January 2011

Prospect Handbook is Here…

Today was not just a regular Monday morningprospect handbook.jpg – nope. That’s because today, I received the Baseball America Prospect Handbook. And, while I have plenty of things to do today, I had to take a few minutes to sort through it — ehh study it.

Over the next few weeks, I WILL study it. I’ll memorize the top 10 prospects for every Eastern League affiliate — I might even study the Royals’ top 10, if I have enough time!

I always like to have an idea of what players we could potentially see in Baseballtown in 2011. This book definitely helps with that!

Below, you will find the Phillies top 30 prospects. Check back each week as I focus on a prospect or two right here in this blog. 

Phillies Top 30

1.) Domonic Brown — for the past three years, Brown has been the top prospect in the Phils organization. In 2010, he broke-out in a big way.

After hitting just 14 home runs combined in all of 2009, the power for the youngster, really developed in 2010. The 23-year-old hit .318 with 15 home runs and 47 RBIs in 65 games with the R-Phils last season. He then went on to hit an impressive .346-5-21 in 28 games with Lehigh Valley, before earning a promotion to the Bigs.

While he spent a bit in Philadelphia in 2010, now, with Jason Werth out of the organization (signed with the Nationals), there is a hole in the Phillies outfield, perhaps or Brown. 

Did the top prospect do enough in 2010 to earn himself a spot in Philly? That question has yet to be answered, especially with Ben Francisco, a more than capable right fielder, on the Phils roster.

With that being said, it should be an exciting Spring Training for Brown. My guess is that with his five-tool ability, we’ll be seeing Brown as an everyday right fielder in Philly, sooner, rather than later.

2.) Jonathan Singleton

3.) Brody Colvin

4.) Jarred Cosart

5.) Trevor May

6.) Sebastian Valle

7.) Jiwan James

8.) Jesse Biddle

9.) Domingo Santana

10.) Aaron Altherr

11.) Vance Worley

12.) Antonio Bastardo

13.) Scott Mathieson

14.) Phillippe Aumont

15.) Justin DeFratus

16.) Tyson Gillies

17.) J.C. Ramirez

18.) Jon Pettibone

19.) Cesar Hernandez

20.) Freddy Galvis

21.) Perci Garner

22.) Harold Garcia

23.) Josh Zeid

24.) Austin Hyatt

25.) Julio Rodriguez

26.) Matt Rizzotti

27.) Leandro Castro

28.) Kelly Dugan

29.) Kevin Walter

30.) Cameron Rupp   

2011 Phils Winter Banquet a Success!

The snow seems to be hitting Reading today, but last night, there was something else that hit Reading — the 2011 Phillies Winter Banquet.

NCnNYsqs.jpg

The event, which raises money for Baseballtown Charities, was filled with fans eager to hear about their beloved Phillies. And, thanks to distinguished guests such as Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel, Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg, Phillies Assistant GM Benny Looper, Phillies Assistant GM Scott Proefrock, TV voice Tom McCarthy, and 40-man roster member Matt Rizzotti, fans were able to leave with a great hope for the 2011 season.

As for media, well they flocked to the event as well. There were many stories to be told.

Check out some of the great coverage from last night’s event! Enjoy!

Media Coverage:

Rich Hofmann, Philly Daily Newshttp://www.philly.com/dailynews/columnists/rich_hofmann/20110126_Rich_Hofmann__Banquets_a_labor_of_love_for_Phillies__Manuel.html

Rich Scarcella, Reading Eaglehttp://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=282028

Brian Smith, Reading Eaglehttp://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=282029

Brian Smith, Reading Eagle, http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=282037

Leroy Boyer, Pottsville Republican Heraldhttp://republicanherald.com/sports/manuel-no-worries-1.1095624

Jeff Schuler, Morning Callhttp://articles.mcall.com/2011-01-25/sports/mc-rizzotti-0125-20110125_1_matt-rizzotti-steve-noworyta-prospective-manager

Mandy Housenick, Morning Callhttp://www.mcall.com/sports/baseball/phillies/mc-philliesbanquet-0125-20110125,0,3619316.story

Mandy Housenick, Phillies Files Blog
- http://blogs.mcall.com/phillies/2011/01/so-how-many-pitchers-will-charlie-carry.html

Dennis Weller, Pottstown Mercuryhttp://www.pottstownmercury.com/articles/2011/01/25/sports/doc4d3f9e8a77036769391081.txt

Don Scott, Lebanon Daily Newshttp://www.ldnews.com/sports/ci_17198276

WFMZhttp://www.wfmz.com/sports/26616091/detail.html

WGALhttp://www.wgal.com/video/26617218/detail.html

Welcome to Baseballtown, Mark Parent…

It was quite the crowd. Parent-Presser_full2.jpgThe Crowne Plaza was quite the host. Those are just two things I heard after today’s press conference.

