Among the offensive prospects at Lehigh Valley, Lou Marson was the standout candidate for the month of June. The Phillies top catching prospect, who turned 23 late in the month, came into June hitting .232 and left the month hitting .267 after a strong month at the plate.
In June, Marson hit .293 in 16 games, which were limited because of an eight-day stint on the DL.
On the mound, Andrew Carpenter led the IronPigs starters with a 4-1, 1.87 mark in five starts. The right-hander averaged 6 2/3 innings per start and struck out 26 in 33 2/3 innings of work while walking just seven. Kyle Kendrick was just 0-1 in his five starts, but posted a respectable 3.42 ERA.
Out of the bullpen, left-hander Sergio Escalona was shuttling back-and-forth between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley, but posted a 2.38 ERA in seven appearances with Lehigh Valley. Escalona notched two saves for the IronPigs in three opportunities. At 31, Cedric Bowers isn't exactly considered a prospect, but he deserves a mention because of his 0.71 ERA in nine appearances with Lehigh Valley and his two saves in two opportunities. Bowers, who sports a 1.36 ERA on the season, has been a nice addition to the Phillies system. Reliever Jason Anderson has been shuttling between Reading and Lehigh Valley [he's currently at Lehigh Valley] but didn't let all the traveling disrupt his season. In June, Anderson was a combined 0-0 with a 2.02 ERA in nine games. He also went 5-for-5 in save opportunities, saving four games at Reading and another one with Lehigh Valley.
As a team, the R-Phils hit .281 last month, which combined with a strong pitching staff led them to a 17-11 record.
While Taylor is the offensive powerhouse at Reading and is hitting .345 on the season, his numbers for the month were actually not blatantly ahead of the pack as they were in April and May. Kevin Mahar, a 28 year old first baseman and outfielder, is hitting .308 on the season, thanks in part to hitting .378 in June. Last month was also the first month this season that Taylor didn't lead the R-Phils in home runs as Mahar out homered him six to five.
Jeremy Slayden found himself demoted from Triple-A Lehigh Valley early in June, but hit .364 in 21 games with Reading. One of the reasons for Slayden's demotion was defense and at Reading, he's been used primarily as a designated hitter, playing just six games in the outfield. Slayden also contributed to the power at Reading with five home runs of his own. First baseman Brian Stavisky didn't have quite the month that the others did, but he deserves a mention after hitting .322 with three home runs and a .409 on-base percentage. Stavisky, who just turned 29 this week, came into the month hitting .238 and left June with a respectable .289 average.
Joe Savery and Kyle Drabek continue to provide a strong one-two punch in the Reading rotation, which is one of the strongest in the minors. Savery (5-0, 1.76 in June) was chosen as the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Month and could soon be in line for a promotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley thanks to his continued progress. Savery is now 11-1 on the season - leading the Eastern League in wins - with a 3.34 ERA, but has walked 41 hitters in 91 2/3 innings [four walks per nine innings] and has struck out 62 hitters this season. His 41 walks is also high in the Eastern League and Savery's walks/strikeouts ratio will need to improve for him to be considered a stronger prospect. For his part, Drabek was 4-0, 2.43 in June and averaged 6 2/3 innings per start. Drabek added another 26 strikeouts to his season total of 110 - 36 at Reading and 74 at Clearwater - which is good enough for fourth in minor league baseball on the season.
Tyson Brummett went to the bullpen with the addition of Yohan Flande to the Reading roster. Brummett started four of his six appearances in June and posted a 2.90 ERA. The 24 year old right-hander gets a lot of groundball outs and will probably find pitching in relief to be to his liking. He collected almost two groundball outs for every flyball out during the month of June.
Alex Concepcion has done a little bit of everything for Reading this season, including working as a closer and as a starter. In June, he made eight appearances - one start - and went 0-1 with a 3.79 ERA. He also saved his first game of the season. Patrick Overholt - 3.38 ERA in eight June appearances - had a short-lived promotion to Triple-A, but was returned to Reading when Jack Taschner accepted an assignment to Lehigh Valley after being designated for assignment by the Phillies.
And the news continues to be good for Mike Zagurski. The left-hander, who pitched in the majors for the Phillies, is doing well in his comeback from Tommy John surgery and posted a 1.93 ERA in 11 appearances with the R-Phils in June.
Steve Susdorf has continued hitting after his promotion from Lakewood last month. Between his two stops, Susdorf hit .388 in June, including .485 in seven games with the Threshers. The 23 year old outfielder was named the Phillies Minor League Player of the Month and hit .333 at Lakewood to start the season. Javis Diaz, who the Phillies acquired in the Minor League Phase of the Rule 5 Draft, hit .324 with the Threshers last month. Diaz stole five more bases to give him 18 total stolen bases on the season.
Michael Cisco and Yohan Flande continued to lead the Threshers pitching staff. Flande went 2-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts with Clearwater, including a complete game that earned him a promotion to Double-A Reading. Cisco made five starts, going 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA, striking out 19 in 23 innings of work.
