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Irvin staying patient in Triple-A after ASG start

MLB.com

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Cole Irvin had his priorities in line.

While Irvin attended a gala the night before the Triple-A All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, Lehigh Valley teammate Enyel De Los Santos made his Major League debut for the Phillies at Citi Field. Irvin often peeked at his phone to keep tabs on the game. He wasn't missing his rotation-mate's first shot in The Show.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Cole Irvin had his priorities in line.

While Irvin attended a gala the night before the Triple-A All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, Lehigh Valley teammate Enyel De Los Santos made his Major League debut for the Phillies at Citi Field. Irvin often peeked at his phone to keep tabs on the game. He wasn't missing his rotation-mate's first shot in The Show.

"It's awesome to see a guy that deserves it go up and do well," said Irvin, the Phils' 22nd-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, from the Coca-Cola Park dugout. "You want to pay attention to what he's doing."

A day after De Los Santos went from being the International League's best pitcher to a conundrum for Mets hitters, Irvin took De Los Santos' spot as All-Star starter and pitched a scoreless first inning with two strikeouts. A first half in which he ranked third among qualified pitchers in ERA (2.89), first in WHIP (1.07), second in wins (eight), fifth in strikeouts (90), second in walk rate (4.5 percent) and second in xFIP (3.22) got him there.

Irvin, who threw six scoreless innings in his first start of the second half on Monday, has pitched well enough that he could become the Phillies' first lefty starter since Adam Morgan on Sept. 28, 2016, and the first of the club's 2016 Draft class to reach the Majors. It's unlikely, though, that Irvin's strong Triple-A performance will necessarily dictate a callup as it did for De Los Santos due to 40-man roster constraints -- Irvin doesn't need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft until after the 2019 season -- and a Phils rotation that has the fourth-best ERA in the National League.

Irvin doesn't mind. His priorities are, again, in order.

"If the big league club is taking notice of Enyel and [Trevor] Plouffe and [Mitch] Walding and these guys that they've called up, then they're paying attention to me," Irvin said. "All I can do is handle what I'm doing and just do my best and develop and get myself in a position to be the next guy."

The Phillies' fifth-round pick in 2016, Irvin has risen quickly through a Minor League system that is well-stocked with potential big league arms. He went 5-1 with a 1.97 ERA at Class A Short-Season Williamsport after being drafted. He skipped Class A Lakewood and began 2017 with Class A Advanced Clearwater, only to earn a midseason promotion to Double-A Reading.

There, Irvin met his first prolonged struggle as a pro. His home run numbers inflated to the point where he allowed 12 in a nine-game stretch. His innings count pushed 150, a tough ask for a young arm that had already surpassed that number the previous summer between his final season at the University of Oregon, the pros and instructional league.

"I was tired," Irvin said. "First full season, and it was a change to pitching every fifth day. I didn't know what to expect. This offseason, I had the ability to change and work out and prepare for that. I feel stronger than I did last year at this time."

Extra core work, hot tub soaks and dedicated time for icing his legs are a few of the things that make Irvin believe he's better prepared to continue this year's success into the second half of the season. Instead of fading, Irvin has gotten stronger as the year has gone on. The 24-year-old left-hander posted a 1.51 ERA in seven straight wins from May 7 to June 10.

"[Irvin has] been very consistent commanding the fastball and with the secondary pitches," Lehigh Valley pitching coach David Lundquist said. "Change has been a plus weapon. It's a pitch he can throw anytime. The curveball's been good and we tightened up the slider."

Irvin will take his good feeling into the second half of his season, knowing full well that won't necessarily bring him to Philadelphia. That's fine with Irvin, because with both the IronPigs and Phillies in first place, team and personal goals have aligned.

"I want to be the Pigs that win the championship, and I want to be here and witness it," Irvin said. "I want to have fun, and if my name is called with the Phils, I want to win there."

Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies, Cole Irvin

Cozens using his time back in Minors wisely

MLB.com

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Dylan Cozens stood on the infield grass of Coca-Cola Park with one arm around a six-foot-tall pig. He cradled a six-inch, turkey-costumed version of himself in his opposite hand. Cozens smiled, posed for a picture, waved to the crowd and ventured back to the home dugout to start in a baseball game for the first time since June 29.

