KYLE SIMON: KEEP THE MUSTACHE

Thanks to the “gentlemen” at @PhoulBallz for the news on Kyle Simon:

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I’d like to see this nutty guy in the majors at some point.

2013 Philadelphia Phillies Photo Day

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R-PHILS’ PLAYOFF ADVENTURE

It’s been quite an exciting season out in Baseballtown, what with Darin Ruf and his fellow teammates who created some magic this summer. Game 1 is tonight at 7:05pm in Reading, although I’m guessing if you were planning to go to the game, then you’re probably already there. Game 2 is tomorrow night, and all of the important info can be found here.

Austin Hyatt, the R-Phil with the name that most resembles an actual hotel, takes the bump for the home side tonight.

The Trenton Thunder send out starter Brett Marshall, who was 13-7 with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.288 WHIP. He will walk batters if they’re patient.

And finally…a Darin Ruf dinger!

Darin accepts the Eastern League MVP Award


CLOYD OF THE WAKING UNIVERSE


(Click on the image above to view the video)

In this lost season of Phillies baseball where dreams of playoff dominance have been all but stored away until next February, things have still been exciting. Among them: it’s been a good year in the minor leagues, and some of those guys are making their way to the big club.

After the punch-in-the-gut that was Sunday’s loss to the Braves, the Phils headed into Cincinnati for an early afternoon game against the first place Reds.

Although scheduled starter Tyler Cloyd put up great numbers with the R-Phils and ‘Pigs this year (15-1, sub 2.00 ERA), he’s been labelled as a junkballer cut from the same cloth as Kyle Kendrick. While his debut against the Mets didn’t go so well, yesterday was a different story. He scattered four hits and one run over 7 innings, while striking out 9 and walking none to earn his first major league win.

But outside of some of the day’s other heroics, like the three-run blast from Rollins, were the guys who patrolled the mound. The Phils had three rooks pitching, including two whose first taste of the majors have only come in the past couple of weeks.

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DARIN RUF IS BASEBALLTOWN’S NEW HOME RUN KING

Video courtesy of the Reading Eagle.

Darin Ruf hit his 38th home run of the season tonight, breaking Ryan Howard’s record set in 2004. The Darinbino has a few more games to reach 40.

Although consider this: while Ruf got the record in 135 games, it only took Howard 102 games. He was promoted to Scranton, then the AAA club.


RUF’IN UP THE EASTERN LEAGUE

Darin Ruf is over the hill, at least when it comes to the minor leagues. But he’s still hitting a lot of dingers.

The 26-year old is about to complete his fourth year in the Phillies system, with the entirety of 2012 spent out in Reading. Despite his power surge in the Eastern League, the brass doesn’t look too kindly upon him. Rather than jumping into the draft at a younger age, like most guys do, he waited until he finished his degree at Creighton (heh) University.

The proverbial deck is further stacked against Ruf since the first baseman is blocked not only at the top of the line, as Ryan Howard is signed from now until eternity, but also in Lehigh Valley with Cody Overbeck (although he hasn’t lived up to expectations). Furthermore, he’s only recently started mastering the outfield, something he will continue to work on this winter in Venezuela.

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DON’T AVOID THE CLOYD: MAKING A CASE FOR TYLER CLOYD

Let’s talk about Tyler Cloyd. He seems to be the guy that hipster Phillies fans are over the moon about lately.

With Kyle Kendrick’s stunning inconsistency, along with the pile of shit performance the swingman had last night, the word on the street is that the team may shuttle the righty back to the bullpen (or if some fans had their way, to Mars) in lieu of a young arm. Cloyd seems to be the anointed one.

