Sunday, March 26, 2017

2015 Topps Heritage #397 Kyle Kendrick

Phillies 3, Red Sox 3
Spring Training Game 29 - Saturday Afternoon, March 25th in Fort Myers
Record - 10-15-4

One Sentence Summary:  The offense delivered 12 hits, but the Phillies had to settle for a 3-3 tie against the Red Sox.

What It Means:  The main event for this game was the pitching performances of Alec Asher, Adam Morgan and Joely Rodriguez.  Asher is expected to start the season in Triple-A, but Morgan and Rodriguez are battling for one the final spots in the bullpen.  Morgan allowed a run over three innings while Rodriguez pitched two shutout innings while striking out three.

What Happened:  Pedro Florimon and Jesmuel Valentin, also battling for roster spots, each had two hits.

Featured Card:  Former Phillie Kyle Kendrick, in camp with the Red Sox as a non-roster invitee, turned in another impressive outing.  Over six innings, Kendrick struck out six while allowing two runs on eight hits.  He's 4-0 with a 2.16 this spring, but the logjam in the Red Sox rotation means he's probably going to start the season in Triple-A.  This is Kendrick's last baseball card appearance with the Phillies from the 2015 Topps Heritage set.

Camp Head Count:  40

Saturday, March 25, 2017

2016 Choice Reading Fightin Phils Playoff #5 Hoby Milner

Yankees 3, Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 28 - Friday Afternoon, March 24th in Tampa
Record - 10-15-3

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils fell to the Yankees, 3-2, but Jeremy Hellickson looked solid in one of his final spring tune-ups.

What It Means:  Hellickson, who will be the team's opening day starter for the second year in a row, allowed a run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings.

What Happened:  Michael Mariot allowed two runs in the ninth, blowing a save opportunity. Tommy Joseph had a pair of hits and Freddy Galvis knocked in two runs with a second inning single.

Featured Card/Camp Head Count:  44 - 5 + 1 = 40.  Prior to the game, outfielder Tyler Goeddel and starting pitcher Jake Thompson were optioned to the minors.  Goeddel, a Rule 5 pick last season, is expected to see regular playing time at Double-A Reading.

Reliever Dalier Hinojosa, infielder Hector Gomez and catcher Logan Moore were all reassigned to minor league camp.

It was also announced that left-handed pitcher Hoby Milner, selected by the Indians in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft, was returned to the Phillies.  He'll report to camp as a non-roster invitee, bringing the final tally (perhaps?) of non-roster invitees to 24.

Player (position) - 2016 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Sean Burnett (lhp) - Nationals/Dodgers/Braves/Twins/Nationals - 2014 Topps #68 (Angels)
2.  Pedro Florimon (inf) - Pirates - 2014 Topps #568 (Twins)
3.  Hector Gomez (inf) - Korea - 2015 Topps Update #US229 (Brewers)
4.  Daniel Nava (of) - Angels/Royals - 2016 Topps Now #293 (Angels)
5.  Bryan Holaday (c) - Tigers/Rangers/Red Sox - 2014 Topps Update #US117 (Tigers)
6.  Cesar Ramos (lhp) - Rangers/Tigers - 2015 Topps Update #US293 (Angels)
7.  Victor Arano (rhp) - Phillies - 2015 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs #BCAP-VA (Phillies)
8.  Pedro Beato (rhp) - Orioles - 2011 Topps Chrome #199 (Mets)
9.  J.P. Crawford (inf) - Phillies - 2016 Bowman's Best Top Prospects #TP12 (Phillies)
10.  Taylor Featherston (inf) - Angels/Phillies - 2015 Topps Update #US148 (Angels)
11.  Dalier Hinojosa (rhp) - Phillies - 2015 Immaculate Collection #151 (Red Sox)
12.  Rhys Hoskins (1b) - Phillies - 2016 Bowman Draft #BD186 (Phillies)
13.  Scott Kingery (inf) - Phillies - 2016 Bowman Draft #BD128 (Phillies)
14.  Michael Mariot (rhp) - Phillies - N/A
15.  Logan Moore (c) - Phillies - 2011 Bowman Draft Chrome Prospects #BDPP44 (Phillies)
16.  Colton Murray (rhp) - Phillies - 2016 Topps #488 (Phillies)
17.  Chace Numata (c) - Phillies - N/A
18.  Cam Perkins (of) - Phillies - 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP86 (Phillies)
19.  Andrew Pullin (of) - Phillies - 2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks #BDPP59 (Phillies)
20.  Brock Stassi (1b) - Phillies - N/A
21.  Ryan Hanigan (c) - Red Sox - 2016 Topps Heritage #694 (Red Sox)
22.  Chris Coghlan (of) - Cubs/Athletics/Cubs - 2016 Topps Update #US274 (Cubs)
23.  Pat Venditte (r/lhp) - Blue Jays/Mariners - 2016 Topps Now #408 (Mariners)
24.  Hoby Milner (lhp) - Phillies - N/A

Friday, March 24, 2017

2016 Donruss Optic #80 Odubel Herrera

Twins 4, Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 27 - Thursday Afternoon, March 23rd in Clearwater
Record - 10-14-3

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola got knocked around again and Odubel Herrera's first inning, two-run home run accounted for all the offense in this 4-2 loss to the Twins.

What It Means:  If nothing else, we're one game closer to opening day and the inevitable march towards a 2017 division title.

What Happened:  Nola allowed four runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings.  He did only walk one while striking out six, and his arm apparently still feels fine.

Featured Card:  Here's the "chrome" version of Herrera's 2016 Donruss card, released under the banner of Donruss Optic.

Camp Head Count:  44

Thursday, March 23, 2017

1981 Donruss #415 Dallas Green MG

Yankees 7, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 26 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 22nd in Clearwater
Record - 10-13-3

One Sentence Summary:  Vince Velasquez struck out seven, but the Phillies still dropped this game to the Yankees, 7-3.

