Phillies Sign Teenagers From Foreign Countries

The Phillies signed three notable players from the International Amateur Free Agent market yesterday. I’ll run them down, and give you a bit of an overview of how the system works.

It’s been widely reported that Venezuelan SS Arquimedes Gamboa signed for $900k. He was BA’s #8 overall July 2 prospect, and Baseball America’s Ben Badler said that at his bonus level, he could “end up being one of the better values at the top of the market”. His 70 grade name aside, (it’s no Rock Shoulders), the “pen to paper” image of him makes him seems like a pretty small dude. Not uncommon for a shortstop.

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Cord Sandberg: Shiny New Thing/Fast Car/Lion/Rose

Sometimes, when you’re looking at a shiny new thing, the “thing” blinds you for a little bit. Because of the shininess.

- Soon-To-Be-Popular Modern Saying

Cord Sandberg is like a 2013 Roadster. He’s maybe lost some of that “new car smell” from a summer spinning his tires around the Gulf Coast of Florida, but his engine still alternately purrs like a kitten and roars like a lion. He’s currently sitting on an every-game-of-the-young-season hitting streak of 12 games, which has gotten some around the internets all abuzz with J.P.-Crawfordian good-time super-happy feelings. And while Sandberg and Crawford came out of the same draft class, and had far different levels of success in 2013, both have put together hot streaks in 2014 that make you look up and wonder if the kitten is actually a lion cub growing up before our very eyes, and lying in wait to ambush and eat his opponent…which I’ll readily admit, would get either of them suspended for nine FIFA matches or released by the Dodgers. Resist the urge, Boys. Continue reading…

The Future is Unwritten: Carlos Tocci

In the modern era of baseball fandom, three years feels like an eternity. That’s how long we’ve been watching, scrutinizing and trying to shove food down the throat of Carlos Tocci, the now 18 year old Venezuelan center fielder who’s spending 2014 repeating Low-A Lakewood. Over that time, Tocci hasn’t produced statistics that have people clamoring for his promotion the same way JP Crawford has. As a result the once prominent buzz that surrounded Tocci’s advanced-for-his-age skillset has mostly evaporated. He is no longer the flavor of the month, no longer the shiny new toy and so 21st century prospect fans and their embarrassingly short attention spans are now aloof. It’s a mistake. Regardless of whether or not Tocci pans out he’s a must-follow just for the developmental intrigue involved. Continue reading…

The Lakewood Six Or Seven (Or Eight)

When last we spoke, I mentioned how enamored I’d become of the Lakewood lineup. At the beginning of 2014, it was pretty clear that there was a good amount of talent inhabiting the low-A roster, led by 2013 first round pick J.P. Crawford. As the year has gone on, a couple guys have forced their way to the fore, and a couple have lagged behind, but the ceilings of a few remain so intriguing that it’s hard not to be interested. So let’s talk (for 1800 words or so, apparently), about Crawford, Carlos Tocci, Dylan Cozens, Andrew Pullin, Zach Green, Samuel Hiciano, and Andrew Knapp. And I’ll even throw in some Willians Astudillo, just for fun.

I’ll start with the headliner. J.P. Crawford reached Lakewood last summer via the double jump from the Gulf Coast League. He started this year slow, then got very hot, but has slumped lately, OPSing just .555 in 14 June games, after putting up a .969 in May. Continue reading…

The Future Is Unwritten: Severino Gonzalez

You, like me, probably became aware of Severino Gonzalez last year when he tore up the Florida State League to the tune of a 2.02 ERA between the bullpen and rotation before being brought up to Reading. It’s the kind of performance that makes you sit up in your chair and pay attention and also the sort of thing I’ve warned about countless times on this site: Do not get married to opinions based on minor league numbers, especially when those numbers were put up at the lower levels. Regardless of how little minor league numbers indicate future performance, they can make players worth going out of your way to see. Such was the case with Gonzalez, who I saw several times before departing to Arizona. Let’s start by getting a big aspect of Gonzalez’s evaluation out of the way and start by discussing his size. Continue reading…

Hey. It’s Me. The New Guy.

Some of you may know me as BradInDC from PhuturePhillies.com, where I bring my most-times-bone-dry sense of humor to the tedious task of scouring through sometimes eight leagues worth of Phils minor league action in the daily box score recaps. Some of you may know me from Twitter, @bxe1234, where I rock a pretty baller Mike-Schmidt-With-70s-Perm avi, (which I swiped off some dude’s website with scans of a bunch of old MLB yearbook-type photos), and where I tweet about the Phils and affiliates, indie/indie-folk music, progressive politics and The West Wing, among other things. For those that don’t know me, consider yourselves introduced. For those that do know me – Look At Me, I’m On Crashburn Alley!

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Phillies Media Day X

Phillies Draft Retrospective: Reggie Taylor

Ask an MLB Draft pundit who they think the Phillies are likely to draft in the first round and almost always they’ll tell you to pick an athlete, any athlete. It’s been the organization’s modus operandi for as long as most of us can remember and it’s produced mixed results. Selecting the intriguing athlete has given the Phillies the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Kyle Kendrick and Michael Bourn as well as the dislikes of Greg Golson, Tim Moss and Anthony Hewitt. Perhaps no more fitting example of the volatile nature of this tendency lies in the specter of Reggie Taylor, the 1995 draft’s 14th overall selection. Continue reading…

Phillies Day 2 Draft Notes

Aaron Brown CF Pepperdine- I was on Brown as a pitcher who had an above average fastball, flashed an average slider and whose changeup shpwed a little promise but some teams liked him as an outfielder and the Phillies were one of them. Brown has an athletic, strong build, some pull power and might have enough athleticism to play CF with, obviously, a plus arm. There are footwork issues with the swing and I think he may struggle to make contact. It’s a fourth OF profile for me. Maybe there’s room for more now that he’ll focus on hitting full time. Continue reading…

Draft recap Day 1: Aaron Nola Scouting Report, Matt Imhof notes.

The Phillies got their wish Thursday night as a few surprises (the biggest of which In more ways than one was the Cubs’ selection of Kyle Schwarber at #4 overall) ahead of them freed them up to take the guy they’ve been targeting all along, LSU right-handed pitcher Aaron Nola. Nola, who turned 21 just a few days ago, has dominated SEC competition for the past two years, posting sub-2 ERAs in both 2013 and 2014. Continue reading…

The Future is Unwritten: Mark Leiter Jr.

Mark Leiter Jr. garners more interest than your typical 22nd round pick from the New Jersey Institute of Technology typically does. He has pedigree (his father and his uncle Al were big leaguers for parts of nearly 30 seasons combined), he’s put up good numbers (a 1.20 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 45 innings of work last year and good peripherals so far this year) and once struck out 20 hitters in a college game, so he’s worth a look and a read.

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