The IronPigs wrapped up a miserable 2-5 week that saw their division lead shrink. The Pawtucket Red Sox are closing in thanks to their four game series win over Lehigh Valley this week. It’s by far Lehigh Valley’s best season in franchise history, but it’s going to be a fight to make the playoffs and perhaps an uphill battle if the rotation doesn’t improve. They received only two quality starts this week, one each from Ryan Feierabend and Nate Bump, and Feierabend’s only reached the minimum requirements. With Pete Orr back from his brief stint in the majors and Kevin Frandsen back from a PED suspension, they should have the infield depth to compensate for the loss of Jeff Larish.
Reading Phillies (52-47, T-2nd in EL East)
Like the IronPigs, Reading should be in a tight playoff race for the remainder of the season. Not only did they go 5-2 this week, but they won a series against division leading New Hampshire (Toronto) and continued having success against Trenton (Yankees), their closest competitor for a playoff berth. The Reading Phillies pitched well this week, but the key was a resurgent offense that scored double digit runs in two games. Despite the promotions of relief prospects Phillippe Aumont and Justin De Fratus to AAA, the Reading bullpen has done a good job with Josh Zeid’s transition into the bullpen, the promotion of Justin Friend from Clearwater, and Jacob Diekman’s effective work against lefties.
Clearwater Threshers (12-16, 6th in FSL North)
Due to a number of factors, including the Phillies’ desire to make a trade and the talent on this roster, it’s safe to say that Clearwater is the capital of the pro scouting world leading up to the deadline. That being said, this is a bad time for most of the rotation to be struggling. Jarred Cosart had what has to be the worst start of his life this week when he allowed seven runs in just one inning against the St. Lucie Mets. Brody Colvin made a bad start on Sunday and had to leave a much better start Friday with a groin injury, but he should be ready to go in his next start. One prospect that could be improving his stock after a medicore first half of the season is outfielder Jiwan James with tools and a .940 OPS in July.
Lakewood BlueClaws (15-13, 4th in SAL North)
If Lakewood wants to win their third straight South Atlantic League title, they’re going to have an uphill battle in a extremely tight division. They’re three games behind division leading Hickory now, but if Hickory wins the second half division title, the second playoff berth would go to the team with the best full season record where the BlueClaws face a larger deficit. Some recent transactions add a veteran presence to the bench to compliment the young, raw position players in the starting lineup. Carlos Alonso and Bill Rice were promoted from lower levels, and minor league veteran Steve Singleton was assigned to Lakewood after being signed by the Phillies.
Williamsport CrossCutters (17-18, 5th in NYPL Pinckney)
The CrossCutters finished 3-4 last week despite starting it off with a 3-1 record. After winning game one of a four game series against division rival Auburn (Washigton), they lost the next three. Thanks to a NYPL season that features a lot of parity, Williamsport is only a few games out of a playoff spot. The pitching line of the week went to Colin Kleven for his performance on Saturday. He only struck out two in seven innings, but he didn’t allow any runs and induced 15 ground ball outs. Players earning more at bats seem to be separating themselves from the rest lately. Patrick Murray, a good locker room presence and popular among the players, was released for other players to get at bats.
GCL Phillies (16-12, 3rd in GCL North)
Due to a Friday suspension, the GCL Phillies played only five games this week and went 3-2 to maintain third place in the division. This is the point in the season where players need to be earning their at bats in innings due to an influx of talent in camp thanks to late draft signings. The first of those happened this week when the Phillies signed 11th rounder Tyler Greene, a 3rd round talent, with a $375,000 signing bonus. He could see game action by the end of next week. Chris Duffy, who somehow survived spring training release to stick with the GCL team for another year, finally started heating up after a rough start to the season. There’s no reason to be concerned that first and second rounders Larry Greene and Roman Quinn won’t be joining Tyler in camp soon.
Freddy Galvis, Reading- 12/31, 5 R, 4 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 1/2 SB- There’s only been a 20 point variation in Galvis’ monthly OPS’ this season. July has been his second best month.
Matt Rizzotti, Reading- 9/22, 4 R, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 4 K, 1 SB- That’s not a typo. Matt Rizzotti did steal a base to set a career high of two steals in a season.
Carlos Rivero, Reading- 9/26, 3 R, 3 2B, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 0/1 SB- After a bad June, Rivero has come back with a .942 OPS in July and 10 extra base hits in 19 games.
Steve Susdorf, Reading- 8/25, 5 R, 5 2B, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K, 1/2 SB- There’s no question Susdorf can hit minor league pitching, especially lefties. Can he do it enough to become a bench player?
Maikel Franco, Williamsport- 8/26, 3 R, 2 2B, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K- It’s been an awful July for Franco, but he’s turned it around in the past week with a more patient approach.
Austin Hyatt, Reading- 1-0, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K- Hyatt now has nearly 130 innings of AA work, so he should be up with Lehigh Valley very soon.
Josh Zeid, Reading- 0-0, 1 SV, 4 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 6 K- With a K/9 rate over 14 as a reliever this year, it’s clear that Zeid’s stuff plays up in a bullpen role.
Andy Loomis, Clearwater- 0-0, 0 SV, 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K- 25 year old isn’t a prospect, but he’s making the most of his second chance in affiliated baseball.
Julio Rodriguez, Clearwater- 2-0, 14 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 16 K- At least one Clearwater starter surely impressed scouts not only this week, but the entire season.
Ramon Oviedo, GCL- 1-0, 7 IP, 0 H 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K- Oviedo has allowed six earned runs this season, five of which came in his first start of the year.
Alan Schoenberger, Clearwater- 0/8, 0 R, 0 XBH, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 2 K- After posting a .703 OPS last season with Lakewood, Schoenberger is batting below .200 with Lakewood and Clearwater.
Kyrell Hudson, Williamsport- 2/13, 1 R, 1 3B, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 1/2 SB- With 14 steals in 29 games, it’s clear that Hudson is a great athlete. He just can’t hit.
Brock Stassi, Williamsport- 2/14, 2 R, 0 XBH, 0 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 1/1 SB- Stassi is receiving extra at bats after the release of Patrick Murray and isn’t taking advantage.
Matthew Holland, GCL- 1/9, 1 R, 0 XBH, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 5 K- 23 year old is having a good season, but he’s far too old to be playing in a rookie league.
Bernardo Solarte, GCL- 1/9, 2 R, 0 XBH, 0 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K- It sure feels like Solarte is in this section pretty often, but he’s still pretty young at 19 years old.
Tyson Brummett, Lehigh Valley- 0-2, 9.2 IP, 13 H, 10 ER, 6 BB, 7 K- It’s only been 34 innings, but it’s becoming clear that Brummett may top out as an AA reliever.
Brody Colvin, Clearwater- 0-1, 8.1 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K- After a rough start on Sunday, Colvin had to leave Friday’s game with a groin injury but should be ready for his next start.
Jarred Cosart, Clearwater- 0-1, 1 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, 0 K- Cosart has great stuff, but statistically this season has been a disappointment, but it’s important that he remains healthy.
Ebelin Lugo, Clearwater- 0-0, 1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K- After a rough June with a 6.94 ERA, batters are hitting .500 against Lugo in July.
Josh Warner, GCL- 0-1, 2 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K- Warner has a great K:BB ratio over 5, but batters are hitting well over .300 against him in his first taste of pro ball.
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