What It Means:  Velasquez allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work.

What Happened:  All three Phillies runs were driven in without hits - two sacrifice flies and a ground out.  Cesar Hernandez had a two hit game.

Featured Card:  Dallas Green, former Phillies pitcher and the manager who led the team to its first World Championship in 1980, passed away yesterday at the age of 82.  Paul Hagen penned a fitting tribute to Green on the Phillies website, pointing out that 46 of his 62 years in professional baseball were spent in the Phillies organization.

I could be mistaken, but I believe one of his final public appearances at Citizens Bank Park was back in 2014 when he helped induct Charlie Manuel into the Phillies Wall of Fame.  Green himself had been inducted in 2006, and the two legendary Phillies managers are the only two managers (to date) to lead the club to a World Championship title.

From a Phillies baseball card perspective, Green's first cards can be found in the 1960 Leaf and Topps sets. He had cards in every Topps set between 1960 and 1965, and then he returned to the Topps sets in 1980 and 1981 on the Phillies' team cards.  He also had Phillies baseball cards in the 1980 Burger King Phillies and the 1981 Donruss sets.

The Phillies family will miss the man they called Big D.

Camp Head Count:  44

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2017 Topps Heritage #275 Jake Thompson & Roman Quinn

Phillies 9, Twins 5
Spring Training Game 25 - Tuesday Afternoon, March 21st in Fort Myers
Record - 10-12-3

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils rode a six-run ninth inning to a 9-5 come-from-behind win over the Twins.

What It Means:  This was a nice little win, and one of the few exciting victories for the Phillies so far in this exhibition season.

What Happened:  Jake Thompson and Adam Morgan each pitched three scoreless innings.  Alec Asher got roughed up in the eighth, allowing all five Twins runs on five hits and a pair of walks.

In the ninth, Roman Quinn's RBI-double tied up the game after Aaron Altherr (3) led off with a solo home run.  Odubel Herrera broke the tie with an RBI-single and Tommy Joseph capped the big inning with a two-run double.

Featured Card:  Thompson and Quinn, featured together on this Topps Heritage card, are both likely to start the season with the IronPigs.  The starting pitching rotation appears set as do the five available outfield positions on the roster.  Still, it's nice knowing the Phillies have some depth at this point in the high minors and I would think we'll see Thompson and Quinn back in Philadelphia at some point this season.

Camp Head Count:  44

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2017 Topps Opening Day #107 Tommy Joseph

Rays 8, Phillies 0
Spring Training Game 24 - Sunday Afternoon, March 19th in Port Charlotte
Record - 9-12-3

One Sentence Summary:  The Rays nearly pitched a perfect game against the punchless Phillies in this lopsided 8-0 loss.

What It Means:  Help us Matt Stairs, you're our only hope.

What Happened:  Tommy Joseph doubled with one out in the eighth to ruin the perfect game bid, and that was one of only two hits from the Phils in this game.  Jared Eickhoff appears ready for the regular season, as the young pitcher struck out nine in his six innings of work while allowing two runs on four hits.  Non-roster pitcher Cesar Ramos suffered a nightmare 1 1/3 innings against the Rays, allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits and three walks.

Featured Card:  Here's a preview of what Joseph's base card in this year's Topps flagship should look like, courtesy of the recently released Topps Opening Day set.  My wife was kind enough to buy a blaster of Topps Opening Day during one of her Target visits, and this was the only Phillies card I pulled from the box.

Camp Head Count:  44

Sunday, March 19, 2017

2017 Donruss Retro Variations 1983 #RV-25 Maikel Franco

Pirates 13, Phillies 8
Spring Training Game 23 - Saturday Afternoon, March 18th in Clearwater
Record - 9-11-3

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies looked rough in a 13-8 loss to the Pirates.

What It Means:  The Phillies have played 23 games (24 if you include the college exhibition game to start the spring) and there are two more full weeks of games remaining.

What Happened:  Maikel Franco was front and center in this game, committing two costly errors in the field and hitting a seventh inning grand slam.  Jeremy Hellickson allowed eight runs (five earned) on nine hits in his five innings pitched.

Featured Card:  This Franco card is from the recently released Donruss set, and it does a fairly decent job of recreating the design used for the original 1983 Donruss cards.  I know I'm in the minority, but I still love the designs of the first three Donruss sets from 1981, 1982 and 1983.  When the 1984 Donruss set was released I was bummed that the design veered so far away from what made those first three sets personal favorites of mine.

Camp Head Count:  44

Saturday, March 18, 2017

1999 Sports Illustrated Greats of the Game #75 Tug McGraw

Blue Jays 7, Phillies 5
Spring Training Game 22 - Friday Afternoon, March 17th in Clearwater
Record - 9-10-3

One Sentence Summary:  Wearing green hats and jerseys, the Phillies dropped a 7-5 game to the Blue Jays.

What It Means:  If nothing else, the team's annual St. Patrick's day game means we're getting closer to actual baseball.

What Happened:  Howie Kendrick (1) and Aaron Altherr (2) both homered for the Phillies.  Aaron Nola had a bunch of 4's in his pitching line - 4 2/3 innings, 4 runs, 4 hits, 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. Pat Venditte struck out the side in his Phillies debut, striking out the first and third batters from the right side and the second batter from his left side.

Featured Card:  Continuing a tradition, here's a card of my favorite Phillies leprechaun.

Camp Head Count:  51 - 7 = 44.  Prior to this game, top prospects J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro and Nick Williams were optioned to the minors.  Non-roster invitees Cameron Perkins, Taylor Featherston and Pedro Beato were reassigned to minor league camp.

