Tag Archives: Ricardo Pinto

Phillies AAA Farm Club at Lehigh Valley May Be MiLB’s Best in 2017

The Philadelphia Phillies have been undergoing a public rebuilding program for the last two to three years.
Management has made some astute trades. They have also done a solid job making selections in the annual Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.
It all adds up to the Phillies accumulating an enviable array of minor league prospects. Some of those players have already begun their big league careers.
This is most especially noticeable on the mound, where starting pitchers Jerad EickhoffVince Velasquez and Aaron Nola are each now in their second full big league season.
And even more are just a phone call away. The Phillies top farm club, the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs, are roughly a 60 miles north drive up the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Allentown, PA.
Based on MLB.com rankings, a full seven of the Phillies top dozen prospects, including three of the top four, are starting this season with the Pigs.


Two of those players are 24-year old first baseman Rhys Hoskins and 22-year old outfielder Dylan Cozens. A year ago, the pair became known as the “Bash Brothers” for their power exploits at AA Reading. Hoskins ranks 12th and Cozens is 6th on the Phillies Top Prospects list.
In 2016, Cozens crushed 40 home runs and knocked in 125 runs while also stealing 21 bases. Hoskins banged 38 long balls and knocked in 116 runs.
Hoskins is off to a hot start at AAA, hitting for a .333/.417/.571 slash over his first half-dozen games. Cozens got off slow at .190/.292/.333 thus far.
The fans at Coca-Cola Park have already been introduced to the 2017 “Bash Brothers” version. The pair each homered in the first game of a doubleheader this past Sunday.


Ranked 7th on the Phillies prospect list is speedy outfielder Roman Quinn, who already received a cup of coffee last September with the big club.
Quinn is perhaps my personal favorite among Phils’ prospects. He has game-changing speed, and is a natural table setter for the top of the future Phillies batting order.
The only thing holding back the soon-to-be 24-year old has been a propensity for injuries. Quinn is hitting .400, has an early stolen base, and is tied with Hoskins for the IronPigs lead in runs scored.
The lone pitcher among the top dozen at Lehigh Valley is former #1 overall MLB draft pick Mark Appel, who is ranked 10th on the Phillies list.
The top pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft by the Houston Astros, Appel will turn 25 years old at this year’s MLB All-Star break. He struck out two and walked three batters in his first AAA start of the season, allowing four hits over 4.2 innings.


The best of the prospects at Lehigh Valley are shortstop J.P. Crawford (1), outfielder Nick Williams (3), and catcher Jorge Alfaro (4), the latter having also received a cup of coffee in Philly last year.
Crawford has been the club’s top prospect for the last three years, but his offensive development has been slow. But Crawford is also still very young. Thus far in 2017, the 22-year old is hitting for just a .125/.160/.208 slash line.
Williams was plagued by immaturity issues a year ago. He seemed much more prepared this spring, though he too is off to a slow start. The 23-year old is hitting for just a .167/.211/.222 slash.
Alfaro will turn 24-years old in June. He is off hot, hitting for a .500/.524/.550 slash. The backstop came to the Phils in the big Cole Hamels deal with Texas back in 2015 along with Williams, Eickhoff, and pitching prospect Jake Thompson.


Thompson is also at Lehigh Valley. The 23-year old righty lost his MLB rookie status a year ago when he tossed 53.2 innings for the Phillies across his first 10 big league starts.
In addition to Appel and Thompson, at least four more pitchers at Lehigh Valley can be considered legitimate big league prospects.
They include Zach Eflin, who came from the Dodgers via the Padres organization in the Jimmy Rollins trade, and who tossed the Phillies only two complete games a year ago.
Ben Lively is a 25-year old who came from Cincinnati in a deal for Marlon Byrd. 24-year old Nick Pivetta came from Washington in a deal for Jonathan Papelbon. And the Phillies signed 23-year old Ricardo Pinto out of Venezuela in 2011.


Finally, Jesmuel Valentin is an infielder who will turn 23-years of age in May. He came to the Phillies in one of the earliest of the rebuild deals, a 2014 trade with the Dodgers for reliever Roberto Hernandez.
Valentin very nearly made the Phillies 2017 Opening Day roster, perhaps the final cut when the club elected to keep Brock Stassi. He is off to a strong start, hitting .474 with a .500 OBP as the IronPigs second baseman.
Every one of the prospects mentioned here could find their way to Philadelphia at some point in this 2017 season. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are loaded with legitimate help for the big club. Some of these players will undoubtedly make it, some will fizzle out.
One thing that we can say for sure, the Pigs are loaded. If the team mostly stays together, a longshot, they could contend for a AAA championship. More likely, at least half of these guys are in Philly before it’s all over this year.
Phillies fans should get their tickets now, and take the drive up the Turnpike to watch a legitimately exciting minor league ball club at Lehigh Valley.