Welcome back to Lehigh Valley.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -- Dylan Cozens stood on the infield grass of Coca-Cola Park with one arm around a six-foot-tall pig. He cradled a six-inch, turkey-costumed version of himself in his opposite hand. Cozens smiled, posed for a picture, waved to the crowd and ventured back to the home dugout to start in a baseball game for the first time since June 29.

Welcome back to Lehigh Valley.

Tweet from @IronPigs: Tonight is our Salute to Thanksgiving and we have so much for which to be thankful: ��� The team is in first place��� There's a bobblehead giveaway and jersey auction��� The Pigs have walked off as winners in their last four home games��� Tonight opens...https://t.co/Mghmk9TPMR pic.twitter.com/W0ykUtjNcO

The Phillies on Tuesday optioned Cozens, their No. 15 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, to Triple-A in a swap for Trevor Plouffe, a 32-year-old infielder signed in April. The move gave the Phillies a more experienced bench option after Cozens totaled just two hits and three walks in 21 plate appearances after being called up on June 1.

"We felt confident that [Plouffe] could come up and give us a good at-bat off the bench," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said Tuesday. "... It's not an indictment of anybody else. It doesn't mean he's better than anybody."

The return to Lehigh Valley ended the first instance in Cozens' life in which he didn't see regular playing time. He started four games during his time with the Phillies. A brief trip to the disabled list didn't help.

Now, Cozens will start nearly every game for the IronPigs, as he did in 46 of 50 games before his callup and again on Thursday night. He went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts and a three-run home run -- his first hit since his first Major League homer on June 6 at Wrigley Field -- while batting cleanup and manning center field in a 4-3 loss to Buffalo.

Video: PHI@CHC: Cozens puts Phils ahead in 9th with 1st HR

"I just want to keep continuing to be a better hitter," Cozens said in the IronPigs clubhouse Thursday. "Put the ball in play more, run the bases better, get better at defense -- everything really. Just continue to improve my game in every single aspect."

Cozens had no qualms with his first Major League stint. He's a ballplayer; reaching the big leagues will always be "cool." His vantage point from the dugout provided a learning experience, too.

"I got to watch the game a lot, take in the kind of things I wouldn't really pay attention to if I was playing," Cozens said. "... Watching the pitchers. Watching the hitters as well. Different counts, how these pitchers are attacking certain guys and stuff like that. A lot of baserunning things that can kind of open your eyes, especially playing against the Cubs and how they run the bases. Things that you can do to give your team an advantage to win."

Such an outlook aligns with Kapler's search to find value at the margins. And when Major League rosters expand in September, Cozens will almost surely find himself back in the Phillies clubhouse. He could be back sooner. He is just 24 years old, and one hitless month will matter less after he puts in more work as an IronPig.

"It's just another opportunity to succeed and prove that I should be back up there," Cozens said. "Trying to grind here and play good enough to where they can't be without me."

Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies, Dylan Cozens

Phils alone in 1st as De Los Santos wins debut

Franco, Herrera go deep to support rookie's 6 1/3 quality innings
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Enyel De Los Santos walked down the clubhouse steps and into the visitors' dugout Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field. He took a seat on the bench by himself. He soaked in the scene alone.

De Los Santos said he felt nervous before he made his Major League debut Tuesday night in a 7-3 victory over the Mets. He said he wanted to clear his mind. He showed plenty of poise a few hours later, allowing five hits, three runs and three walks and striking out six in 6 1/3 innings to earn the win.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- Enyel De Los Santos walked down the clubhouse steps and into the visitors' dugout Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field. He took a seat on the bench by himself. He soaked in the scene alone.

De Los Santos said he felt nervous before he made his Major League debut Tuesday night in a 7-3 victory over the Mets. He said he wanted to clear his mind. He showed plenty of poise a few hours later, allowing five hits, three runs and three walks and striking out six in 6 1/3 innings to earn the win.

View Full Game Coverage

"This is a dream come true," he said.

The victory, coupled with the Braves' loss to Toronto, gave Philadelphia (51-39) sole possession of first place in the National League East for the first time since May 26.

De Los Santos, 22, got a spot start Tuesday because of Monday's doubleheader and because Vince Velasquez is not eligible to be activated from the 10-day disabled list until Wednesday. De Los Santos, who is the organization's No. 11 prospect, got optioned back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game. But based on his performance and pedigree, he figures to be the first pitcher back if the Phillies need another starter at some point this season.