Ben Lively was also optioned following the game.

Venditte models the green uniforms with his righty/lefty glove
Memory Lane
2010 - Mike Schmidt and the entire 1986 team go green.
2011 - Chase Utley models the green jerseys worn during Spring Training 2006.
2012 - A smiling card of Tugger and Roy Halladay models a green jersey.
2013 - Irish Mike Ryan's 1972 Topps card and Freddy Galvis in green.
2015 - David Buchanan started the game last year.  This year, here's already in minor league camp.
2016 - Vince Velasquez pitched well and Ryan Howard hit his first spring home run.
2017 - Kendrick and Altherr homered while Venditte made his switch-pitching debut.

1953 Bowman Black & White #48 Steve Ridzik

Phillies 2, Orioles 2
Spring Training Game 21 - Thursday Night, March 16th in Sarasota
Record - 9-9-3

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies nearly no-hit the Orioles in a game that ended in a 2-2 tie.

What It Means:  Phillies beat write Meghan Montemurro tweeted out that the Phillies one and only spring training no-hitter came from Steve Ridzik in 1952.

What Happened:  Michael Mariot allowed a one-out single to Chris Dickerson in the ninth and then a two-run home run to Sean Coyle.  Vince Velasquez (3 2/3 innings), Jake Thompson (2 1/3 innings) and Colton Murray (1 2/3 innings) had previously pitched eight hitless innings.  Thompson was perfect in his appearance.

Featured Card:  We're going vintage with this post to feature a card of the only Phillies pitcher to have thrown a no-hitter in spring training.  This is Ridzik's first Phillies card and he'd also appear in the 1954 and 1955 Bowman sets with the club.

Camp Head Count:  51.  Pat Venditte arrived in camp before this game, and the ambidextrous reliever will wear #52.

2017 Donruss #133 Freddy Galvis

Yankees 3, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 20 - Wednesday Night, March 15th in Tampa
Record - 9-9-2

One Sentence Summary:  The Yankees one-hit the Phillies and Clay Buchholz pitched well over five innings in this 3-1 nighttime loss.

What It Means:  I've had another long week at work, it's a rainy Saturday afternoon and it's time to catch up on some spring training game summary posts.

What Happened:  Michael Pineda and Aroldis Chapman held the Phillies hitless through six innings, and the single from Freddy Galvis to start the seventh was the team's sole hit of the game.

Clay Buccholz allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits in his five innings of work.

Featured Card:  It's been a quiet spring for Galvis other than his having to answer questions about top prospect J.P. Crawford's impending arrival in the Majors.  This is his newest card, from the just released 2017 Donruss set which bears a strong resemblance to the (now vintage) 1990 Donruss set.

The card incorrectly lists Galvis' position as "2B" even though he's only played four games at that position since 2015.  Or perhaps this is a bit of foreshadowing?

Camp Head Count:  51

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2016 Bowman Scouts' Top 100 #BTP-45 Mark Appel

Phillies 9, Braves 0
Spring Training Game 19 - Tuesday Afternoon, March 14th in Clearwater
Record - 9-8-2

One Sentence Summary:  Jared Eickhoff pitched a fantastic game and Brock Stassi (once again) led the offense in this 9-0 win over the Braves.

What It Means:  Eickhoff is apparently ready for the season to start.

What Happened:  Eickhoff threw five shutout innings, striking out five and allowing just three hits. Stassi hit his fifth home run of the spring.  Roman Quinn had two hits and scored twice while Tyler Goeddel added a two-run triple.

Tommy Joseph was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the first inning, and he's now day-to-day with a bad bruise.

Featured Card:  I'm saving up my Eickhoff cards to feature in regular season posts, so here's a card of pitching prospect Mark Appel.  This is his first official Phillies card from last season's Bowman release.

Camp Head Count:  54 - 3 = 51.  Appel was optioned to minor league camp prior to this game in what could be a temporary demotion.  Appel, the number one pick by the Astros in the June 2013 draft, has struggled at times in his professional career and I'm hoping this is the season he makes it to the Majors.  In four games this spring, Appel allowed five earned runs in nine innings pitched (5.00), striking out 10 and walking four.

Pitchers Ricardo Pinto and Nick Pivetta were also optioned to the minors.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2016 Bowman Prospects #BP105 Nick Williams

Orioles 6, Phillies 4
Spring Training Game 18 - Monday Afternoon, March 13th in Sarasota
Record - 8-8-2

One Sentence Summary:  Jeremy Hellickson was roughed up in his four innings of work and the offense came up short in a 6-4 loss to the Orioles.

What It Means:  Not a whole heck of a lot.

What Happened:  Nick Williams (1) hit a solo home run in top of the eighth and made an impressive leaping grab to rob Logan Schafer of a home run in the bottom of the eighth. Williams is destined to start the season with the IronPigs, but he's impressed with his defense and offense (.362 - 8 for 22) this spring.  The red hot Brock Stassi hit his fourth home run.

Hellickson allowed five runs on four hits while striking out six.

Featured Card:  I'm looking forward to watching Williams play at Citizens Bank Park someday soon.  Here's a Bowman card of his from last season, one of his first official Phillies baseball cards.

Camp Head Count:  59 - 5 = 54.  Outfielder Dylan Cozens along with pitchers Drew Anderson, Elniery Garcia and Alberto Tirado were optioned to the minors before this game.  Cozens will start the season in Lehigh Valley, Anderson and Garcia are heading to Reading and Tirado will stay in Clearwater with the club's High-A team.  Victor Arano, was hasn't pitched due to an arm injury, was reassigned to minor league camp.

Monday, March 13, 2017

2014 Topps Heritage #52 Daniel Nava

Phillies 6, Red Sox 5
Spring Training Game 17 - Sunday Afternoon, March 12th in Clearwater
Record - 8-7-2

One Sentence Summary:  In a game featuring the preview of the teams heading to the 2017 World Series, Tommy Joseph hit a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to score Dylan Cozens with the winning run.

