2017 IRONPIGS OPENING DAY ROSTER–Player Capsules and Photos

Welcome to the 10th season of IronPigs baseball in Allentown, at Coca Cola Park.  This team is as packed with talented prospects unlike anything we’ve ever seen in the Lehigh Valley.  Below, we’ll introduce you to the players who will eventually make up the next generation of Philadelphia Phillies.  Prospect rankings are taken from the aggregate of all Phillies system rank-ers as published by Phillies Minor Thoughts.

Here are the players you need to know about as the season gets started, and where they’re headed–but enjoy them now because this team may look very different (but maybe just as talented) when we get to August:

One other note:  I uploaded these gorgeous photos by Cheryl Pursell in full resolution because I wanted you to see how good they are.  Please do NOT steal them without her permission.  They belong to her.  

Catcher

#24 Jorge Alfaro

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  #2 ranked player in the Phillies System

Last Season:  AA Reading .285/.325/.459, 15 HR.  6 games with Phillies to end season.

What To Watch:  The Colombian who will be 24 in June is the heir apparent to the backstop job in Philadelphia.  He will continue to hone his skills here until he’s ready to take the job full time.  Watch him throw down to second; he’s got a cannon.  He played for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic this Spring.

Where He’s Headed:  Philadelphia.  Certainly by September, but they’ll take their time with a position as important as catcher.

 

#22  Logan Moore

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  31 games AAA Lehigh Valley; 22 games AA Reading.  Composite:  .220/.282/.356, 1 HR

What To Watch:  Watch for “LoMo” to get the clutch hit and mow-down would-be base stealers when he gets the opportunity to play in support of Jorge.

Where He’s Headed:  The lefty-hitting catcher made the veteran options expendable in Spring Training by acquitting himself well during his time in MLB camp.  He may get an opportunity this season if he’s needed for the big club before Jorge is ready.

 

First Base

#12 Rhys Hoskins

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Hoskins. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

Prospect Status:  8th-ranked prospect in the Phillies system.

Last Season:  AA-Reading .281/.377/.566, 38 HR

What To Watch:  The 24yo out of Sacramento State is looking to take the next step towards the big leagues.  He was part of the “Bash Brothers” in Reading last season with OF Dylan Cozens.

Where He’s Headed:  He’s likely headed to the Phillies, but how quickly depends on his ability to replicate his success at the plate versus more difficult AAA pitchers in the less-hitter-friendly Coca Cola Park.  The Phillies will take their time with the big right-hander to make sure he’s ready to surpass Tommy Joseph with the big club.

Second Base

# 7  Jesmuel Valentin

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  #33

Last Season:   36 games with AAA IronPigs: .248/.325/.381, 4 HR.  89 games with AA Reading:  .276/.346/.399, 5 HR, 5 Triples

What To Watch:  Watch to see if Jesse can continue the strong play he demonstrated in Spring Training, which made him one of the last players to be sent to AAA to start the season.

Where He’s Headed:  He’s on the 40-man roster and turns 23 in May.  He’s bracketed by Cesar Hernandez on the Phillies and Scott Kingery in Reading.  So far, he’s showing that he’s up to that challenge.

 

Shortstop

#3 J.P. Crawford

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

JP Crawford Photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

Prospect Status:  #1 ranked prospect in the Phillies system

Last Season:  .244/.328/.318, 4 HR for your AAA IronPigs

What To Watch:  JP looks to drive the ball more in 2017 as he forces his way to Philadelphia

Where He’s Headed:  We likely won’t have Crawford for the whole season, so enjoy him now as I predict he’ll be in Philadelphia soon.

 

Third Base

#6  Taylor Featherston

Featherston Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Featherston
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  .254/.311/.428 for the IronPigs; 19 games with the Phillies

What To Watch:  Watch for some sneaky power as Feather cranked 13 homers for the ‘Pigs last season.

Where He’s Headed:  The 5th round pick by Colorado was taken by the Angles in the Rule 5 draft and spent all of the 2015 season with Los Angeles.  The 27-yo TCU product looks to get back to the Majors any way he can. He should remain with the IronPigs throughout much of the season and may appear at shortstop and second base as needed.

 

Infield

#9  Hector Gomez

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  2016 in Korea:  .283/.326/.493, 21 HR;  2015 with AAA El Paso and MLB Milwaukee.

What To Watch:  Watch to see how the IronPigs use Gomez and how close he looks to getting the call as depth for the MLB team.  Watch to see if the power he demonstrated in Korea translates to the International League–especially as a RHB.

Where He’s Headed:  With 83 games of MLB experience since 2011, the 29yo Dominican is looking for an opportunity to return.  With 21 dingers in Korea he’s proven that his bat has some power.  He had 15 homers in the PCL in 2014.

 

#23  Pedro Florimon

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  .255/.327/.372, 5 HR, 14 SB for Indianapolis; 18 games with Pittsburgh

What To Watch:  We’ve seen him before with Indianapolis and Rochester, the switch-hitting shortstop will also play second and third.  Look for him to steal a base once in a while.