Video: PHI@NYM: De Los Santos gets Bautista for 1st career K

They might. The Phillies are in a pennant race. If he returns, it will be because the Phils are trying to win games down the stretch, more than sticking with a young pitcher they are trying to develop.

"I think I showed them that I'm capable of doing really good things here," De Los Santos said. "I'm confident. I think I did a pretty good job, so yeah. Hopefully I opened some eyes."

De Los Santos has been on the Phillies' radar for some time. They acquired him from the Padres for Freddy Galvis in December. He went 9-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 16 starts with Lehigh Valley, earning him the start in the Triple-A All-Star Game, which he will miss because it is on Wednesday. He also has been selected as the Phillies' lone representative in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on Sunday.

"I was going to start the Triple-A game, but this was much better," he said. "This is an opportunity that I cannot pass up."

Video: PHI@NYM: Franco lays out for grounder, retires Flores

De Los Santos walked the leadoff hitter in both the first and second innings, but neither advanced. He allowed a run in the third inning when Amed Rosario tripled after Rhys Hoskins crashed violently into the wall. Rosario scored on a sacrifice fly.

De Los Santos retired 10 of 11 batters at one point before the Mets scored twice in the seventh. His teammates enthusiastically patted him on the back as Phillies manager Gabe Kapler removed him from the game.

"It was impressive," Hoskins said. "We had heard about the stuff, but I was most impressed by how he commanded his pitches and his offspeed stuff for strikes. He had three walks. That's pretty good to calm the nerves and perform under the bright lights for the first time and [to] be in the strike zone was impressive."

Video: PHI@NYM: Franco singles for 4th RBI of the game

"What first came to mind was Curt Schilling in 2004, the year we won the World Series," Kapler said, referring to his former Red Sox teammate, "very emphatically saying that in order to win a World Series you need not 25 guys, you need 35. And I thought this was a very clear indication that you need to have guys come up and make big starts for you. You need to have guys come up and get big clutch pinch-hits for you. And sometimes they need to be in your organization. You can't always go out and get them. So it was really nice to have a guy come up, in our organization, a guy that has been developed by our staff at Triple-A … that's an indication of a healthy organization."

Video: PHI@NYM: Kapler on De Los Santos' win in MLB debut

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Be like Maik: Franco ripped a two-out, three-run home run to left field in the second inning against Mets rookie Drew Gagnon -- also making his Major League debut -- giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. Franco is hitting .440 (11-for-25) with one double, two home runs, seven RBIs and a 1.237 OPS in eight games since Kapler started hitting him eighth on July 3. He is hitting .412 with a 1.180 OPS in 17 games since June 23.

• Mets mess with Franco by trying to push him off bases

"I'm not even thinking about it that way," Franco said, asked if hitting eighth has motivated him. "I'm not even thinking. I'm just trying to come in, if I'm playing and I'm in the lineup, it doesn't really matter what position I hit. I just try to go out there and play my game and do everything I can do for my team. Nothing is going to change. For me, everything is going to be the same. I just try to go out there and play my game." More >

Video: PHI@NYM: Franco clubs a 3-run home run to left field

Williams delivers: Nick Williams hit a one-out single to center field in the third inning to score two runs to make it 5-0. After going 3-for-5 on Tuesday, Williams is hitting .276 with 10 home runs, 29 RBIs and an .867 OPS since May 6, earning himself more regular playing time in right field.

Video: PHI@NYM: Williams plates 2 with a single to center

SOUND SMART
Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera hit a solo home run to right field in the fifth inning to make it 6-1. It was Herrera's 16th homer of the season, setting a career high. He hit 15 homers in 2016 and 14 in '17.

"He's got as much power as anybody on our club," Kapler said. "And when he drives the ball, he drives it in the air often."

Video: PHI@NYM: Herrera smashes a solo homer to right-center

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Hoskins crashed violently into the left-field wall chasing Rosario's fly ball in the third inning. As soon as the play ended, Kapler and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan ran onto the field to take a look. Hoskins immediately waved them off. He stayed in the game.

"I saw a replay during the game and I thought it was every part of grace and athleticism put together," Hoskins said. " No, honestly I laughed when I saw it. Obviously, thank God that I'm OK. Just going after the ball."

Hoskins ditched his double-flapped helmet Tuesday because he learned that his jaw, which he fractured earlier this season, is completely healed.