What It Means:  I mean it's inevitable, right?

What Happened:  Daniel Nava had a four-hit day and Roman Quinn (1) hit a solo home run in the winning effort.  Aaron Nola allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings while striking out six.  He allowed a first inning, two-run home run to Pablo Sandoval.

Featured Cards:  Nava's big day came against his former team and improved his chances of earning one of the final bench spots available on the Phillies opening day roster.

2016 Topps Heritage #61
Camp Head Count:  62 + 1 - 4 = 59.  After this game, the Phillies announced they had acquired ambidextrous relief pitcher Pat Venditte from the Mariners for minor league outfielder Joey Curletta. Venditte is pitching for the Italian team in the World Baseball Classic, and he'll report to the Phillies as a non-roster invitee (their 23rd) after the WBC.  Last season in 15 games with the Blue Jays and Mariners, Venditte had a 5.73 ERA in 22 innings pitched.

Also yesterday, the Phillies announced their first roster cuts of the spring, reassigning infielders Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery, catcher Chace Numata and outfielder Andrew Pullin to minor league camp.

Player (position) - 2016 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Sean Burnett (lhp) - Nationals/Dodgers/Braves/Twins/Nationals - 2014 Topps #68 (Angels)
2.  Pedro Florimon (inf) - Pirates - 2014 Topps #568 (Twins)
3.  Hector Gomez (inf) - Korea - 2015 Topps Update #US229 (Brewers)
4.  Daniel Nava (of) - Angels/Royals - 2016 Topps Now #293 (Angels)
5.  Bryan Holaday (c) - Tigers/Rangers/Red Sox - 2014 Topps Update #US117 (Tigers)
6.  Cesar Ramos (lhp) - Rangers/Tigers - 2015 Topps Update #US293 (Angels)
7.  Victor Arano (rhp) - Phillies - 2015 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs #BCAP-VA (Phillies)
8.  Pedro Beato (rhp) - Orioles - 2011 Topps Chrome #199 (Mets)
9.  J.P. Crawford (inf) - Phillies - 2016 Bowman's Best Top Prospects #TP12 (Phillies)
10.  Taylor Featherston (inf) - Angels/Phillies - 2015 Topps Update #US148 (Angels)
11.  Dalier Hinojosa (rhp) - Phillies - 2015 Immaculate Collection #151 (Red Sox)
12.  Rhys Hoskins (1b) - Phillies - 2016 Bowman Draft #BD186 (Phillies)
13.  Scott Kingery (inf) - Phillies - 2016 Bowman Draft #BD128 (Phillies)
14.  Michael Mariot (rhp) - Phillies - N/A
15.  Logan Moore (c) - Phillies - 2011 Bowman Draft Chrome Prospects #BDPP44 (Phillies)
16.  Colton Murray (rhp) - Phillies - 2016 Topps #488 (Phillies)
17.  Chace Numata (c) - Phillies - N/A
18.  Cam Perkins (of) - Phillies - 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP86 (Phillies)
19.  Andrew Pullin (of) - Phillies - 2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks #BDPP59 (Phillies)
20.  Brock Stassi (1b) - Phillies - N/A
21.  Ryan Hanigan (c) - Red Sox - 2016 Topps Heritage #694 (Red Sox)
22.  Chris Coghlan (of) - Cubs/Athletics/Cubs - 2016 Topps Update #US274 (Cubs)
23.  Pat Venditte (r/lhp) - Blue Jays/Mariners - 2016 Topps Now #408 (Mariners)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

2016 Topps Heritage Minor League Clubhouse Collection Relics #CCR-JC J.P. Crawford

Phillies 8, Blue Jays 2
Spring Training Game 16 - Saturday Afternoon, March 11th in Dunedin
Record - 7-7-2

One Sentence Summary:  The offense showed signs of life with a 14-hit attack against the Blue Jays in an 8-2 win.

What It Means:  It's nice to be able to write a one sentence summary like that after the Phillies offense had been largely dormant for the first two weeks of spring training games.

What Happened:  J.P. Crawford knocked in his first runs of the spring with a two-run single in the sixth.  Nick Williams had a three hit game and Cam Perkins had two, two-run doubles.

Vince Velasquez allowed a run in 3 1/3 innings, striking out four.  Mario Hollands, who hasn't pitched with the Phillies since 2014, received a one-day promotion from minor league camp and retired the final two batters of the fourth inning.  Hollands is trying to come back from multiple arm injuries and surgeries.

Featured Card:  Crawford, the team's top prospect, could probably be accused of trying to do too much as he continues his transition from the low minors to the upper echelons of the Phillies system. He struggled towards the latter part of last season with the Triple-A IronPigs, hitting just .244 over 87 games.  His two hits in this game raised his spring average to .227, still below where he'd like to be.

This is the sole relic card of Crawford's in my collection so far, from last year's Topps Heritage Minor League release.

Camp Head Count:  62

Saturday, March 11, 2017

1995 Pinnacle #83 Milt Thompson

Yankees 5, Phillies 0
Spring Training Game 15 - Friday Afternoon, March 10th in Clearwater
Record - 6-7-2

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies left 17 runners on base in this 5-0 loss to the Yankees.

What It Means:  The Phillies have lost three in a row as they've been unable to produce at the plate. This is something that has plagued the team for several seasons now.

What Happened:  Clay Buchholz allowed three runs in 3 1/3 innings, striking out six.  Tommy Joseph and Rhys Hoskins each had two hits in this game.

