[UPDATED] 2019 IronPigs Roster, Player Capsules and Photos

Prologue

The IronPigs have made the playoffs the past three consecutive seasons.  That’s quite a feat for the organization that was never able to get a winning record–even for one day–over its first three seasons in existence.  In fact, last season the franchise was able to pull into a winning record all-time, at 789-787, and win its first International League North Division Championship.

So what makes a playoff team in AAA baseball?  That’s a question I’ve been struggling with throughout the years, and I think I might have the answer figured out:  There are two ways:  The first is to have a team chock full of talented prospects, and while they may struggle at times, the sheer force of talent allows them to rise to the top over the course of a long season.  In this scenario, the parent club has to allow these prospects to stay in place without being recalled or traded away–not a common occurrence at AAA, but it does happen for a rebuilding major league club (or a cheap Tampa Bay organization *cough* Durham *cough*).  I believe this was the mechanism which allowed the 2016 and 2017 IronPigs to make the playoffs as the wild card team.

The other way is to gather the right combination of veteran free-agents. Under this model, maybe you catch lightning in a bottle with a player or two, who perform excellently while the parent club has roster limitations that allow said player to stay in place.  I think this is what got the 2011 and 2018 squads to the post-season.  Last year the revelation that was 1B Joey Meneses, and his MVP season, allowed the offense to always remain in the game.  He’s in Japan now, and the team needs to restock.  In 2011, Brandon Moss spent the season in Allentown mashing baseballs and allowed a Ryne Sandberg-led team to make the post-season for the first time in franchise history.

Introduction

So now it’s time to meet the 2019 IronPigs–the 12th such roster since the move to Coca Cola Park in 2008.  Do they have the stuff it takes to make it to the post-season?

The story of this team has long been about the starting rotation–even as we looked forward from the end of last season.  The six (!?) men who will start the season as perhaps one of the most formidable groups in all of AAA baseball will not stay together all season–or even for very long, depending on injuries, trades, and effectiveness at the top two levels.  The Philadelphia organization has it’s sights set on nothing short of a World Series trophy, and make no mistake they’ll do whatever they need to do with no regard for the Goverenor’s Cup.

But the rotation is a deep group, too, if we start to look at players who didn’t make the rotation out of spring training, as well as some talented hurlers at AA Reading.  For the baseball fan, it means that every night when you go to the park in 2019, you should have the luxury of a top-flight AAA starter for your home-town team.  We won’t win all our games, to be sure, but we should be competitive every single night behind our starters, in 2019.  Hopefully this group, along with a talented mix of veteran and prospect bats, allows us to be in the mix for the post-season for the fourth straight year.

As the season wears on, we’ll see if some of the veteran bats end up sticking around, or if they’re moved on to the majors, or another organization.  There are players in Reading who might be ready.  The team will change, just like always at AAA, the question is if they can maintain winning-ways.  With our starting rotation, it should be a fun ride regardless.

Now, here are your 2019 IronPigs:

(I will attempt to keep this post current right up until Opening Day on April 4 by making edits.  A printable copy of the roster will be at the end of the post, when it becomes available.  Player numbers subject to change as well.)

[UPDATE]:  New printable roster and Injured List roster moves included at the end of this post.

Starting Rotation

The strength of this team may not be together for long, as extra starters are always needed in the big leagues–either for the Phillies or via trade.  But there are guys in the wings (Tom Eshelman, Jose Tavares, and Brandon Leibrandt in particular) and guys in AA, such as top prospect Adonis Medina, so this unit should continue to be a strength for the entirety of the 2019 campaign regardless of the ubiquitous roster fluctuations.  It looks to be a six-man rotation, but we’ll await an official statement–especially with Vince Velasquez on thin ice in Philly.