What do we know about Cloyd? Well, he’s not exactly young, at least when considering his peers. The former 18th round selection turned 25 in May, but if you ignore his age, one thing that you can’t ignore is the season the guy is having. His year started out in Reading where he absolutely ruined the competition with the following numbers:

4 starts / 1.80 ERA / 25 IP / 22 H / 5 ER / 3 BB / 1.000 WHIP

And he had a 3-0 record if you care. While prepping for his fifth start of season in Reading, he got the call to Lehigh Valley, where he threw six perfect innings in his debut against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His torrid season has continued with equally as gaudy numbers (not including last night’s start):

18 starts / 1.93 ERA / 116.1 IP / 85 H / 25 ER / 27 BB / 0.963 WHIP

While Cloyd has had decent numbers since his start in rookie ball in 2008, he really hit his stride last year with a hot start in Clearwater, continuing that pace through the duration of the Reading season. His total line over both levels:

22 starts (31 G) / 2.77 ERA / 146.0 IP / 132 H / 45 ER / 22 BB / 1.055 WHIP

What conclusions can be drawn about Cloyd? He’s a low draft pick who’s older than his most of his peers, but the last two years have shown a pitcher who has moved from good to very good.

Looking deeper into his time with the IronPigs this year, he’s proven to be one of the International League’s best, ranking in the tops in the following categories: ERA (1st), WHIP (2nd), and OBA (2nd). His record for the season sits at 11-1, including a string of 7 straight decisions with a win. Including his time in Reading, he’s pitched 6 innings or more in 21 of 22 starts. His first inning of pitching tends to be the worst, as he 3.00 ERA and OBA of .348, but after that he’s in lockdown mode with a 1.74 ERA and .178 OBA. Finally, his control has been impeccable, with just 30 BB over 141.1 IP combined. Some tasty bacon bits, indeed.

So is Cloyd’s success going to translate to the big club? It’s difficult to say, but the Phillies have every reason to give him a shot now. Fifth starter Kendrick, who had amassed 20+ scoreless innings out of the bullpen earlier this year, is falling apart in the rotation. Since the team won’t be in the playoffs and the roster is set to expand soon, it’s time to give Cloyd a shot. I’d like to see if the team has an outlier on their hands, and if he works out, having a young guy who is making league minimum will give the team some much needed flexibility going into a tight 2013.

He could very well be a bust, but his numbers across the board are indicative of a pitcher who has more potential than Kendrick. And we could use some joy in South Philly, or just less reason to complain.

Thanks to Michael LoRé of the Express-Times for his assistance on this post.


BASEBALL FOR NERDS: A TRIP TO HIGH DESERT

This is one from the archives, and when I say archives, I mean last spring. Since I’m living in California, I thought it would be cool to get to all of the minor league parks in the state. If you’d like to keep tally with me, so far I’ve done Lake Elsinore Storm, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, Inland Empire 66ers, Lancaster JetHawks, and High Desert Mavericks, all part of the High-A California League. Sometimes the ball can be a little rough, but I’ve seen a few guys who’ve made it to the majors, most notably Brandon Belt and Mike Trout. Plus, there’s always the added bonus of the weird people you see in these out-of-the-way towns. Cool times.

I’ve also seen the Fresno Grizzlies (Giants AAA). That leaves five High-A teams and one AAA squad, all in the central and northern parts of the state.

A few things about High Desert. First, and I don’t want to be mean, but it’s a desolate place. I definitely felt a bit uneasy there. Second, the town is actually called Adelanto, and at 2951 feet above sea level, it’s the MiLB park with the fifth highest elevation, according to A Sports Nation Divided. The Mavericks are a Mariners affiliate.

On the night I went (April 16, 2011), Franklin Gutierrez was supposed to be rehabbing, which brought some guy from “the other side of the mountain” out to the game. Boy, was he ever disappointed when Franklin wasn’t in the lineup! The parents of one of the guys from the Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres org, who the Mavericks were playing that night) made an appearance and brought their Orange County attitude with them.

I don’t recall the score, but here’s some photos. While the park has seen better days, the staff was really nice and obliging in my picture requests.

Well if you put it like that…

Cranekickin’ with the mascot

What $7 in High Desert gets you

The town’s funnymen