Posts Tagged ‘Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs


PHILLIES: Domonic Brown Promotion (Part 2)


Getting chills just thinking about it.

After placing Shane Victorino on the 15-day DL because of a strained oblique, the move that has been anticipated for virtually the entire 2010 season was finally made.

” The Phillies have purchased the contract of OF Domonic Brown.”

Impact of Brown’s Promotion

OF Dom Brown's debut with the Phillies has arrived.

While I wish the move didn’t have to come at the expense of Shane Victorino, I’m never going to complain when the Phillies add a potential 5-tool player to their roster. As I said in my previous post, this may not be the best situation or timing for Brown to make his debut. The team is back in the middle of a pennant race, the pressure to produce in Philadelphia is at a all-time high, and the Phillies now have the added responsibility of figuring out Brown’s role on this team and in the clubhouse.

If they already didn’t have enough to worry about when they were just trying to acquire Roy Oswalt or another SP, a UTIL INF, or a lefty arm out of the bullpen..

But, whether we like it or not, the time has come. Calling Brown up now means he’s here for the long haul.

And by long haul, I mean more like years or decades rather than days or months.

Right now though, I’ll be the first one to admit that Brown’s promotion should be viewed as a saving grace of sorts. Until Shane Victorino comes back from his disabled list stint, it’s almost a certainty that Brown will assume the role as the everyday RF, which will give him a perfect opportunity to make his transition to the big leagues by getting regular at-bats. With Brown’s supreme talent, you won’t see much of a drop-off in production even with Victorino gone.

And that’s saying alot.

So, with Brown settled in RF, that means Jayson Werth, who barring a huge move, will remain a member of the Philadelphia Phillies for the rest of the season because of his explosive offensive ability and defensive versatility (can play all three OF positions), will move over to CF to account for the loss of the Flyin’ Hawaiian.

Once Victorino comes back though, that’s where the work begins, as it is unclear what the Phillies will do with Brown. There is no doubt that he will stay up in the big leagues, but Charlie Manuel may have to do a little shuffling to make sure that he does nothinder the growth of his beloved top prospect.

Here’s a potential proposal (Full Week, 7-Game Schedule).

Raul Ibanez (4 Games in LF), Shane Victorino (5 Games CF), Jayson Werth (4 Games RF, 2 Game CF), Domonic (3 Games RF, 1 Game LF), Ben Francisco (2 Game LF).

May not be completely accurate, but you can bet the Phillies do something like this. Keeping a 38-year old Raul Ibanez fresh and Victorino healthy as he gets off the disabled list is just as important of a process as giving Domonic Brown regular at-bats at this point.

A process that will start on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park when #9 steps onto the outfield grass as he debuts in Phillies red-pinstripes.


Oswalt + Other Trade Notes

: Since Jayson Werth will most likely stay in Philly for the remainder of the season, a deal for Roy Oswalt will have to include some combination of J.A Happ and top young prospects in order to get done. If a deal goes down though, I say it looks like this scenario.

Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia for J.A Happ and at least two of Vance Worley/Scott Mathieson/Anthony Gose/Jonathan Singleton.

: If the Phillies strike out (no pun intended) on Oswalt, here are two other names that seem hot right now as being linked to the Phillies. Chicago’s Ted Lilly and Cleveland’s Fausto Carmona.


PHILLIES: Introducing Domonic Brown

The title of the post speaks for itself.

This story (yes, an actual story) will also be accessible on in the next day or two.


The “Phuture” Becoming the “Now” for Brown

By Alex Cohen

For almost every major league baseball organization, the month of July brings plenty of uncertainties.

Due to the combination of injuries that coincide with three straight months of daily wear-and-tear on the body, the trade deadline, and the dollars and cents that make up the economy of “America’s Pastime”, the lack of guarantees at this time of season, good or bad, are virtually unavoidable.

However, the current state of the big league club up in Philadelphia is actually creating the opposite regarding the roster of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Whether it’s because of a rumored deal that marks the departure of one of the Phillies all-star caliber outfielders, an empty roster spot, or a chance to expand the MLB roster on September 1st, it’s becoming quite apparent that one of the IronPigs brightest stars, OF Domonic Brown, could be leaving the home clubhouse at Coca-Cola Park at some point in coming weeks (or days) to make his debut at the big league level.

