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PN Interview: Phils Director of Player Development Joe Jordan

Joe Jordan, photo- Jay Floyd

On Sunday, prior to Reading’s game in Trenton, I spent some time chatting with Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan regarding as many subjects as I could, before I felt like I might be keeping him from something important on his chiming cell phone.  The topics included the Maikel Franco and Cody Asche 3rd base prospect jam, lefty hurler Adam Morgan‘s upcoming return to action, the possibility of moving Brody Colvin out of the Reading rotation again, and much more.

Read ahead for my interview with Joe Jordan…

– Outfielder Kelly Dugan joined the Double-A Reading team this weekend and looks to be very deserving of the promotion.  How about his 2013?

Kelly’s done really well.  You know, he came- he had a wonderful spring training and had an oblique pull right at the end of camp and so he didn’t get to break camp with the club.  But ever since he’s gotten back on the field, he’s done nothing except hit and he’s played good in the outfield.  It’s been a real solid year for him, that’s why he’s here.

– Former first round draft pick Zach Collier has had some offensive struggles at Double-A this year after an outstanding Arizona Fall League last year.  What’s the outlook for Zach?

Yeah, again, it’s been a disappointment for him and, you know, the one thing he’s done is he’s played good defense.  You know, he has helped the club in that regard, he’s done a good job.  He’s a better hitter than he’s shown and we’re just going to ride him out.  We’re going to keep putting him in the lineup every day and at some point in time- (Saturday) was a good day.  Hopefully, he can have a couple, two, three in a row and, really, for me, it’s all about having a good July and and a good August.  You know, to hell with overall numbers.  Let’s just have a good couple months and go from there.

Brody Colvin, photo- Jay Floyd

– Speaking of guys that are likely better than they’ve shown, Brody Colvin comes out here and has a miserable outing against Trenton the other night.  He’s had some others like that this year and has been fair at times.  Thoughts on Brody?

He needs to be more consistent.  That’s the bottom line.  We’re in Double-A, he’s been at this a while.  I think when his delivery gets out of whack he needs to be quicker at identifying what’s going on and making his adjustments.  He’s, again, he’s- like a lot of guys at this level, know thyself and know when to make your own adjustments, pitch to pitch.  That’s what separates guys and that’s what allows guys to go to Triple-A and then the big leagues.  And that’s something he’s got to get better at.

– You talked about riding Zach out.  I’m not sure if it would be the same mentality with Colvin.  Any possibility of a demotion and would that help a guy like him in that situation?

I don’t think it’s what we need to do with him.  He’s gotta figure some things out and he’s gonna be given opportunities to do that, whether or not it remains in the rotation for the rest of the summer or if he has to go back to the bullpen.  That’s going to be decided based on maybe the immediate- what happens here in the near future.

– And (righty reliever) Kenny Giles is back at it.  Returning from his second oblique strain this year, he’s been activated for Clearwater.  What can you tell me about Kenny?

He’s back healthy, that’s the big thing.  You know, his initial outing down there was good.  He gave up a home run, but his stuff was really good.  You know, top of the scale fastball and his slider was good.  He’s fine.  We’ve just got to get him some work.

– Regarding his status for the remainder of this year, if Giles gets a good stretch going, could he end up (with Double-A Reading) to wrap up this season?

Yeah, I wouldn’t be afraid to do that at all.  We just got to get him on the mound, get him going and see, you know, if he can stay healthy and keep his delivery- his delivery, they did some really good work, while he was down.  And he’s…set up to be better now than he was last year and, it’s just some things they did with his lower half.  So, if he can do that- I think the month of July in Clearwater’s a good plan, but we’ll see.  I’d like to get him to Double-A.

– There’s a couple Futures Game representatives on this team, here with Reading.  Maikel Franco has had a great season and joined this team recently.  Also, Jesse Biddle‘s been doing the type of things that are expected of a first round draft pick.  Thoughts on those two guys?

Two very, very good young prospects.  Both guys are, you know, have a chance to be terrific major league players.  Franco is- this all started about late June last year in Lakewood.  And to think how far he’s come in 12 months is exciting.  He’s a guy that’s 20 years old, won’t be 21 till August, so he’s got a chance to be a hell of a player and Biddle, you know, Biddle is finally past his sickness and the illness that he had and he’s strong.  I really think Jesse is gonna finish the year really strong.  I think both guys are- we’re excited for both of them.

Maikel Franco, image- Jay Floyd

– Regarding Maikel, I’ve begun getting questions from fans lately related to speculation about his age being varied from what he’s listed as.  If questions popped up concerning Maikel’s age, what would you say?

I wouldn’t even respond to that.  He’s 20 years old.  I feel good about it.

– You’ve got a couple guys on the rise at that third base position.  With Maikel at Double-A and Cody Asche at Triple-A.  Both guys have shared their thoughts on the subject of the possibility of someone needing to change positions, if they’re both to be on that big league Phillies roster.  What are your thoughts on that topic?

These things always seem to work themselves out.  You know, and we have two really good third base prospects.  For me, we’re just going through the year.  They’re going to play the position, this winter, this fall, you know, winter baseball with Franco and probably Asche as well, we may do some things to find out what they’re capable of, maybe a different position for one or both of them.  But right now, it’s not the right time.  We’ve got two months of the season left.  They’re both going to play third base and we’ll see what happens.

Carlos Tocci is a guy that’s super young (at 17 years of age) for the league he’s in at Class A Lakewood.  There was some speculation with his April output that he could go down to short-season Williamsport, when their season began, but once the weather warmed up, so did he.  He solidified his spot there, doing well of late.  What is your opinion on his season there in the Sally League?

He’s handled the challenge very well and, you know, I think part of the reason we were comfortable with him going there was his maturity and he’s just such a mature kid for his age.  Physically, he’s got a long way to go to get strong enough to handle a full minor league season and we’re going to have to be aware of that for the next six/seven weeks.  He’s, you know, we’re gonna give him some days off.  We’re gonna pick our spots and allow him to make it through August.  But he’s done terrific.  He’s really (laughs), he’s done a great job.

Cameron Rupp has gone up and looked pretty good at Triple-A the past month, or so, making his debut at that level.  How pleased are you with his adjustment, going up this year?

Well, I think the thing that Cameron has done that we felt like he would do is he’s gone up and has gotten familiar with the staff and they have pitched very well over the past month.  He’s really starting to run the staff like he did in Clearwater last year and like he did at Reading.  He’s a guy who has just gotten better.  He’s gotten very confident in his game, now more than ever, because he’s, you know, again, when you experience every level in the minor leagues and you have success there at different degrees with different guys, I think he’s just real confident and when he goes out to catch a game, he feels like he can take that pitcher as long as he can go and he can run a staff.  And that’s invaluable in our game.  It’s hard to find guys that can do it.

– Thanks so much for all your time here.  Lastly, what is the prognosis, right now, for lefty hurler Adam Morgan, who has missed some time with a rotator cuff issue?

Yeah, I think Adam’s gonna be on the mound here very, very shortly and we expect him to be ready to go and pitch possibly for Lehigh in August, so, if we can do that and give him that month and then see if we need to recoop some more innings later that would be good.

– Something like the Arizona Fall League for him then?

Possibly.  Yeah, that would be a good place for him.

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