Nola’s season ends at Double-A, right where he wanted

By Mark Emery / MiLB.com

Aaron Nola shouldn’t have too many regrets as he looks back on his first season as a professional baseball player.nola pic

The Phillies’ No. 2 prospect made his final start on Friday, throwing five four-hit innings in Double-A Reading’s 3-0 win over Trenton. In 12 games (11 starts) between Class A Advanced Clearwater and Reading, the right-hander went 4-3 with a 2.93 ERA.

“I finished out on a good note,” Nola said Saturday. “It was all fun, man, but it flew by, it really did. I thought it was going to be a really long one after the college season but it honestly flew by — and I think that’s all because I was having fun.”

Less than a week after his final start at LSU, the right-hander was picked by Philadelphia with the seventh overall pick of the Draft on June 5. Just five days later, he signed with the organization, which started him out in the Florida State League.

“I feel like I made the right decision, when my college season ended and right after the Draft came, to sign early, because I wanted to get back on the mound as quick as I can and follow my college innings up,” Nola said. “I did and it all worked out for the best and I’m here in Double-A now. But who knows? If I would have signed late, like some of the guys, I would have to had to lead back up slowly throwing-wise and pitching-wise, and who knows where I would be?”

The 21-year-old made his professional debut on June 23, and in seven games (six starts) in Clearwater, he fashioned a 2-3 record and 3.16 ERA, with 30 strikeouts against five walks over 31 1/3 innings. His Reading career began on Aug. 6, and in five Eastern League starts, he assembled a 2-0 record and 2.63 ERA with 15 strikeouts against five walks across 24 frames.

“I wanted to get to Double-A. I wanted to get here, experience it in my first half-season,” Nola said. “[Next year], I’m going to go wherever they send me, but I’m just going to do like I did this time — go out and try to have my best start each time and leave everything out on the field like I usually did.”

Minoring in Twitter: Celebrating a clinch in style

By Danny Wild / MiLB.com

The Minor League season is winding down, which means the playoffs (along with college football, autumn weather, artificially flavored pumpkin drinks) are on the way. It’s also a chance to celebrate reaching the playoffs, if you’re a Minor Leaguer. Maybe like this:

And this:

Yeeeeeeeahh:

Arkansas manager Phillip Wellman (perhaps best known for his incredible ejection tirade several years ago) shared this gem:

You know it’s a serious celebration when you’re wearing a helmet:

Minor Leaguers (this being the Potomac Nationals) celebrating a division crown:

And down to the Gulf Coast League:

Cubs prospect C.J. Edwards can throw hard, but he’s a bit skinny, which makes it hard to decompress an air mattress:

Frisco’s Jake Thompson admits it: he pitched with his fly down, and he’s OK with it:

A Cal Ripken sighting:

Yankees first-round pick Ian Clarkin may not need to shop at Walmart, but he still finds it entertaining:

It’s called MiLB.com, and it’s on every night:

What is a Murray State?

Not from a player, but entertaining nonetheless, there were some ejections in Lowell when an umpire wasn’t happy about equipment in the bullpen: (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of August 28

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com game stories:

Dodgers RHP Andres Santiago fires nine-inning no-hitter

Padres C Cody Decker homers in fourth straight game

Mariners C Jesus Montero involved in altercation

Pirates 1B Edwin Espinal’s big night fuels Power comeback

Red Sox LHP Jake Drehoff spins gem, even after ejections

Royals RHP Aaron Brooks hurls seven shutout innings

Twins SS Nick Gordon’s big inning leads E-Twins to title

Two Rays affiliates clinch division titles

Blue Jays OF Anthony Gose shows Jays he’s primed for callup

Other top prospect performances:

Rays OF Mikie Mahtook, Triple-A Durham: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 R, K — Mahtook was a solid producer in the Bulls’ lineup throughout the season, and heads into the final weekend hitting .294/.366/.467 with 12 homers and 18 stolen bases.

