Tag Archives: Clearwater Threshers

Minor league second baseman Daniel Brito earns Gold Glove Award

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For the second consecutive season the Philadelphia Phillies organization has the best defensive second baseman in the minor leagues.
Daniel Brito, who split the season between the Low-A Lakewood BlueClaws and the High-A Clearwater Threshers, was named as a Gold Glover by Minor League Baseball and the Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, Inc. in honors announced on Monday.
The 20-year-old second baseman was signed by the Phillies back in 2014 as an amateur free agent out of his native Venezuela. He played 92 games with Lakewood this season, then was promoted to Clearwater where he appeared in another 27 contests.
In announcing the honor, Minor League Baseball stated that Brito “…recorded a .988 fielding percentage in 116 games, the highest mark among second basemen in Minor League Baseball. The 20-year-old handled 418 total chances in 92 games for Class A Lakewood, and 101 more in 24 games for Class A Advanced Clearwater, helping turn 78 double plays across the two levels.”
Brito is ranked as the #12 Phillies prospect by MLB.com at this time. In our Phillies Nation Top 20 Phillies Prospects rankings back in early August, he received mention in the “Also receiving votes” section.
A year ago it was Scott Kingery being honored as the minor league 2017 Gold Glove Award winner at second base. Kingery went on top play most of this 2018 season as the Phillies starting shortstop.
Brito is considered a glove-first player at present. He hit for just a .252/.307/.342 slash line with 16 stolen bases over 468 plate appearances across the two minor league levels this past season.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Daniel Brito earns minor league Gold Glove honors

Sixto Sanchez pulled from Arizona Fall League by Phillies

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Play gets underway today in the Arizona Fall League, the annual fall showcase event for some of the top prospects from each organization in Major League Baseball.
The Philadelphia Phillies were scheduled to send eight players to participate in the AFL with the Scottsdale Scorpions squad: first baseman Darick Hall, third baseman Luke Williams, shortstop Arquimedes Gamboa, outfielder Austin Listi, and pitchers Luke LeftwichSeth McGarryTyler Viza, and Sixto Sanchez.
However, just yesterday the Phillies announced that Sanchez, the club’s top prospect, was being pulled out of the league. The move appears to be largely cautionary in nature.
Sanchez turned 20-years-old at the end of July. He went 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA and 1.071 WHIP this past season with the High-A Clearwater Threshers. The right-hander allowed 39 hits over 46.2 innings across eight starts with a 45/11 K:BB ratio.
He was really beginning to heat up when the Phillies shut him down due to elbow discomfort following a start on June 3. In his previous four outings, Sanchez had gone 3-1 while allowing just 15 hits over 25.2 innings with a 29/4 K:BB ratio.
Sanchez would never return, and the AFL stint was going to give him a chance to get some more innings of work in before taking a break for the winter.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia described the circumstances of his removal from the Arizona Fall League as follows:

“Sanchez was firmly on the road to recovery and getting work in the Florida Instructional League when he recently came down with soreness in his right collarbone. Team medical officials are not alarmed by the issue and they are confident that Sanchez will be fully healthy and ready to go for spring training. However, the setback cut into Sanchez’s preparation time in Florida so the team has decided to err on the side of caution and hold him out of the AFL.”

The other seven Phillies prospects will open their Fall season tonight against the Mesa Solar Sox in Scottsdale, Arizona. The six teams of the AFL are divided into two divisions. Each is scheduled to play a 30-game schedule which ends on November 15, with a championship game scheduled between the two division leaders on November 17.
When healthy, Sanchez combines a 70-grade fastball with fantastic control and improving curveball and changeup offerings that have led to his being rated not only the Phillies top prospect, but also one of the most exciting arms in the entire sport.
He is currently ranked as the 21st overall prospect by MLB, and the #6 right-handed pitching prospect in the game. Assuming he is healthy in the spring, you should expect Sanchez to reach Double-A next season.
Again, given health, by spring training of 2020 when he will still be just 21-years-old it is likely that he will push for a spot in the Phillies starting rotation.

