November 2010

Prospect Scouting Report

Five minor league prospects were recently promoted to the big club’s 40-man roster, which means they aren’t subject to the Rule 5 draft next week at the winter meetings and they will be in camp with the big boys in three months.

For a scouting report, we checked in with Chuck LaMar, assistant GM, Player Development & Scouting.  Chuck’s office is located on the second floor of the newly-renovated Carpenter Field clubhouse in Clearwater.  He’s on the south side of the building which gives him a view of Bright House Field.  Not too shabby.

His view on the five prospects:

RH reliever Justin DeFratus: “Continues to impress.  Had had back-to-back good years development-wise.  Was outstanding in the AFL. He’s placed himself as a candidate for AAA in spring training while at the same time raising some eyebrows in the big league camp.  He has outstanding stuff and outstanding make-up for a reliever.”

SS Freddy Galvis: “Superb fielder.  Needs to continue to impress at-bat.  Good work ethics, good instincts.  He’s a major league shortstop right now defensively.”

2B Harold Garcia: “Coming off an outstanding season.  Another player with outstanding make-up and work ethic. He’s primarily a second baseman and that’s where he’ll play in 2011.  But, he’s very athletic.  During the FIL, he experimented by playing him in the outfield, shortstop and third base.  We’ll continue to see how he fits in at other positions.”

2B Cesar Hernandez: “Very good athletic ability.  Has some plus tools, including speed.  Has shown the ability to hit in four minor league seasons, all on the lower level.  We project him to play second in A ball next summer.  He’s currently holding his own in the Venezuela Winter League.  Even though he only played in a short-season rookie level (Williamsport) in 2010, we didn’t want to take a chance to lose him in the Rule 5 draft.  He has enough tools that a club could carry him for a year.”

1B Matt Rizzotti: “Hit himself out of the Florida State League and was outstanding in AA before moving to AAA in 2010.  He also did very well in the AFL.  Continues to work on his defensive skills.  Has the ability to put the bat on the ball, using all field. He turned himself around with a strenuous workout program last winter. He’s earned the right to go to camp with the big club in February.”


Returning Home

Phillies Alumni keep coming back.

Last year, Mark Parent returned as the Phillies’ manager at Lakewood.  He’s moving up to Reading in 2011. Three second basemen got in line recently: Juan Samuel (major league coach), Ryne Sandberg (Lehigh Valley manager) and Mickey Morandini (Williamsport manager).

Two other former Phillies second basemen are also looking for jobs: Manny Trillo and Mariano Duncan.

Happy Birthday
Monday: OF Alex Pitko turned 96, the second oldest Phillies Alumnus.  He played in 1938.  The day also saw Greg Luzinski turn 60.  Soon a senior citizen will be manning Bull’s BBQ.

Thanksgiving this year means three former Phillies will also be celebrating birthdays the same day: C-CH Mike Ryan, 69 (1968-73; 1980-95); LHP Mark Davis, 46 (1980-81;1993), OF Mark Whiten, 44 (1995-96).





No Respect For Charlie

Comedian Rodney Dangerfield once said, “I get no respect.”

Well, to me, the same goes for Charlie Manuel.  Once again, he didn’t win the manager of the year award in the NL.  Four straight division titles, two World Series appearances, one NL ring and one WS ring over the past four seasons.  Never once has he won the award.  Granted, Charlie would much prefer the rings to an award.

Well, to me, Charlie did his best managerial job in 2010.  A simple stat:  the straight eight was available for a total of 14 games during the regular season.  The total number of players on the DL: 18.  Wilson Valdez had 342 big league at-bats in 152 games prior to this season.  He had 333 playing second, short and third (111 games).

Charlie certainly kept them afloat when the postseason seemed like a dream in July. In the end, his team led the majors in wins, a first for the Phillies.  But, it wasn’t good enough for the writers who vote.  Not winning is one thing, finishing fifth is an insult.  Sorry, but that’s how I feel.