Eickhoff Photo: Cheryl Pursell

19 Jerad Eickhoff

Background:  RHP, 29yo in July, Drafted 15th round, Texas.  Came over in Cole Hamels trade.  “Eick”

MLB Service:  68G/66GS Phillies  40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  An injury-plagued season led to only 8 starts in the minors, and 3 games with 1 start for the Phillies in 2018.

This Season:  Jerad looks to rebuild his starter stuff and return to the big leagues.  He’s listed as the “first-up” to start the season should the Phillies need a sixth starter, but he needs to get ready.

Kram Notes:  Look for Jerad to use his breaking ball as his main pitch.  Watch to see how that impacts his fastball velocity which can hover between 88-92 depending on how things are going.  He’s on the mend from off-season carpal-tunnel-type surgery and repair, which was causing numbness in his throwing hand in the past.

 

Enyel De Los Santos Photo: Cheryl Pursell

21 Enyel De Los Santos

Background:  23yo RHP from the Dominican Republic.  Came over from San Diego in the Freddy Galvis deal.

MLB Service:  7G/2GS Phillies   40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  10-5, 2.63 ERA, 110K/43BB in 126.2 innings over 22 starts for IronPigs as 22yo; Made MLB debut with Phillies

This Season:  Enyel gets the nod as the “#2” for the IronPigs, or the de facto #7 for the Phillies, based on his 40-man status and his record last season.  All that can change based on performance, and the needs of the big club.

Kram Notes:  Enyel is still young for his level, and I’m still looking for big things from him as a starting pitcher.  He’s the #8 “top prospect” in the Phillies system (according to me.)  However, some have mentioned that his stuff may play best out of the bullpen, even to the point of being a high-leverage-type reliever.  Watch to see if he gets squeezed to the bullpen at some point this season if everyone is healthy, and it appears to be a position of need for the Phillies.  If that’s the way to get to the big leagues, I’m sure he’ll take it on.

 

Drew Anderson Photo: Cheryl Pursell

24 Drew Anderson

Background  25yo Andrew J. Anderson was a 21st round pick of the Phillies out of Reno, Nevada back in 2012

MLB Service:  7G/1GS Phillies    40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  Drew went 9-4, 3.87 ERA over 104 innings in 19 starts for the IronPigs, with 84K/29BB

This Season:  Drew is in line for starts with Philadelphia as well, and may quickly rise to be their first option out of AAA Lehigh Valley.

Kram Notes:  Drew has often been mentioned as a candidate to move into a relief role as a “long man.”  However, he showed up at spring training with a new “cutter” pitch which allowed him to have tremendous success in MLB camp with the Phillies.  As long as the “cutter keeps cutting” we’ll see him take the ball every five days and watch for continued success.  Drew was my 21st-ranked prospect in the off-season, but he sure looked a lot better than that this spring.  He could be as high as #6 in the Phillies hierarchy depending on how things start out.

 

Photo: Cheryl Pursell

57 Ranger Suarez

Background:  23yo LHP from Venezuela

MLB Service:  4G/3GS  Phillies   40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  6-3, 2.75 in 21 starts split between AA Reading and AAA IronPigs.  Ranger made his MLB debut with the Phillies last season.

This Season:  Ranger remains on the 40-man roster and will be yet another option for the big league club should they need a starter–or even just a lefty–on a moment’s notice.

Kram Notes:  The lefty control artist had good success last season as he continued his climb through the minors.  If he’s on, he shouldn’t be walking many and you’ll see a ton of weak contact.  As the quality of competition gets better, the margin for error with control pitchers gets smaller.  He was my off-season #17 prospect.

 

Irvin Photo: Cheryl Pursell

33 Cole Irvin

Background:  25yo LHP, drafted fifth round/Oregon by Phillies in 2016

MLB Service:  none   40-Man:  No

Last Season:  Cole won awards as the best IronPigs hurler last season posting 14-4, 2.57 over 26G/25GS; 161IP, 131K/35BB.

