IRONPIGS: Series Primer, Rochester April 19-24, 2022.

This post will be updated as official media information becomes available for this series.  This is version 2.3

I’m still not a fan of these 6-game series, but it does allow for a more in-depth look at the matchups and the home stand.

 

Photo: Jack Mitroka

How are we doing?

The IronPigs return from Worcester having gone 2-4 in the series.  Combined with the 3-3 opening series split with Columbus, the IronPigs check in at 5-7, good enough for 8th place in the 10-team International League East, and a perfectly average 5-5 in their last 10.  

The IronPigs have a -12 run differential, having scored 61 to 73 given up.  

Note:  The mega-roster post has been updated for the start of this series and will receive one more tune-up before we move to more conventional roster updates.  UPDATE:  The last update has been completed.

Hall just before mashing a HR last home stand. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Hot or not?

HOT!

INF/OF Dalton Guthrie:  Playing almost exclusively in center field to start the season, he’s been slashing .395/.439/.474.  He’ll see his playing time dwindle perhaps (see below*) but he’s been solid on offense and defense through the first two series of 2022.  UPDATE:  Guthrie left last Saturday with an injury and was added to the Injury List on Tuesday.  The nature and severity of the injury is not known at this time.

OF Jorge Bonifacio:  Perhaps a bit of a slow start initially, but the veteran’s been coming on with his numbers up to .273/.400/.455. 

C Donny Sands:  He’s getting some time at DH as well, as he should.  The catching prospect on the 40-man is contributing at the plate to the tune of .241/.429/.379 with 11 walks to 9 strikeouts.  

RHP Dillon Maples:  Has yet to yield a hit or a run in four appearances out of the bull pen.  

RHP Mark Appel:  The stories have all been written already.  The first-round pick.  The injuries.  The comeback.  But now, he’s just out there pitching out of the ‘pen and doing pretty well.  He’s 1-0, 1.80 ERA, and has yet to walk a batter in three appearances.  

RHP Nick Duron: The former 31st-round pick of the Red Sox, who pitched in AAA in the Mariners organization last season, is off to a 2.45 ERA in four appearances thus far.

LHP Ricardo Sanchez:  After recovering from injury last season and getting released by the Cardinals late in Spring Training, the last-minute signing by the Phillies has been the IronPigs best starter thus far.  In two startes he’s 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA.  

–NOT!

INF/OF Drew Maggi:  The minor league veteran with a .270+ batting average in triple-A from 2016 to 2019 hasn’t found his groove yet, hitting just .167/.235/.167 this season as a regular starter.

INF/OF Ronald Torreyes:  The veteran super-utility player and favorite of Phillies manager Joe Girardi is hitting just .185/.267/.222 since coming down from Philadelphia.

3B Will Toffey:  Since coming over from the Giants in the Luke Williams trade, he got off to a pretty good start but has scuffled to .167/.242/.267 line overall on the young season.  His playing time is getting sacrificed, too, with the arrival of Nick Maton and Ronald Torreyes.

RHP Hans Crouse:  The pitching prospect who came over as part of the Spencer Howard trade is on the 40-man and thought to be somewhere in the hierarchy of depth starters for the Phillies.  He’s struggling right now though: 0-2, 14.54ERA in his first two starts. 

RHP James Marvel: As advertised, the veteran ground-ball-getter has been allowing contact, but it hasn’t been effective as he’s 0-2, 13.97ERA through three starts.

RHP Aaron Barrett:  The reliever hasn’t found his groove yet, 0-1, 13.50 through four appearances.  He pitched much, much better for Rochester last season–perhaps facing his old team will get him back on track.  

LHP Jakob Hernandez:  I’m a fan of “Jakob with the K!” but I’m starting to worry he’s not a triple-A pitcher.  He’s just 10.13 ERA through five appearances.  Let’s see if he can start to make headway and perhaps face some more LHB.  

Maggi’s game reminds me a little of Dean Anna. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Story lines:

Center Field:  It’s a position in constant flux as Philadelphia hasn’t had anyone nail down the position for them yet in this young season with Matt Vierling hitting just .143, albeit with some bad luck.  Simón Muzziotti isn’t a big leaguer yet and will need his time in double-A and/or triple-A first.  Mickey Moniak has a broken hand/wrist/finger (depends on the report) and will be out 6-8 weeks.  So Roman Quinn is back!  He didn’t make the Miami team and re-signed with us as a minor league free agent, knowing the opportunity that exists in center field.  Then, look for Odubel Herrera [arrested for domestic violence in 2019] to begin a major league rehab appearance this home stand as he recovers from an oblique injury.  All this is taking away from a fine center field played so far this season by Dalton Guthrie (see above).  Watch to see who gets the playing time this week in the John Fogerty position, as well as where the others might slot in–particularly the red-hot Guthrie.  

UPDATE:  Not for center field, but the Phillies traded cash for OF Dustin Peterson from the Brewers, and optioned him to the IronPigs.  I did not see a corresponding 40-man roster move.  This creates kind of a crowded outfield at Lehigh Valley, but it could be that the Justin Williams (Injured List) injury is more serious than we thought.  UPDATE2:  Peterson was not added to the 40-man and was assigned, not optioned, despite the wording of the MiLB announcement.  

Starting pitching:  It’s been a weakness of this triple-A team so far.  Perhaps the addition of one of the guys who stuck on the expanded roster will solidify this group in the future (ie Bailey Falter, Cristopher Sanchez) but for now it’s just about guys playing better.  For my part I’d suggest perhaps not worrying about how stretched out most of these triple-A guys are right now–especially with so many relief pitchers on the roster (I count 16 active relievers)–you have to get work for everyone anyway, so no reason leaving in an ineffective starter.