And for good reason.

The soon-to-be 23 year-old Brown, who is now so highly regarded around baseball circles that scouts from ESPN, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus have recently rated him the #1 prospect in all of professional baseball, has more than lived up to that enormous hype in the month that he has spent in the Lehigh Valley.

As of July 26th, a glimpse into an stat-line that shows him featuring a team-high .343 BA, 5 HR, and 19 RBI’s in 25 games is visible proof Brown has dominated his Triple-A competition in all facets of the game in his short stint with the IronPigs.

Truth be told though, the prolific minor league statistics and superior natural talent that allowed Brown to receive an invitation to participate in the 2010 Futures Game as a part of this month’s All-Star Weekend in Anaheim (went 1-1 with an RBI single) aren’t the primary characteristics of the self-described “Farm boy from Georgia” that separate him from the other elite prospects.

Since Brown’s arrival to Triple-A competition, it’s his work ethic, humble demeanor, and overall approach to the game of baseball that has drawn even more praise than his on-the-field production from virtually everyone connected to the young phenom.

The growing list of Brown’s admirers, which now has a wide range from those within the organization to the compilation of notoriously harsh critics that make up the Philadelphia media contingent, also includes arguably the most important people of all at this point of his career.

His current teammates.

“The kid is a sponge,” says fellow IronPigs OF Chris Duffy, who with over three years of MLB experience to his name has embraced his newfound role of an approachable veteran and outfield coach to Brown.

“We’ll be running off the field after an inning, and he’ll come right to me or John (Mayberry) and ask what he could have done better on a previous play, or what he should do differently to prepare for an at-bat. He’s always willing to learn, yet he still has THAT swagger that separates him.”

The swagger that Duffy speaks up, which possesses a perfect balance of confidence yet not cockiness, is what allows Brown to tune out those who are demanding his arrival to Philadelphia (a list that is also growing) and just go out there and play the game of baseball.

“It’s not my job to worry about that kind of stuff,” said Brown while referencing his eventual promotion to the Phillies. “I just go out and do what I have to do on the field here, and if I get that call to go to Philadelphia, I’ll be ready.”

Barring a trade or some other unforeseen circumstance, when that call is made by those who make up the front office in Philadelphia, and Domonic Brown makes his largely anticipated debut in the City of Brotherly Love, the undisputed top prospect in the Phillies organization should automatically become a cornerstone in the Citizens Bank Park outfield for years to come.

In fact, it’s almost a certainty that he will.


PHILLIES: A Look at the Farm System

With the trade deadline less than a month away, one part of the Phillies organization that is surely under a large microscope is their farm system. Months removed from trading six of their top 15 prospects in deals to acquire both Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay, the current Phillies prospects are not as highly-regarded as they once were. However,  if a trade to acquire a certain utility player or pitching help is to be made, then it is important to recognize those who are not at the big league level within the organization.

This look into the minor leagues is not gauged on who is ranked the top prospects by baseball insiders, but is based on the players who may be gaining notoriety inside the organization or in baseball circles because of their reputation, talent, performance at the minor league level, or trade value come July 31st.

Phillies Minor Leaguers: 10 Prospects To Watch

Stats Updated as of July 5th, 2010.

: OF Domonic Brown: A given on this list.  Not only the #1 overall prospect in the Phillies organization, but ESPN recently ranked him as the #1 overall prospect in all of baseball. Even with all the accolades he’s already received, his play is showing that the hype is warranted. The 22 year-old has graduated through three levels of the minor leagues the last year and a half. He was probably the Eastern League MVP at Double-A Reading through two months, but was promoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the middle of June. Since then, in 12 G in Triple-A, his .405 BA, 4 HR, 11 RBI’s is just flat out ridiculous. So is his overall athleticism, in which he was a former baseball and football recruit for the University of Miami before signing with the Phillies.

: P Jared Cosart: Top 100 prospect who was selected to 2010 Futures game in Anaheim along with Brown. 7-3 record at Single-A Lakewood with a 3.79 ERA and 77 K’s. Upper 90’s Fastball. Currently on the disabled list.