This Season:  Look for Cole to try to crack that “top 4” in the rotation for the IronPigs, as he remains the only one without a 40-man spot to begin the season.  The left arm gives him a slight advantage, but his stuff hasn’t reminded folks of reliever material, so he’ll be back to make it as a starter this season.

Kram Notes:  Cole will need to continue to post excellent numbers to get the attention of the Phillies.  It’s no small order for the second time through the International League without wipe-out stuff, but he’s not a soft-tosser either at this point, and mixes his pitches well.  He’s a “Kram favorite” and was ranked #9 on the off-season prospect list on these pages.

 

JoJo Romero Source: Twitter

25 JoJo Romero

Background:  22yo LHP, Drafted 2016 Rd 4, Philadelphia.  Yavapai JC, AZ

MLB Service:   none     40-Man:  no

Last Season:  7-6, 3.80 ERA with AA Reading in 18 starts before suffering season-ending oblique (?) injury.

This Season:  It’s a somewhat aggressive move, but the young Romero proved his mettle during spring training, including appearances with the big league team.

Kram Notes:  He was my #7-ranked prospect in the off-season.  And, somehow I only saw one or two of his 18 starts last season in Reading.  He looked good in the spring, and has earned this spot.  He has about seven different pitches, and one of the things he did last season was learn to limit his offerings–at least on a per-game basis–in order to maintain control and consistency.  Watch to see how that plays out early this season.

 

Relief Pitchers

This is traditionally a position of strength for the IronPigs, and this season is no exception.  However, as pitchers filter down from the Phillies they might be working on certain pitches or mechanical issues, and the results might not look as good as we’d like–especially compared with the strength of the starting rotation.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see some blown saves and losses from this group along the way–as well as from the guys who might get promoted from Reading.  But it’s just the nature of the position, and overall should still be better than most teams we play against.  These fellas are presented in no particular order, but pay close attention to 40-man status to predict who might be at the head of the line for call-ups.  In addition to “option” guys who might come down from the Phillies as the season wears on, there are also some interesting players in Reading and Extended Spring, whom we could see:  Jeff Singer, Kyle Dohy, Tom Windle and Tyler Viza just to name a few.

James Pazos Photo: Cheryl Pursell

35 James Pazos

Background:  28yo LHP drafted 13th round/Yankees in 2012, San Diego.  Came over in JP Crawford/Carlos Santana deal with Seattle.  “Papa Paz”

MLB Service:  137 G Yankees, Seattle   40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  Pazos has spent the vast majority of the past two seasons with Seattle.  Last season:  60G, 4-1, 2.88; 45K/15BB, 50 IP

This Season:  Pazos is bullpen depth for the Phillies, and particularly valuable because he’s a lefty with options.  Look for him to put up good numbers and prepare himself to be recalled when necessary.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him work as the IronPigs closer this season, from time to time.

Kram Notes:  The fact that Pazos has options made him attractive to the Phillies in the trade with Seattle.  I know he came up with the Yankees and played with Scranton, but someone should make sure he has his EZ-Pass current in case he needs to make multiple trips up and down the turnpike to Philadelphia this season.

 

Davis Photo: Cheryl Pursell

43 Austin Davis

Background:  Austin Richard Davis, “Big Fudge” was a 12th-round pick by the Phillies out of Cal State-Bakersfield in 2014.  26yo LHP.

MLB Service:  32 G Phillies    40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  Started at AA Reading and quickly made it to AAA Lehigh Valley where he secured a 2.59 ERA over 24 appearances.  He made his MLB debut with the Phillies where his 32 appearances yielded a 4.15 ERA.

This Season:  The Phillies are looking for more dominance out of Austin and he remains a 40-man depth arm–and a lefty–option for them this season.

Kram Notes:  Davis notched more strikeouts than innings last season in both the minors and the big leagues. Watch to see if he can dominate both LHB and RHB at AAA and force his way back to the big leagues.  His service time made him ineligible for the prospect list, but I would have had him around #15 I think.

