The official opening-day roster was announced today, for YOUR 2015 IronPigs. Analysis and reaction to come, but for now, get to know the 2015 squad:
(Minor changes will be made as needed–major roster move will be announced in a separate post. We expect Kelly Dugan to open on the DL, as well as perhaps Ethan Martin. The status of Koyie Hill is unknown at this time. We’re expecting Sean O’Sullivan to start Tuesday versus Reading (Lively) in order to be on schedule for the Phillies on 4/12. As always, the only constant with these things is: change.)
Age: 23 (24 in July)
Last Season: 21 games with Reading
MLB Experience: none
Outlook: Cautious optimism. He was really raking last season with Reading before a wrist injury cost him his season. Concussions have been a problem; he’ll be sporting a new helmet. He’s still only 23, and performed well during Spring Training. He’s on the 40-man, and if things go well for him he could be called to help the big club later in the summer should an injury befall Ruiz or Rupp. He could even get a September call-up if everything goes perfectly.
Why We Like Him: He came over in the Pence deal, from San Francisco. We love his bat and his arm–and we hope that he can stay healthy and continue to develop.
Last Season: 75 games with AA Corpus Christie; Has AAA experience with Oklahoma City in 2013. Hit .244/5HR last season in AA.
MLB Experience: none
Outlook: Catching depth; I expect him to shuttle between Reading and Allentown as needed. He may yield playing time to more experienced catchers or catchers the Phillies deem “prospects.”
Why We Like Him: Rene was considered a top-10 defensive catcher in AA last season by Baseball America. In addition, Rene is from Puerto Rico; if he speaks Spanish, it may be handy to have a Spanish-speaking catcher on staff to help with the development of some of the young pitching prospects who will be coming up.
Last Season: 51 games with the RailRiders and 61 games with the IronPigs
MLB Experience: 29 games: Tampa and Cleveland in 2011 and 2012
Outlook: Hit for better average and way better slugging after coming over from the RailRiders last season. He should be a stable part of the IronPigs lineup as he’ll be available to play a variety of positions. We hope he likes the new, shorter porch in Left Field.
Why We Like Him: He’s an Eastern Pennsylvania guy who may “commute” to Coca Cola Park. He did well for us last year, and we’re looking for more of the same.
Age: 27 (He’ll be 27 next weekend)
Last Season: 126 games with Indianapolis (AAA, IL) hitting .264/.358/.412 with 9 HR and 31 doubles.
MLB Experience: 10 games with the Rangers in 2013
Outlook: The big lefty could provide a natural platoon at 1B with Darin Ruf in Philadelphia should Ryan Howard get traded. Otherwise, he’ll provide the same for Canzler and/or Ruf in Allentown, with additional work at DH.
Why We Like Him: We always like a guy with International League experience and some pop in his bat. The trough in right should provide him with a nice target.
Position: 2B, 3B, LF, RF
Last Season: Hit .272 over 123 games with the IronPigs
MLB Experience: None, but we’re looking for him to get a shot this season
Outlook: Like Canzler, he should be a mainstay in the AAA lineup.
Why We Like Him: He’s a gritty, “plays the right way” kinda guy. Like Tracy and Thompson, and Frandsen and Fields before him: He’s one of our own.
Position: SS, 2B, 3B
Last Season: 118 games with AAA Indianapolis (.250/.313/.356) and 8 games with the Pirates
MLB Experience: 64 games over three seasons with the Pirates
Outlook: Provides an experienced infielder at the Phillies’ disposal as needed–reliable defensively.
Why We Like Him: He went 6-for-17 with a triple against IronPigs pitching last season in Indy. He should give manager Dave Brundage some flexibility and experience.
Last Season: 87 games at AAA with Louisville and El Paso; 27 Games with the Padres
MLB Experience: 282 games over six seasons with the Rockies, Yankees, Angels and Padres
Outlook: An experienced power bat should Asche falter in Philadelphia, or Franco needed for 1B. Given his experience, he may have an opt-out June 1 or so.
