Tag Archives: MiLB

Phillies may finally have a legitimate lefty starting pitching prospect emerging

Damon Jones has emerged as a legit Phillies pitching prospect
Baseball America is one of the most respected resources in all of baseball for all sorts of information on the game. That is especially so regarding their evaluation and coverage of minor league baseball and top prospects.
In a regular feature, the periodical and website releases a monthly “Dynasty Stock Report” as a research tool for fantasy baseball players who might be looking for emerging prospects.
For their June release, Baseball America had an interesting name pop up in the “Surging” category of that stock report. The named belonged to a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, left-hander Damon Jones.
Jone is a 24-year-old southpaw (he turns 25 in September) from Idaho who was the Phillies 18th round selection in the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft out of Washington State University.
After signing with the organization, Jones began his professional career that same summer at short-season Williamsport. He then advanced to Low-A Lakewood for his first full season in 2018 and began to excel. That season, Jones went 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA, striking out 123 batters over 113.1 innings across 23 games, 22 of those as starting assignments.
This year, Jones has upped his game. Over 11 starts at High-A Clearwater the lefty went 4-3 with a 1.54 ERA and 1.063 WHIP. He allowed just 38 hits over 58.1 innings, earning a promotion to Double-A Reading. There he has continued to dominate, allowing nine hits over his first 22 innings across four starts.

Jones has greatly improved his command and control as he has risen through the ranks. This season he has fashioned a 119/33 K:BB. He also has allowed just three home runs, and has yielded just 10 total long balls over his now 219+ minor league innings pitched.

Matt Eddy at Baseball America had the following to say in bestowing their “surging” designation on Jones:
The 6-foot-5 lefthander streamlined his delivery this season…Improved fastball velocity and enhanced feel for his slider enabled the 24-year-old Jones to record a 1.17 ERA in 30.2 innings in June, striking out 44 and walking nine. The biggest improvement had been much sharper control than he had shown in past seasons.
In his own piece for BA on July 2, Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb quoted Phillies director of player development Rafael Chaves: “Obviously, his stuff was always pretty good. Command was always the question mark. Now he’s throwing the ball not only with authority, but he’s commanding it.
Given his age and developmental path, it would not be surprising to see Jones surface in Philadelphia by this September, if not sooner. The Phillies pitching woes have been well documented, as has been their inability to develop a left-handed starter. Jones is at least putting himself in the picture for consideration to receive a shot sometime soon.
NOTE: Special thanks to Gail “Baseball Betsy” Dull for the pic of Damon Jones that accompanied this piece. She also shot the video within the piece as well. Follow her at BaseballBetsy.com, and her husband “Baseball Ross“, both providing fantastic Phillies and other Florida-based minor league coverage.

Originally published at Phillies Nation asDamon Jones surges into Phillies prospects pitching picture

Reading Fightin Phils feature four top Phillies draft picks

Randolph, Moniak, Bohm, Haseley at Reading end of June 2019
(photo credit: George Young Jr)
Many fans of the Philadelphia Phillies make the trip to FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pennsylvania at some point. Roughly 75-80 miles northwest of Philly, those fans make the trip to watch the Reading Fightin’ Phils, the club’s Double-A minor league affiliate.
Minor league baseball has its own attractions, with frequent giveaways and other promotional activities. There is often access to the players that you rarely get in a big-league ballpark, and the seating is fantastic in a more intimate setting.
Recently there was something even more exciting for fans who were able to get to Reading. For the first time in the history of the franchise, four Phillies first round draft picks were all being featured in the Fightins lineup at the same time.
The Phillies top prospect, 22-year-old third baseman Alec Bohm, was the club’s first round choice at third overall in the June 2018 MLB Draft out of Wichita State. Bohm was promoted last Thursday from High-A Clearwater after tearing through four levels of the system since being drafted last year.
Bohm made his home debut in Reading with a fantastic performance on Thursday night. “It was an outstanding game, all-around (for Bohm),” said Reading manager Shawn Williams per The Reading Eagle. “He did it all here tonight.
Bohm has slashed .331/.406/.535 with nine home runs, 32 extra-base hits, 42 RBIs, and 43 runs scored over 298 plate appearances across three levels this season. It was just announced that Bohm has been selected to play for the United States team in the prestigious MLB Futures Game as part of the MLB All-Star festivities next month.

