Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Michael Taylor made the transition from Double-A to Triple-A pretty quickly. There were some growing pains at first, but he finished the month of August with a .291 average for the month as an IronPig. Fellow outfielder John Mayberry Jr. returned from a stint with the Phillies and hit four home runs in the month, while batting .266 for Lehigh Valley.
On the mound, it was primarily the more veteran minor league pitchers that dominated for Lehigh Valley. Kyle Kendrick made three starts for Lehigh Valley and went 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA. The best of the young relievers at Triple-A was Alex Concepcion, a right-hander, who went 0-0 with a save and a 3.86 ERA in three relief appearances after being promoted from Double-A Reading.
Even though we focus primarily on the young prospects, it just wouldn't be right to not mention Andy Tracy and Cedric Bowers. Tracy was a monster, hitting .276, but leading the team in monthly home runs (7) and RBI (27). He was also second on the club to Rich Thompson (.421) with a .402 on-base percentage. As for Bowers, he was lights out. In ten relief appearances, Bowers posted a 0.87 ERA, pitching 10 1/3 innings and allowing opponents to hit just .229 against him.
Domonic Brown continues to be the big story in Reading. The 6' 5", 206 pound outfielder hit a shot that still has fans talking. Brown smashed a home run to right field at Reading's FirstEnergy Park that literally left the stadium and landed smack-dab in the middle of Route 61. And not only was it a long shot, it was high and majestic. It rivaled other home runs by past players like Ryan Howard and Greg Luzinski that also left the park, but were hit the other way and didn't put passing motorists in any jeopardy. It was just one of Brown's three home runs last month that helped him to drive in 17 runs and hit .291 for Reading.
Tim Kennelly is making some nice strides at Reading. After being promoted from Clearwater, Kennelly hit .304 with a .377 on-base percentage at Reading. Kennelly, who can play a number of positions, has played at both third and catcher at Reading. Kennelly's catching partner, Kevin Nelson, returned to Reading in the middle of August after a promotion to Lehigh Valley following the trade of Lou Marson to Cleveland. Nelson had a power explosion, hitting a team-high six home runs and batting .316 in his 11 games with the R-Phils.
The highly-touted starting rotation for Reading posted a 5.36 ERA in August. Yohan Flande (2-2, 3.90) and Michael Stutes (0-2, 3.99) had good months, balancing the struggles of Kyle Drabek (1-1, 5.02), Michael Cisco (1-3, 6.41) and Vance Worley (0-3, 5.65). In the bullpen, manager Steve Roadcap relied on B.J. Rosenbers, who recorded three saves in five opportunities and posted a 2.53 ERA. Chance Chapman's August ERA stood at 1.84 in ten appearances, while lefty Sergio Escalona (remember him?) pitched in 11 games and recorded one save with a 2.45 ERA for the month.
Derrick Mitchell hit .299 and tied for the team lead in home runs with four last month. Cody Overbeck also hit four home runs and led the team with 16 RBI, hitting .243 for the Threshers. Matt Rizzotti also hit .299 and led the Threshers with a .374 on-base percentage.
On the mound, Tyler Cloyd (3-3, 3.65) and Jon Velazquez (1-1, 3.72) led the starters with strong numbers for the month. Michael Schwimer saved six games in seven chances and struck out 26 hitters in 26 2/3 innings of work for Clearwater, while posting a 1.32 ERA in relief. His numbers were good enough to garner him a promotion to Double-A Reading for the playoff push that the R-Phils are making in the Eastern League. In his first two appearances there, Schwimer continued his success, recording wins with a shutout inning of work in both ends of a double-header.
Switch-hitter Harold Garcia is really opening some eyes at Lakewood. In August, the 22 year old second base prospect, hit .311 with a .408 on-base percentage and eight stolen bases. Garcia also is showing slow, but steady improvement defensively and made just one error in 18 games last month after making 12 errors in his first 84 games of the season. If Garcia continues to hit and gets a handle on the defensive side of the game, he'll become a much stronger prospect for the Phillies. He also needs to find a way to not get hit by as many pitches as he does; he's been hit by 16 pitches this season.