Why We Like Him: 80 MiLB home runs and 16 MLB home runs. He’s not just a PCL guy, either; he has some IL experience with Louisville. He’s another middle-of-the-order guy for the 2015 IronPigs.
Age: 22; 23 in August
Last Season: .257/.299/.428 over 133 games with the IronPigs; .179/.190/.214 over 16 games in September with the Phillies
MLB Experience: Got his first call-up in September, 2014 from the Phillies.
Outlook: The number-3 prospect in the Phillies farm system will start with us and get at-bats. He’s sometimes a slow-starter and a dis-liker of the cold Pennsylvania Aprils. We’ll get him on track; expect him to be called to the Phillies on or about June 1. If he’s slumping it could be a little later. If Asche gets injured or Howard gets injured/traded, it could be sooner. He should be hitting third in our lineup every night to start the season.
Why We Like Him: He’s a dynamic player who should man a corner spot with the Phillies for many years to come. He sometimes has difficulty spotting and adjusting to off-speed pitches, and will “press” at times. However, he’ll play a solid third base and has a great arm–which is probably wasted at first base. He might not be perfect, but we should enjoy watching him while we have the chance.
Last Season: 99 games with Norfolk; 3 with Orioles. .259/.361/.388 with 7 HR
MLB Experience: 56 games over parts of four seasons with the Indians and Orioles
Outlook: Very good. He challenged for a spot with the Phillies right up until the last day. He can play multiple infield positions and has International League experience.
Why We Like Him: The switch-hitter will continue to challenge for an infield spot if one becomes available with the Phillies. He has both MLB and IL experience and is another one of those players whose name I recognized immediately as a guy who has had success against the ‘Pigs.
Last Season: 92 games in AAA with Rochester and Buffalo; 21 games in the Majors with the Twins and the Blue Jays
MLB Experience: 129 games over parts of the last three years.
Outlook: Provides some experienced depth for the Phillies outfield. His ability to play all three outfield spots should have him under consideration for call-up in any case.
Why We Like Him: The righty doesn’t have a ton of power, but will hit a bunch of doubles and steal some bases. He has extensive experience in the International League and the ability to play all three outfield positions. Hit .277/.354/.379 in the IL last season and had 20 steals–over 92 games. Could be a good bet to lead off for us a fair amount of the time.
Last Season: 79 AAA games with New Orleans in the PCL; spent time on the DL with a broken shin.
MLB Experience: 299 games with the Astros and the Cubs from 2010 to 2013. Was a first-round pick of the Astros in 2005 out of Tulane.
Outlook: With some pop in his bat, he provides some power-depth and experience for the Phillies corner outfield spots. His AAA OPS in 2013 was .922 over 79 games. He played well in Spring Training and came close to claiming a spot with the Phillies.
Why We Like Him: It’s great to have some power from the left side at Coca Cola Park. If he remains with the ‘Pigs, we’re hoping for a Moss-like or Tracy-like season. Expect to see him hitting fourth or fifth in our lineup–particularly against right-handers, but runs well enough to bat second if need be. He can play CF in a pinch, too.
Last Season: .270/.355/.460 with 16 HR in 93 games with Charlotte; 51 games with the White Sox
MLB Experience: 180 games with the White Sox
Outlook: The versatile outfielder and “Pig Killer” should find his way to the Phillies soon enough. Until then, he’ll be a weapon in the IronPigs lineup.
Why We Like Him: If you can’t beat ’em…. It’s another name I recognized immediately. The big lefty batter should do well at Coca Cola Park, even if it’s not as small as the new field in Charlotte. Versatile enough in the field to play all three outfield positions.
Position: LHP, Starter
Last Season: Missed with Shoulder Rehab. Started with IronPigs in 2013.