Video: PHI@NYM: Hoskins runs into wall on Rosario's triple

HE SAID IT
"There's a consideration there. On the flip side, I feel like there's something to him in that spot. Since he's been in that spot he's been producing. It's constantly under evaluation." -- Kapler, on possibly moving up Franco in the lineup

UP NEXT
Velasquez (5-8, 4.69 ERA) faces Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom (5-4, 1.79 ERA) in Wednesday night's series finale at Citi Field at 7:10 p.m. ET. Velasquez rejoins the rotation after spending the past 10 days on the disabled list with a bruised right forearm. Folks might remember that Velasquez took a line drive off his arm, but picked up the ball and threw left-handed to first base to record the out against the Nationals.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Enyel De Los Santos

Phillies Minor League Review: July 2-8

MLB.com

Players of the Week

Player - OF Cornelius Randolph, Reading… The 21-year-old reached base safely in all seven of his games last week, hitting safely in all but one game. He batted .440 (11-25) with two doubles, four RBI, five runs scored, six walks and posted a .548 on-base percentage. Over his last 20 games (since June 17), Randolph is batting .304 (21-69) with a .407 on-base percentage. The Georgia native was selected by the Phillies in the first round of the June 2015 draft.

Players of the Week

Player - OF Cornelius Randolph, Reading… The 21-year-old reached base safely in all seven of his games last week, hitting safely in all but one game. He batted .440 (11-25) with two doubles, four RBI, five runs scored, six walks and posted a .548 on-base percentage. Over his last 20 games (since June 17), Randolph is batting .304 (21-69) with a .407 on-base percentage. The Georgia native was selected by the Phillies in the first round of the June 2015 draft.

Pitcher - LHP Jonathan Hennigan, Lakewood… Hennigan, 23, struck out 52.4 percent of the batters he faced (11 of 21) over 5.0 scoreless innings of relief. He yielded just one walk in his two appearances. The lefty recorded a career-high seven strikeouts on July 7 at Kannapolis (3.0 IP). He was selected by the Phillies in the 21st round of the June 2016 draft.

Lehigh Valley IronPigs - International League North Division… 52-36, 1st place… The IronPigs won five of their seven games last week, including their last four. They ended the week with a three-game sweep over Rochester, winning each game by one run.

Top hitting performers - INF Trevor Plouffe batted .333 (7-21) with two doubles, two home runs, four RBI and a 1.137 OPS in six games… 3B Mitch Walding led the club with nine hits. He doubled, tripled, homered, drove in six runs and scored six runs, while batting .333 (9-27) over seven games… 1B Joey Meneses went 6-for-22 (.273) with a home run and six RBI in six contests. He leads the International League in total bases (156) and is tied for first in home runs (15) this season.

Top pitching performers - RHP Enyel De Los Santos , who was selected as a member of the World Team for the 2018 All-Star Futures Game, logged a quality start in his only outing, allowing two runs over 6.0 innings. He owns the lowest ERA (1.89) in the league this season… RHP Hector Neris made three scoreless relief appearances (3.0 IP), while recording six strikeouts… RHP Pedro Beato went 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA (1 ER, 7.0 IP) in four relief appearances.

Reading Fightin Phils - Eastern League Eastern Division… 41-47, 5th place… Reading went 5-2, which included a five-game winning streak from July 3-7. The Fightin Phils took four of five games at New Hampshire to conclude their week.

Top hitting performers - OF Cornelius Randolph, the Phillies Minor League Player of the Week, batted .440 (11-25) with two doubles, four RBI, five runs scored and a 1.068 OPS in seven games… C Deivi Grullon went 7-for-14 (.500) with two doubles, one triple, one home run, nine RBI and a 1.471 OPS over four contests. He has hit safely in 14 consecutive games (.385 AVG) since June 16, which is the longest hitting streak by a Reading player this season… 1B/OF Austin Listi posted a .469 on-base percentage, while collecting three doubles. He is riding a 13-game hitting streak (.412 AVG) since June 26… INF Zach Green posted a .296/.367/.704 slash line, going 8-for-27 with three doubles, one triple, two home runs, seven RBI and seven runs scored in seven games.

Top pitching performers - LHP JoJo Romero fanned eight batters over 7.0 innings and allowed just one run in his only start. He has posted a quality start in five of his last six outings… RHP Franklyn Kilome struck out 11 and allowed one earned run over his two starts (12.0 IP)… RHP Seth McGarry tossed 3.1 scoreless innings of relief (2 games) and recorded three strikeouts.