 

Ed Garcia Photo: Cheryl Pursell

37 Edgar Garcia

Background:  22yo Edgar Ernesto Garcia, RHP, Dominican Republic

MLB Service:  none     40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  Edgar pitched in 47 games for AA Reading last season amassing 68 strikeouts over 59.2 innings.  He appeared in 5 games with the IronPigs near the end of the season, starting 8/26/2018

This Season:  Ed is considered a “rising star” in the Phillies organization due to his wipe-out slider.  He was awarded a 40-man spot during the off-season, and will have to prove success and consistency at AAA before being invited to make his MLB debut.

Kram Notes:  I saw Ed pitch many times at Reading last season, but he wasn’t so noticeable.  He just simply got guys out.  The slider is really good, but you don’t usually sit up and take notice like you would with 101 MPH.  I expect him with Philly at some point, but the first half of the season will likely see the more experienced 40-man guys get to make the trip down the turnpike first.  I had him as my #18 prospect in the off-season.

 

Arano Photo: Cheryl Pursell

45 Victor Arano

Background:  Victor Teodoro Arano, “El Wey” 24yo RHP from Veracruz, Mexico, came over in the Roberto Hernandez deal with the Dodgers

MLB Service:  70 G  Phillies   40-Man:  yes

Last Season:  Arano pitched in Reading and Allentown last season, but only as a rehab assignment–he otherwise spent the entire season with Philadelphia where he achieved a 2.73 ERA in 60 appearances.

This Season:  Arano looks to get back to the big leagues, but as a reliever with options and the high expectations in Philadelphia, he could be one to make the trips up and back from time to time depending on performance and needs.

Kram Notes:  Victor had a truly awful spring, but it’s hard to know what’s going on.  His velocity has been good, so an injury has been dismissed by those in the know.  There has been talk about difficulty with his release point.  Watch to see how he looks with both his stuff and his command once the games start counting.  Personally, I don’t discount some kind of injury, because sometimes physical compensations can be made–and if those compensations result in a changed release or motion, you’ll see the command difficulty that Arano has shown this spring.  Those compensations often result in further injuries as well–so I’m not hoping for such, but personally continuing to watch for anything.

 

Yacksel Rios Photo: Cheryl Pursell

23 Yacksel Rios

Background:  26 (in June) RHP drafted 12th round, 2011, Puerto Rico

MLB Service:  49 G  Phillies   40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  Split the season between AAA Lehigh Valley and MLB Phillies.  AAA ERA: 3.97; MLB ERA: 6.75

This Season:  Rios looks to gain consistency and dominance with nasty stuff.  His 40-man status suggests he’ll be back with Philadelphia at some point this season.

Kram Notes:  Yacksel had an excellent spring training with the big league club, and could be an early choice for promotion, just missing out on a spot claimed by Edubray Ramos in Philly.  He could be the first one up depending on early performance.  I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him get the ball in some leverage situations, such as closing a game or two.

 

Josh Martin Photo: Cheryl Pursell

38 Josh Martin

Background:  29yo RHP signed as MiLB Free Agent.  Drafted Rd10/Cleveland 2012.  Samford/Alabama.

MLB Service:  none    40-Man:  no

Last Season:  Columbus the past three seasons.  Just 19 appearances last season, but a 2.91 ERA.

This Season:  Martin looks for a fresh start with a new organization, and an opportunity to build on some decent numbers put up in the IL over the past couple seasons.

Kram Notes:  It will be interesting to see what kind of role Josh can carve out in a busy bullpen.  It appears that he can go multiple innings if necessary, so I’ll be looking to see if that becomes his role in any way.

 

Tyler Gilbert Photo: Cheryl Pursell

12 Tyler Gilbert

Background:  25yo LHP, Drafted Rd 6, 2015, USC

MLB Service:  none  40-Man:  no

Last Season:  4-1, 2.86 with AA Reading; 3-1, 3.63 AAA Lehigh Valley.  23 and 25 appearances respectively.