MLB Experience: None
Outlook: Very optimistic. The lefty was a third-round pick of the Phillies in 2011 out of the University of Alabama. While his numbers don’t look like anything special from the 2013 season with the ‘Pigs, I remember he was an early-season bright spot, and one of my favorites. As he regains strength in his left shoulder, his velocity should return. He has looked good in Spring Training with the Phillies. I have him as the early favorite to start on Opening Day at Coca Cola Park, and if he can remain healthy, he should get his first call-up this season.
Why We Like Him: We love the potential of having a lefty-ace at the top of our rotation–at least until he gets his call.
Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez
Position: RHP, Starter
Last Season: 31 games–3 starts–from Clearwater up through IronPigs
MLB Experience: Appeared in 6 games–no starts–with the Phillies last season
Outlook: Hazy. MAG was signed out of Cuba during the 2013 season, but didn’t pitch due to arm concerns. It got him off to a late start last season, as well, which is why the Phillies had him working mostly out of the ‘pen. This season, he’s back to starting, and reportedly sports 7 different pitches. His ability to command those pitches–or the best among them–and remain healthy, will portend his recall to the big club. Can get hit around a bit when he’s getting too much of the plate.
Why We Like Him: The big Cuban righty is behind the curve a bit at 28, but wishes to remain a starter and return to the Majors. He’s hungry, and that should benefit the IronPigs for the first part of the season.
Position: LHP, Starter
Last Season: 30 games, 21 starts for Altoona in the Eastern League (AA, Pirates)
MLB Experience: None, but held his own in MLB camp this Spring
Outlook: Very High. The Phillies really like him. With a little AAA experience, could help the Phillies rotation as soon as this season.
Why We Like Him: Doesn’t strike a ton of guys out, but issues free passes even less. He’ll generate a ton of ground balls, which is desirable in Philly’s park. He arrived from the Pirates system in exchange for Antonio Bastardo. Should he falter as a starter could certainly find success as a reliever as Bastardo did. Pitched under ‘Pigs pitching coach Ray Burris in the Arizona Fall League this past year.
Position: RHP/ Starter
Last Season: 9-13, 4.59 with Reading over 27 starts
MLB Experience: none
Outlook: Looking up. Despite his record (Reading wasn’t very good last season) and ERA (pitching in Reading can be difficult as well) the young Panamanian amassed 115 K’s against only 34 walks over 158+ innings.
Why We Like Him: He’s considered a prospect. He’s worked his way up through the levels and had success each time. He had a nice Spring in Florida. He doesn’t have over-powering stuff and will need to be careful against the more talented AAA batters.
Position: RHP, Starter
Last Season: 24 games / 21 starts for Fresno in the PCL: 10-9, 4.64
MLB Experience: 110 games/28 starts over parts of three seasons with the Orioles and Cubs
Outlook: Possibly very good: Coming back to the IL after pitching in the hitter-friendly PCL should be a help for his stats. Has enough experience to step up and help the Phillies if the need arises.
Why We Like Him: He throws a four-seam fastball 90-94 with some life, and while his curve and change are average at best, his slider is his “put-away” pitch. His experience and leadership should help a young staff to start the season. His ERA in the IL has been in the mid-3’s in previous seasons with Charlotte and Norfolk.
Position: RHP/Starter/Swing Man
Last Season: 6-10, 4.30 over 25 starts with the Ironpigs; 0-1, 6.39 in 3 games/2starts with the Phillies
MLB Experience: 53 games/39 starts over parts of 5 seasons with the Phillies, Padres, Royals and Angels
Outlook: Pitched very well at times for the ‘Pigs last season, and earned some time with the Phillies. Phillies liked him enough to bring him back again this season, where he should have a shot at a rotation spot every time one becomes available–even as soon as April 12 and until Chad Billingsly is ready.