Featured Card:  I've been slowly working on updating a checklist in Excel of my entire Phillies baseball card collection.  This move was necessitated by the lack of updates and overall unreliability in recent months of Zistle, which apparently was sued by and then eventually acquired by Beckett. I exported my collection from Zistle, and my Excel checklist has allowed me to customize the tracking of my collection in ways I couldn't in Zistle.  I can add notes, the date I acquired the card, even the date the card was featured on The Phillies Room.  As I go through this process, I often wonder why I didn't do this sooner.  (This post from last August summarizes the genesis of my migration from Zistle to my own custom Excel schedule.)

At some point, I may share the file out on Google Drive to help other fellow Phillies collectors with their collections.  I owe the proprietor of the gone but not forgotten 14,000 Phillies blog for providing a nice model to build from in creating my spreadsheet.

I've worked my way backwards with my checklist file, starting with my 2016 Phillies cards and making it all the way through my 1995 Phillies binder at this point.  As I was recently updating the file for my 1995 cards, I came across this card of former Phillies player and coach Milt Thompson. Three thoughts came to mind:

1.  This is a cool card.
2.  This isn't even technically a Phillies card.  It's an Astros card as Thompson was traded to Houston on July 31, 1994.  The little gold logo in the bottom right is an Astros logo and the card back mentions Thompson's trade to the Astros.
3.  I should show this card on my blog when there's a boring Phillies loss and I can't figure out a card of a current player to show.  So here it is.

Camp Head Count:  Still holding at 62, with the first roster trimmings most likely coming any day now.

Friday, March 10, 2017

2017 Chachi Preview #3 Jared Eickhoff

Blue Jays 6, Phillies 4
Spring Training Game 14 - Thursday Afternoon, March 9th in Clearwater
Record - 6-6-2

One Sentence Summary:  Jared Eickhoff continued to "work on things," as the Blue Jays easily handled the Phillies, winning 6-4.

What It Means:  Eickhoff's spot in the rotation is secure, so there's no pressure for the young pitcher to dazzle this spring.  He allowed four runs on seven hits in his three innings of work and his spring ERA is up to 7.88.

What Happened:  Howie Kendrick had a two-run single in the fifth and Tommy Joseph (2) added a solo home run in the ninth.  Jason Knapp, who is the leading candidate to make the club as its back-up catcher, started the game at first to try to add some versatility.

Featured Card:  Savvy followers of this blog may realize that most (if not all) of the 2017 Chachi set can be found on the 40-man roster page, which is linked on the top left sidebar or you could just click here.  Still, I've created a number of "Preview" cards when I couldn't decide on a photo to use for a player's main Chachi card.  This is Eickhoff's Preview card from the 2017 Chachi set, which will begin to be officially released after opening day.  (Or again, you could just click here if you'd like to be spoiled.)

Camp Head Count:  62, although some Phillies have started to leave camp to participate in the World Baseball Classic.

2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #12 Roy Halladay

Braves 3, Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 13 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 8th in Lake Buena Vista
Record - 6-5-2

One Sentence Summary:  The offense was held to just four hits against Bartolo Colon and the Braves, as the Phillies dropped this game in Disney World by a score of 3-2.

What It Means:  I wish I was in Disney World right about now.

What Happened:  Jeremy Hellickson was stretched to four innings of work, allowing two runs on five hits.  Sean Burnett pitched two shutout innings helping his case for a spot in the Phillies bullpen.

Featured Card:  Roy Halladay has joined the team as a guest pitching instructor and all indications are that he'll remain with the Phillies in a full-time role potentially as a roving minor league coach.  I felt this news called for a new addition to the Chachi Fan Favorites insert set.

Camp Head Count:  62

2011 Choice Williamsport Crosscutters #27 Brock Stassi

Phillies 11, Tigers 6
Spring Training Game 12 - Tuesday Afternoon, March 7th in Lakeland
Record - 6-4-2

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies overcame a shaky start from Aaron Nola to defeat the Tigers, 11-6.

What It Means:  A crazy busy week at work means I was almost completely in the dark as to recent Phillies happenings.  I'm spending my Friday night catching up with a few game summary posts and reliving the week that was for the Phils.  (Spoiler alert:  It seems as if not much happened.)

What Happened:  Nola was scheduled to pitch three innings, but he only made it through two, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk.  This was his second start of the spring.

Brock Stassi hit a grand slam in the sixth inning, his third home run of the spring.  Bryan Holaday (1) added a two-run home run off former short-time Phillie Daniel Stumpf.

Featured Card:  I always like looking back to see the first card I have in my collection for a particular prospect, especially when that player is poised to potentially make the opening day roster. The first Stassi card in my collection is from the 2011 Williamsport Crosscutters team set, a set that also features cards of Hector Neris, Cody Asche, Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr.

Camp Head Count:  62

Monday, March 6, 2017

2012 Topps #534 Hector Gomez

Phillies 8, Tigers 5
Spring Training Game 10 - Sunday Afternoon, March 5th in Clearwater

Orioles 3, Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 11 - Sunday Afternoon, March 5th in Sarasota
Record - 5-4-2

One Sentence Summary:  Split squad teams won against the Tigers in Clearwater and lost against the Orioles in Sarasota.

What It Means:  Spring training puttered along for the Phillies, as I actually enjoyed watching part of the Tigers game on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

What Happened:  In that Tigers game, Michael Saunders (1) and Rhys Hoskins (2) hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth.  Trailing 5-3 in the sixth, Freddy Galvis tied up the game with a two-run double.  Nick Williams delivered the winning RBI-single in the seventh, and Hector Gomez added a two-run double for some insurance.

In the Orioles game, Nick Pivetta threw three shutout innings, striking out three.  Cameron Rupp hit his first home run of the spring.

