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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Category Archives: MiLB

Prospect Report: Maikel Franco

Lakewood 3B Maikel Franco. (Photo by Dave Schofield, Lakewood BlueClaws)

Position: Third base
Age: 20
Prospect Level: Mid-level prospect (10th according to BaseballAmerica.com)
Team: 
Lakewood (Single-A).
2012 Minor League Stats

Season in Review: Maikel Franco wasn’t on a lot of people’s radars this year despite being ranked in the Phillies top 10 prospects list. But the Dominican Republican native made a name for himself in Lakewood and could find himself headed to Clearwater and soon Reading in 2013.

The 20-year-old undrafted free agent of 2010 was twice featured in TTB’s own Chris Bengel’s “Down on the Farm” segment this season, once in April and again in July, for good play. The interesting thing about both those posts was that Franco was batting in the low .200′s.

By July 9, Franco was at a .237, but began a hot tear that continued for the rest of the season. His average shot all the way up to .280 at season’s end, hitting a team-hight 14 home runs and driving in a team high 84 runs through 132 games.\

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Phillies Catcher Prospect Joseph Heads Arizona Fall League List

Reading C Tommy Joseph (Ralph Trout/Reading Phillies)

With the offseason still young for the Phillies, today is the first day of the Arizona Fall League.

Typically in this lead, teams send a handful of top prospects to work on their skills in the offseason. The Phillies will send seven players to the Peoria Javelinas, which is managed by Reading manager Dusty Wathan. (Wathan is considered the top candidate to manage the IronPigs next season with Ryne Sandberg getting a Major League promotion with the Phillies.)

Heading the list of seven is catcher Tommy Joseph, who the Phillies acquired from the Giants as the main piece for Hunter Pence. In 108 games between Richmond and Reading, Joseph .257 with 11 home runs and 48 RBIs.

Joseph could most likely repeat Double-A with his numbers being down from 2011. In high Single-A San Jose in 2011, Joseph hit .270 with 22 home runs and 95 RBIs.

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Phillies To Call Up Ruf Monday

R-Phils DH/OF Darin Ruf. (David M. Schofield/The Druid’s Eye)

PHILADELPHIA — Minor League phenom Darin Ruf will get his big call to the Majors.

A week after manager Charlie Manuel said he would like to get a first-hand look at Ruf, the Phillies will call-up the 26-year-old slugger on Monday, according to Reading Eagle reporter Mike Drago.

Ruf broke the Phillies single-season Double-A marks for homers and RBIs with 38 and 104 this season. He hit .317 in the process with an OPS of 1.028.

Ruf isn’t a very good fielder, bouncing back between first base and left field when he isn’t DHing. But Ruf is a right-hander and the Phillies could use a power bat like that from the right side of the plate.

The Phillies host Miami on Monday.

Down on the Pharm: Pigs Dominating International League

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA)
Record: 52-39 (1st in North Division)
How the Team is Doing: Lehigh Valley went 4-4 this past week and won three out of five against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Kevin Frandsen had a nice week as he hit .303 with 10 hits in 33 at-bats. The IronPigs are starting to get some players back in their lineup as Hector Luna and Michael Martinez were optioned from the Phillies due to the return of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
Featured Prospect Watch – RP Phillippe Aumont:  Aumont was the main piece in the trade that sent Cliff Lee to the Seattle Mariners a few years back. He hasn’t appeared in the major leagues and hasn’t had spectactular numbers in the minors. In 2012, Aumont is 2-1 with a 4.33 ERA with 10 saves. The most surprising stat is he has 23 walks in only 27 innings pitched. He does have 37 strikeouts and hitters are hitting .208 against him.

Down On the Pharm: A month into the season

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA)
Record: 13-10 (3rd in North Division)
How the Team is Doing: Lehigh Valley went 2-4 this past week and lost two of three games against Buffalo and Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Dave Bush and Raul Valdes picked up wins in those respective games. Catcher Erik Kratz hit his first two home runs of the season this week.
Featured Prospect Watch - 1B Cody Overbeck:  Overbeck has been one of the best players for the IronPigs in 2012. For the season, he is hitting .304 with a home run and 12 RBIs. Over the past week, Overbeck hit .333 with a pair of RBIs including multi-hit games against Buffalo and Scranton-Wilkes Barre. This is his first full season in AAA and he is off to a great start.

Sandberg named Minor League Manager of the Year

Baseball America named Lehigh Valley IronPigs manager Ryne Sandberg as the 2011 Minor League Manager of the year.

Sandberg led the IronPigs to their first plus-.500 season and playoff berth in the franchise’s four-year existence. They came within two wins of winning the Commissioner’s Cup.

Sandberg is considered by many to be a candidate for the Phillies bench in 2013 and a possible manager candidate in 2014. He will manage the IronPigs next season.

Read the full story on Baseball America’s website.

Post season ball in the minors

The main reason Ruben Amaro Jr. said that he was going to halt a bit on calling up some players in September was in order to not deplete his minor league team’s chances at a championship.

That favor has helped the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in making the International League playoffs as the Wild Card team. Along with Domonic Brown, Mike Zagurski, Erik Kratz and a handful of other Pigs, Lehigh will play the Columbus Clippers (Cleveland) in the first round.

The AA Phillies affiliate Reading Phillies also made the playoffs. They will play the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto) in the first round.

If both teams win their series as the road teams, they will play in the championships.

It’s the first time the IronPigs history that they made the postseason. It is manager Ryne Sandberg’s first year running the Pigs and he took a very talented team to the playoffs. It’s just another step in the right direction for the future of Phillies managing.

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