Justin De Fratus (0-3, 2.62), Trevor May (1-0, 3.04) and Jesus Sanchez (3-1, 3.33) all pitched well out of the Lakewood rotation. Sanchez is doing very well in his conversion to pitching from being a catcher and has righted his career by making the move.
Santo Hernandez pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings for Lakewood and converted all three of his save opportunities for the BlueClaws. Opponents hit just .080 against Hernandez. Ryan Bergh (0-1-2, 3.29), Jacob Diekman (1-0, 2.38) and Eryk McConnell (0-0, 2.63) all pitched well in relief for Lakewood.
Anthony Hewitt hit a team-high four home runs, but hit just .235 for Williamsport last month. Leandro Castro put up decent numbers, leading the team with 20 RBI and hitting .267, but he's striking out a lot, fanning 30 times in 105 at-bats. Adam Buschini (1-10-.302-.386) seems to be making the adjustment to New York - Penn League pitching after a slow start.
On the mound, you're not hearing a lot about Austin Hyatt, but keep listening for more about him. In five August starts, Hyatt went 1-0 with a 0.98 ERA, throwing 27 2/3 innings with a remarkable 41 strikeouts and just eight walks. Opponents hit just .151 against him and he posted a WHIP of 0.80 last month with Williamsport. Hyatt started the short-season with seven shutout innings in relief and had a 0.34 ERA in 12 games as a reliever before joining the CrossCutters' starting rotation. He also recorded six saves in seven chances. Eric Massingham (1-0, 0.93) is keeping pace with Hyatt and has a season ERA of 0.76 with four saves in four opportunities over 13 appearances with Williamsport.
Left-hander Korey Noles (3-2, 2.88) joined the Lakewood squad to start September and got the promotion on the strength of a strong month of August. Noles made six starts, winning three of them, and had an ERA of 2.88 with Williamsport last month. Reliever Luke Wertz (0-1, 1.80) also pitched well out of the bullpen.
Starter Joshua Zeid (3-2, 1.74) also deserves a mention for the month that he put together. The 22 year-old right-hander is 7-5, 2.65 on the season with the 'Cutters.
While the GCL Phillies hit just .229 last month, catcher Francisco Diaz wasn't to blame. Diaz hit .292 with a team-high .414 on-base percentage and continues to perform well defensively. Brian Gump (2-7-.318) showed enough offense to earn a promotion to Lakewood for their postseason play and outfielder Domingo Santana hit .320 with a .407 OBP.
GCL starters were pretty effective for the Phillies last month. Lefty Kevin Angelle led the club with six starts and went 1-2, but posted a 2.30 ERA. Jared Cosart has bounced back from a groin injury and struck out 23 hitters in 23 2/3 innings of work for the GCL Phillies. Cosart's return is welcome news for prospect watchers who were getting nervous when the groin injury sidelined him for longer than first expected. Opponents hit just .128 against Cosart, helping him to post a 1.52 ERA for the month.
And the winners are...
There is no way you can overlook Domonic Brown. The powerful left-handed bat is showing that he can do it all and hasn't missed a beat after being promoted from Clearwater. Can you imagine a 2010 Lehigh Valley outfield of Brown, Michael Taylor and John Mayberry Jr.? It could very well happen and then with at least Drabek and probably, Stutes in the Triple-A rotation, things could be pretty exciting for the 'Pigs.
Michael Schwimer just had an exceptional month and his two quick wins for Reading on the final day of the month sealed the deal for him to be our Pitching Prospect of the Month for August. It will be interesting to see how Schwimer pitches over the final week with Reading and how he'll respond to playoff pressure, provided that Reading clinches a postseason spot.