(more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of August 27

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com features:

Mets RHP Marcos Molina making waves in NYPL

MiLB.com game stories:

Angels LHP Sean Newcomb fans 10 for Burlington

Giants OF Brian Ragira’s grand slam caps five-hit night

Mets C Kevin Plawecki homers twice, supports RHP Noah Syndergaard

A’s RHP Dylan Covey flirts with no-hitter in Ports’ win

Reno Aces club back-to-back-to-back homers

Astros RHP Jordan Jankowski picks up where Mark Appel left off

Indians C Francisco Mejia walks off with career highs in hits, RBIs

Potomac Nationals clinch Carolina North Division title

D-backs OF Stewart Ijames plates six on grand night

Giants LHP Chase Johnson makes final start his best

Ogden Raptors victorious after protest upheld

Other top prospect performances:

Mets Triple-A RHP Noah Syndergaard, Triple-A Las Vegas: 6 2/3 IP, 7 H, ER, BB, 9 K — Syndergaard has been increasingly sharp with his command as the season’s worn on, something that really showed Wednesday. The Mets have been working with the 21-year-old on quickening his tempo, and he supposedly did a good job of that, which helped him bring all three of his pitches heavily into the fold against Round Rock. (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of August 26

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com news:

Byron Buxton, Addison Russell among players headed to AFL

MiLB.com game stories:

Astros RHP Mark Appel dazzles in first Double-A win

Phillies 3B Maikel Franco has grand birthday with ‘Pigs

Padres OF Nick Schulz homers twice off college pal

Ogden Raptors refuse to resume play, forfeit

A’s RHP Matt Buschmann silences Sounds in shutout

Indians 1B Jesus Aguilar helps Clippers claim division crown

Astros 1B Tyler White overshoots cycle with pair of blasts

Yankees RHP Jaron Long, former Yankee bat boy, K’s Giambi twice in gem

Other top prospect performances:

Dodgers OF Joc Pederson, Triple-A Albuquerque: 3-for-4, HR, 2 B, 2 RBI, 2 R, BB — In his past 17 games, Pederson has nine homers and 17 walks, and 14 of those free passes have come in the last 10 games. The PCL is almost giving Pederson the Barry Bonds treatment at this point, and it’s not slowing down his progress. Pederson should finally get the call up when rosters expand next week.

(more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of August 25

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com game stories:

Cubs OF Jorge Soler offers parting shot before Cubs callup

Orioles RHP Parker Bridwell flirts with perfection with Delmarva

Mets 3B Jhoan Urena ‘loses’ standoff with umpire, ejected

Durham Bulls clinch seventh division title in eight years

Astros OF Delino DeShields’ bat proves too heavy in rout

Rays 1B Casey Gillaspie part of Hudson Valley triple play

Yankees LHP Dan Camarena fans career-high dozen

Tigers OF Steven Moya continues rewrite of SeaWolves’ record book

Other top prospect performances:

Marlins LHP Justin Nicolino, Double-A Jacksonville: 7 IP, 4 H, ER, 3 K — The peripheral numbers for Nicolino aren’t overly impressive this season, but the results are hard to argue with. Nicolino allows a lot of balls in play, but he limits walks and has managed a 2.98 ERA in 27 Double-A outings this season. He had allowed nine earned runs over his previous two outings heading into Monday. (more…)

Prospect Q&A: Rockies OF Kyle Parker

Kyle Parker made his big league debut on June 16 at Dodger Stadium. (Victor Decolongon/Getty)

Kyle Parker made his MLB debut June 16 at Dodger Stadium. (Victor Decolongon/Getty)

By Tyler Maun / MiLB.com

Rated as the Rockies’ No. 8 prospect by MLB.com, outfielder Kyle Parker broke through to the Major Leagues for the first time this summer. With rosters expanding next week, Parker is likely to see an extended role with the Rockies for the rest of the big league campaign. The 24-year-old former Clemson quarterback has put together a steady campaign for Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2014, slashing .286/.335/.447 with 14 home runs and 70 RBIs. I caught up with Parker prior to the opener of the final Sky Sox homestand of the season.

MiLB.com: You’ve had a really consistent progression throughout your Minor League career. What have you gotten most from your first full season of experience at the Triple-A level?

Parker: My approach has become a little different. This league is a lot different from past leagues that I’ve played in. Guys have a better understanding of what they’re doing. You can learn a lot, and I feel like I have.

MiLB.com: Your first MLB game came on June 16 in Los Angeles. After your call-up and flight, you arrived mid-game at Dodger Stadium and got your first at-bat later that night. What do you remember about the craziness of that day?

Parker: I didn’t imagine it that way, getting there in the fifth inning, but you can’t ask for anything more. It was a great experience.