Roster management:  The roster limits for Triple-A might not be enforced here early on–at least no the ones I’ve read and compared to what’s actually happening in the public-facing roster lists.  So keep an eye on how they move players now with Lehigh Valley and Reading both home this week and Philadelphia returning from Colorado on Friday.  

Jones and Brogdon:  LHP Damon Jones and RHP Connor Brogdon both came down from Philadelphia this week.  I think they’re both part of the long-term plans for the relief corps in Philadelphia, but Brogdon is still getting up to speed from the condensed spring training, and they may want Jones to continue fine tuning his offerings as a reliever.  Watch for them to get work this week, and if the radar is working take a look at their numbers and effectiveness.  

Weather:  After a gorgeous week last week, here we are again with horribly cold weather to start this home stand.  The good news is that it should get nicer as the week goes on so that we get some nice weekend games.  My read on things:

Tuesday:  Colder than cold

Wednesday: Better, and sunny

Thursday:  Warmer but overcast.  Nice enough for happy hour.

Friday: Gorgeous

Saturday: Chance of rain in the morning, should clear off.

Sunday:  Gorgeous, might need sunscreen  “Kurt Landes Weather” 

Fireworks:  Some controversy last home stand that the fireworks were only being shot from within the stadium, leading to a very pedestrian display.  Could the construction of the new center field gate be interfering with traditional fireworks?  Was it just because they were late?  Supply line problems with aerial explosives?  It’s hard to say, but we’ll be watching for what kind of fireworks we get this home stand.  UPDATE:  It has been confirmed by multiple sources that the in-stadium fireworks were due to the construction outside the stadium of the center field gate as well as the expanded left field parking.  Further information is forthcoming. 

 

Toffey has seen his playing time suffer with the arrival of Maton and Torreyes. Photo: Jack Mitroka

Series on tap: Rochester

Red Wings Roster and Team Notes:

Rochester, triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, comes in at 7-5 having just split a series with Buffalo at home, 3-3.

Players to watch:  Former IronPigs and International League MVP Joey Meneses returns to Coca Cola Park after playing in Japan, Mexico, and Portland, Maine (AA Red Sox) since he departed. 

Nationals uber-shortstop Luis Garcia is still around, and raking triple-A as before.  Reportedly, the Nationals want to be able to play him every day when he gets to the big leagues again, and that wasn’t going to be possible to start the 2022 season.  (It will be interesting to see how that jives with how the Phillies are handling Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott–or whether there’s really some roster manipulation going on still in  Washington.)

Nationals top prospect is their first round pick from 2020, RHP Cade Cavalli*, out of Oklahoma.  Double-headers last week have the pitching in a bit of a jumble, but it does look like he projects to be the Tuesday and Sunday starter for this series.  UPDATE:  Cavalli was skipped on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Stay tuned for when or if he’ll appear for Rochester while in Allentown.  UPDATE2:  The Nationals had a doubleheader Tuesday, which may have been a reason to hold Cavalli back–although, he was not recalled Wednesday and is not listed as the Wednesday starter.  Again, we’ll stay tuned.  

By way of roster moves, the Nationals have cycled a couple outfielders recently, but no other major moves to speak of as of this writing.  Will update.  UPDATE:  Washington has recalled a pitcher and a couple have cycled on/off Injured List for Rochester.  They could be short pitching this week.  No news on Cavalli.  

Photo: Jack Mitroka

Pitching probables:

Tuesday:  LHV RHP Colton Eastman (0-1, 5.87) vs. ROC RHP Cade Cavalli* (0-1, 9.00)

UPDATE:  RHP Ben Braymer made a spot start for Cavalli last night.

Wednesday:  LHV LHP Ricardo Sanchez (0-0, 3.38) vs ROC RHP Luis Reyes (0-0, 4.91)

UPDATE:  RHP Hans Crouse will start for Lehigh Valley vs. Reyes as it appears that Cavalli may have been skipped in the rotation.  No further probables are publicly available for Rochester at this time. 

Thursday:  LHV RHP Hans Crouse (0-2, 14.54) vs. ROC RHP Jefry Rodriguez (0-1, 10.80)

UPDATE:  Sanchez will start here as he and Crouse swapped–this comes after they pitched together for a double-header due to rain in Worcester.

Friday: LHV RHP James Marvel (0-2, 13.97) vs ROC RHP Jackson Tetreault (0-1, 5.54)

Saturday: LHV RHP Michael Mariot(0-0, 4.91) vs ROC RHP Aaron Sanchez (1-0, 3.60)

Sunday:  Tuesday Starters repeat or the possible appearance of Cavalli. 

 

I am partial to the Golden Retriever getting the bats, but robot dog delivering baseballs is cool too! Photo: Cheryl Pursell

Promotions:

Tuesday:  “Tail-Waggin’ Tuesday”  Bring your dog and sit in the outfield.  Hopefully you can keep each other warm.

Wednesday:  “Golf Night.”  The US Senior Open trophy will be on display.  The tournament will once again be hosted by Saucon Valley Country Club, in Bethlehem, in late June.

Thursday:  Coquís!  It’s our first Copa night of the season, to go along with our first Happy Hour (5-7 dollar dogs and discount drafts!)

Friday:  “Paranormal Patrol” and Friday Night Fireworks

Saturday:  “Women Empowerment Night” and “For the Bacon”

Sunday:  1:35PM start, “Princess Day” and Kids Run the Bases following the game 

Don’t worry lonely helmet cart driver, pitchers will happily take a ride from you by the time we get to the heat of the summer. Photo: Cheryl Pursell

See you at the park,

@Kram207

PS:  Remember to check back for updates Tuesday and Wednesday!



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