Where He’s Headed:  The light-hitting shortstop has 256 games of MLB experience with a slash of .200/.261/.297 as more of a 4-A defensive player.

 

Outfield

#21  Dylan Cozens

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  #11

Last Season:  AA Reading .276/.350/.591 with 40 HR, 21 SB, 1 CS.  In 134 games:  186 K / 61 BB

What To Watch:  Watch for the big lefty to find the porch near the Bud Light bar a fair few times this season.  He can move faster than a 6’6″ giant should be able to move, and he can throw, too.  He’s also one of the most fan-friendly players that you’ll meet at the park and in the community and loves playing the game.  He was a second-round draft pick by the Phillies in 2012 out of high school in Arizona.

Where He’s Headed:  He’s headed to the big leagues as soon as he can answer a few questions (with his play):  Can he hit curves?  Can he hit left-handed pitching?  Can he hit lefties who throw curves?  As a power hitter, he’s always going to strike out a lot, but he’ll look to minimize that this season.  He’ll turn 23 next month.

 

 

#2  Roman Quinn

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Roman Quinn. Photo: Kram

 

Prospect Status:  #6

Last Season:  AA Reading:  .287/.361/.441, 6 HR, 31 SB in 71 games; spent 15 games with Philadelphia in September and did well.

What To Watch:  Watch him light up the base paths.  He’s fast enough to disrupt the game on multiple levels for the opponent.  He’s a switch hitter who hits better from the right, but has more power from the left.  He’ll bunt for a hit every so often.

Where He’s Headed:  I predict he’ll be in Philadelphia by the All Star Break as long as he can stay healthy.

 

#4  Nick Williams

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

Prospect Status:  #4

Last Season:  AAA IronPigs .258/.287/.427, 13 HR

What To Watch:  Watch the 24 yo OF prospect get locked in and force his way to the Majors for the first time.

Where He’s Headed:  He’ll be in Philadelphia at some point this season depending on the need of the big club.  Could be May 15.  Could be September 15.  But, he’s going along with JP Crawford, probably sooner rather than later.

 

#27  Cameron Perkins

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  #48

Last Season:  .292/.329/.419, 8HR, in 117 games for AAA Lehigh Valley

What To Watch:  In winter as well as in Spring Training, all he does it hit.  Look for the 2016 All Star to patrol all three outfield spots and maybe even first base in a pinch.

Where He’s Headed:  He’ll likely be a key member of our team all season long.  His game reminds me somewhat of players like Steve Susdorf and Rich Thompson and we hope he can get his shot in the Majors soon.

 

 

Starting Pitchers

#33  Jake Thompson

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Thompson. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  Graduated; #4 in 2016

Last Season:  21 starts for AAA Lehigh Valley, 10 starts for Philadelphia.  11-5, 2.50 for IronPigs

What To Watch:  He’s likely the first one up if needed by the Phillies.  Watch the 23yo Texan attack hitters with a bull-dog like tenacity.  Should be the opening-night starter.

Where He’s Headed:  Back to the Phillies.  Probably soon.

 

#35  Mark Appel

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  #15

Last Season:  8 starts for the IronPigs before shoulder and elbow problems ended his season

What To Watch:  Last season at this time we were talking about 2- and 4-seam fastballs for Mark.  This season, we’re watching to see if he can effectively attack the strike zone both out of the wind-up as well as out of the stretch.  He’s one of my favorite players.

Where He’s Headed:  Hopefully, to the Phillies right behind Thompson and Eflin.  However, there has been talk that his stuff could play up in relief, perhaps even as a leverage reliever.  Stay tuned to see what happens with the big right-handed Stanford product from Texas.  He’ll turn 26 this season.

 

#19  Ben Lively

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Lively
Photo: Cheryl Pursell

 

Prospect Status:  #19

Last Season:  9 starts for AA Reading; 19 starts for AAA Lehigh Valley:  11-5, 3.06 in AAA

What To Watch:  Watch to see if Lively can force his way to the Majors with his performance like he did from AA to AAA last season.  He was a key to the IronPigs playoff run last season.

Where He’s Headed:  Probably to Philadelphia, but as we open the season he and Appel are likely behind Thompson and Eflin in the pecking order.  Performance could change that, though for the 25yo Central Florida product.

 

#16  Nick Pivetta

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  #17

Last Season:  He was the ace of the Reading staff last season over 22 starts.  He came to the IronPigs and his 5 starts here were a key factor in helping us make the playoffs for only the second time ever.

What To Watch:  With only 5 starts at AAA, look to see if he can pick up where he left off.  He acquitted himself well in MLB camp in addition to starting for Team Canada in the WBC.

Where He’s Headed:  Doubters brought up bullpen from time to time, but Pivetta just keeps proving them wrong.  On his current trajectory the 24yo is also ticketed for the big leagues.