Featured Card:  Brock Stassi leads the team this spring with seven hits.  Tied for second with six hits a piece is the unlikely trio of Scott Kingery, Daniel Nava and Gomez.  I'd have to imagine that if Gomez and Nava don't make the team out of spring training, they'll both eventually get the call from the IronPigs at some point in 2017.  Gomez's first big league experience came in 2011 when he appeared in two games for the Rockies, earning this card in 2012 Topps.

Camp Head Count:  62

Sunday, March 5, 2017

2013 Bowman Platinum Autograph Prospects #BPAP-JBI Jesse Biddle

Phillies 7, Braves 4
Spring Training Game 9 - Saturday Afternoon, March 4th in Clearwater
Record - 4-3-2

One Sentence Summary:  Chris Coghlan and Andrew Knapp contributed key doubles in the seventh inning, allowing the Phillies to mount a 7-4 come-from-behind win.

What It Means:  Maikel Franco also continued his hot spring with an RBI single in the first and he now owns a .385 average (5 for 13).

What Happened:  Jared Eickhoff allowed three runs (two earned) in his three innings of work. Drew Anderson impressed with three strong innings in which he struck out three.  J.P. Crawford is scuffling so far this spring, going 0 for 4 and dropping his average to .143.

Featured Card:  Former Phillies top prospect Jesse Biddle, now with the Braves, saw his first game action since August 27, 2015.  Biddle is attempting to come back from Tommy John surgery.  The Phillies' first round draft pick in 2010 walked Tommy Joseph to start the fourth inning, but then retired the next three batters he faced.

I'd love to see Biddle have a successful career, given how much he's had to battle to get to this point. I just hope his success doesn't come at the expense of the Phillies.  This is one of three on-card autographs I have of his in my collection from 2013 Bowman products.

Camp Head Count:  62

Saturday, March 4, 2017

2016 Topps Heritage Minor League #10 Scott Kingery

Twins 4, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 8 - Friday Afternoon, March 3rd in Clearwater
Record - 3-3-2

One Sentence Summary:  Scott Kingery was once again the story in this spring training loss to the Twins.

What It Means:  Kingery made a diving stop at second to steal a hit away from Ben Paulsen and hit a two-run home run in the seventh.  The team's second round draft pick in 2015, Kingery is slated to start the season at Double-A Reading, but he's impressed so far in the big league camp.

What Happened:  Jeremy Hellickson and Mark Appel both allowed home runs in their outings of 3 innings and 2 2/3 innings, respectively.  Cesar Hernandez had a pair of hits before making way for Kingery.

Featured Card:  If you're looking for a readily available baseball card for Kingery, your options are his 2015 Bowman Draft cards (I featured the Chrome version a few days ago) or this card from last year's Topps Heritage Minor League set.

Camp Head Count:  62

Friday, March 3, 2017

2017 Topps Heritage #93 Aaron Nola

Phillies 8, Blue Jays 8
Spring Training Game 7 - Thursday Afternoon, March 2nd in Dunedin
Record - 3-2-2

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola returned to the mound after a seven month absence, throwing two shutout innings.

What It Means:  The Phillies finished with their second tie in as many days.

What Happened:  The big story from this game was Nola's return and the hope is that the young prospect is 100% healthy for the 2017 season.  He allowed a hit and struck out a batter in his two innings of work.  Pedro Beato coughed up a three-run lead in the ninth, allowing five Blue Jays hits.

From the offensive side, Brock Stassi continued swinging a hot bat adding three more hits and raising his spring average to an impressive .636.  Freddy Galvis, Tommy Joseph and Jesmuel Valentin each knocked in a pair of runs.

Featured Card:  My wife and sons made it their mission yesterday afternoon to track down packs of the new Topps Heritage cards after school.  Visiting their second Target in the area, they achieved their mission when Jenna spotted an unopened case of what she assumed were baseball cards in the baseball card aisle.  After tracking down an associate to request the box be opened, she snatched up 10 packs and brought them home to me.  Mission accomplished.

I find it telling that I'm much more excited each year to open my first pack of Topps Heritage than I am to open my first flagship pack.  These feel like baseball cards and the only thing missing is a stick of bubble gum.  Topps once again did a decent job replicating a design from their past, and their annual Heritage set is all the way up now to celebrating the 1968 set.  Nola looks a little creepy in his photo here, and the original 1968 Topps cards didn't use this type of moody photo, but I'm not complaining.

Camp Head Count:  62

Thursday, March 2, 2017

2017 Topps #66 Aaron Altherr

Phillies 5, Rays 5
Spring Training Game 6 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 1st in Port Charlotte
Record - 3-2-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies came back in the ninth to tie the Rays, thanks to an RBI double from Hector Gomez.

What It Means:  There haven't been a lot of exciting stories for the Phillies after a week of exhibition play.

What Happened:  Aaron Altherr had the big hit, with a bases-clearing triple in the fourth inning. Vince Velasquez pitched two shutout innings in his spring debut, and the Rays did most of their damage off Alec Asher who allowed three runs in his two innings of work.

Featured Card:  Our closest Target had no new Topps Heritage for sale today, so this remains the only 2017 Altherr baseball card in my collection so far.

Camp Head Count:  62

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2015 Bowman Draft Chrome #138 Scott Kingery

Phillies 7, Orioles 5
Spring Training Game 5 - Tuesday Afternoon, February 28th in Clearwater
Record - 3-2

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies produced four home runs, including a bomb off the Tiki Bar roof in left field from Tommy Joseph, in their 7-5 win over the Orioles.

What It Means:  I really hope there are games during the regular season in which the Phillies hit four home runs . . . and win.

What Happened:  Joseph (1), Scott Kingery (1), Brock Stassi (2) and Aaron Altherr (1) all homered. Kingery enjoyed a three-hit day and made a nice play in the field at second base.  Clay Buchholz pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut.