: 1B Jonathan Singleton: Just 18 years old when the 2010 season started. .347 BA, 10 HR, 48 RBI’s at Single-A Lakewood. May have biggest upside besides Brown, and has had the biggest rise this year in baseball circles out of any other member of the Phillies farm system. Will be a top 100 prospect in all of baseball at the start of next season. With Ryan Howard under contract until 2014, if the Phillies were to be involved in a blockbuster trade at any point, Singelton will most likely be the centerpiece if the team involved wants prospects.

: C Sebastian Valle: After the Phillies dealt Lou Marson and Travis D’Arnaud in the last year, that made Valle the top catching prospect in the organization. Remember, he’s still just 19 years old, playing the position that is the most difficult to flourish at when it comes to big league production. .265 BA, 9 HR, 4 RBI’s at Single-A Lakewood shows promise.

: OF Anthony Gose: By far the fastest player in the organization. Had 76 SB in 2008 with Single-A Lakewood. Solid defensively but still very raw at the plate. At 19 years old, he’s at Advanced-A Clearwater with a ways to go.

: P Phillipe Aumont: Top Prospect that the Phillies got back from Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade. The pre-season top 100 prospect in all of baseball drew much criticism when he went 1-6 in two months at Double-A Reading this season. Aumont got sent down to Advanced-A Clearwater in June, where he is 0-0 in 5 games with a 4.91 ERA.

: OF Tyson Gillies: Another highly regarded prospect acquired in the Cliff Lee deal to Seattle. A high energy guy that impressed in Spring Training but has battled injuries and inconsistency all year at Double-A Reading (.238 BA, 2 HR, 6 RBI’s in 26 games).

: OF John Mayberry Jr: Made his debut with the Phillies last year, but struggled to make consistent contact and has spent the entire 2010 season so far at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Got off to a hot start, but since enduring a knee/ankle injury in the middle of June, he’s really struggled. Stat-line curently sitting at .241 BA, 10 HR, 42 RBI’s through 74 games. Behind Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and now Domonic Brown on the organizational depth chart at OF, a move for an infielder to fill-in for Chase Utley and Placido Polanco may include Mayberry. That is, if the teams actually want him.

: P Joe Savery: Former 1st rounder (2007) out of Rice University. Had 16 wins last year combined at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but as struggled mightily this year as a starter with the Iron Pigs (1-8) and has been converted into a reliever at Triple-A.

: 3B/OF Anthony Hewitt: Former first rounder (2008) out of HS. Has struggled in 2 years in the minors, but is still very raw, and is finally figure out minor league pitching (.271, 7 HR, 33 RBIs at  Single-A Lakewood). Doesn’t have a position yet.

Others You Should Know:

P Andrew Carpenter: (25 years old. Made big league debut with the Philadelphia in 2009, and started off the 2010 season on the big league 25-man roster as a member of the Phillies bullpen. 7-6 with the 3.21 ERA at Triple-A Lehigh Valley)

1B Matthew Rizzoti: (24 years old. 1B prospect that has come out of nowhere this year at Double-A Reading. Hitting a team high .366 with 11 HR and 43 RBI’s since being called up from Advanced-A Clearwater in May. )

SS Freddy Galvis: (20 years old. Probably the best defensive prospect in the organization. It is believed that the 2010 Eastern League All-star play SS at the big league level right now from a defensive standpoint. Struggles at the dish but is making improvements. .226 BA, 2 HR, 28 RBI’s at Double-A Reading.

P J.C Ramirez: (21 years old. 2-1 at Double-A Reading in first season with the organization after being the 3rd prospect acquired by the Phillies via Seattle for Cliff Lee)

3B Harold Garcia ( 24 years old. Advanced-A Clearwater. Set team-record with a 36 game hitting streak earlier this season. Named the Phillies minor league player of the month for June.)

