Minor League News and Notes

With the short-season teams starting their season, there's a lot to talk about throughout the Phillies minor league system.

Bullpen Help?

Steve Green could be a candidate for a shot in the Phillies pen. The 30 year old right-hander currently has an 11.1 inning scoreless streak to his credit and has retired 80 of the last 102 batters that he's faced. His last 12 appearances cover 27 innings and he's gone 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA in the span. Just for good measure, he made a spot start against Pawtucket on June 15th and threw four shutout innings, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out six; not bad, considering that Pawtucket is home to the International League's most potent offense.

So, could Green help out the Phillies? It's always been a bit of a long-shot for him to make it to the majors this season, since he's not on the 40 man roster. The truth is though, that if there is an injury or if somebody were to stumble, Green could be an option. He has pitched in one Major League game - a start for the Angels in 2001 - and allowed two earned runs over six innings of work. Keep an eye on Green and watch his numbers, because you have to figure that the Phillies will be.

Who's the top catching prospect?

For some, it's Jason Jaramillo, while Lou Marson is the favorite of others. Jaramillo is on a hot streak, hitting safely in 21 of his last 23 games (31-for-82, .378) and he's upped his season average to .259, while also greatly improving his percentage of throwing out runners attempting to steal after a slow start both at and behind the plate. Besides throwing out more runners - his season average is now at 26% - Jaramillo has a very respectable 4.22 pitcher ERA when he's behind the plate. All of the other 'Pigs catchers combined this season have a pitcher's ERA of 4.63 on the season. The other 'Pigs catchers have throw out just 16% of would-be base stealers. On the other hand, Marson started the season well only to hit a minor mid-April slump before truly getting hot. On the year, he's hitting .330, but was hitting as high as .356 just ten days ago before hitting a bump in the road. Even with a good start though, it's not likely that Jaramillo would have as high of a caught stealing percentage as Marson, whose season average stands at a very impressive 38%.

Why does it really matter who's more valuable? Can't we just let them duke it out on the field? Not really. At this point, Jaramillo is officially blocking Marson, who would be ready to move to Lehigh Valley, if not for the presence of Jaramillo. Also, with the trade deadline a little more than a month away, teams could be looking for a young catcher in a package for some pitching and the Phillies will have to decide which one is the one that they want to keep. Of course, keep in mind that at the Major League level, there's Carlos Ruiz, who is doing a nice job and is young enough that the Phillies can control his destiny (and his fairly low salary) for a few more years. Would they consider moving Ruiz, elevating Jaramillo and letting him split time with Chris Coste? Not likely during the season, but after the season could be another story.

Oh, and then there's...

Travis D'Arnaud and Sebastian Valle. While we're arguing between Jaramillo and Marson, these two could be the next catching prospect argument. D'Arnaud, 19, a product of the 2007 Draft, is off to a good start at Williamsport, hitting .280 through his first seven games. Meanwhile, the 17 year old Valle is hitting .333 through his first four games in the Gulf Coast League.

Now what?

Chris Snelling is a pretty good ballplayer, but he just can't stay healthy. Last Thursday, Snelling went down with another injury and it looks like it could be a torn left ACL. After the Phillies recalled him earlier this season, he went on the DL almost immediately and when he was healthy, he was sent back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. His health lasted for seven games until the latest issue. It really is a shame, because Snelling has some talent and he could help not only at Lehigh Valley, but at the Major League level if he were healthy. He's also not the type of guy who cries over the smallest of injuries; when he's out of the lineup, it's for something more serious than what would sideline a lot of players. Injuries aren't new to Snelling, who has been unable to put together a completely healthy season in his professional career.

Gotta love summer!

Brad Harman is primarily known as a hot weather hitter and in case you haven't noticed, the weather - and Harman - are getting hot. Harman hadn't hit a home run since May 27th, but now has homered in back-to-back games to put his season total at seven. His average is still pretty anemic at .224, but just two short weeks ago he was hitting at .209 and has put together a 14-for-54 (.259) streak to help raise his average. Last season, Harman hit just .223 in April and May while batting .317 from June through the end of the season. He also hit 12 of his 13 home runs after Memorial Day and picked up 76% of his 62 RBI after May ended. Last season at this time, Harman was at Clearwater and was hitting .240 with 1 home run and 21 RBI. He finished the year hitting .281. If he does through the rest of this summer what he did last season, he would wind up at .279 with 19 home runs and 63 RBI.

Sign 'em up

Slow week for signings. After Zach Collier signed his deal, the news has been kind of slow and there haven't been any new signings announced. Don't panic though, these things sometimes take a little time to work themselves out and most of the 2008 Draft class is still unsigned not only from the Phillies, but from around the Majors. You can see a full list of Phillies Draft Picks and see who's signed on our 2008 Draft Page.

Zack is back

Former Phillies prospect Zack Segovia landed in the Washington Nationals organization. He's starting at the bottom, pitching in the Gulf Coast League and made his first start Sunday, going four innings and giving up two earned runs.

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