With all the confusion of not playing in a playoff race, September may be a disorienting time for you. As a favor, we have arranged all of the Phillies most likely September call-ups into four easy-to-remember categories.
GUYS ON BASEBALL AMERICA’S MIDSEASON TOP 50 PROSPECTS LIST
**nervous coughing, makes ‘let’s move this along’ hand gesture**
GUYS EVERYONE IS ALL WORKED UP ABOUT
Tyler Cloyd, RHP
Yes, the man with the 11-1 record, International League-leading 2.12 ERA, lack of established Kendrickian failures, and last name like a thing they’d find clogging some important part of your body and then give to you in a jar to take home will finally get his shot, probably.
Cloyd wasn’t supposed to be any kind of guy at all, really, but putting up his 2012 numbers, the Phillies would be tools to ignore him. Of course, they’ve ignored him for this long during a season of shuttling gents to and fro Lehigh Valley, so maybe they’re just intent on ignoring him altogether. Maybe he wronged Ruben and the GM spent time and resources making him better, only to deny him the chance to pitch in the Majors, despite knowing he deserved it. Maybe that’s the ultimate revenge.
If you said, ‘Yeah… maybe….’ then you are wrong because the worst revenge is burying somebody up to their neck in the sand at low tide.
Sebastian Valle, C
Catching prospects are like gold you find on a mountain that only appears after playing a mysterious song on a flute from sheet music that exists on one piece of parchment that is half burned away.
No, actually, there are catching prospects on every team. There have to be! Or there’d be no catchers. All of our pitchers would be trained to throw hard enough that the ball would bounce of the back stop and skip right back to them, and then they’d all blow their arms out by age 22.
It’s guys like Sebastian who keep our pitchers from that fate. Thank you, Sebastian.
Unlike some other prospects, Sebastian is a Phillies farmhand at Lehigh Valley whose offense is on a quicker pace than his defense. **small ‘pop’ as brain explodes**
It’s a hell of a concept. The 21-year-old has cracked every All-Star roster he’s been eligible for, and when you consider the religious methodicalness with which the Phillies have historically approached raising catchers, he could be in for a stellar debut down the line. He’s been striking out a lot this year, but hey, if that’s the case, he’ll fit right in, as long as he does it with runners in scoring position.
Phillippe Aumont, RHP
The flagship of the Cliff Lee trade–the first one–Phillippe never really made a ton of headlines, except for that time he became so enraged after a 17-4 loss that he shattered his hand-bones on his minor league locker.
"“I lost my mind. I lost is completely. I barely remember anything because I just completely lost it. When something gets you real bad and you have a hard time controlling yourself, that’s what happened. I just started hitting my locker.”"
Now that’s the kind of intensity this team could benefit from/live in fear of.
As long as it’s aimed in the right direction. For a little while there, Aumont was forced to overcome a ton of pressure as a 20-year-old being the compensation of trading away one of Philly’s most beloved sports figures, and thusly, his performance on the mound began to tank.
However, the Phillies responded to his psychological issues by sending him to renowned “motivational speaker, humorist, author” Dr. Jack Curtis, whose website features the fairly ill-advised banner “Performance Enhancement,” considering his specialty in athletics.
Now, he’s leading the IronPigs in saves, staying in games after being torched by a line drive, and generally performing well enough that people have stopped screaming “WE WANT CLIFF LEE BACK!” from the stands. Yes, that happened; pretty early on, too, so you know people were just waiting for an excuse to yell it. We were still pretty raw back then.
What also helped that situation is the re-acquisition of Cliff Lee. But that’s a story for another time.
Darin Ruf, OF
Dude, are you not in on this Darin Ruf thing? Well if not then let me tell you that he is currently leading the Eastern League in Runs Batted Out, or “home runs” as they are commonly called; being noticed by people on the internet but not the Phillies front office; and sending young pitchers home to ashamed families, who have already packed their bags to leave forever and whose wives mutter “Had a Ruf night?” on their way to go live at their mother’s.
Darin Ruf solved a Rubik’s Cube by eating it. Darin Ruf’s slash line is the population of three European countries. Darin Ruf Darin Ruf Darin Ruf Darin Ruf.
Darin Ruf is so close to that Eastern League Triple Crown he can taste it. And it tastes like the tears of his enemies’ children as they stare out the back window of a station wagon in disgust at the father they used to respect.
SOME OTHER GUYS
J.C. Ramirez, RHP
Juan Carlos Ramirez, another prospect brought east in exchange for Cliff Lee, is 3-1 in Lehigh with a 5.34 ERA through 21 games. Finishing 2011 a the #28 prospect in the organization, Ramirez, too, was considered somewhat less than the “can’t miss” prospect we felt we were promised for giving up Cliff Lee but were definitely not promised at all.