Jose Pujols named as High-A Clearwater Threshers POY

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The Clearwater Threshers are the High-A minor league affiliates of the Phillies, and are located at the same place where Phillies fans travel every February and March to enjoy spring training. They have been affiliated with the Phillies since their very first season of existence all the way back in 1985.
For their first 29 seasons the club was known as the Clearwater Phillies and played their home games at old Jack Russell Stadium. With the opening of a new ballpark now known as Spectrum Field in 2004, the team name and identity was changed as well.
Clearwater, Florida is approximately 1,100 miles from the Philadelphia area. Driving it will take you roughly 17 hours, give or take depending on traffic conditions and how many stops you choose to make along the way. Most who make the drive travel most of the way down I-95.
Of course it’s far quicker and in many ways easier to simply hop a flight. Your plane from Philly International will land in Tampa. From there it’s about an hour drive or two hours by public transportation to Clearwater.
As with their counter-parts in Lakewood highlighted in yesterday’s piece, the 2018 season saw the Threshers finish in first place overall in the North Division of the Florida State League.
Their 77-60 mark was the second-best overall in a season that is split into halves. The first half saw Clearwater finish just 32-36 and in fourth place. However, the team rolled to a 45-24 mark over the second half.
The Threshers faced the first-half divisional winners, the Daytona Tortugas, in the FSL playoff semi-finals. Clearwater captured the opener by a 7-6 score, but then Daytona came from behind to capture the next two games by 6-5 and 5-3 and win the best-of-three series.
This year’s Clearwater Threshers Player of the Year is outfielder Jose Pujols. A 6-3, 175lb right fielder, he bats and fields right-handed. Pujols turned 23-years-old just last week and is a native of the Dominican Republic. He was originally signed by the Phillies as a 16-year-old back on July 2, 2012.
Power has generally been considered his calling card. Pujols demonstrated that again this year as his 18 home runs, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored each led the ball club. He also put together a solid .301/.364/.523 slash line.
While Pujols still strikes out too much, he improved in that regard over his dismal 2017 campaign. Last year he whiffed 150 times over 352 plate appearances. This year that figure was 162 K’s, but spread over 491 plate appearances.
The improvement allowed him to get to his power more in games, raising his homer total from just eight last season, a year in which he had produced just a .194/.247/.305 slash line. And that improvement also yielded a promotion, as he reached Double-A Reading towards the end of the year.
Threshers manager Shawn Williams was quoted on Pujols’ improvement and performance by Jim Salisbury for Baseball America back in late August:

“From Day 1 of spring training, he was on a mission. He made some changes to his stance and his mindset. He’s improved his selectivity and become a tougher out. He’s really becoming a hitter. He’s taking singles. He’s shown a good two-strike approach. He’s getting guys in from third. He’s becoming more hitterish and in turn producing good numbers. And he’s always had big power.”

That awful 2017 campaign was enough to get most of the prospect evaluators to drop him off their Phillies top prospect lists. However, the folks at “Prospects 1500” put him at #15 on their “Phillies Midseason Top 50 Prospects” rankings, stating “While Pujols is still striking out a lot, his current rate of 37% is lower than last year. That, along with an increased walk rate and more power is what is driving him back up the rankings.
Pujols has put himself back on the radar with this Clearwater Player of the Year performance in 2018. It is now up to the young slugger to ensure that he continues working on his all-around game. If he continues to improve moving forward as he did this season, we just might see him banging balls over the walls at Citizens Bank Park in a couple of years.

Phillies Minor Leaguers Receive All-Star Honors

The Philadelphia Phillies minor league system is greatly improved, and a number of the players have received invitations to All-Star games for their individual performances.

With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game just a couple of weeks away now, there has been some speculation as to who might represent the Phillies in the Mid-Summer Classic.
The way that things are currently unfolding for the team, it would appear that the two players with the best chance to represent the Phillies are center fielder Odubel Herrera and closer Jeanmar Gomez.
Whatever happens regarding the All-Star situation at the big league level, the improvement in both talent and competitiveness at the Phillies’ minor league level is now being rewarded with All-Star recognition for those players and prospects as well.

Three members of the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs just received notice that they have been selected for the AAA All-Star Game, which will be played on Wednesday, July 13th at BB&T Bank Ballpark in Charlotte, North Carolina and will be televised on the MLB Network.
IronPigs closer Edward Mujica, who has 10 years of big league experience, has 19 Saves. Despite some poor peripheral numbers, he has been selected to the game, joining catcher Andrew Knapp and outfielder Cam Perkins.
Two members of the AA Reading Fightin’ Phils squad, starting pitcher Ricardo Pinto and outfielder Dylan Cozens, have been selected to participate in the prestigious MLB All-Star Futures Game, which will be played on Sunday, July 10th at San Diego’s Petco Park.
The Fightin’ Phils are also expected to have at least a few players selected for the Eastern League All-Star Game to be played in Portland, Maine on July 15th. Fan voting ended on Sunday, and results are expected to be announced soon.
A full nine members of the Phillies High-A Clearwater Threshers affiliate were named to the Northern squad for the Florida State League All-Star Game, which was already held on Monday, June 20th at St. Lucie, Florida.
That large group of Threshers was made up of pitchers Tom Eshelman, Elniery Garcia, and Alexis Rivero, catcher Chase Numata, 1st baseman Zach Green, 2nd baseman Scott Kingery, 3rd baseman Mitch Walding, and outfielders Cord Sandberg and Carlos Tocci.
Eshelman got the start for the North in the FSL All-Star contest, which the North went on to win by a 1-0 score in a pitching dominated game. In one inning, he allowed no runs or hits, striking out one and walking one.
I knew coming in here we were going to be pretty good arms-wise, but I didn’t think we’d be that good,” Eshelman said per MiLB.com contributor Erin Brown. “It was definitely fun to be a part of and humbling since this was my first All-Star bid.
Three members of the Low-A Lakewood BlueClaws were invited to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game, which was played on Thursday, June 23rd in Asheville, North Carolina.
Pitcher Luke Leftwich was added to the roster just ahead of the game, joining outfielder Jose Pujols and 2nd baseman Josh Tobias. The trio helped the North to a 2-1 victory in the contest.