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: AA Reading Fightins

The Phillies ‘AA’ level minor league club, the Reading Fightin’ Phils, have bolted out to a first place lead in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League.
The Fightin’ Phils are 29-14, on a four game winning streak which has them 2.5 games up on the Hartford Yard Goats farm team of the Colorado Rockies organization.
This is the 50th anniversary of the Phillies relationship with the city of Reading, Pennsylvania, and the franchise is celebrating all year long with various events and giveaway items.
The timing couldn’t be better for the fans pouring into FirstEnergy Stadium. The Fightin’ Phils have a talented ball club with some exciting prospects.
Manager Dusty Wathan‘s squad just suffered a personnel loss, the type which minor league affiliate clubs are all too familiar with.
The Phillies top prospect, shortstop J.P. Crawford, began his season with Reading. Crawford was hitting .265 with a .398 on-base percentage, 23 runs scored, and five stolen bases when he was promoted over the weekend to the AAA Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Remaining at Reading to lead the offense are a trio of interesting hitters, the best of whom is catcher Jorge Alfaro.
The soon-to-be 23-year old Alfaro got off to a torrid start, but then missed a few weeks early on with an oblique injury. Since returning a couple of weeks ago he has continued to rake.
Over at TBOH we ranked Alfaro as the Phillies #6 prospect back in the preseason. He is hitting for a .348/.366/.517 slash line with seven doubles and 19 RBI in just 89 at-bats.
Right fielder Dylan Cozens will turn 22 years of age next week, and is having a true breakout season. He currently carries a .277/.350/.560 slash line, leads the club with 11 homers and 33 RBI, and is tied for the team lead with 29 runs scored.
23-year old 1st baseman Rhys Hoskins is hitting for a .272 average, seven home runs, and 26 RBI as he tries to show that he can be a legitimate piece of the Phillies rebuilding future plans.
Center field belongs to Roman Quinn, who came into the season as one of my personal favorite Phillies prospects. He possesses legitimately game-changing speed, and the thought of him roaming center at Citizens Bank Park and atop the Phils’ batting order had me salivating.
Quinn is hitting .255 with a .343 on-base percentage, and is tied for the team lead with 29 runs scored. His 19 stolen bases make him the club’s biggest baserunning threat by a wide margin.
A new element with the Fightin’ Phils, at least for a short time, will be rehabbing Phillies player Cody Asche, who just moved up after beginning his season with High-A Lakewood.
Big right-hander Ben Lively has been the leader of the Reading pitching staff. In his second season with the Phillies organization after coming over in trade from the Cincinnati Reds for Marlon Byrd.
Lively has been the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week, and was named to Baseball America’s April All-Prospect Team. The 24-year old is 7-0 with a 1.87 ERA. He has allowed just 35 hits over 53 innings, with a 49/15 K:BB ratio.
Nick Pivetta is a 23-year old right-hander who came to the Phillies last year in the Jonathan Papelbon trade, and is really starting to come on strong.
Pivetta is 4-2 and has allowed just 36 hits over 44 innings with a 44/15 K:BB ratio. Over his last three starts, Pivetta has been white hot, winning all three with a 1.47 ERA and 20 strikeouts.
Anthony Vasquez is 6-2 with a 1.82 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. The 29-year old veteran has appeared in seven big league games, all back in 2011 with the Seattle Mariners.
Ricardo Pinto has allowed 43 hits over 45.1 innings with a 25/13 K:BB ratio. At 22 years of age, Pinto is highly considered by some in the organization, and is an arm to watch as the season moves along.
Severino Gonzalez is a 23-year old who made seven starts for the Phillies a year ago. He is being used exclusively out of the bullpen now, and has allowed nine hits in 10.2 innings with a 9/2 K:BB.
Another intriguing arm at Reading is 24-year old left-hander Tom Windle, who was another favorite of mine entering the season.
Windle came to the organization along with Zach Eflin in the Jimmy Rollins deal with the Dodgers back in the summer of 2014. The southpaw is struggling, however, having allowed 21 hits over 14 innings with a 16/6 K:BB.
FirstEnergy Stadium is located about 75-80 miles northwest of Philadelphia, and is about an hour and a half ride out I-76, just off PA Route 12. It is a gorgeous ballpark, and well worth the trip to watch some talented future Phillies perform.