This Season:  Strikeouts, walks, opponent avg–all moved towards the worse with the promotion to AAA–BUT, WHIP improved.  Gilbert looks to put himself into the mix for left-hand relievers.

Kram Notes:  It was cool to hear last season from another reporter, that Gilbert was a bit nervous making his first appearance at Coca Cola Park.  Still, I hadn’t realized he spent half his season here!  We welcome him back and look for him to make the next step.

 

Catchers

The Phillies system is filled with catchers–a bunch are considered among the top prospects.  However, those guys are at the lower levels.  If additional catchers are needed at the upper levels it will be interesting to see how quickly they move up some of the highly-regarded players up, with the understanding that sometimes catchers take more time to develop both offensively and defensively.  Penn product Austin Bossart remains at Reading and may be a better overall defensive prospect compared with Grullon, but his bat and arm don’t have the same pop, and he’s a little older.

Rob Brantly Photo: Cheryl Pursell

6 Rob Brantly

Background:  Robert Jacob Brantly, 30yo (July).  Drafted Rd3/Detroit 2012, UC/Riverside.  MiLB Free Agent. Bats Left.

MLB Service: 125 Games: White Sox, Miami   40-Man:  no

Last Season:  Split between Gwinnett and Columbus in the International League

This Season:  Brantly is veteran depth for the Phillies, with JT Realmuto and Andrew Knapp on the big club.

Kram Notes:  Rob has extensive experience in the IL:  Gwinnett, Columbus, Louisville, Toledo, Charlotte.  He should be an asset to this team and this pitching staff.

 

Deivy Grullon Photo: Cheryl Pursell

17 Deivy Grullon

Background:  23yo Dominican Repuplic,  Deivy Wilfin Grullon

MLB Service:  none     40-Man:  no

Last Season:  Split time with Bossart at Reading and posted  .273/.310/.515 with 21 HR.  All Star HR-Derby Champion.

This Season:  Grullon looks to take the next step.  He got a bunch of looks in MLB games during spring training, and with no third catcher on the 40-man, he could get the call if needed, or defer to Brantly or McBride.

Kram Notes:  Deivy has been one of my favorite prospects coming up through the system.  He has a very strong arm, but continues to work on receiving and framing, game-calling, and blocking in his time behind the plate.  He can be a free-swinger at times, but improved in that area as last season wore on last year.  He can hit for power, but was helped by the ballpark a bit in Reading last season.  It will be interesting to watch him continue to develop at AAA this season.  He was my #30 prospect this past off-season.

 

Infield

The Phillies AAA infield was in flux throughout spring training.  The heavy veteran presence in this area, to start the season, is a reflection on the lack of depth at the big league level, as well as relative dearth of prospects at the upper levels of the system.  Scott Kingery is the only infield backup with the Phillies to start the season, and although you could ask Odubel to stand at second base, or Roman Quinn (when healthy) to stand at shortstop, you don’t want to do that for very long.  There’s opportunity there for some of the veteran bats in this group to find their way back to the majors at some point this season–although 40-man spots are at a premium.  Guys like Derick Hall and Austin Listi wait in Reading for their turn at AAA.  There are some prospects looming as well–such as SS Arquimedes Gamboa–but might not see AAA this season.

Mitch Walding Photo: Cheryl Pursell

10 Mitch Walding

Background:  26yo LHB Mitchell S Walding, drafted Rd 5 (2011, Phillies).  Born in Lodi, CA.

MLB Service:  13G   40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  Made his MLB debut with the Phillies and got his first big league hit.  119 G with the IronPigs:  .265/.390/.474, 19 HR

This Season:  Mitchell returns to man the hot corner and stay ready for his next recall.  With his 40-man spot, he’ll likely be the first call-up for an opening at 3B or 1B (with Maikel sliding over).

