PN Interview: Joe Jordan talks Phils prospects – Phillies Nation

PN Interview: Joe Jordan talks Phils prospects

On Sunday, I sat down with Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan.  As usual, I bounced as many names as I could his way until I felt as though I may be keeping the former pro catcher and longtime scout from doing the work that he was at the ballpark to do.  Topics of discussion included Adam Morgan‘s recovery from shoulder surgery, Cameron Perkins‘ slow start at the Triple-A level, Maikel Franco‘s turnaround, Dylan Cozens‘ emergence and several more prospects.

Read ahead for all of Jordan’s remarks about some well regarded prospects.

-Are there any updates you can share on lefty pitcher Adam Morgan (3rd round pick, 2011), who underwent shoulder surgery last off-season?

He’s throwing, progressing well.  You know, I mean, we’re hopeful that during instructional league we may have actually him on the mound, participating.  But really, right now, he’s doing well.

-And righty Shane Watson (supplemental pick, 2012) is completely shut down till next spring, correct?

He’s not going to throw any (more) this year.  We’re just going to try to rehab him and get him ready for spring training.

Tyler Viza (32nd round pick, 2013) is one of the youngest pitchers in the Class A South Atlantic League.  He’s got the Lakewood record for losses.  He’s 19 and it’s his first full season as a pro.  Any concern about what sort of discouragement that claim to fame could bring for him?

No.  He’s a strong minded kid.  He gets it.  He’s getting his innings, he’s (pitching) every six days.   He’s gonna gain from this year.  Obviously, some of it’s been his doing, some of it’s not scoring runs, but he’s alright. 

-Outfielder Dylan Cozens (2nd round, 2012) has had a really nice campaign this year with Class A Lakewood.  He has shown loads of power, plenty of speed (.252 avg, 14 HR, 53 RBI, 19 SB, 114 g) and has really improved throughout the year.  Thoughts on his season?

I think it’s gone the way we hoped it would.  He just needs to play.  This is just his second year to really play baseball full time in his life.  So, he’s getting better in every facet of his game. 

He’s got a chance to be a really good player.  If he stays and gains and keeps working, because he is working.  He’s trying to become a baseball player and, again, you can go down every part of his game that you want and he’s getting better in all of them.

-With Class A Advanced Clearwater, Roman Quinn and J.P. Crawford have really been catalysts for that club.  Two young, fast,  talented guys…

I’m happy that Quinny, once we got him on the field and got him playing, he’s done well.  And JP’s just had a very solid year (in Lakewood and Clearwater).  So…listen, it’s all about just playing.  They need to play and that’s what they’re getting.  It’s a good league and they’re competing, so it’s good.

Yacksel Rios (12th round, 2011) has has a really nice season for Lakewood (5-1 record, one save, 3.35 ERA, 6.70 K/9, 30 games/10 starts).  Any level of surprise with what the 20-year-old has done?

Rios is a young kid and we like him.  In a normal year he may have stayed in extended (spring training) and went to Williamsport.  Same with (Viza).  You know, we just- we were in a position that they needed to come here and we felt like they could benefit from the experience.  But, Yacksel’s gotten better too.  I think he’s, you know- like Tyler, we’ve got about three more starts and I’m a little bit concerned that they’re gonna run out of bullets.

Yoel Mecias is a well regarded hurler, bouncing back from Tommy John surgery.  He gets to join the BlueClaws for a stretch, fully healthy, to wrap up the season.  What’s the outlook for him?

This has been good for Mecias.  We figured he’d come up here and have success, throw the ball over the plate.  I mean, he just needs to pitch.  Long rehab, getting back, don’t really care where it’s at.  This is all about the off-season and next year, for me.  So, it’s a good level, we had a spot in the rotation, I feel like, like I said, he can get what he needs right here. 

-Maikel Franco was the top ranked Phils prospect entering the season.  I talked with him in late June, when the offense was still not great, and he promised that the production people expected of him was coming and it did.  Clearly, very young, at 21, in Triple-A.  What are your thoughts on him?

He’s a young hitter that got himself out a lot for about two and a half months.  Then we started seeing signs of calming down and swinging at better pitches in June, but, you know, he’s done what he traditionally does and what he did here (in Lakewood) two years ago- he’s a July/August guy.  We gotta turn that calendar up a little sooner.  The guys gonna be a good hitter.  And he’s gonna be a good hitter for us for a while.

-The Phillies have a nice collection of outfielders on the way up with guys like Kelly Dugan, Aaron Altherr, Zach Collier‘s finally turning it on and some others.  What can you tell me about that group?

It’s a group that they’ve got some talent, they’ve got some ability.  I mean, honestly, that group, for me, has been…I think they’ve gotten better.  I think we have good outfielders.  We have outfielders that can throw, that can run, that can do some things.  Honestly, it’s time for someone to step up and separate themselves from the rest of the group with the bat, ’cause they all have the ability to hit.  They all have the ingredients to hit and, you know, it’s time for one or two of them to separate themselves from rest of them.  That’s the way I look at it.