P Jesus Sanchez: (21 years old. 7-4 with a 2.67 ERA at Advanced-A Clearwater)

– P Trevor May: ( 20 years old. A pre-season top 10 prospect in the organization. Has underperformed at bit, 5-5 with a 5.01 ERA at Advanced-A Clearwater)

OF Cody Overbeck: (24 years old. 9th round draft pick in 2008. .302 BA, 11 HR, 41 RBI’s at Advanced-A Clearwater)

P Matthew Way: ( 23 Years old. 7-4 record with a 3.65 ERA at SS Single-A Lakewood)


PHILLIES: Surgery for Utley

And the news isn’t promising.

Early Thursday morning, MLB Network’s Peter Gammons reported that Utley’s thumb will require surgery, something that Phillies Beat Writer David Murphy repeated shortly after. Apparently, the ligaments in his thumb were torn to the extent that they could not heal naturally, and Todd Zolecki has confirmed that the procedure will take place today, likely derailing the all-star 2nd basemen for at least 8 weeks.

The outlook is clearly not good. As I stated in a previous post, the difference between losing Utley for 15 days and losing Utley for 60 days is HUGE. While the Phillies now have to deal with these injuries along with a depleted farm system, they do have some some options if Utley were to have surgery.

In reality, a lot has to do on the health of Placido Polanco. He is in New York right now seeking a second opinion on his chronic elbow condition to his non-throwing elbow, and if the prognosis is good and allows him to come back soon after his 15-day DL stint is complete, then Ruben Amaro, Charlie Manuel, and company have a choice to make.

Do you go out and get a 3rd baseman in FA or via trade, and spare  Polanco to the extent that you can and play him at 2nd?

Do you go out and get a 2nd basemen in FA or via trade, and let Polanco resume his normal duties as the everyday 3rd basemen?

With Castro and Valdez being middle-infielders by nature, I would say to the capacity that you can, keep in Polanco at third. Sure, Hank Blaylock and Garrett Atkins are both on the FA market and are naturals at the hot corner, but they are on the FA market for a reason. Neither are close to the level of Polanco, even at his present injured state, and with him semi-healthy at 3B along with the surprise-of-the-season Wilson Valdez at second for the next month or two to fill in for Utley, the Phillies may actually be able to survive this disaster.

That is IF Polanco can come back healthy. A Big IF.

And Utley of course..

Other Phillies News

: ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported Thursday that the Phillies have Dan Haren on their “radar”. Arizona is looking to deal him, along with the 12+ million dollars that he is owed next season. If  this is true, then is shows that the Phillies are seriously interested in adding a pitcher, and that money isn’t as much of deal-breaker than we think. If that’s the case, my question is why don’t you bring back Cliff Lee instead?

: Along with Blaylock and Atkins, here are a couple other names to look at as potential replacements for Utley via trade. Seattle’s Jose Lopez and Baltimore’s Ty Wigginton and Miguel Tejada.

: Surely some Philadelphia  fans were a bit perplexed when the Phillies promoted SS Brian Bocock (.179 BA in 65 games)  from Triple-A Lehigh Valley instead of INF Cody Ransom (International League All-Star selection, 15 HR). Reportedly, Ransom has been dealing with a knee injury which is why he wasn’t called up.  So hitting .238 with a team-high 15 errors at Lehigh Valley, and not being on the 40-man roster at the time of the callup had nothing to do with it?

: Bring back PEDRO FELIZ!


PHILLIES: Happ “anxious” in Triple-A Rehab Start

Multiple times, J.A Happ categorized his latest rehab appearance with Triple-A Lehigh Valley as “anxious”.

In context, I’m not sure if that is grammatically the right type of adjective, but with 100 pitches in 4+ innings, giving up 2 runs, 6 hits, against the Rochester Red Wings, it safe to say he was a bit baffled on all fronts on Tuesday night.

From the first batter, Happ looked a bit lost. Even though his velocity (87-90 mph) was the best it has been since the start of his rehab, he fell behind eight of his first ten hitters, something that has to be concerning for pitcher that prides himself in his control. In addition to basic control issues, it appears that he doesn’t quite have the “out” pitch yet that most big league pitchers need to be successful. Especially for a player with average big-league stuff at best, this needs to change before Happ makes his jump back to the bigs.

When he is ready, of course.