Kram Notes:  Coming into last season I was concerned about the strike-outs from Reading the previous season.  He still struck out a ton at AAA, but also added 29 points to his batting average and 63 points to is on-base, which is commendable given the better pitching in AAA.  He should be an asset to the IronPigs while he’s here this season, with his bat parked in the middle of the batting order.

 

Matt McBride Photo: Cheryl Pursell

30 Matt McBride

Background:  Matthew Hagerty McBride, 34yo (May) RHB, Comp Draft 2006 Cleveland, Lehigh University/Liberty HS

MLB Service:  92G: Oakland, Colorado   40-Man:  no

Last Season:  60G IronPigs 1B/C/DH/RF: .242/.333/.479, 10HR

This Season:  McBride returns to the home-town IronPigs as veteran depth at multiple positions.  If the Phillies need a catcher, he could be in the mix with Grullon and Brantly, depending on who has been playing well at the time.

Kram Notes:  This is the kind of player you need on a AAA team to lead the younger players and step in a play a position when necessary–or just belt a HR off the bench.  It’s good to have him back.

 

Phil Gosselin Photo: Cheryl Pursell

5 Phil Gosselin

Background:  30yo RHB, drafted Rd5/2010/Atlanta.  Born in Bryn Mawr, PA and went to the University of Virginia

MLB Service:  276 G:  Cincinnati, Texas, Pittsburgh, Arizona, Atlanta    40-Man:  no

Last Season:  Louisville and Gwinnett in the IL; 20 games with the Reds

This Season:  Primarily a 2B, he can swing to 3B or LF when needed.  He hasn’t played a ton of shortstop recently.  He really impressed in spring training, and along with Walding, Romine and Rodriguez will serve as infield depth for the big league club.  .253/.318/.384 last season in the International League.

Kram Notes:  He was really on fire during the spring games. It will be interesting to see if he can bring some of that north with him.  Growing up in the West Chester area, he’s considered a local product, along with McBride.  I expect him to be at second base every day to start the season.  I’d probably bat him second, at this juncture.

 

Sean Rodriguez Photo: Cheryl Pursell

3 Sean Rodríguez

Background:  34yo (April) RHB, drafted Rd3/Angels/2003.  “Chich”

MLB Service:  1023 G, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Tampa, Angels     40-Man:  no

Last Season:  10 games with Indianapolis and 66 games with Pittsburgh

This Season:  Sean starts the season here in AAA with hopes of getting added to the big league club as a utility defender when roster space is available.  He had the ability to opt-out of his MiLB contract following spring training, but accepted his assignment to the IronPigs.  Somewhat uniquely, he can not only back up middle infield, but both corners as well as outfield, making him extremely valuable as a late-inning defensive substitution.

Kram Notes:  A “Swiss Army” defender, he played 7 different positions for the Pirates last season.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t hit well at all since the 2016 season when he slashed .270/.349/.510/.859 with 18 HR over 140 games with the Pirates.  As the season starts, I’m expecting him to see plenty of time at shortstop, as his ability to back up Jean Segura with the Phillies is valuable to the organization right now.  Hopefully, his bat wakes up, but if not, the quality of his defense will foretell his future, even as we consider his positional flexibility.  He’s a .947 fielder all-time as an MLB-shortstop, including .944 last season in Pittsburgh.

 

Andrew Romine Photo: Cheryl Pursell

2 Andrew Romine

Background:  33yo Switch-Hitter; Rd5/Angels/2007; Arizona State; “Romi”  Older brother of Yankees C/1B Austin Romine

MLB Service:  581 G: Seattle, Detroit, Angels    40-Man:  no

Last Season:  72 Games with Seattle:  .210/.260/.244, 0HR.  Played six positions, mostly 2B/SS.

This Season:  Romine was released by the Phillies but invited back following his opt-out terms.  He’ll compete for playing time in the middle infield to start the season, with Rodriguez and Gosselin, but could also see time in the outfield if needed.

