An update on the Philadelphia Phillies ‘Low-A’ level minor league club, the Lakewood (NJ) BlueClaws.
The Phillies ‘Low-A’ level minor league club, the Lakewood BlueClaws, currently find themselves at the bottom of the South Atlantic (SAL) League standings in the North Division.
The BlueClaws are 16-24, which has them tied with the Marlins’ affiliates in Greensboro for last place. Both teams trail the first place Hagerstown Suns (Nationals) by 10.5 games already.
Manager Shawn Williams’ club has been hurt by the struggles of one of the Phillies top minor league pitching prospects at the lower levels, right-hander Franklyn Kilome.
Kilome thus far has an 0-4 record with a 7.30 ERA and a 1.99 WHIP. He has allowed 34 hits in 24.2 innings with a 25/15 K:BB ratio across his first half-dozen starts.
Named as our #7 Phillies prospect here at TBOH during the preseason, Kilome had a solid season a year ago with short-season Williamsport as a 20-year old during which he saw a major uptick in his fastball, leading to the lofty ranking.
Kilome struggled mightily with command and control issues during the season’s opening month. In April, the righty went 0-3 with a 15.83 ERA and walked 10 batters over his first 9.1 innings.
However, things may finally be coming together for the high-ceiling pitcher who is now 21 years old. Kilome has allowed just 14 hits in 15 innings over his first three May starts. He is scheduled to start today against Delmarva.
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“He has those long arms and legs,” Sweeney said per Gelb. “He’s a tall kid. It’s hard to get that body working together all in one piece. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get his legs working properly and hopefully the upper body will come along with it. It’s a challenge.”
Four other starters are generally performing well for Lakewood. 22-year old Shane Watson has allowed 32 hits over 39.1 innings with a 32/11 K:BB ratio. Luke Leftwich turns 22 in a couple of weeks, and has allowed 33 hits over 35.2 innings with a 52/13 K:BB.
Harold Arauz, one of the pieces obtained by the Phillies from Houston in the Ken Giles trade, turns 21 years of age next week. The righty has allowed 26 hits over 34.2 innings with a 30/16 K:BB. Finally, 22-year old righty Jose Taveras has yielded 25 hits in 32.2 innings with a sensational 38/5 K:BB ratio.
Offensively, the BlueClaws are led by right fielder Jose Pujols. The 20-year old is a solid defender with a strong arm and big power, the sterotypical outline for a big league right fielder. He is hitting for a .263/.307/.467 slash line and his eight homers and 27 RBI both lead the club.
In the long run, the most interesting player on this team is probably left fielder Cornelius Randolph, the Phillies’ top pick at 10th overall in the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft out of a Georgia high school.
Randolph is struggling in his first full season of pro ball. But it has to be considered that the left-handed hitter will not turn 19 years of age until two weeks from now. He has a .240/.321/.340 slash line with five RBI and three steals over his first 56 plate appearances.
His development has hit a snag, as Randolph has been sidelined for a month now with a shoulder strain. However, he is due to come off the disabled list in early June, and the Phils’ believe that he will be ready to go at that point.
First Energy Park is located approximately 60 miles from Philly, about 10 miles north of Toms River and also about 10 miles from the Jersey shore between the Seaside Heights and Point Pleasant Beach areas.
We’ll be bringing you the latest updates on the SAL standings and the progress of top Phillies prospects at Lakewood approximately every two weeks here at TBOH, as well as providing any major news as those stories develop.