While Cisco and Flande continued their strong seasons, Drew Naylor continued to turn his season around after a tough start. Naylor started five games for Clearwater and averaged seven innings per start with a 2.83 ERA. After a rough April when Naylor posted an 11.05 ERA, he's pitched well over the past couple of months and has posted a 2.86 ERA through May and June.
In the Threshers bullpen, there are a lot of candidates.
Walter Tejeda made a team high nine appearances, striking out ten in 12 1/3 innings and posting a 2.92 ERA. Chris Kissock pitched in hard luck, taking two losses, but posting a 0.62 ERA and striking out ten in 13 1/3 innings for Clearwater. And Carlos Monasterios has made the move from the starting rotation to the bullpen, pitching in a total of eight games, one of which was as a starter. Monasterios struck out 14 in 17 innings of work and recorded 1.5 groundball outs for every flyball out during the month and dropped his season ERA to 3.28 with Clearwater.
Manny Ayala and Dan Brauer also put up strong numbers last month, with Ayala posting a 3.65 ERA and Brauer posting a 3.86 ERA out of the Threshers bullpen.
Anthony Gose led the Threshers in hitting in June with a .325 average and drove in nine runs. The 18 year old outfielder got off to a tough start at Lakewood, but is turning things around and has pushed his season average to .284 to compliment his 47 stolen bases, which is tied for the lead in all of minor league baseball. Switch-hitting Harold Garcia hit .322 with a .408 on-base percentage. The 22 year old second baseman rebounded from his performance in May when he hit .252, yanking his average down after starting the season with a .308 average in April.
Clearwater pitchers were impressive in June, posting a 3.02 team ERA, helping the Threshers to a 15-7 month.
Jason Knapp continues to dazzle on the mound and is second in all of minor league baseball with 111 strikeouts on the season. Knapp struck out another 27 hitters in 22 1/3 innings of work and posted a 1.21 ERA during the month of April. Jesus Sanchez and Jon Velasquez combined for five wins and didn't suffer any losses during the month of June. Sanchez posted a 2.14 ERA and Velasquez was at 2.13 last month. Tyler Cloyd also contributed averaging six innings over each of his four starts and finishing the month with a 2.96 ERA and a 2-1 record.
Among the relievers, Justin De Fratus pitched in six games and converted each of his two save opportunities with a 1.23 ERA for the month. De Fratus also recorded an amazing four groundball outs for every flyball out that he recorded. Santo Hernandez chipped in with a 2.13 ERA in six appearances.
The CrossCutters opened their season with a 7-5 record in the month of June.
T.J. Warren posted a .500 on-base percentage with a .444 batting average. Warren used the fact that he was on base so often to steal a team-high six bases for Williamsport. Warren and teammate Michael Dabbs each drove in eight runs to lead Williamsport. Leandro Castro also got off to a strong start for Williamsport and hit .375 with a .429 OBP. Jeremy Barnes has struggled horribly defensively, but the 22 year old shortstop hit .356 in 11 games in the month of June. Barnes committed four errors, but was second on the team in errors to the six made by outfielder Anthony Hewitt.
The Phillies demoted catcher Sebastian Valle from Lakewood so he could gain consistent playing time and he's making the most of his increased time on the field, hitting .313 in five games.
On the mound, Jonathan Pettibone started three games and struck out 15 in 16 innings of work, with opponents hitting just .197 against him. His ERA for the month stood at 0.56, although he was only able to win one of his starts. Siulman Lebron struck out 18 hitters in 17 2/3 innings of work and opened the season with a 3.06 ERA. Another starter, Josh Zeid, put up a 2.57 ERA in two starts.
Williamsport starters went 3-2 with a 2.11 ERA for the first month of the season. The CrossCutters relievers were 4-3 with a 2.86 ERA.
Freddy Ballestas, Austin Hyatt, Justin Long, Eric Massingham and Matthew Way all made it through the month without allowing an earned run. Massingham led the way with eight innings pitched and struck out 11 hitters, putting him third on the club in strikeouts. Long led the team with three saves in four opportunities, pitching in five games.
Gulf Coast League
The GCL Phillies hit just .194 in five games. Jonathan Villan hit a team-high .417 with a .462 OBP.
Six pitchers posted 0.00 ERAs through the first five games in the Gulf Coast League and Julio Rodriguez led with five innings pitched, while Kevin Angelle threw four shutout innings.
And the winners are...
Steve Susdorf and Jason Knapp.
Knapp earned the edge over Reading's Joe Savery thanks to having a superior walks/strikeouts ratio. Both were strong candidates, but considering that Knapp is among the minor league leaders in strikeouts and Savery has had minor issues with walks, Knapp got the nod. As for Susdorf, his consistent hitting at two different levels, including hitting an impressive .485 at the higher level - albeit in seven games - gave him the monthly honors.