Earlier today, the R-Phils introduced new manager Mark Parent to Baseballtown. Parent, 49, begins his second season in the Philadelphia Phillies organization,
and will become the 24th manager in Reading Phillies history when he
takes the field in 2011.

Last year, as the first-year manager of Single-A
Lakewood, the Ashland, Oregon native led the BlueClaws to an 84-55
record and a South Atlantic League championship – the club’s second in
as many seasons.

Back in November of 2010, the Philadelphia Phillies announced that Parent would take over as the new manager of the R-Phils. Today, it was time to be introduced.

Before a crowd of about 50 people, which included political
dignitaries, Kings and a Queen of Baseballtown, R-Phils front office members,
and media members in attendance, Parent was introduced by Steve Noworyta, Philadelphia Phillies Assistant Director of Minor League Operations, at the Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel.

Everyone in attendance wanted to know about the new skipper in Baseballtown. And, they wanted to know just what to expect in 2011.

Parent-Presser-_full.jpgThe new manager got right to it. Right away, he talked about wanting to win.

“For me, when I’m working with young players, I want people who are athletic, energetic, and want to win,” said the new R-Phils skipper. 

The former Major League catcher added, “I want to develop people, but I want them to want to win. Everyday you go out there, you gotta try to win a ballgame.”  

And now, with some great young prospects in the organization — winning games in Baseballtown may not be far away.

“Hopefully, with the young players that I had last year, and the young players that were in Clearwater, and some of the good players — the prospects, that were here last year in Reading, we’ll have a pretty good club out on the field this year,” said Parent.

He later noted, “My guys will know I am here for them. I want them to get better, I want them to have all the success in the world. I managed in two other cities, other than Lakewood, I managed in Lancaster, Cal. and Chico in the Golden League, and we won everywhere — so I expect to win.”  

It was an honor and a privilege to finally meet our new manager. I, as well as everyone in Baseballtown, are looking forward to a great season.

The 2011 campaign is shaping up to be one of the best yet. With the $10 million renovations project in full-swing, and a manager dedicated to winning, the R-Phils are committed to giving their fans a great product this season. And, as Mark said earlier today, the Phillies organization is truly an honor to be a part of.

“Being with the Phillies organization, as a player, and now as an
instructor/manager, it’s been quite an honor, it’s been quite a ride,
from Dave Montgomery down. It’s full of people who are in it for one
reason, and one reason only — to win ballgames,” said Parent.

Mark Parent Press Conference Video

Say Good-bye to the “Pie Guy”…

Last week, the Philadelphia escalona_sergio_full_1.jpgPhillies organization traded away left-handed reliever Sergio Escalona to the Houston Astros. And, while it may not mean much right now (Escalona struggled in 2010), the Venezuelan reliever will be missed my many in Baseballtown in another way.

The 2010 R-Phils were an interesting team. The team struggled to play over .500 baseball for most of the year, but the team did have one thing — great chemistry. There is no better way to describe the team chemistry in Reading, than to look at what the team would do after each victory.

One of my favorite things to do as part of my day-to-day duties, is interview players after each game for our website. My videos, which can be seen online here, became a place for R-Phils players to celebrate, and one player in particular to pie his fellow teammates. That one guy was Sergio!

Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2004, Escalona made his way through the Phillies organization. The young lefty made his Major League debut with the Phillies in 2009, and posted a 1-0 mark with a 4.61 ERA in 14 games. While 2009 was probably his most positive of his career, the 2010 season was certainly not.

After moving through three levels in 2009, Escalona spent the entire 2010 campaign in Baseballtown — posting a 4-8 record with 10 saves in 16 chances, and a 3.81 ERA over 50 games. While he did get off to a great start (April and May were solid months), the 26-year-old struggled through June and July. His worst month was June, where he went 0-1 with just one save and a 7.71 ERA over nine appearances.

But, while all of the inconsistencies in 2010, Escalona remained as the team’s “cheerleader”. When the club won, Sergio was there with a pie. When there was a big moment in a game, and a teammate was being interviewed after the game, Sergio was there — with a pie!

It became expected after each win. It became the norm. It became the highlight of my interviews. It will be missed.

Now, Escalona, who was on the Phillies 40-man roster a week ago, finds himself in Houston, with some familiar faces. And it’s Ed Wade, the former Phillies GM now turned Astros GM, who likes the potential of Escalona.