 

#40 Ricardo Pinto

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  #21

Last Season:  25 starts for AA Reading:  7-6, 4.10

What To Watch:  Watch his change-up, it’s supposed to be his best pitch.  If he’s locating his fastball he can be very, very good.  He throws harder than you might expect given his size 6’0″ 165, which might be a bit generous.

Where He’s Headed:  By the end of last season, I thought probably the bull-pen.  He gets this spot in AAA because Zach Eflin is on the MLB-DL in Florida, making sure his knees are fully healthy.  If Pinto does well, he could stick in AAA in the ‘pen, or head back to Reading and continue to take the ball every five days.

 

Relief Pitchers

#31  Michael Mariot

Michael Mariot Photo Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  1-2, 2.23 in 26 appearances with IronPigs.  1-0, 5.82 in 25 appearances with Philadelphia

What To Watch:  The 28yo Californian right-hander should find an important place in the IronPigs bull-pen, perhaps closing out games.

Where He’s Headed:  He serves as experienced bullpen depth for the Phillies and will probably appear there again this season when he’s needed.  He does not have a spot on the 40-man currently.

 

#44  Pedro Beato

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  The 6’6″ Dominican appeared in 65 games for AAA Norfolk.

What To Watch:  Watch to see if the big righty can get back to the Majors where he has 84 games of experience with Atlanta, Boston, NY Mets.

Where He’s Headed:  Beato comes to the IronPigs with extensive experience–and more than a little success–in the International League

 

#61  Pat Venditte

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:   N/A

Last Season:  Venditte appeared for two MLB teams as well as two AAA teams last season.  We saw him with Buffalo.

What To Watch:  He’s the “switch pitcher.”  Watch him take on batters with either arm using his specially made glove.

Where He’s Headed:  Acquired by the Phillies via trade during Spring Training, Venditte is thought to be left-handed depth for the big club, with the right arm just an added bonus.

 

#47  Hoby Milner

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  38 games with AA Reading; 11 games for AAA Lehigh Valley

What To Watch:  The slight lefty changed his arm slot last season, dropping down to become a side-armer.  Watch for him to have success versus left-handers and improve versus rightys.

Where He’s Headed:  Hoby got a taste of big league camp with the Indians as they took him in the Rule 5 draft.  He was returned to the Phillies and pitched some in big league camp in Clearwater as well.  He looks to find a MLB role as a guy who can shut down left-handers.

 

#37  Cesar Ramos

Photo: MiLB.com

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  The veteran lefty tried his hand at starting last season and appeared in games for Round Rock, Toledo and the Texas Rangers.  He had a fair amount of success in 2014 and 2015 as a reliever and returns to that role this season.

What To Watch:  Watch to see if he can be effective versus both left-handed and right-handed batters.

Where He’s Headed:  33 in June, Ramos looks to get back to the Majors where he as more total appearances than in the minors.  He’s lefty depth for the Phillies, and had an opt-out that he didn’t yet exercise.

 

#57  Luis Garcia

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  Took over as the all-time saves leader for the IronPigs

What To Watch:  Watch for consistency.  He’s been a really good closer for the IronPigs but hasn’t had that same success with the Phillies.  He can throw very hard, and is looking to add a splitter this season to his fastball/slider arsenal.

Where He’s Headed:  He’s probably the first one up to the Phillies if they need a reliever, because he’s the only member of the ‘pen on the 40-man roster.

 

#13 Mark Leiter Jr.

Photo: MiLB.com

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  23 appearances, 17 starts for AA Reading posting 6-3, 3.29

What To Watch:  Watch to see how they use the son of the former Major Leaguer.  They could be converting him to more of a relief or long-relief role, or if Pinto is being used in relief he could start some games.

Where He’s Headed:  His success in AAA for the first time will dictate whether he sticks around or returns to Reading for a third season.

 

#38  Wander Perez

Photo: Four-Seam Images

Prospect Status:  N/A

Last Season:  The big lefty reliever from the Dominican returns to affiliated ball after pitching in the American Association last season.  Had some success in the Venezuelan Winter league this past season.

What To Watch:  Watch to see if he can be effective versus AAA hitters, particularly leftys.

Where He’s Headed:  It’s difficult to say.  He has this opportunity and we’ll wait to see what happens.  He’s never pitched above High-A level ball before.

 


As mentioned above, there are a couple players missing, although they do not appear on our roster as injured.

RHP Zach Eflin is on the MLB-DL and should return to our rotation later this month.

OF Osmel Aguila is the speedy Cuban who spent a short time with us last season, may return either here or Reading.

Relievers Colton Murray and Dalier Hinojosa are ailing.  Murray has an oblique.  We may see them later this season–Murray had a good camp, but Hinojosa didn’t pitch much if at all.

 

Printable Roster: 2017 LHV Roster-3-31

 

See you at the park,

@Kram209



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

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