Pharm Phocus: Reading Fightin Phils’ season ends on high note


Jun 7, 2013; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers pitcher Aaron Nola (10) pitches in the third inning against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Baton Rouge super regional of the 2013 NCAA baseball tournament at Alex Box Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

The Reading Fightin Phils ended their season with seven wins in a row, something they also did in April.

A late push was not nearly enough, however, as playoffs were far out of the picture.  Reading finished 22 games back with a record of 66-76, tied for dead last with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the Eastern Division of the Eastern League.  Only the Altoona Curve and Harrisburg Senators finished with worse records in the entire Eastern League.

Out of the Philadelphia Phillies top 20 prospects six of them spent time in Fightin Phils’ uniforms.

Perhaps the most exciting of these prospects to play for Reading was the Phillies top draft pick of 2014, Aaron Nola.  The right-hander made his Double-A debut on August 8th against the Harrisburg Senators, picking up the win as he allowed just one earned run on six hits.  Nola made four starts after that to finish the season 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA.  The LSU product has 55.1 innings of minor league work under his belt, 24 of them with Reading.  It’s believed in many circles he will be the first player from this year’s draft to reach the majors and he is currently the Phillies’ number two overall prospect.

The Phillies’ number four overall prospect is also a pitcher.  That title currently belongs to southpaw Jesse Biddle who went 3-10 with Reading in 2014.  Though a lopsided win-loss record and 5.03 ERA would frighten some, it’s worth noting the lefty needed what the organization chalked up to a mental break in order to find himself.  The Philadelphia native is still considered prized by Phillies brass and shows great promise despite his 2014 struggles.

While Nola and Biddle saw limited time for the Fightins this season, Severino Gonzalez led the team in starts (27) and innings pitched (158.2).  Gonzalez finished 9-13 with a 4.59 ERA and a team-leading 115 strikeouts, 29 more than Hoby Milner‘s 86.  The Panamanian, currently seventh on the Phillies top prospect list, is touted for a strong fastball as well as his control.

On the offensive end, Aaron Altherr put together a solid season.  Altherr spent time with Class-A Clearwater, but his 106 hits were third most on the Reading squad.  He also led the team in doubles with 27 and finished with 14 homers and 57 RBIs.  His athleticism is evident, but his team-leading 20 errors are also an indication he still needs work in some areas.

Outfielders Cameron Perkins and Kelly Dugan, ranked 15 and 18 respectively on the Phillies’ top 20 prospect list, also played for Reading in 2014.  Both of them turn 24 in September.