Clearwater Threshers - Florida State League North Division… 10-6, T-3rd place, 42-42 overall… The Threshers swept a two-game set against Lakeland from July 2-3 and finished the week with a record of 3-3.

Top hitting performers - OF Adam Haseley went 8-for-21 (.381) with a triple, two home runs, three RBI, five runs scored and a 1.171 OPS in five games. He leads the Florida State League with 98 hits this season… C Henri Lartigue batted .333 (7-21) with two doubles and four RBI over five contests… OF Jose Pujols doubled, tripled, homered and drove in three runs in five games.

Top pitching performers - RHP Adonis Medina struck out nine batters, logging a quality start in which he allowed three runs in 6.0 innings. He has recorded 27 strikeouts over his last three starts (16.0 IP)… RHP Alejandro Requena earned a win in his lone start, surrendering one run on two hits over 5.0 innings with seven strikeouts.

Lakewood BlueClaws - South Atlantic League Northern Division… 10-7, 2nd place, 51-35 overall… The BlueClaws won three games last week, all of which were one-run victories. Additionally, three of their four losses were by one run.

Top hitting performersOF Josh Stephen batted .467 (7-15) with two doubles and two RBI in four games… INF Jake Scheiner collected 14 total bases, going 8-for-28 (.286) with three doubles, one home run and three RBI over seven games… OF Jhailyn Ortiz doubled, homered twice and drove in five runs in seven contests.

Top pitching performers - LHP Jonathan Hennigan, the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week, struck out 11 batters over two scoreless relief appearances (5.0 IP)… LHP Zach Warren converted both of his save opportunities, struck out five and allowed one run in three relief outings (4.0 IP).

Williamsport Crosscutters - New York-Penn League Pinckney Division… 9-13, 5th place… The Crosscutters won two of their final three games last week after dropping four straight contests to begin the week. Offensively, they rank second in the league with a .258 batting average.

Top hitting performersOF Ben Pelletier collected four multi-hit games and posted a .310/.355/.448 slash line, going 9-for-29 with two triples and three RBI in seven games… 2B Brayan Gonzalez hit .316 (6-19) with a double and five RBI… OF Ben Aklinski went 5-for-13 (.385) with a home run, seven RBI and one stolen base. He slugged his first professional home run on July 8 at Mahoning Valley.

Top pitching performers - RHP Gustavo Armas recorded seven strikeouts over 6.0 innings, while allowing just two runs in his only start… LHP Ethan Lindow struck out five batters with no walks over 5.1 innings in which he surrendered two runs in his lone start.

Gulf Coast League Phillies East - Gulf Coast League Northeast Division… 9-5, 1st place.

Top hitting performers1B Madison Stokes batted .500 (5-10) with two doubles, one triple and two RBI… 2B Nicolas Torres went 5-for-13 (.385) with two doubles and two runs scored… 3B Jake Holmes doubled, drove in four runs and hit .357 (5-14).

Top pitching performers - RHP Alejandro Made earned a win in both of his scoreless relief appearances, combining to strike out five batters over 3.0 innings… RHP Justin Miller did not allow an earned run in 5.0 innings, while recording five strikeouts in his only start… RHP Dominic Pipkin allowed one run over 3.0 innings in his second professional start.  

Gulf Coast League Phillies West - Gulf Coast League Northwest Division… 9-6, 2nd place.

Top hitting performers2B Christian Valerio collected multiple hits in two of his three games, batting .500 (6-12) with four doubles and three RBI… C Abrahan Gutierrez doubled twice, knocked in four runs and went 4-for-12 (.333)… SS Luis Garcia hit .333 (4-12) with two doubles.

Top pitching performers - RHP Rafi Gonell tossed 5.0 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and earned a victory in his lone start… RHP Kyle Glogoski fanned three batters and yielded just one hit over 3.0 scoreless innings in his one start.

