Pettibone?? Do you see either of Joely Rodriguez or Seve Gonzalez having sustained success in the major leagues or is it wishful thinking?? I personally would like to see what Rodriguez can do in the pen with a little velocity tick up, he just doesn’t seem to have the stuff to make it as a starter, but a move to the pen would make everything play up. I’m ready to see Dom Brown up with the big club, this is a lost season and running out the likes of Francoeur and the released now Sizemore has no advantages whatsoever, at least Dom has that small sliver of hope that he can somewhat deliver on his potential! Call the kid up and let him see what he can do in a pressure free environment.

    Sorry that was so long! Appreciate all your hard work, Matt, keep doing your thing!

    • lifer711

      Thanks for the reply, Chris. Sounds like you were pretty encouraged by what you saw! His last start was fantastic as well. I hope he can regain a little more velocity as time wears on, but I wouldn’t press him. I’d let him get a few more starts in, then shut him down to be honest with you. Come back fresh and healthy next year and see what we got.