-One would think Cam Perkins stood out earlier this year.  He moved up to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after starting the year with Double-A Reading.

Well, he was hitting .345 when we promoted him, so I would say he earned the opportunity, and again I think he may have been a little bit like Franco where he’s gotta learn older pitchers, veteran pitchers, guys that have major league experience that know what they’re doing.  They’ll identify a young hitter quickly as somebody who ought to get themselves out and they’ll just stay away from the hot zone.  They’ll let you get yourself out and they’ll show you a 0-0 fastball up and away, ’cause they know you’re geared for fastballs, and you can’t do anything with it. 

That’s what they do and that’s what Perkins has done since he’s been there.  And, again, he’ll eventually calm down and be a good hitter. He can hit.  I know he can hit.  I don’t have any doubt that he’s going to be a good hitter.  It’s just growing pains.  It’s the same thing that Franco went through and the same thing that (Cody) Asche went through when he was there initially and that’s something that we’ve got to get ahead of.  And these hitters, we’ve got to make them understand, maybe at a little earlier time, and again, it’s- you’re talking about three guys that have gone up to Double-A and hit.  It’s Triple-A.  Franco’s starting to hit.  Asche did.  You’ve got to be a disciplined hitter.  Good hitters hit good pitches.

Additional info: Confirmed by Lakewood manager Greg Legg, the BlueClaws will send five players to the fall instructional league in September.  Infielder Malquin Canelo, catcher Andrew Knapp, second round draft pick LHP Matt Imhof, second baseman Andrew Pullin as well as catcher/first baseman Willians Astudillo will be among those who spend an extra month in Clearwater following the minor league regular season.

All images by Jay Floyd.



  1. Jasomm

    August 11, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Guys I am most curious about (guys I think should be impact major leaguers eventually): Crawford, Franco, Nola, and Biddle (obvious ones), Imhof, Mecias, Forsythe, Knapp, Cerna, Jiwan James, and Dugan.

    Which of those guys are getting called up in September? that is was will keep me interested in the Phillies.

    • Jasomm

      August 11, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Nevermind on James. Just saw that he was already released.

      • Ken Bland

        August 11, 2014 at 11:42 am

        And to my knowledge, James remains a free agent. But I wouldn’t quote that like it’s reliable. I just haven’t seen where he’s been.

        On Nola, he’s tapped on innings. He won’t be here. Seems like AA is where he belongs right now, anyway. Off 1 start, anyway. Not overmatched, competed pretty nicely. Not sure on the impact opinion you stated. Nice stuff, nice control, opinions that he’ll be the first draft choice to hit the bigs, commonly stated is different than a non power pitcher sustaining. Seems pretty iffy to me.

        Franco will get a look.

        No Roman Quinn on the list. Seems to have a shot at impact. To a degree anyway.

        I didn’t say anything ridiculous in there, but more knowledgeable opinions may follow.

    • Jay Floyd

      August 11, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Franco’s the only guy I think is a lock from that group. I suppose Biddle has a slight chance if he can make a few starts for Reading and impress there before Labor Day.

      I would also expect to see Reading slugger Jake Fox in Sept. If he isn’t promoted it’s a disservice to him, the fans & the team. Luis Garcia should be up from Lehigh Valley in Sept, as should Aaron Altherr, Galvis, Cesar H, maybe BJ Rosenberg & Cameron Rupp.

  2. Jay Floyd

    August 11, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Yes, Jiwan James remains at home, a free agent.

  3. Bart Shart

    August 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    The Phils offer little hope. Welcome to the 1966 to 1972 Phillies. They stunk then and they will stink for the next four years, at least. Damn shame.

    Dump Amaro ASAP !!!!

    • loupossehl

      August 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Not to worry; help is on the way – Phillies just signed Jerome Williams.

      Send in the clowns.

  4. Lefty

    August 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Jamie’s doing his best Bob Uecker impression today. Following Recker’s 3 run 420 foot moon shot to left, he said “Justin’s just a liiiiittle off today.

  5. Lefty

    August 11, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Suicide Mackanin strikes again.

  6. Lefty

    August 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    That should be a double. Dude’s hat caught that over the wall.

  7. bacardipr05

    August 11, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    If Adam Morgan would of got the surgery earlier on he may have been up here auditioning. The Phils crack med staff strikes again.

    • schmenkman

      August 11, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Possibly. I can’t say I blame them for trying other options before resorting to surgery.

  8. teejayvee

    August 11, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    How can Dave Montgomery watch the Mets ( THE METS! ) walk all over this team and just sit there and do nothing?

    • frank

      August 11, 2014 at 9:31 pm

      Are you kidding. It,s the mets, the marlin’s, the braves and the nationals who are much better than the phillies. The phillies will be the worst team in the national league for years. Look at each teams minors league teams. It says a lot about the future. Be patient be very very patient.