The Arizona Fall League ends this weekend.  Three Phillies farmhands have outstanding stats with the Mesa Solar Sox: 1B Matt Rizzotti, RH starter Joshua Zeid and RH reliever Justin DeFratus.  

Zeid has been shutdown by the Phillies as he reached a certain number of innings.  He’s facing a 2,400-mile drive from Phoenix to Clearwater.  You can read all about him in his outstanding blog.

While the AFL is ending, several Phillies are playing winter ball, including Dom Brown and David Herndon who will begin shortly in the Dominican Republic.

Blog Numbers
MLB has posted the top blogs for October.  Todd Zolecki’s Zo Zone ranks #1 in the writers division.

In the Fan category, congratulations to Phillies Phollowers, # 11.

In the MLB Pro category, the Phillies ballgirls are #16 and this blog is #17. 

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Looking Ahead
**November 19: Phillies need to file their reserve list, which is  fancy name for the 40-man winter roster.

**November 20: Third annual Shane Victorino Foundation Celebrity Dinner and Golf Classic at the Four Seasons Resort in Maui.  The event is sold out so I’ll skip it.

**November 23: Deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents. 

Lots of News

Glad to have Juan Samuel back in a Phillies uniform.  He’ll certainly look at home in pinstripes.  And, he’ll help.  Great addition to Charlie’s staff.  Plus, he’s always smiling.

Shane is on a three-consecutive Gold Glove streak.  He’s got a way to go to match Garry Maddox’ eight Gold Gloves, most for any Phillies outfielder.  Garry truly was the “Secretary of Defense.”   A writer once wrote, “Two-thirds of the earth is covered with water, the other one-third is covered by Maddox.”

Gold Gloves among outfielders aren’t broken down by position.  But, the Phillies have had four consecutive centerfielders win the award, starting with Aaron Rowand in 2007.

Next Week
**MLB Industry Meetings begin Sunday in Orlando’s Disney World.  Communications, advertising, promotions, marketing, publications, new media, radio-TV, tickets, sales are among the numerous departments from the 30 ball clubs that will be in attendance. Phillies are sending 31 from the front office.  These meetings are not to be confused with Baseball’s Winter Meetings.

**Owners and GM meetings begin Monday, also in Orlando.

**NL and AL Rookies of the Year will be announced on Monday.

**NL Cy Young Award winner on Tuesday.

**NL and AL Managers of the Year on Wednesday.

**AL Cy Young winner on Thursday.

Warm Thought
93 more days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

Phillies have lined up spring training tours once again.  An addition in 2011 is a trip for Seniors, which is down my alley.



Remembering Sparky

Baseball lost one of its greatest ambassadors last week when George “Sparky” Anderson left us.
He was best known as a Hall of Fame manager who won three World Championships, two in Cincinnati with the Reds and one with the Detroit Tigers.
Sparky did have a little bit of a Phillies connection.  His lone big league experience came with the Phillies in 1959.  He played 152 games at second base and batted .218.  He wore #45.
Found the following in the 1959 Phillies Yearbook: “Runner-up as the Most Valuable Player in the International League, Sparky Anderson came to the Phillies in a trade that cost Rip Repulski and two minor league pitchers.  A slick gloveman, and a swift customer on the base paths, Sparky has youth, speed and hustle.  A second sacker with great competitive spirit, high hopes are held for Anderson.”

Sparky didn’t make it as a major leaguer but he certainly did as a manager.  Sparky was a genuine person who was friendly with anyone.  Oh, he could bark but being nice to people was first.
When you are a PR person in baseball, you get to know the other team’s manager a little.  But, I experienced firsthand about him as a person during the 1975 World Series, a true fall classic that the Reds won in seven games over the Boston Red Sox, 4-3.
The National League was without a PR person for the Series.  So, I was “lent” to the NL by Bill Giles.  Sparky and his players were great to deal with during that tense Series.  After all, I was a total stranger.
“You let me know if there is anything you need,” I remember him telling me before the start of the Series.  For the Game 1 pre-game introductions, some players were wearing red jackets in the dugout and some weren’t.  I thought it would look better if everybody looked the same, so I barked, “jackets off, please.”  Led by Sparky, off came the jackets. Nobody bitched or asked, “Who is this clown telling me what to do?”
I sent Sparky a letter after the Series, thanking him for all his cooperation.
Lo and behold, on November 3, I received a hand-written letter from him:
“Thank you so much for your letter.  But you shouldn’t be thanking me.  I should thank you for all the help you gave me and our players.  You did a great job.  You were so patient with all of us.
“Larry, now that it is all over, I really realize what a great thrill it was to win the World Series.  If I can help you in any way this winter, let me know.”
Sparky may have batted .218 as a major leaguer, but as a human being, he batted 1.000.