MiLB.com: When you show up in the dugout on a day like that, and you see a lot of familiar faces you came up through the organization with, how much did that help settle you down?

Parker: It’s definitely good, especially having a lot of guys up there who are younger that I’ve been around. It’s easy to transition and fit in and feel like you’re part of the team. It’s something good. Guys who have been in the organization who go up — there’s a good connection between the guys who are already up there and the guys who are down here.

MiLB.com: Being a former Division I quarterback at Clemson, how do you view your ability to mix in with your teammates in the clubhouse or on the field in the grind that is Minor League Baseball?

Parker: I think it’s different down here. It’s 25 guys all working to get to the same level. A lot of guys in here have goals and agendas and things that they need to accomplish to get better at. Everyone’s here working hard and trying to take that next step, so it’s easy to mesh and get along with people because everyone has the same mindset.

MiLB.com: Have you let yourself think at all about how, in a couple of weeks, you might get a very extended look at the Major League level when rosters expand for September?

Parker: Yeah, I would hope so, but I’m just trying to get better here and finish up and then see what happens. I feel like whatever is going to happen is going to happen. Hopefully I put myself in a good position.

MiLB.com: What’s been your favorite road trip so far in the PCL this season?

Parker: I think Nashville. I love the city, and I’m from the South, so it’s familiar territory.

MiLB.com: Who are the Sky Sox you like to watch most in the cage or at the plate?

Parker: [Jason] Pridie has been around for a while. Just being around guys who play the game for a long period of time, they’re interesting to watch. You want to figure out how they do it and how they keep coming at it every day.

MiLB.com: Who’s the Sky Sox pitcher that you’re glad you don’t have to face from the other side?

Parker: I would say when [Chad] Bettis has his stuff, he’s pretty filthy. I’ve played with him for a while, so when he’s on, I wouldn’t want to face him.”

It’s a bird, it’s a… Yep, it’s a bird.

Emily Jones/MiLB.com

Emily Jones/MiLB.com

By Josh Jackson / MiLB.com

Jon Maciel’s Thursday night outing was a huge improvement over his last three starts, but the Tigers prospect wasn’t surprised with the results. In fact, considering what Maciel’s already seen happen from the pitcher’s mound this season, probably not much could surprise him.

(more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of August 24

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com games stories:

Blue Jays 1B Brett Wallace caps three-homer day with slam

White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon fans career-high eight

Cubs C/OF Kyle Schwarber homers in fifth straight game

A’s LHP Chris Lamb fans Cal League-record 17 for Ports

Nationals RHP Ian Dickson holds Keys hitless in P-Nats’ win

Cardinals LHP Marco Gonzalez beats heat, puts up zeros

Phillies SS J.P. Crawford goes long twice for Threshers

Rockies RHP Ryan Arrowood nearly perfect in Tulsa spot start

Mets RHP Marcos Molina stands out despite walks for Brooklyn

Other top prospect performances:

Cubs OF Jorge Soler, Triple-A Iowa: 3-for-5, HR, 2 RBI, R, 2 BB, 2 K — That’s two homers in three games for the 22-year-old and seven in 31 Triple-A contests. The Cuban product has a .278/.376/.593 line overall with the I-Cubs, and has kept his walk rate in the mid-teens this season after walking in 8.9 percent of his plate appearances in Daytona in 2013. (more…)

Prospect Roundup: Games of August 23

By Jake Seiner / MiLB.com

MiLB.com game stories:

Dodgers OF Joc Pederson joins exclusive PCL 30/30 club

Phillies 3B Maikel Franco sprints to IronPigs’ second cycle

White Sox INF Eddy Alvarez, Olympic medalist, homers twice

Dodgers LHP Julio Urias strikes out nine in longest ’14 start

Red Sox LHP Brian Johnson extends Sea Dogs’ streak with near no-no

Indians SS Francisco Lindor posts second straight four-hit game

State College locks up another division title

Padres RHP Michael Kelly hurls six no-hit innings in Ems’ win

Other top prospect performances:

Cubs OF Jorge Soler, Triple-A Iowa: 5-for-5, 3B, 2B, 2 R, K, SB – Soler had cooled off a bit since lighting Triple-A on fire in his first few games there, but he homered on Friday and added five hits on Saturday to pull himself out of a 3-for-35 slump. Overall, the 22-year-old Cuban is slashing .262/.356/.563 in 30 Triple-A games.

(more…)

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