#IronPigs April Report Card 2014


Greg Smith has anchored the rotation  (c) Cheryl Pursell

Greg Smith has anchored the rotation
(c) Cheryl Pursell

As April comes to a close, and the ‘Pigs find their way to Georgia for a four-game series with Gwinnett.  Their flight was cancelled, stranding them in the airport Thursday morning, with a 6:35PM first pitch on tap; word is they got on their way OK.  But, let’s take a look at how the team has done so far:

By the Numbers

Record: 11-14

Record Last Season (2013) in April: 11-15

Standings: T-5th place, 4.0 Games Back

Home: 5-9; Away: 6-5

vs. RH Starter: 9-9, vs LH Starter: 2-5

Best Day of the Week:  Sunday 4-0

Worst Day of the Week: Saturday 0-5 (curse of the Bacon Uniforms??)

Best Hitter: Koyie Hill .356 avg

Best Pitcher: Greg Smith (1.82ERA, Starter), Luis Garcia (0.00ERA, Reliever)

Roster Moves on the Hog-rizon:

  • Darin Ruf will be coming back soon, and will most likely not be added to the Phillies right away.  Expect a possible rehab assignment which turns into an option move, pending health issues with the big club
  • Ethan Martin will be coming back as a reliever.  Expect a similar scenario as he’s added to the IronPigs bullpen
  • Hector Neris didn’t do anything bad enough to get demoted to Reading; he should be back at some point.
  • Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez could be back, but may start in Reading first.
  • Chris Bootcheck‘s ailing finger is improving.  He could help the starters or relievers as needed.
  • Cesar Hernandez could find his way back here to play in the infield.  He’s currently working on 3B and SS at Reading.
  • A little later, perhaps July 1, we may get some promotions from Reading:  OF Cam Perkins?  OF Kelly Dugan (if healthy)? C Tommy Joseph (if healthy)? P Ken Giles? P Jesse Biddle?


Hitting: C+

After a slow start, the bats are starting to come around.  Some roster moves, some nice weather, and a little more experience for the younger players, and I’m expecting a higher grade next marking period.  I’m expecting a greater show of power by the big guys, too:  Jim Miller, Maikel Franco, and Darin Ruf when he gets back.

Fielding: B-

They started out as the best fielding team in the IL.  Good thing, because at the time the bats weren’t hitting at all.  Pitching and defense were keeping the games close.  Of late, errors abound.  Bad throws, mostly.  I trust they’ll get it cleaned up.  The release of Troy Hanzawa won’t help, though; he’s a good fielder.

Starting Pitchers: B-

All five starters have the capability of pitching a shutout on any given night.  Greg Smith and David Buchanan have been the best.  Jon Pettibone should continue to improve and hopefully stays healthy.  Barry Enright and Sean O’Sullivan have been very solid at times.

Relief Pitchers: B

There are some really solid, veteran guys out there–all with MLB experience.  They’re entitled to a bad outing here and there; we’ve seen a couple of those lately.  They best not make it a habit, as Neris knocks on the door from Reading and Martin comes off the DL.

Coaches and Manager: A-

Bundage and his staff have been much more aggressive managing the pitchers this season–not leaving them out to dry as they did a couple times last season.  They’ve been aggressive with the hitters, too.  Hit and runs, steals, and safety squeeze plays come to mind.  They’ve been “coaching to win” which is all I ask.  The lineups have been creative and have made sense for the most part.  Brundy has been getting everybody work.  The addition of a coach at first instead of a player (Morandini often, or Abad during the last home stand) had made the base running a bit tighter at first.

See you at the SteelHawks, Saturday Night!


Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs

3 replies

  1. I’m not sure I agree with your overly rosy appraisal of the relief pitchers. There have been too many games the ‘Pigs were leading when the starters left, only to be lost — many times by a single run — by the relievers.

    You’ve noticed Abad coaching first, but you didn’t mention anything about Morandini coaching third lately. Any insight on that? There’s a rumor going around, of course, that he’ll be taking over Brundage in 2015 and is being groomed for the job. I don’t know why that would be — Brundy is only 49 — unless he has other plans when he turns 50.

    Finally, now that Troy Hanzawa has been released, can’t we get Cesar Hernandez back? He belongs with the ‘Pigs in AAA, not in AA Reading! (If it weren’t for Chase Utley, he’d belong in Philly playing second base.)

    • Good Stuff, Jim; I’ll reply in reverse order:

      The Phillies really want to see if Cesar can be a back-up at 3B and SS. That’s why he’s in Reading. Remember the experiment in CF last season? My spies in Reading tell me he hasn’t been sharp on the left side of the infield. If he’s going to have those growing pains, I’d just as soon have him doing it in Reading. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to have him back as our everyday 2B at some point soon.

      I don’t always notice who’s at 3B coaching, but I do notice the guy walking around to 1B. I hadn’t heard the Morandini coaching rumors. I suppose it’s possible. I know MM wants to get back to the majors in some capacity, but I would have thought if it was “manager or bust” like Sandberg, he’d have preferred a manager position this season rather than a bench coach. I’m making some assumptions, but Brundage came here from Atlanta because he never got even a sniff–or a September call-up–from them in all his years as manager for AAA (Richmond, then Gwinnett). The Phillies have been much kinder with MLB time. I suppose if they want Morandini the manage AAA next year, Brundage would find a AAA job quite easily. We’ll see, I guess. I do like the way the team is being run so far this season.

      Finally, the relievers. I think I made an error. When I graded the relievers, I was thinking more about the bull pen now, as opposed to the April performance, which was ostensibly what I was grading. Add back Nesseth and Simon and combine the one bad outing from each reliever, and you’ve got maybe a ‘C’ or ‘C-.’ Garcia has been the rock–solid last night even in the face of Cedeno’s adventures at SS. Aumont has been Aumont–practices in cardiac and stomach medications and the assumption that all inherited runners will score. Otherwise, guys have been the victim of one bad outing. De Fratus, Lincoln, Jimenez, Horst, Rosin…have all been solid for the most part, with one bad day. Going forward, I expect the grade of B–and that was my error. Looking back? C. A couple guys in the pen now may end up on the big club–probably Garcia and De Fratus if I had to guess, but Horst and Jimenez if they need a LHP. Injury may move guys out of Philly–but Camp and Manship could be on their way back here or elsewhere, depending. As I mentioned, I’d expect Martin back here in the pen, soon. MAG should be a starter (perhaps in Reading to start), and Bootcheck could be either.

      • I think your assessment of the improvement in the relief pitching staff is spot-on accurate. Glad we agree on April!

        I knew Cesar was in Reading to learn to play those positions, but it still seems like a waste to have him anywhere but second base. I’ll be surprised if Utley makes it through the entire season without another injury, and stunned if he’s back next year. Time for changes, which I expect to begin with the fall of King Reuben.

        As for the rumors, I haven’t heard any more. I agree with you on Brundage, generally, although I was annoyed recently when he held a runner up at third base who could have scored easily (and we were behind). Reminded me of a certain other former manager. Well, once isn’t so bad.

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