Pharm Report: High-A Clearwater Threshers

The Phillies ‘High-A’ level minor league club, the Clearwater Threshers, currently find themselves in first place in the Florida State (FSL) League standings in the North Division.
The Threshers are 26-16, which has them a half-game up on the Tampa Yankees at the top of the standings, though the club has lost their last two games.
Manager Greg Legg was drafted as a player by the Phillies in the 22nd round of the 1982 MLB Amateur Draft out of Oklahoma State University.
Legg made 22 plate appearances in the big leagues with the Phils across eight games as a utility infielder in the 1986 and 1987 seasons, so he is very familiar with the dreams of his young charges.
The Threshers recently got a bump in their lineup with the injury rehabilitation of Phillies’ utility player veteran Cody Asche, who is working his way back from an oblique injury.
Asche has hit just .167 over his first 18 at-bats while playing exclusively in left field. Jordan Hall with CSNPhilly.com quoted Asche just this past Monday on his position switch last year from 3rd base to the outfield.

“As I’ve gone through this process, I’ve learned a lot about myself, a lot about myself as a player,” Asche said. “I know wholeheartedly that the organization has my best interest in mind.

The Threshers drive to the top of the standings has featured one of the players mentioned in our TBOH Phillies Top 10 prospects features earlier this spring, 2nd baseman Scott Kingery.
The 22-year old Kingery is hitting for a .263/.345/.408 slash line and leads the club with 14 doubles, 10 steals, and 26 runs scored. CSNPhilly.com contributor Bill Whitehead quoted Legg on Kingery just yesterday.

He brings a lot of energy. He’s real solid defensively, good at turning the double plays and doesn’t really miss much,” Legg said. “He’s got good range and speed on the bases. He’s been a nice igniter of our offense as far as getting on base and scoring runs. He’s got a spark plug-type attitude and he’s a tough kid, so we’ve got a good player right there.”

Also featured in the Clearwater lineup are 22-year old 1st baseman Zach Green, 23-year old 3rd baseman Mitch Walding, 23-year old 1st baseman Kyle Martin, 21-year old shortstop Malquin Canelo, 21-year old outfielder Cord Sandberg, and 20-year old outfielder Carlos Tocci.
21-year old right-hander Tom Eshelman is one of the team’s starting pitchers. He came over to the Phillies organization as part of the big package from the Houston Astros for closer Ken Giles.
Eshelman has allowed 36 hits over 39.2 innings with an outstanding 39/9 K:BB ratio. 21-year old lefty Elneiry Garcia has allowed just 31 hits over 41.2 innings with a 35/11 K:BB ratio and has an excellent 2.38 ERA.
Also pitching well at Clearwater are 21-year old righty Tyler Vizza, who has a 38/7 K:BB ratio and a tidy 2.87 ERA over 37.2 innings and who has tossed the staff’s lone complete game.
23-year old Ranfi Casimiro is a 6’8″ Dominican right-hander who is 5-2 with a 3.35 ERA. He has allowed just 32 hits in 37.2 innings with a 40/10 K:BB ratio and is likely to see a promotion to AA Reading soon.
Matt Imhof is a 22-year old lefty who was the Phillies 2nd round pick at 47th overall in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft. He has allowed 30 hits in 37.2 innings, but has had big time command issues, walking 27 batters against 28 strikeouts.
A pair of 21-year old right-handed relievers are having solid seasons and bear watching. Victor Arano has allowed 18 hits over 21.1 innings with a 22/9 K:BB, and Alexis Rivero has yielded just 12 hits in 19.1 innings with a strong 24/5 K:BB ratio.
The Threshers play their home games at a ball park very familiar to most Phillies fans, Bright House Field in Clearwater, the Phils’ spring training home.
Bright House Field is located on the west side of U.S. highway 19 along Florida’s Gulf Coast, and is one of the most fan-friendly and simply gorgeous places to watch a baseball game in the nation.