Featured Card:  Kingery, a second round draft pick from 2015, is likely to be an early cut this spring but he's been impressive so far.  His first mainstream cards appeared in the 2015 Bowman Draft set, and he also had a card in last year's Topps Heritage Minor League set.

Camp Head Count:  62

2016 Topps Chrome Future Stars #FS-15 Maikel Franco

Rays 7, Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 4 - Monday Afternoon, February 27th in Clearwater
Record - 2-2

One Sentence Summary:  Maikel Franco hit his third home run of the spring, but the Rays defeated the Phillies, 7-2.

What It Means:  It's still early.

What Happened:  Franco's home run was the only real sign of life from the offense, which managed seven hits.  Jared Eickhoff allowed a run in two innings pitched in his spring debut.  Top prospect Drew Anderson allowed a pair of runs but struck our four in two innings of work.

Featured Card:  This colorful and shiny card was a late season addition to the 2016 Phillies binder, an insert from the Topps Chrome set.

Camp Head Count:  62

Monday, February 27, 2017

Phillies Alumni and Fan Favorites (including Mike Trout)

2016 Chachi Alumni #8
I introduced an Alumni insert set within last year's overall Chachi offering, and in checking my records, I realized I never officially released the final card in that eight-card set.  To right that wrong, Shane Victorino's 2016 Chachi Alumni card is presented here and I believe it's one of his few (if not his only) virtual baseball card featuring him with the Cubs.  Victorino was signed by the Cubs as a minor league free agent last February 26th, but a little over a month later he was released.

I wanted to repeat the alumni theme this year, but I also wanted to include a card for non-alumni, but Phillies Room favorite, Mike Trout.  Therefore, after careful consideration, I'm introducing the new 2017 Chachi Fan Favorites set . . . which consists entirely of Phillies alumni and Trout.

Chase Utley in blue is still a strange sight for me, as is Cole Hamels with a full mountain man beard. But perhaps the strangest sight this year is that of Jimmy Rollins in Giants orange and black.  Rollins has a chance to make the club as a back-up infielder.  I'll add to this checklist as more Phillies players move around or as additional players are deemed worthy enough to be called Chachi Fan Favorites. (Suggestions welcome!)

2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #1
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #2
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #3
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #4
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #5
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #6
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #7
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #8
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #9
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #10
2017 Chachi Fan Favorites #11

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2016 Topps Heritage Minor League #106 Nick Williams

Phillies 10, Blue Jays 3
Spring Training Game 3 - Sunday Afternoon, February 26th in Dunedin
Record - 2-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies took advantage of sloppy play from the Blue Jays to notch an easy 10-3 victory.

What It Means:  Jeremy Hellickson, the likely opening day starter, made his 2017 debut and allowed two runs of four hits in his two innings of work.

What Happened:  The offense managed 13 hits while striking out 15 times.  Cam Perkins continued his hot start with two more hits and Nick Williams had a two-run single in the sixth.  Andres Blanco added a solo home run.  Ben Lively and Alberto Tirado both pitched two shutout innings, striking out two a piece.

Featured Card:  New hitting coach Matt Stairs has spent a lot of time this spring working with Williams, who struggled in the second half of last season at Triple-A.  Still one of the top prospects in the organization, the hope is that he can make it to the Majors this season.  Like Perkins, Williams was added to the Phillies Room Favorites club when he signed autographs for our sons at an IronPigs game last September.

This is his 1967 Topps inspired card from last year's Topps Heritage Minor League set.

Camp Head Count:  62

2016 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #25 Brock Stassi

Phillies 6, Yankees 5
Spring Training Game 2 - Saturday Afternoon, February 25th in Clearwater
Record - 1-1

One Sentence Summary:  Brock Stassi delivered the game-winning hit in the ninth and Maikel Franco hit two home runs in a 6-5 win over the Yankees.

What It Means:  The Phils captured their first win of many of the 2017 season.  Let's start the regular season now!

What Happened:  Stassi's hit broke a 5-5 tie and scored Roman Quinn with the winning run.  Franco hit one legitimate home run and what was ruled an inside-the-park home run after the ball was lodged under the outfield wall but the umpires did not stop play.  Rhys Hoskins also hit his first home run of the spring.

Adam Morgan threw two scoreless innings to start the game, and there's talk of Morgan joining the bullpen this season as a long man.

Featured Card:  Stassi has somehow avoided inclusion in any Bowman-related sets, and to date his only baseball cards can be found within Phillies minor league team sets.  Stassi even avoided being featured on his 2016 IronPigs card from last year's team set, as the card pictures Tommy Joseph in action at first base and not Stassi.

Camp Head Count:  62

Saturday, February 25, 2017

2014 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs Update #21 Cameron Perkins

Yankees 9, Phillies 4
Spring Training Game 1 - Friday Afternoon, February 24th in Tampa
Record - 0-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Yankees used the long-ball to defeat the Phillies in the spring opener, 9-4.

What It Means:  Not a great start to the spring for the Phillies, but as one of the oldest baseball clich├ęs goes . . . it's still early.

What Happened:  Didi Gregorius hit Alec Asher's first pitch of the spring for a solo home run to start the first.  The Phillies didn't have a hit (or a baserunner) until the seventh inning.  Cam Perkins and Brock Stassi both hit solo home runs in the ninth.  Nick Pivetta was the only Phillies pitcher to have a decent afternoon, throwing two shutout innings and striking out three.

Featured Card:  Perkins became an instant Phillies Room Favorite when he signed autographs for our sons at an IronPigs game in September.  He only has one readily available Phillies card to date, found within the 2014 Bowman Chrome set.  This is first IronPigs card from 2014.

Camp Head Count:  62

Friday, February 24, 2017

2016 Choice Reading Fightin Phils Top Prospects #2 Dylan Cozens

Phillies 6, Spartans 0
Exhibition Game - Thursday Afternoon, February 23rd in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  BASEBALL!

