August 10, 2016 |
When the Phillies failed to move veteran starter Jeremy Hellickson at the non-waiver trade deadline, some otherwise rational people suggested that was a mistake, whatever the deal might have been, because Hellickson's presence blocked the way for the overdue promotion of Jake Thompson from Lehigh Valley. I say "otherwise rational people," but the truth is it was mostly fans communicating by posted comments and through email, the latter method often employing all capital letters. For instance: "GET HIM UP HERE NOW. " Whether those impatient for Thompson imagined a late pennant push or had simply identified the savior du jour and wanted to see the first round of miracles sooner than later is a matter of conjecture.
August 6, 2016 |
Jake Thompson, the Phillies' top pitching prospect, will make his major-league debut Saturday when he starts for the Phillies in San Diego. The 22-year-old righthander registered a 1.21 ERA in his final 11 starts with triple-A Lehigh Valley. Thompson was acquired last summer from Texas as one of the key returns in the trade that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers. He was dominant at the end of last season with double-A Reading and made a good impression on the Phillies during a stint in major-league spring training.
August 3, 2016 |
Approaching baseball's non-waiver trade deadline from the high road occupied by contenders is a lot different than climbing up to it from below. The better teams have good seasons in the balance, seasons that could be improved with the right additions, but those organizations are already winners and their general managers are comfortable in their office chairs. That isn't the case for the teams that hold up the few attractive pieces of their rosters like rare produce from an otherwise fallow field, hoping desperately to get the seeds for a better harvest in return.
July 24, 2016 |
READING - As soon as Jorge Alfaro signed with the Texas Rangers in 2010, his focus shifted to doing whatever he could to make it to the majors. But Alfaro grew up playing the outfield, third base, and shortstop. He didn't have any catching experience and the Rangers moved him behind the plate anyway. He wasn't expecting it. But he wasn't surprised, either. Alfaro was ready to do whatever was asked of him. "I will play anything," Alfaro said. "But I really like catching [now]
July 17, 2016 |
Pitcher of the first half Jake Thompson, righthander, triple-A Lehigh Valley Thompson rolled into the triple-A all-star break with a 0.73 ERA in his seven starts since June 1. The 22-year-old took some time to get set in triple A, but he was dominant once he did. Thompson allowed one run or none in six of his last seven starts. He pitched seven shutout innings on July 6 in his final start of the first half. Thompson allowed just one homer in his last 491/3 innings. He has excellent command of his low-90s fastball, which he pairs with a change-up, curveball, and slider.
July 13, 2016 |
SAN DIEGO - Cole Hamels never doubted he would return to the postseason. Stay healthy, the former Phillies ace said, and the opportunity could arise. He just did not expect it so soon with the Texas Rangers last season, mere months after the Phillies traded him. Now he is the best pitcher on the team with the best record in the American League at the all-star break. Life is good for the 32-year-old lefthander. That does not preclude him from being wistful about the great days in Philadelphia.
May 30, 2016 |
ALLENTOWN - As players attempt to reach the major leagues, confidence can fluctuate on a daily basis with performance. For Nick Williams, one of the most highly regarded outfielders in the Phillies' system, confidence has never been an issue. Overconfidence is something he admittedly has struggled with. "I've always been extremely confident, and at times I am overconfident and I have to slow down," Williams said. Williams, who will turn 23 in September, was acquired from Texas last year in the Cole Hamels trade.
May 29, 2016 |
How are the Phillies' top 10 prospects, as ranked by MLB.com, faring in the minor leagues? (Weekly stats from May 20 to 26.) J.P. Crawford SS, Lehigh Valley (AAA) Crawford's best game in his first week at triple A came Thursday against Pawtucket, when he went 3 for 5 with two runs scored. He had no errors in his first six games after committing seven in 36 games for Reading. AB H BA 2B 3B HR BB SO RBI SB Last week 20 6 .300 0 0 0 4 3 0 0 Season 156 42 .269 8 0 3 34 24 13 5 Jake Thompson RHP, Lehigh Valley (AAA)
May 24, 2016 |
The winning pattern for Phillies righthander Jerad Eickhoff this year has been simple: Pitch seven scoreless innings and watch the bullpen finish matters. Eickhoff earned his second win of the season with seven shutout innings Sunday as the Phillies defeated the Braves, 5-0, winning one of their three games with Atlanta at Citizens Bank Park. On April 13, Eickhoff also pitched seven scoreless innings and got the win in a 2-1 triumph over San Diego. In between, things have not gone as smoothly.