There will be lots of new faces for IronPigs
When the Lehigh Valley IronPigs return home for their final five games of the season this week, expect to see a lot of new faces on the field for the home team.
Just before last week’s road trip to Buffalo, the Phillies made 13 roster moves, primarily moving players back and forth between Lehigh Valley and Reading.
With the Double-A season ending the prior week and the Triple-A season having two weeks left, the Phillies used the opportunity to stretch the playing season out a little longer for some key players.
Gone from the Lehigh Valley roster are catcher Logan Moore; infielders Sal Gozzo and T.J. Rivera; outfielder Charlie Tilson; and pitchers Tyler Alexander, Josh Hendrickson and Zach McAllister. Arriving from Reading and elsewhere are C Logan O’Hoppe; infielders Dalton Guthrie and Bryson Stott; outfielder Simon Muzziotti; and pitchers Damon Jones, Hans Crouse, Kyle Dohy, Francisco Morales, Brian Marconi and David Paulino. Before Dohy and Crouse could even get comfortable, the two were added to the Phillies roster recently.
The star attraction is shortstop prospect Bryson Stott, who is somewhat of a protégé of Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper. Both are from Las Vegas, and have developed a great friendship and working relationship over the years, including being roommates during spring training. Stott is also the cousin of former IronPigs pitcher Jacob Waguespack, who now pitches for Buffalo. The two faced each other Sunday, and Stott drew a walk on a 3-2 pitch.
In five games with Lehigh Valley, Stott is hitting .500 (7-for-14) with a home run and two RBIs. The home run was his 16th of the season, including stops with Jersey Shore and Reading before joining the ‘Pigs. Stott will be in camp with the Phillies next spring and could find his way into an opening day assignment in the majors.
Simon Muzziotti and Francisco Morales are interesting players to watch. Muzziotti played in just 12 games before coming to Lehigh Valley due to Visa problems in coming to the states from Venezuela. Muzziotti, 22, is a legitimate center field prospect, who between playing in the Florida Complex League, Clearwater, Jersey Shore, Reading and now Lehigh Valley, is hitting a combined .283 and has a good track record. The calling card for Muzziotti is speed, which allowed him to swipe 21 bases in 2019 when he was at Clearwater, which was then a High-A affiliate.
Morales, 21, didn’t have good numbers at Reading this season - 6.94 ERA in 20 starts and two relief appearances - but, like Muzziotti, is a legit prospect on the mound. In his first start with the IronPigs, Morales threw five shutout innings against Buffalo, one of the better hitting teams in the league. In 88 innings this season, the right-hander has whiffed 115 batters.
Dohy, a left-handed reliever, has been with Lehigh Valley off and on, making 41 relief appearances as an IronPig in 2019, and six more this season before being demoted to Reading. He has had success at the lower levels of the minors, but has struggled at the Triple-A level. He has yet to make his MLB debut with the Phillies. Meanwhile, Crouse was acquired from Texas in the deal that brought starter Kyle Gibson and closer Ian Kennedy from the Rangers. Crouse turned 23 two weeks ago, and made his major league debut Sunday against Pittsburgh and allowed a solo home run to Cole Tucker on the first pitch of his big-league career. He was able to settle in somewhat, allowing just that one run in three innings of work.
SCHEDULE DOUBLE-TAKE … If you glanced at the schedule and didn’t see any late September IronPigs games, it’s because they weren’t originally scheduled. They were added in place of Triple-A playoffs, giving each team five more home games. An added benefit was that it allows teams to make promotions - much like the Phillies did - and also keeps players sharp in case they are needed at the major league level.
SECOND STINTS … Players making their second stint in the Phillies minor league system didn’t fare too well. Moore, Stassi and Rivera were all re-signed during the season. Stassi played at Reading and did not receive a late season promotion to Lehigh Valley, Rivera was placed on the Developmental List - which is basically a way of stashing a player away - and Moore was released. Stassi and Rivera will become free agents when the MLB season officially ends, while Moore is already a free agent.
HOW GOSE IT? ... Anthony Gose, 31, was a second-round pick by the Phillies way back in 2008. He played in 372 major league games with Toronto and Detroit between 2012 and 2016, hitting .240 with 12 home runs. After a dismal 2016, Gose moved to the mound and is now a left-handed reliever. He made his MLB debut with Cleveland last week, and in three relief appearances, Gose has thrown four shutout innings with six strikeouts out of the Indians.