He’s been striking guys out at a slower clip, since having a conversation with Rich Dubee about a year ago. No, not because Dubee uttered anything particularly bone-chilling. He simply told the 23-year-old right hander to start pitching to contact, and oh yeah, create a change up and slider. It’s that simple!
But it’s Ramirez’s offseason habits that have picked up notice as of late. No, not the fact that he refuses to shower within five hours of a start to keep his body warm.
Earlier this month, the Yankees were whining about the Miguel Pineda-Jesus Montero trade, again, and were trying to reveal a harsh criticism on the Mariners’ offseason conditioning regimen required of their pitchers. Which is to say, there isn’t one. Unlike the Yankees, who will be assigning Pineda a strict schedule to follow so that he is more amicably assimilated to their ungodly amorphous flesh blob of “baseball talent,” the Mariners were comfortable telling Pineda–and at one point, Ramirez–that they could just “run,” during the winter, and start throwing within a month of reporting to camp.
"“Seattle, on the other hand, gives its arms more freedom. For its younger pitchers, especially ones from outside the U.S., the only requirement is to keep running. The goal of that plan, Ramirez said, is to keep pitchers’ arms fresh for when they’re asked to report to the complex in the middle of January. ‘I didn’t do (anything). They just told me ‘Go home, keep running and then, one month before you get to the U.S.A., start throwing,’ Ramirez said. ‘I was young. I was so young, that’s why they didn’t let me throw.'”—Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times"
Phillippe Aumont is interviewed in the same story, and he even says the Phillies’ winter training program is more hard core than in Seattle. Which is actually completely believable, when you consider how many anacondas Roy Halladay killed last year.
A more intense training period, accompanied by “surprise” check-ups from Rich Dubee holding a bat with a nail in it, could help craft Ramirez into the pitcher we traded for. As long as he stops taking tips from Danys Baez.
"“He gives me good advice.”—J.C. Ramirez on Danys Baez. Yes."
Cesar Hernandez, 2B
Offering the most potential as far as fan-group nicknames, Cesar Hernandez seems like he is also moving the fastest toward the Majors than anyone else on this list. Starting in the Gulf Coast League in 2009, Cesar’s output impressed so many people that he went from the instructional leagues to Williamsport to Clearwater to Reading and, most recently in the Victorino/Pence roster manuevering, to Lehigh, where he bats second.
Yes, he got to skip New Jersey, proving he is truly a blessed prospect.
As a limber “220yer-old,” it has been theorized that Hernandez appears more natural as a shrotstop than a second baseman, and not just by me, sitting alone in my apartment. Depending on which of the Phillies’ legendary middle infielders you think is deteriorating faster, Hernandez could have a job sooner than we think! What a horrible thought.
According to Reading Phillies manager Dusty Wathan, the 22-year-old is only getting stronger “He’s just getting older and stronger.” No word on whether this is a vote of optimism for the future or a warning that Hernandez’s unnaturally rapid growth in age and strength will have him reaching the big leagues as a 900-year-old man who bats with a Redwood tree.
Tyson Gillies, OF
Just when the Phillies could have really, really gotten some use out of a young, cocksure, high-velocity centerfielder, the guy at the top of their list had to scream at a bus driver.
Look, there’s no way to know what’s going through Tyson Gillies’ head at any time. You hope the guy’s all right, but with off the field issues, suspensions, and injury time, it’s only fair to wonder what exactly is going to be Tyson’s contribution to the Phillies organization. He’s got a great demeanor, if all of his presswire photos are any indication, because he’s laughing uncontrollably in all of them.
He’s on the 40-man despite playing three games in 2011 and 77 total before his suspension this year, so the Phillies know that there’s… something… in there… that they like.
Well, this is the part of the movie where Tyson has to decide if he wants to leave his demons behind him and give it one last shot at glory or succumb to the aforementioned demons and not do those things. Is the answer a Manic Pixie Dream Girl played by Amy Adams? And you know Susan Sarandon will be in there. Whose quirky, doting mother hasn’t she played? Not to mention Richard Jenkins!
This fall, Tyson… is no chicken.
GUYS WHO WERE ALREADY HERE A BUNCH OF TIMES
These are people we know a little bit already, so I’ve tasked myself with describing them in five words.
Justin De Fratus, RHP
Closer of the future? Injuries!
Hector Luna, IF
Led team in preseason offense!
Jake Diekman, LHP
Throws side arm, it’s neat!
Joe Savery, LHP
Pitcher-hitter-pitcher again! Phillies.
I only needed four words for that last one so I just said “Phillies” at the end.
Guys, the Phillies are going to be fine, maybe. I mean, not this year. Not at all. Not even close, really. But we’ve all accepted what’s happening, and the whole point of insinuating these youngsters into the last month of a mess is to see how ridiculously optimistic we should be for next season, when everything will be fixed!
It will be fixed!