Kram Notes:  I feel like he’s this year’s Alexi Amarista to Phil Gosselin’s Dean Anna.  He had a nice spring training from what I saw, though, so I’m happy to have him.  I guess there’s no way his brother ends up in Scranton, but if so, perhaps he could help us find an edge there somewhere.

 

Malquin Canelo Photo: Cheryl Pursell

8 Malquin Canelo

Background:  24yo, RHB.  Dominican Republic

MLB Service: none  40-Man:  no

Last Season:  I’ve watched him the past two seasons at shortstop in Reading.  He’s certainly improved; he slashed .251/.305/.366 last season and hit the ball in the air more.  He has some sneaky power, which allowed him to go deep 9 times last season.

This Season:  Canelo tries to make the next step, to AAA.  At first, I think he’ll have trouble finding playing time behind the veterans Gosselin, Rodriguez, and Romine–but as the season wears on I imagine we’ll see him more and more.  He’s a solid fielder, but will have the occasional lapses.

Kram Notes:  I’m curious to see how he looks on this stage.

 

Damek Tomscha  Photo: Steven Kiebach

13 Damek Tomscha

Background:  27yo RHB, 3B, 2014 Rd 17 draft pick (Phillies) Auburn.  Hails from Iowa.

MLB Service:  none     40-Man:  no

Last Season:  Started out red-hot, but settled in at .294/.352/.465 with 12 HR at AA Reading.  Did earn a call to AAA, but struggled in 26 appearances.

This Season:  At 27, Tomscha looks to keep moving up the system.  He does have the ability to have excellent plate discipline at times, but appears to become impatient.  He may have to sit behind Walding to start the season, but I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do with regular playing time at AAA.

Kram Notes:  He was one of my favorites last season in Reading.  Unlike some other players, he seems to play better when it’s cold?  I’m not sure–watch to see if he gets off to another fast start if he’s given the chance to play.

 

Gift Ngoepe Photo: Cheryl Pursell

7 Gift Ngoepe

Background:  29yo RHB Mpho’ Gift Ngoepe from South Africa;  First South African to play MLB, I believe–as well as perhaps the first from the continent of Africa.

MLB Service:  41 G: Toronto, Pittsburgh     40-Man:  no

Last Season:  .168/.304/.252 with Buffalo in the International League, playing mostly shortstop and third base.  Went 3/4 on 7/31 vs IronPigs.

This Season:  Like the other veteran players in the infield, looking to find a way back to the big leagues.

Kram Notes:  He’s a fun player to watch, and I’ve heard that he’s a good player in the clubhouse–well-liked.  He’ll likely look for playing time on the left side of the infield whenever he can get it.

 

Outfield

With the “number ones” in Reading, Jan Hernandez and Dylan Cozens are the prospects here with veterans Adams and Robinson.  With free agents ‘Cutch and Harper in Philly, and Odubel and Quinn in center field and depth in Altherr and Williams on the bench it’s a deep group in the majors, and a tough road to promotion for this group.  There are those couple guys in Reading who could be due for promotion soon:  First rounder Cornelius ‘C’ Randolph could be ready for promotio, as well as fellow first picks Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley.

 

Shane Robinson Photo: Cheryl Pursell

4 Shane Robinson

Background:  Shane Michael Robinson, “Suga” 34yo RHB, 2006 Rd 5 draft pick (St Louis) Florida State

MLB Service:  461 G: Yankees, Angels, Minnesota, St Louis   40-Man:  no

Last Season:  25 games with the Yankees; 50 games with AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

This Season:  Has the ability to play center field and will serve as MLB-experienced depth there should things go bad in Philadelphia.

Kram Notes:  Lead-off last season for Scranton in the playoffs, including versus Lehigh Valley.  He will steal a base from time to time.  He does not usually hit home runs.  Good to play with him rather than against him, as he’s had some success at Coca Cola Park.