      • Double Trouble Del

        August 11, 2014 at 10:51 pm

        Really an over reaction when you consider the resources the Phillies enjoy compared to smaller market teams.

  9. bacardipr05

    August 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    I for one didnt think they would be this bad.

    • frank

      August 11, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      I saw it 2 to 3 years. I could see their window closing and I kept saying rebuild rebuild, but of course I’m not our very brilliant g.m. we could have been like the red sox, rebuilding without the pain and years. We had so many stars who we’re so respected, our farm could have been loaded. It would have been a fun time watching young players and free agents who we could afford. Instead, we’re loaded with bad contracts. No one can say that was smart.

      • Double Trouble Del

        August 11, 2014 at 10:53 pm

        The level of prescience in so many of our commentators is really astounding.

      • frank

        August 11, 2014 at 11:02 pm

        Amazing. More of the same.

  10. betasigmadeltashag

    August 12, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Some of you really crack me up. 2 things. First many teams with money to spend can turn a team around quickly in this day and age. 2 I laugh at some of you that claim they should have rebuilt in the midst of the 5 year run. If the dropped chase Cole or Jimmy in 2010 you would have burned the city down. And those who stopped buying tickets because they were not playoff contenders would not go see no name cheap young talent and would complain they aren’t spending enough money and signing big name free agents. Yea I know two or three if you will repost that things you posted against not signing Jimmy and Ryan and how they need to sell high on these guys. But if you will not pay to see the core that brought you the best 5-7 year run in history of this team. Do you would really be going to see Freddie Glavis Travis d’arnld, and Kyle Drabek out there you lying

    • frank

      August 12, 2014 at 11:48 am

      It was not the best 5 to 7 years. It was the best 5. I am talking about starting a rebuild after 2012. Many teams do it for the best of the team without a riot. I’m obviously talking to myself because no one on this sight believes in rebuilding because no one could handle the changes including the front office.

      • Chuck A.

        August 12, 2014 at 12:47 pm

        One could make the argument that they DID start the rebuild in 2012 by trading Pence, Vic and Blanton at the deadline…

      • Ryne Duren

        August 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm

        I for one think you’re correct Frank The rebuild should have started in 12. I wouldn’t have given Rollins the contract he has now. I would have went with a two year no option contract. We can talk about this till we’re blue in the face. Lets face it Ruben has handcuffs on every aspect of the teams future. He and the organization so overrates our players that other teams would have to be held at gunpoint to deal with us.
        It’s going to be interesting to find out the two PTBNL’s are from the Dodgers we’re getting for Hernandez.

      • schmenkman

        August 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm

        Ryne, you’re right that we can debate when a more drastic rebuild should have started, but to be honest I don’t see how not re-signing Rollins would have accelerated the rebuild at all.

      • Chuck A.

        August 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm

        But … again….. The rebuild DID start in 2012. And getting rid of 2/3 of your starting outfield is pretty drastic in my opinion.

      • Double Trouble Del

        August 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm

        The majority of the individuals who comment on this site agree with a rebuild but the path to a rebuild is what they can’t agree on. Rollins and Utley were high dollar spends but its not as though there were minor leaguers waiting in the wings to take their place. Not signing either of these two gets you what? Saved dollars is what it gets you (or the ownership group to be specific). According to the GM, however, money is not a problem.

        The biggest problem is the failure of their draft picks to pan out. The strategy of taking the most athletic, highest risk, highest upside players has to worked, for whatever reason be the players themselves or the Phillies minor-league development team, or their ability to evaluate talent.

      • Hogey's Role

        August 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm

        Not necessarily a rebuild, but more of a revamp or retool, as it has been called… Once again I will say that the utley and Rollins deals were fair market deals and nobody was in line to replace them, no minor leaguers and no free agent talent to sign…. The only thing they could have done would be to trade either one of them for some type of unknown return, that in all likelihood would have been crap just like the pence and victorino trades netted us, so I really don’t understand the thought process where resigning utley and Rollins hamstrung us in anyway, they have played at or above the level expected….

        It’s the rest of the team that hasn’t played to their expected level, Howard is either still feeling the effect of the Achilles or he’s just done, chooch has been injured, brown has been terrible, revere is what you would expect for a no power contact hitter whose not a centerfielder by trade, Byrd has played very well, asche has played well when he’s not injured…. The whole team is ups and downs, the bullpen started terrible but then was lights out, the rotation has been rocky behind cole hamels… So I don’t know what you’re expecting from this team when we talk trades, hamels is the only valuable asset we have that would net us anything but even his true value is debated by many….

        It is an ugly situation but if we had the right person to take over and start a rebuild/retool, whatever you prefer, then this team could be fixed in a couple year window I believe…. I do not believe amaro is the man you want captaining a ship of rebuilds and trades for sure

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