5/1/22 : April Standouts - Phillies Minor Leagues
Written by Steve Potter
The Phillies have historically issued “Player of the Month” awards in three categories … Hitter, Defender and Pitcher. Below are a few nominations for the April awards 🤔🤓.
Hitter of the Month :
Darick Hall - led the minor league organization for the month in Plate Appearances ( 99 ), At Bats ( 88 ), runs ( 20 ), hits ( 25 ), doubles ( 8 ), home runs ( 9 ), RBIs ( 28 ), total bases ( 60 ), slugging for those with more than 60 PA’s ( .682 ) and OPS ( 1.046 ). Had a six RBI game on 4/23 and had three games with two home runs in the same contest. His 28 RBIs are the most in all of minor league baseball and his total bases for the month is more than double the next player in the Phillies minor league system 😳. Off to a very strong start to the season for Lehigh Valley - the 26 year old was the club’s 14th round draft selection in the 2016 draft. Hit his 100th minor league career home run during the month as well. Shouldn’t even be a question that he’s the hitter of the month 🤓. Plus he and LHV 3B Coach Greg Brodzinski have continued the “Rock, Paper, Scissors” game on home runs that Cutch and Coach Wathan played in the show when Cutch was with the Phillies.
Dating back to 1960 ( based on my own research ) Darick now ranks 7th in career home runs hit while a member of a Phillies minor league affiliate, here‘s the list.
Joe Lis - 164
Pancho Herrera - 141
Dan Held - 135
Dylan Cozens - 132
Greg Luzinski - 113
Ryan Howard - 112
Darick Hall - 107
Cody Overbeck - 105
Darin Ruf -95
Mike Anderson - 94
Rhys Hoskins - 93
Hank Allen - 90
Donny Sands - his .328 batting average led the minor league organization for players with more than 50 plate appearances. He’s also the leader in OBP ( .476 ). The 25 year old has played in 20 games and has been a middle of the order presence for the LHV Iron Pigs. He was acquired from the Yankees in a trade on 11/21/21.
Jadiel Sanchez - the 21 year old outfielder had a very strong first month of the season for Clearwater posting a .288/.358./.458 slash line and a .816 OPS in 67 plate appearances. This is the first season of opening month full season play for the 2019 12th round draft selection and he’s performed admirably - 27 total bases with 2 doubles, a triple and 2 home runs.
Darick Hall - photo by Cheryl Pursell
Pitcher of the Month :
RH Andrew Painter - you would be hard pressed to find a pitcher with a more dominant month than this 19 year old had for Clearwater. He made 3 starts totaling 12 IP allowing no earned runs while striking out a whopping 30 batters and walking just three, 0 .58 WHIP. The Phillies 2021 1st round draft selection has thus far lived up to his billing as a power pitcher showing a fastball in the upper nineties and a sharp slider.
LH Gabriel Cotto - the 21 year old made three strong starts for Clearwater posting a 2.57 ERA in 14 IP with 17 K’s and 7 walks - 0.79 WHIP. Opposing batters hit just .089 against him. Gabriel was the club’s 7th round draft selection in the 2018 draft. His ability to command the strike zone with a three pitch mix has made scouts take notice - we first saw his game emerging in a backfield outing last spring in the FCL.
LH Ethan Lindow - converted early this season to a “bulk reliever” which is somewhat akin to a piggyback role just without the set parameters of innings or scheduled appearances the 23 year old has shown the ability to adapt and pitch well regardless of what is asked of him. In four appearances he’s posted a 0.84 ERA in 10 2/3 IP with 17 K’s and 5 walks. The 2017 5th round draft selection uses his ability to command and control the strike zone and a strong mix of pitches to record outs consistently.
LH Erik Miller - used as both a bulk reliever and opener during the month so as to allow for a scheduled conditioning routine designed to continually strengthen his shoulder the 24 year old pitched very well posting a 0.90 ERA in 10 IP with 15 K’s and just 3 walks. He allowed only four hits and recorded a 0.70 WHIP. A strong start for the 2019 4th round draft selection from Stanford.
RH Francisco Morales - after being converted to a back end reliever this spring the 22 year old power pitcher has excelled thus far. Keeping his front shoulder tucked so as to allow for a consistent delivery path to the plate has enabled Francisco to post a 0.00 ERA and 0.58 WHIP in 6 overpowering appearances for Reading where he’s struck out 18 batters and walked just 5 in 11 2/3 IP. The competitive fire has always burned brightly for this young man and he’s big on meeting challenges - with a consistent mid to upper 90’s fastball and wipeout slider he’s pitching himself into becoming a viable long term option for the big club and perhaps even in the near future.
LH Brian Marconi - the 24 year old has re-assumed the closer’s role for Reading and has been as efficient as last season when he earned a league all-star spot. In my opinion Brian was the logical choice as the 2021 Paul Owens Award winner. He’s on his way to even better numbers this year - in 6 appearances ( 8 IP ) he’s recorded 3 saves in as many opportunities and has a 0.00 ERA and 0.63 WHIP with 14 K’s and 4 BB. The 2019 amateur free agent signee from George Mason University has 19 career saves in 22 chances and has converted 18 of his last 19 going back into last season.
Andrew Painter - photo by Mark Wylie
Defender of the Month :
Catcher Arturo DeFreitas - the 20 year old is a very good receiver and has earned the majority of the innings for Clearwater thus far. He’s posted a .993 fielding percentage in 108 innings played and has thrown out 10 of 22 base stealers ( 45 % ). Coaches say he’s got a great release and strong arm, blocks pitches really well and is a leader on the field with the pitching staff. Arturo is able to communicate fully in both Spanish and English which in itself is a huge asset to have as a catcher.
CF Johan Rojas - there are few centerfielders who can play defensively at the level of the 21 year old Rojas. In 148 innings Johan has just one error in 47 chances and gets to balls that many other center fielders would not. He has also established a reputation already in is young career as a defender you do not challenge on the base paths as he’s got a very strong and accurate arm. Watching him on a daily basis truly reflects how good he is in range, instincts, routes, reads and flat out closing ability with his plus plus speed. Gold glove worthy.
1B Darick Hall - an unheralded defender he turned heads in big league spring camp with his fielding prowess both in receiving throws and on balls hit his way. We’ve been touting the big fella’s skill set at 1B for awhile now. So far this season he’s posted a perfect fielding percentage in 188 innings and also has 10 assists ( is a strong thrower - pitched in college ). He’s a career .994 fielder in over 4,000 innings played.
Arturo DeFreitas - photo by Casey Burns