 

Lane Adams Photo: Cheryl Pursell

9 Lane Adams

Background:  29yo RHB Lane Weston Adams “LA Swiftness”  Drafted 13th rd, 2009, Kansas City–Red Oak, CA

MLB Service:  117 G: Atlanta, Kansas City   40-Man:  no

Last Season:  Saw AAA time in Iowa and Gwinnett, September call-up with Atlanta

This Season:  Lane is another MLB-experienced OF who can add support for the Phillies.  He can steal a base and can play CF.

Kram Notes:  Lane had a nice spring training, and will look to build on that in AAA with a shot to get back to the big leagues

 

Dylan Cozens Photo; Cheryl Pursell

31 Dylan Cozens

Background:  Dylan Wallace Cozens, 25yo (May) LHB, 2012 2nd-rd pick (Phillies), Scottsdale, AZ

MLB Service:  26 G: Phillies    40-Man:  Yes

Last Season:  Bashed 21 HR in 88 Games with the IronPigs.  Success at the plate much tougher to come by in the big leagues, but did not receive regular playing time, either.

This Season:  Cozens looks to increase consistency and cut down on strike-outs.  Off-season work on off-speed pitches and LHP looked to be making a difference during spring games.

Kram Notes:  Cozens’ strike-outs are a well-known problem as he averaged 1.41K/Game last season at AAA.  However, he will take a walk, evidenced by his .345 OBA, fully 100 points over his batting average.  He looks thinner and more flexible this spring and should be the big lefty bat the IronPigs need in the middle of the lineup, along with Walding.  Should he earn the opportunity to get called up this season to fill in for McCutchen or Harper, my hope is that he receives regular playing time and an opportunity to adjust a bit to that level.  I have him as the #28 prospect in the system for this off-season.

 

Jan Hernandez Photo: Cheryl Pursell

16 Jan Hernandez

Background:  /Yan/ 24yo RHB was converted from 3B to OF full time last season.  2013 Rd 3 draft pick (Philadelphia), Beltran Academy, FL

MLB Service:   none     40-Man:  no

Last Season:  .263/.326/.431 in 103 games with AA Reading.  Crushed  14HR.  120K/30BB in 350 AB.

This Season:  Now a full-time outfielder, Jan will look to take the next step and hold off the young bucks in Reading who are trying to shove their way to AAA while fighting for playing time with the veterans.

Kram Notes:  I wasn’t really impressed with him early on in Reading last season, but he seemed to play better as the season wore on–adjusting to the AA level and the new OF role in AA.

 


[UPDATE]

Roster Moves 4/4/2019  (Injured List)

RHP Yacksel Rios – Abdominal strain

C/INF Matt McBride – Right calf strain

INF Gift Ngoepe – Left shin contusion

Added:

LHP Tom Windle

Roster stands at 25 Active, 3 Injured List

IRONPIGS PRINTABLE ROSTER [UPDATED]: 

2019 LHV Roster 4-4-19

…….

If you’re good at math.  Or, maybe just good with numbers.  Or, perhaps you just know how to count.  You’ll notice that the roster contains 27 players for 25 spots.  That means somebody is going to bang a shin in the near future [UPDATE:  Yup!].  Or, just need a personal leave of absence.  Trades?  No matter, I’ll update it when I know more.

 

Look for more reflection and analysis on the 2019 IronPigs players, as well as photos and interviews from Media Day, coming up.

 

See you at the park,

–follow on Twitter:  @Kram207

–please use comments below for feedback and questions, posts will be immediately reviewed and approved in most cases

 



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

Tags: , ,

3 replies

  1. Thanks for the mention of my nephew Austin Bossart. I hope you get to see him in an Iron Pigs jersey soon.

  2. Turf toe returns to a stadium near us. Great job on preview and Cheryl’s photos are the best. Put this in book form and I wouldn’t have needed to buy a Phillies Media Guide. Keep up your good work. I taught you well.

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