All in all, as you can tell by the mood of this post, Happ’s outing showed minimal evidence that he should be back in a Phillies uniform, but could have certainly been worse. Happ gave up three extra base hits (including one HR), walked as many batters as he struck out (4), and if not for Domonic Brown stealing the show (outfield assist ended an inning that had 2 runners on base, both inherited by Happ), would have had a final pitching line that could be considered sub-par by most rehab start standards.

All in all, Happ’s four innings at Coca-Cola park Tuesday night most likely bought him one more rehab appearance at either Reading or Lehigh Valley before his DL stint is set to be finished next week.

According to his post-game press conference though, that may not be what J.A Happ is imagining.


HAPP PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT (Partial because there were plenty of repetitive questions)

How did the forearm feel out there?

Happ:  “Today was the best I felt. I actually felt normal today healthwise. I got ahead in the counts, and threw a lot of pitches, but besides that I felt real good.”

As you take us through the outing, do you think you showed any signs of rust?

Happ: “I guess. I’ve had enough outings where the rust should be off, but tonight I think it was more of me being anxious. Trying to throw strike one and not being able to do it, it’s a strange feeling. I felt good out there, but I just threw too many pitches and they (Rochester) did a good job of battling and fighting pitches off.”

Do you think some of that is just trying too hard to make it back to the big leagues?

Happ: ” Could be something like that. It is what it is. Hopefully this is my last one, and that’s the way I viewed it. I threw one of my best bullpen sessions in the last couple years here, and believe it or not, sometimes that is a bad sign when you throw a good bullpen like that. I mean, I just went out there, and wasn’t as sharp as I’d like, but I feel like I can correct it because I finally feel good again. Physically, right now, I feel ready.”

Do you have any indication on what your role is going to be when you get back with Philadelphia?

Happ: “We never talked about anything besides coming back as a starter. I feel like that’s why they brought me back, but in the end it’s going to be their decision.”

How sick are you of this rehab?

Happ: “I’m ready man. I’m ready, you guys have no idea. There are not words to explain how frustrating this whole thing has been. From initially thinking it was going to be 10-15 days to here we are however many weeks later and I’m here. So, I’m just really anxious and obviously disappointed I couldn’t go a couple more (innings), but overall I’m happy with the way I feel. I feel real good.”

With your pitch count around 100, the most you have thrown during your rehab, are there any ill-effects or extra soreness from that?

Happ: ” No. I had an extra day because of their (Iron Pigs) road trip, so I feel good. I actually tried to convince Rod (Nichols) to let me in a face a couple more hitters just to try to get my pitch count up there like it would be normally. Hopefully I rebound good, I don’t see why I wouldn’t.”

If they give you one more start here (Lehigh Valley), would you take that is a negative?

Happ: “It’s not up to me. But, with what we just talked about, I’m anxious to get back. It’s not really going to be my choice though.”

With the year you had last year, and now spending all this time rehabbing, do you feel that you are back at “square one” in this whole process of proving yourself again a big league pitcher?

Happ: ” The way it kind of worked out is that this is sort of Spring Training for me. I only had a couple outing before this happened, and I’ve been trying to get back. It’s been a grind, but I feel like I am on the verge. Any day now, it’ll be there.”


PHILLIES: Domonic Brown Promotion

Here is the news you all have been waiting to hear!


A little anti-climatic don’t you think?

Sure, there might be some dissipointment for Brown and some Philadelphia fans that the promotion wasn’t directly to the City of Brotherly love, and that is somewhat warranted.

The Phillies #1 overall prospect has been absolutely been tearing the cover off the ball this season with Reading, and was close to approaching the status of Jason Heyward and Mike Stanton as being a top prospect who has the ability to bypass a level in the minor leagues but is still able to perform at a high major league level. While that may be the case, keep in mind though, Heyward and Stanton were both top 100 selections in their respective drafts, while Brown was signed as a 20th rounder who was unsure if he was even going to continue his baseball career just a couple years ago (ended up deciding against a football scholarship to the University of Miami).

Patience guys, patience.

For the Phillies though, as much discussion as there has been about Brown supplanting the aging and, for the most part, struggling Raul Ibanez in the starting lineup, this is still THE CORRECT MOVE.

