PBI takes a weekly look at the news, stats and transactions surrounding the Reading Fightin' Phils
The Fightin' Phils stand just 1/2 game out of first place in the Eastern League's Eastern Division at 23-11. There's been a balance of good pitching and hitting that is keeping Reading in contention.
J.P. Crawford brings a lot to like to his game. One thing that is definitely impressive about the 21-year old shortstop is his plate discipline. Crawford continues his penchant for walking more than he strikes out. So far this season, Crawford has walked 25 times, while striking out 21 times with Reading, for a 1.9 walks-to-strikeouts ratio. Early in his career, the numbers were close and he struck out 35 times and walked 32 times in his first professional season with the GCL Phillies and Lakewood in 2013 and followed that up with 65 walks and 74 strikeouts the following season with Lakewood and Clearwater. That season, with Lakewood he walked 37 times and struck out 37 times, but in his 63 game stint with the Threshers, he walked 28 times, while whiffing 37 times. In his career, he's drawn 185 walks and has struck out 184 times. Over the past two seasons, the numbers are more impressive, with 88 walks and 75 strikeouts.
So far, this really is the merry, merry month of May for outfielder Aaron Brown. In the month of April, Brown hit .164 (10-for-61) in 18 games. So far in the month of May, he's hitting .303 (10-for-33) He's already got more doubles (4) than he had in April (3), just one less RBI (two compared to three in April) and he's stolen two bases without getting caught. He was 0-for-1 in pilfering last month.
Another player happy to see the calendar flip over is Roman Quinn. The Fightins center fielder hit just .233 (20-for-86) last month, with two doubles, two triples, five RBI, five walks, nine stolen bases and 14 runs scored. In May, Quinn is hitting .314 (11-for-35) with two doubles, two triples, two RBI, eight walks, four stolen bases and seven runs scored.
The power is on for @Dylan Cozens. PBI has the outfielder's recent power surge covered.
Cozens has the longest current hitting streak at five games. Reading's season-high is 19 by Rhys Hoskins from April 10 - May 2.
Reliever Michael Mariot, who is on a rehab assignment with Reading has given the Fightins two shutout innings, allowing two hits and a walk, while striking out one batter. Mariot made three appearances with Clearwater, going 0-1 with a 14.54 ERA, but most of the damage was done in his first outing when he was pounded for six earned runs in just 1 1/3 innings of work. Overall, Mariot has allowed nine hits, three walks, two home runs and has struck out five in 6 1/3 innings on his rehab assignment, having thrown a total of 6 1/3 innings. The question is, when his rehab assignment comes to an end, where does he wind up? Mariot is already on the 40-man roster, so the Phillies could add him to the major league bullpen without having to clear a spot there, but the bullpen has pitched pretty well. He could wind up bumping someone like Andrew Bailey back to Triple-A, or Mariot could wind up at Lehigh Valley himself.
Ben Lively is deserving of a promotion to Triple-A, but there's no room for him in the IronPigs rotation. Lively, 24, is 5-0 in seven starts with a 1.80 ERA. In 40 innings, he's allowed 27 hits and 10 walks, while striking out 34 hitters. Opponents have a .188 average against him this season and he has pitched at least six innings in four of his starts. Unfortunately for Lively, Lehigh Valley's starters have a combined ERA of 3.64 and are holding opponents to a .245 average through 33 games.
NEWS AND NOTES
Manager Dusty Wathan is working toward a milestone. Wathan was first named manager of the Fightins (then the Reading Phillies) in 2012 and has amassed 306 wins as Reading's manager, leaving him 44 shy of passing the current all-time leader Bill Dancy, who has 359 wins. Dancy managed Reading in 1983-84, 1988 and 1994-1995).
Reading is 17-4 when they score first and 5-7 when they don't.
TRANSACTIONS (since May 6)
May 11 - Christian Marrero placed on the 7-day DL (lower back strain) retroactive to May 9.