After making his big-league debut last month, outfielder Adam Haseley was also at Reading on a rehab stint. Haseley is back in the minors after suffering a left groin injury in early June. The club’s first round pick at 8th overall in 2017 out of the University of Virginia, the 23-year-old Haseley could find himself back in a Phillies uniform at any time now.
Haseley has slashed .274/.355/.479 this season over the two highest levels of the minors with eight homers, 21 extra-base hits, 25 RBIs, and 31 runs scored over 217 plate appearances. In two games with the Phillies, Haseley had a double and a walk, scoring two runs and driving in another.
The first overall pick of the entire 2016 MLB Draft, outfielder Mickey Moniak, struggled in his first couple of minor league seasons. But the 21-year-old Moniak, who was drafted out of a California high school, began to catch-up last summer and was recently selected for the Double-A All-Star Game.
Finally beginning to really break out, Moniak is slashing .262/.315/.434 with 31 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs, 41 runs scored, and nine steals in 72 games this year as he continues to advance incrementally one level at a time. He is slashing .284/.373/.474 in the month of June with a dozen extra-base hits.
Also drafted out of high school, Cornelius Randolph is a Georgia native selected at 10th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft. Randolph turned 22 years of age at the start of June, and is the one in this talented group who is still trying to figure things out.
Randolph is slashing just .237/.305/.367 with 16 extra-base hits, 27 RBIs, 22 runs scored, and five stolen bases over 236 plate appearances as he repeats the Double-A level. Last season with Reading, Randolph slashed .241/.324/.322, showing limited power and speed. After being drafted as a bat-first prospect, he simply has not progressed much to this point.
All four of these talented youngsters were playing together briefly at Reading, as Haseley has just been activated by the Phillies today and optioned to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The other three may not be together for very long either. If Bohm continues to progress as he has to this point, he would put himself in line for another promotion, also to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, before the minor league season ends.
Now is the time to make a trip from Philly. If you plan it on the right night, you can even see these stud position prospects performing behind the club’s top pitching prospect, Adonis Medina. The 22-year-old right-hander is 5-3 with a 4.02 ERA and 1.292 WHIP over his first 13 Double-A starts this season.

Ben Pelletier named as short-season Williamsport Crosscutters POY

By Ruhrfisch (talk) - Photographed, sticthed, and cropped it myself, originally four horizontal photosThis panoramic image was created with Autostitch (stitched images may differ from reality)., CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20028967
Crosscutters take the field in a 2018 game
(Photo by Ruhrfisch has been cropped/shrunk)
The Williamsport Crosscutters became the Class A-Short Season minor league affiliates of the Philadelphia Phillies following the 2006 season.
The Crosscutters play their home games in a facility known as  BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. It is currently the second-oldest ballpark in minor league baseball, having opened way back in 1926.
Williamsport is located in north-central Pennsylvania, approximately 180 miles from Philadelphia. It’s about a three-and-a-half hour drivefrom the Philly area using either I-76 or I-476.
In this recently completed 2018 season the Crosscutters finished at 32-44, tied for fifth (last) place in the Pinckney Division of the New York-Penn League.
This year’s Crosscutters Player of the Year is Ben Pelletier. The 6-2, 190lb left fielder turned 20 years old in late August. He was the 34th round selection of the Phillies in the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft out of high school in his native Canada.
Pelletier began the season playing for the Phillies Gulf Coast League East affiliate. He was promoted to short-season Williamsport on June 15.
Over 286 plate appearances across 69 games with the Crosscutters, Pelletier slashed .277/.333/.480 this season. His nine home runs, 45 RBI, and 29 runs scored led Williamsport in each of those offensive categories. In mid-August, Pelletier was named the New York-Penn League’s Player of the Week.
Back in early August, Mitch Rupert at the Sun-Gazette quoted Pelletier on how pitchers have changed their approach with him as the successful season unfolded: “I think I see more and more junk every day. I started the season seeing fastballs. But I’m seeing more off-speed than I did last year or the years before. I have to get used to it a little bit.”
Williamsport manager Pat Borders was quoted by Rupert on his young slugger’s performance and demeanor hitting in the middle of the lineup.

“He’s got a different kind of pop. The ball jumps off his bat a little different than most…He carries himself a little bit more mature…he’s gotten used to the type of attack you get in that hole because it commands a little bit of respect. His growth has been pretty good over the course of the season so far.”

Though not ranked among the Phillies organizational top prospects by any of the major scouting or evaluation sites at this point, Pelletier did show up among the “other top vote-getters” section of the Reading Eagle’s top thirty Phillies prospects survey released on September 1.
Pelletier could find himself starting to show up on more top prospect lists in 2019 should he repeat this caliber of performance. He is currently getting extra at-bats as part of the team’s instructional league entry.