Why We Like Him: He’s a pro with plenty of experience and durability. The IronPigs have a chance to win every time he’s on the mound. He could become more of a long-man/fill-in as some of the younger pitchers come up through–or he could hold down a spot in the Phillies’ rotation in the case of injury or trade, if needed.
Age: 31 on Opening Day!
Position: LHP, Swing Man
Last Year: 17 starts with Reading, 3.31 ERA
Outlook: Cinderella story: a pitcher-turned-hitter-turned pitcher again, opened eyes with the Reading Team last season and held his own versus MLB hitter this Spring Training. Could be more of a reliever right now.
Why We Like Him: A great story of a guy battling for a chance. He’s got it, and we look forward to cheering him on.
Age: 25 on April 22
Last Season: 36 games, 2.29 ERA with Reading
Outlook: Not much buzz around the former 13th round draft pick, but he really produced last season in Reading and earned the chance at AAA.
Why We Like Him: All he does is get guys out: more than one K/inning is good with me!
Position: RHP, Swing Man
Last Season: 19 games / 5 starts with Oklahoma City in the PCL, 13 games with the Astros
MLB Experience: 48 games over 2 seasons with the Astros
Outlook: Should add some RH experience to the IronPigs ‘pen. Can go multiple innings or start if needed. He could fulfill the same role in Philadelphia.
Why We Like Him: We’re always going to need experienced guys who can go a few innings on a 7-inning doubleheader day and the like. Paul averaged over 2 innings per outing in AAA last season. He throws hard, but can sometimes lose track of the strike zone.
Position: RHP, Reliever
Age: 26 in June
Last Season: Started with the IronPigs before getting sent back to Reading in a numbers crunch last season. He then returned to the ‘Pigs and eventually earned his first call to The Show.
MLB Experience: 1 inning last season; spent a fair amount of time with the big club in camp
Outlook: Still good. He can get hit around sometimes, and needs to keep the ball down and try to get more ground balls. Should get another shot at the Bigs this season, at some point, if he continues to perform well.
Why We Like Him: Even at 26 he still seems young and full of enthusiasm to work hard and get back to the Majors after getting a sip of coffee last year.
Last Season: Was a Rule-5 pick by the Dodgers, then claimed by the Rangers. Ultimately found his way back to the Phillies’ system and the IronPigs. It took some time–and a trip to Reading–for him to get his legs back under him, but did well down the stretch.
MLB Experience: 3 games with the Rangers early last season; did well in Spring Training MLB Camp
Outlook: Good. Consistency should help him this season as the big righty from North Dakota, as he tries to get back to the big leagues.
Why We Like Him: He’s another talented arm for our bullpen, which should once again be a strength of the team.
Last Season: 27 games with the IronPigs; 18 games with the Reading Team
MLB Experience: none
Outlook: Pretty good. He’s been able to generate a ton of ground balls and master AA. Needs to increase consistency to find some time at the next level.
Why We Like Him: Has been rock-solid at times. Knows what to expect this year at AAA and will look to take it to the next level with consistent shut-down work out of the ‘pen
Last Season: 35 games with the IronPigs, 5 with the Phillies
MLB Experience: 45 games over the past three seasons with the Phillies
Outlook: Questionable. Out of options, the former first-round pick of the Mariners was outrighted to the IronPigs during Spring Training, which was kind of surprising. He feels he has more to work on and that the Phillies will give him another look with the big team later this season. He’s throwing harder again–up to 96-97 like when when we first met him a couple years ago.
Why We Like Him: Dude throws hard, and the ball has so much movement it’s un-hit-able at times. Unfortunately, other times it can’t be hit because it’s no where near the strike zone. Recently, there’s been a fair few home runs, too. Some thoughts recently that be ball moves so much that he doesn’t get the ump calls. We’ll see.
C’mon out to the “222” game on Tuesday. It’s cheap, and you’ll get to see the Reading and Lehigh Valley rosters. Plus, I hear the weather will be really nice. Seriously, that’s what I hear.
See you there,