Here’s a look at some of the top performers around the Phillies minor league system this weekend. Stay on the lookout for Phillies Nation’s prospect rankings, which will be unveiled beginning next week once the trade deadline has passed. The rankings will include a detailed bio of each key player on the farm, as well as an analysis of what they could bring to the big club in the future. But for now, let’s check in on what happened this weekend.
Lehigh Valley – The adjustment process after moving up a level was difficult for Michael Taylor at the start, but he seems to be figuring things out. Taylor had a breakout game Thursday against Charlotte, going 3-for-4 with a walk and smacking a two-run homer in the process. He followed that up with 1-for-3 effort with a walk, stolen base and two runs the next night. Taylor’s average is still just .263 with the Iron Pigs, but that comes with an impressive 7:8 walk-to-strikeout ratio and a .370 OBP. He has stolen two bases and not been caught, and now has two homers and 5 RBI in 11 games played there. The improvement should come quickly at Lehigh Valley, assuming that by this time next week he is still on the club.
Reading – There were two great starts made with the R-Phils this weekend. The first came from Mike Stutes, who is easily the hottest pitcher in the system right now. He pitched 7.1 innings against Bowie on Friday, allowing just one run and striking out 8. He gave up 6 hits and 2 walks in the process. It was the fourth straight game allowing one or no runs for Stutes, who hasn’t allowed more than 3 earned runs in his last 10 starts, posting a 2.81 ERA during that stretch.
The second impressive outing was a bit of a surprise, as Yohan Flande put together his first effective start at double-A yesterday. He pitched 6.1 shutout innings yesterday, striking out 7 while giving up just 4 hits and a walk. It was the first time he has managed to pitch six strong innings, and it came just a day after the same Bowie team pounded out 12 runs against Reading.
Clearwater – It seems that there is still hope for the future of Scott Mathieson, who continues to pitch shutout innings for the Threshers. Friday he allowed a hit and a walk, but struck out the side in his one inning of work against Charlotte. He has now pitched 11 shutout innings this year over two levels, striking out 15 batters in the process with a WHIP of 1.00. The Phillies will advance him slowly, as his injury history is a major concern, but there is reason to believe he could climb the ranks and replace Chris Coste as the Phils feel-good story at some point.
Lakewood – Though he went hitless over the past two games, it’s worth noting what Travis d’Arnaud had been doing for the previous two weeks. Saturday’s 0-for-4 ended d’Arnaud’s hitting streak at 15 games, a great stretch for a catcher who had been hitting for a low average this season. With a few games remaining in July, he is hitting .309 for the month, easily his best mark of the season. That comes with an OBP of .877 and a good walk-to-strikeout ratio of 10:14. His average for the year is just .241, but he now has 10 homers and 53 RBI.
Trevor May was dominant yesterday, allowing just one hit over 5 shutout innings while striking out 9 batters. He has only been going 5 or 6 innings in each of his starts, but is consistently striking out batters, now with 50 Ks in 40.2 innings this season. His 2.88 ERA is excellent for a 19-year-old, and he may get a taste of a higher level toward the end of the year. Pitching at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, he has the power deliver to keep batters swinging and missing.