Yes, I said it, the Phillies made the right choice here.

Next Stop: Triple-A

Sure, bringing Brown up would sure give a certain buzz to a team that has been arguably lacking a certain fire for the last six weeks. I’m not disputing that. But, if you think that Brown, without facing any Triple-A pitching, is going to go out there and hit higher than .250, and hit for more power and have better plate discipline than Ibanez out of the sixth spot in the lineup, you are out of your mind. Obviously, you can make the whole Jason Heyward and Mike Stanton argument, but know that they are two select cases. If you look at the rest of the outfielders in baseball, how many players do you see who succeeded right away after being called up to big leagues, while skipping a level of the minor leagues in the process.

Not very many.

So, to ultimately describe my mindset on this issue, I am going to use a simple cliche.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

The Phillies have won seven out of their last ten games, and have averaged over seven runs a game in their past six contest.  While there is no doubt that Jimmy Rollins is a big reason for this, being that he is is the catalyst of the lineup, he is not one of the five “everyday” players who are surging, hitting over .300 in this recent span. In fact, those players are Placido Polanco, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, and last but not least, RAUL IBANEZ. Let me be clear. There is no reason to put a player, with the contract that Ibanez has (due 11.5 million next year), squarely on the bench to satisfy the buzz of a 22 -year old rookie, especially if there is really no reason for that change.

With that said, even though this recent hot stretch may have bought Ibanez and the rest of the Phillies organization some time, they should certainly keep this move in the back of their minds.

That is, with Domonic Brown at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, will be playing his ball that much closer to Citizens Bank Park, waiting for THE promotion that not only will most likely be his last, but also his most important.


PHILLIES: Rollins Activated (Again); Dobbs DFA

Well, it looks like it’s “The Return of JROLL: Part 2” in Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

As much that has been said about the struggles of the Phillies offense, Rollins may be coming back to an offense that is beginning to heat up. They are averaging a decent 4.2 runs a game in the month of June, and have put up an average of six runs a game in their last six contest, with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Jayson Werth all hitting over .300 in the last week.

Unfortunately, however well he plays, the return of Jimmy Rollins won’t have much of an impact on struggling bullpen and an insufficient back end of the rotation.

Not today’s issue though.

RIP Greg Dobbs as a Phillie.

Earlier in the day, the decision to activate Jimmy Rollins from the disabled list sparked a set of moves that will most likely end up with a Phillies fan favorite leaving the organization.

In order to make room for the former MVP, the Phillies decided to stand pat with both Juan Castro and Wilson Valdez on the roster, and instead designated long-time Phillies fan favorite Greg Dobbs for assignment. For Dobbs, who hit .301 and led the league in pinch hits for in 2008 for the Phillies, he will most likely never play a game for the Philadelphia organization again (unless he plans to continue his career in the minor leagues). Sadly, as much as I liked Dobbs, the move was warranted. The career utility player who has spent time at 1B, 3B, and in the outfield was just hitting a paltry .154 this season with one hit in his last 25 at-bats as a pinch hitter, and has had his playing time decrease in recent days, most likely do to lack of production. Now, he has 10 days to figure out his future plans.  Whether it’s via trade, buyout, outright release, or demotion to a Phillies minor league affiliate, fans will no longer be able to cheer Dobbs’s name at Citizens Bank Park ( unless he signs with another team and is in the visitors dugout).

That does happen by the way. If my memory serves me correctly, Jim Thome was applauded as a member of the Minnesota Twins this weekend when they played the Phillies, even after he hit a homerun in front of the home crowd. Honestly, I loved Thome as much as anyone, but that just isn’t right.

One other move to note.

Apparently, taking a bat to the back of the head is a dangerous. After bearing the brunt of a Jason Kubel swing on Friday, Carlos Ruiz was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 18th. In his absence, Brian Schneider will start, and Dane Sardinha will be the primary backup. With one roster spot available, the Phillies purchased the contract of LHP Mike Zagurski from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Zagurski, who like friend and teammate Scott Mathieson will get his first call-up to the bigs since having Tommy John surgery in 2008, posted a 2.35 ERA in 30.2 innings of relief duty with the Iron Pigs.

The Philly Phour

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