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Category Archives: Lakewood Blue Claws

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
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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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.

Howard Looks Good In First Rehab Start

Phillies 1B Ryan Howard rehabbing in Lakewood on Thursday, June 28. (Rudy C. Jones/

LAKEWOOD, NJ — Lost in the excitement of Chase Utley’s return in a Phillies uniform is the first big step taken by the Big Piece in Lakewood.

Ryan Howard was good in his first start with the Single-A BlueClaws, driving in three runs in their 7-6 win over West Virginia.

Howard went 2-for-4, driving in three-runs as the designated hitter. Howard’s biggest at-bat came in the 9th inning for Lakewood, who rallied from a 6-0 hole to win.

With the bases loaded, Howard hit a towering fly ball that was deep enough to score the run from third and pull the BlueClaws within one. Next hitter, hot-hitting Chris Duffy, ripped a two-run single that won the game for Lakewood.

“My focus was to get one run home and let ‘Big Duff’ take care of the rest,” Howard said. “I told him before he even went up there, I said, ‘Hey, be ready to win this game, man.’ I just went up there and did my thing, and he came through.”

Howard and Duffy drove in all seven of Lakewood’s runs.

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Howard Begins Rehab Tonight

Phillies 1B Ryan Howard. (Yong Kim/Inquirer Staff)

The good news keeps rolling in on the injury front for the Phillies.

A day after Chase Utley’s triumphant return in which he homered and went 3-for-5, Ryan Howard will begin an official rehab assignment with low Single-A Lakewood. He will be the designated hitter.

With Howard beginning an official rehab, he will be back in a Phillies uniform no later than July 18, which is just after the All-Star Break.

Beautifully written by Bob Brookover:

Ryan Howard said he might not be 100 percent at any point this season.

He promised, however, to give 100 percent of 85 percent at all times when he returns to the Phillies lineup.

That is indeed better than what the Phillies have in their line up, with the exception of a red-hot Carlos Ruiz. It is also better than the five different players to play first base this season: Read more of this post

Down on the Pharm: Quality Pitching

Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA)
Record: 25-18 (3rd in North Division)
How the Team is Doing: Lehigh Valley went 5-3 this past week and swept a four-game set against the Indianapolis Indians. Kevin Frandsen enjoyed a strong week at the plate as he hit .333 with an RBI. The IronPigs also saw one of their all-time fan favorites Rich Thompson traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Kyle Hudson who is currently the starting center fielder.
Featured Prospect Watch – SP Tyler Cloyd:  Cloyd is off to a phenomenal start at the AAA level. He is 4-1 with 1.97 ERA in five starts with Lehigh Valley. In Tuesday’s contest against Indianapolis, Cloyd was masterful with his command. He tossed six shutout innings of three-hit ball and got himself out of numerous jams.

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.

Blanton, Kendrick activated

SP Joe Blanton (Alan Diaz/AP)

Starting pitcher Joe Blanton and starter/reliever Kyle Kendrick have both been activated, reported Todd Zolecki.

Blanton was on the 60-day DL and was activated after one rehab appearance with the Single-A Lakewood Blueclaws. He was supposed to pitch today, said Matt Gelb, but the Phillie figured he would be of better use in their bull pen.

Kendrick came off of paternity leave after his wife had a baby girl.

No one will likely be sent back down because it’s September but Michael Schwimer may get sent back down if the IronPigs clinch a playoff berth today.

This is huge news for the Phillies regarding pitching depth. Blanton has been out since May 14 with elbow problems. The Phillies are hoping to use him and Kendrick during the final 26 games in 24 days of the regular season.

Blanton looks strong in return

Matt Gelb tweeted that Joe Blanton made it through an inning of baseball alive tonight.

Blanton, who is down in Single-A Lakewood, pitched a 1-2-3 inning while throwing 11 pitches. His ultimate goal is to make the Phillies post season roster as some extra bull pen help.

Blanton will make his next rehab appearance in Lakewood on Monday.

Blanton may still pitch in 2011

He’s alive!

Well this comes as fantastic news for those, including a handful of my friends, who love Joe Blanton.

Blanton may be a bull pen option in the playoffs. I personally don’t want him to rush back, especially since he doesn’t really provide the Phillies with anything special in the pen.

The Phillies are pretty set with pitching in the pen, plus their starters go seven innings. There are about 4-5 options I’d rather see pitching in the 8th and 9th inning over a less-than 100% Blanton anyway. I take this with a grain of salt.