2 Phils Prospects in AFL Star Game

Two Phillies pitching prospects will be on display during Saturday night’s Arizona Fall League “Rising Stars Game.”

Starter Joshua Zeid and reliever Justin DeFratus are on the Eastern Division team that will take on the Western Division at Sunrise Stadium at 9 p.m. (ET).  The game will be televised by the MLB Network and (MLB TV).

Zeid is 3-0 as a starter and DeFratus has been lights out as a reliever.  Other Phillies players on the Mesa Solar Sox include 1B Matt Rizzotti (.410 AVG is second in the AFL), C Tim Kennelly, RHP B. J. Rosenberg, RHP Chris Kissock, RHP Tyson Brummett and LHP Jacob Diekman.  OF John Mayberry sustained a calf muscle strain in his first game and went to Clearwater for rehab.  He will not return to Mesa.

Lakewood manager Mark Parent is the Mesa hitting coach.

New Shortstop
Phillies claimed a 22-year-old shortstop out of the Cleveland Indians organization yesterday, Carlos Rivero.

He hit .232 in 110 games at Akron (AA Eastern League) this year, his fifth pro season.  34 of his 94 hits were extra-base hits. The 6-3, 200-pound Venezuelan played in the AFL Rising Stars Game a year ago.  Three years ago he was a South Atlantic League All-Star.

Rivero will add to the mix of shortstops in the Phillies organization.  Triple-A shortstop at Lehigh Valley last year was 25-year-old Brian Bocock.  Reading’s shortstop was 20-year-old Freddy Galvis.  Jonathan Villar, another young shortstop, was dealt to the Astros in the Roy Oswalt trade.

Doc Honors

Honors are coming in for Doc Holladay with the big one hopefully coming later.  So far:

**2010 MLB Clutch Performer of the Year, presented by Pepsi.

**Players Choice Award for Outstanding Pitcher.  This award is presented by the Major League Baseball Players Association and a vote by the players.  He also won the Award in 2003.

**Baseball America’s Major League Player of the Year. 

The big one is the Cy Young Award, an award he also won in 2003.  Two baseball writers per National League teams voted for the Cy Young Award at the end of the regular season.  That announcement is scheduled for Tuesday, November 16.

Chooch To Be Honored
Carlos will receive the 2010 Pride of Philly Award by the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame at their annual banquet, November 11, at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel.

Among the Hall’s Class VII inductees that night are Tug McGraw, Dick Allen and Bobby Shantz, former Phillies.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 215 923-5121 or online at

WS After Thoughts
Giants’ pitching was too much.  They shut down the Rangers’ bats just as they had done against the Phillies . . . Last World Series title for the Giants was 1954 when they were in New York.  14 of the current 30 ball clubs weren’t even in existence then . . . Pat Burrell has one career hit over two World Series but he’s now the proud owner of two World Championship rings.  Sure he won’t trade a ring for more hits . . . Since Cliff Lee said he was rooting against the Phillies in the NLCS, he’s 0-2.  Once again, it proves that you don’t mess with the Baseball Gods.

Happy Birthday
Reliever Ron Reed who was in the Phillies bullpen from 1976 through 1983, turns 68 today. 

“Big Foot” owns the Phillies record for most career wins by a reliever, 54, and innings pitched, 763.  He appeared in 12 NLCS games and five WS games for the Phillies.