What It Means:  Before the official exhibition season begins, the Phillies have in recent years played a pre-exhibition game against a college team.  Statistics from these pre-exhibition games don't count towards the official spring tally, but the game is a nice way for me to dust off my game summary post skills.

What Happened:  Roman Quinn (2 for 3, two runs scored, solo home) and Dylan Cozens (2 for 3, 4 RBIs, 2-run home run) paced the offense as the Phillies top prospects defeated the University of Tampa squad.  Mark Leiter, Jr. and six other pitchers held the Spartans to two hits.

Featured Card:  Cozens gets the honors in this year's first pre-exhibition, non-official game summary post.  The Reading Fightin Phils, Double-A affiliate for the Phillies, issued four separate team sets last season and that doesn't include their special 50 Greatest Players give-away set.  This card, from the 11-card Top Prospects set, has a vague 1956 Topps-ish vibe.

Camp Head Count:  62.  The Phillies broke camp with four fewer players than last season when they carried 66 players at the outset of spring training.  I'll track the departure of 37 players as the team shrinks its roster to the 25 who will head north.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Checking in with a Few Ex-Phillies

2017 Chachi Departures #10
2017 Chachi Departures #12
2017 Chachi Departures #13
We're inching closer to actual game action in 2017, and I wanted to check in on the comings and goings since the last Phillies game was played in October.  A number of former Phillies signed minor league contracts throughout January and early February, and they've joined the highly collectible Chachi Departures insert set.  Here's a look at the master checklists for the latest ex-Phillies.

Jimmy Paredes Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi Archives #5
2016 Chachi #44
2016 Chachi Photo Day #13
2017 Chachi Departures #10

Severino Gonzalez Chachi Checklist
2015 Chachi #36
2016 Chachi #47
2017 Chachi Departures #12

Peter Bourjos Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi New Additions #5
2016 Chachi #7
2016 Chachi Photo Day #28
2017 Chachi Departures #13
2017 Chachi Departures #14
2017 Chachi Departures #15
James Russell Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi #21
2017 Chachi Departures #14

David Hernandez Chachi Checklist
2016 Chachi New Additions #6
2016 Chachi #24
2016 Chachi Archives #10
2016 Chachi Photo Day #16
2017 Chachi Departures #15

If my tracking is correct, the only members of the 2016 Phillies squad still seeking employment are Ryan Howard, Cedric Hunter and Frank Herrmann.  Hunter, last year's opening day right fielder, received a 50-game suspension in November for testing positive for amphetamine.

Moving On - 2016-2017 Offseason
  • Cedric Hunter - of (10/3/16) - Elected free agency.
  • James Russell - lhp (10/3/16) - Elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the Cleveland Indians, 2/13/17.
  • Emmanuel Burriss - inf (10/7/16) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the Washington Nationals, 12/13/16.
  • Frank Herrmann - rhp (10/7/16) - Outrighted off 40-man roster and elected free agency.
  • Jimmy Paredes - of (10/7/16) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency and signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines (Japan), 1/15/17.
  • Patrick Schuster - lhp (10/7/16) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers, 11/5/16.
  • Ryan Howard - 1b (11/3/16) - Team option declined and elected free agency.
  • Charlie Morton - rhp (11/3/16) - Team option declined, elected free agency and signed with the Houston Astros, 11/16/16.
  • Peter Bourjos - of (11/3/16) - Elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the Chicago White Sox, 1/27/17.
  • A.J. Ellis - c (11/3/16) - Elected free agency and signed with the Miami Marlins, 12/12/16.
  • David Hernandez - rhp (11/3/16) - Elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the San Francisco Giants, 2/14/17.
  • Darin Ruf - 1b-of and Darnell Sweeney - inf-of (11/11/16) - Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Howie Kendrick.
  • Elvis Araujo - rhp (11/18/16) - Claimed off waivers by the Miami Marlins.
  • David Buchanan - rhp (11/23/16) - Released and signed with the Yakult Swallows (Japan), 12/20/16.
  • Cody Asche - of (12/2/16) - Designated for assignment, non-tendered and signed as a minor league free agent with the Chicago White Sox, 1/6/17.
  • Phil Klein - rhp (12/14/16) - Released and signed with the Yokohama BayStars (Japan), 12/20/16.
  • Severino Gonzalez - rhp (1/19/17) - Designated for assignment and traded to the Miami Marlins for a player to be named later or cash considerations, 1/24/17.
Coming Back
  • Jeremy Hellickson - rhp (11/3/16) - Elected free agency, accepted team's qualifying offer, 11/14/16.
  • Andres Blanco - inf (11/3/16) - Elected free agency, resigned by the Phillies to a one-year contract, 12/14/16.
New Additions - 2016-2017 Offseason
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/16) - Acquired from the Houston Astros for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
  • Howie Kendrick - lf (11/11/16) - Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Darin Ruf and Darnell Sweeney.
  • Joaquin Benoit - rhp (12/6/16) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Clay Buchholz - rhp (12/20/16) - Acquired from the Boston Red Sox for Josh Tobias.
  • Michael Saunders - of (1/19/17) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Already Gone - 2016-2017 Offseason
  • David Rollins - lhp (12/2/16) - Claimed off waivers from the Texas Rangers.  Designated for assignment, 12/14/16.
  • Richie Shaffer - 3b (12/14/16) - Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.  Designated for assignment, 12/20/16.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

WE MADE IT. Longest Offseason Ever Ends Today.

2017 Chachi Preview #5
After a winter of mostly discontent, you may feel a little like Freddy Galvis looks in this photo - tired, confused and slightly disheveled.

Well the good news is that pitchers and catchers officially report to Clearwater today and the welcome distraction of baseball is back.  Play ball!