“Sergio adds depth to the competition for left-handers in our bullpen,” said Wade. “Our scouts have liked his stuff and believe he’s got a chance to be
very effective in left-on-left situations.”
 
There is a lot of potential in that arm, and if Escalona is able to turn it around, he may become a great lefty specialist at the Major League level. All Major League teams look above and beyond for that tough lefty out of the bullpen. Some stay around the game forever — just look at Arthur Rhodes, who I believe is 65 years old and still going strong!

So while the Phillies added a solid young 2B in the trade (they acquired Alex Cartwright from Houston) now, the search for the next “pie guy” in Reading begins. Who will have a pie ready to go when I interview the player of the game? Who will be there to liven things up in 2011? We’ll see in April — stay tuned!

In case you missed this — check out a compilation of pies from 2010 — “Pies Like Us”.

That’s All Folks!

Working in a Winter Wonderland…

It may berenovations_1_full.jpg winter, and Opening
Day in Baseballtown may not be until April 14, but there is a lot of buzz surrounding the

R-Phils
right now. The talk of the town, and the talk
of Minor
League Baseball has been the upcoming $10
Million Renovations to
America’s Classic Ballpark. What is going to happen to this classic ballpark?

So why all the talk? The reason, is simply this, fans love this ballpark, and they want to know what it will look like when it is all said and done. There is so much history here. Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Roger Maris, Rocky Colavito, & Ryan Howard all played here! 

Will it still have the classic feel to it?

howard-snow-gnome_full_1.jpg

Will my experiences over the years be better now? What’s with the team store? Will there
be the same food? Will you add more food?

Those are just some of the questions I have heard over the off-season, and believe me, there are tons more!

Over the last few weeks, the howard-snow-gnome_full_2.jpgR-Phils have done their best to make fans aware of all the changes — but don’t worry, more updates are on the way!

Back on December 18, the R-Phils invited fans to come out and tour the ballpark. Over 200 excited fans made their way to FirstEnergy Stadium to see the progress. Some were so eager after seeing the ballpark, they bought season tickets right on the spot!

Thanks to the success of the howard-snow-gnome-_full_4.jpgfirst stadium tour, the R-Phils are working on plans for another tour — and this time it will be bigger! More details on that date will be coming in the near future, so stay tuned!

More announcements are on their way too! What will the team store be named? Just what food will be on the menu each game? Those questions will be answered in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned!

This morning, R-Phils front office members made their usual trek to work — but today, it was a bit different. The stadium, which has been filled with construction workers, cranes, trucks, and much more since September, was now filled with snow. But, for whatever reason, it had me more excited than ever for baseball this year.

So while I hope I helped you get a bit more excited about the renovations, remember to check out all the great videos and all the latest news! Stay tuned for more updates and make sure to keep an eye on http://www.readingphillies.com all off-season long!

It’s 2011…

Happy New Year!

I’m back with a new blog — the first of newyear.gif2011. Here we are, already in January, and things are starting to get busy. Preparations have begun for the season, and of course, one of the most exciting things on the agenda is the Phillies Winter Banquet. This year’s banquet is shaping up to be one of the best yet!

The banquet, which features Major League Baseball and Reading Baseball Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg, Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, 2010 Eastern League
All-Star Matt Rizzotti, television play-by-play voice Tom McCarthy, and Philadelphia Phillies assistant general
manager Scott Proefrock, will take place on Tuesday, January 25, 2011
at The Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel.

The event will begin at 5:30 PM, and will feature prizes, autographs,
highlight videos, dinner and more. Also, as in past years, it will
serve as the annual King of Baseballtown fundraiser, with Dick Ludy,
who guided Boyertown Legion baseball to the 1982 American Legion
Baseball World Series championship, being crowned the ninth King of
Baseballtown.

For more info, including tickets, please check out http://www.readingphillies.com.

Now, let’s take a look at a former R-Phils pitcher, who is in the news this week.

Taylor Buchholz – (2002-2003)taylor-buchholz.jpg
Signed by the New York Mets to a one-year contract earlier this week.

A native of Lower Merion, PA, Buchholz posted a 1-0 mark with a 3.75 ERA in nine Major League games last season (split between Colorado and Toronto).

The 29-year-old right-hander owns a career Major League mark of 19-21 with a 4.39 ERA in 135 games pitched. Once a starter, Buchholz should now be able to provide the Mets with a solid arm out of the bullpen. While he has spent most of the past few years in the Minors, Buchholz could be a good option for the Mets — who need arms badly.

Back in 2002, as a member of the R-Phils, the righty appeared in four games — posting an 0-2 mark. A year later, the PA native notched nine wins, while posting a 3.55 ERA in 25 games — 24 starts.

 

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