Philadelphia Phillies

De Los Santos set for big league debut vs. Mets

22-year-old righty ranked as Phillies' No. 11 prospect by MLB Pipeline
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Phillies will get a look at another top prospect Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley right-hander Enyel De Los Santos will make his big league debut against the Mets on Tuesday. De Los Santos is the Phillies' No. 11 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. A strong performance from De Los Santos could help convince the Phils' front office that it has a solid internal option should the need arise for another starting pitcher.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- The Phillies will get a look at another top prospect Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Triple-A Lehigh Valley right-hander Enyel De Los Santos will make his big league debut against the Mets on Tuesday. De Los Santos is the Phillies' No. 11 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. A strong performance from De Los Santos could help convince the Phils' front office that it has a solid internal option should the need arise for another starting pitcher.

View Full Game Coverage

The Phillies are expected to place infielder Pedro Florimon on the 60-day disabled list to make room for De Los Santos on the 40-man roster. Philadelphia needs a starter for Tuesday's game because Vince Velasquez is not eligible to be activated from the 10-day DL until Wednesday night's series finale.

"We are likely to select De Los Santos as our starter for tomorrow," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler confirmed before Monday's doubleheader against the Mets.

De Los Santos, 22, is 9-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 16 starts with Lehigh Valley. He has been selected as the starter in the International League All-Star Game and as the Phillies' lone representative in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park. The Phils acquired the righty in December from the Padres in exchange for shortstop Freddy Galvis.

Velasquez (bruised right forearm) is expected to start Wednesday. Nick Pivetta is set to start Thursday in Baltimore, with Jake Arrieta expected to pitch Friday in Miami. Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola will throw Saturday and Sunday against the Marlins, although the Phillies have not decided who will pitch on what day.

Nola's starting day is noteworthy because he earned a spot on the National League All-Star team. If he pitches Sunday, he will not be eligible to pitch in the Midsummer Classic on July 17.

"I'll wait until after he has gone through his start and after the day is over, then I'll sit down and discuss it with him," Kapler said. "Certainly there's several considerations. I'll leave it at that. Once I talk to Noles, we'll have a more meaningful discussion."

There has been plenty of focus on the Phillies' rotation as the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches. Sources have told MLB.com that the Phils are likely to focus on a bat and bullpen help more than a starting pitcher.

There is reason for that. The Phillies' rotation has a 3.80 ERA and a .694 opponents OPS, which both rank eighth in the Major Leagues. It is fifth in the Majors with a 3.70 xFIP and third with a 10.0 WAR, according to FanGraphs.

In other words, the Phillies seem inclined to allocate their trade assets elsewhere.

Elsewhere could mean a third baseman like the Royals' Mike Moustakas. MLB.com's Jon Morosi reported recently that the Phillies have inquired about super-utility man Whit Merrifield, who most in Kansas City believe should have made the American League All-Star team. The Phils have liked Merrifield since this past offseason.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Enyel De Los Santos

Phillies Minor League Review: June 25-July 1

MLB.com

Players of the Week

Player - C Rodolfo Duran, Lakewood… Duran, 20, posted a .643/.737/1.357 slash line, going 9-for-14 with one double, three home runs, four RBI, five runs scored and five walks in five games. He homered in three consecutive games from June 27-29 and was also selected as the South Atlantic League Player of the Week. He finished June with 14 extra-base hits and a 1.298 OPS in 20 games. The Dominican Republic native was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent on Nov. 5, 2014.

Players of the Week

Player - C Rodolfo Duran, Lakewood… Duran, 20, posted a .643/.737/1.357 slash line, going 9-for-14 with one double, three home runs, four RBI, five runs scored and five walks in five games. He homered in three consecutive games from June 27-29 and was also selected as the South Atlantic League Player of the Week. He finished June with 14 extra-base hits and a 1.298 OPS in 20 games. The Dominican Republic native was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent on Nov. 5, 2014.

Pitcher - RHP Spencer Howard, Lakewood… The 21-year-old struck out a season-high 10 batters over 6.0 scoreless innings in his start on June 29 against Hagerstown. He was also named South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for his performance and is averaging 11.66 SO/9.0 IP (76 SO, 58.2 IP) this season. Howard was selected by the Phillies in the second round of the June 2017 draft.

Lehigh Valley IronPigs - International League North Division… 47-35, 1st place… The IronPigs split a four-game set against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before taking two of three at Rochester to end their week. They finished June with a record of 18-10.

Top hitting performers - 1B Joey Meneses batted .333 (9-27) with five doubles, one home run, five RBI and four runs scored in seven games. He entered play today leading the International League in total bases (151) and tied for first in home runs (15) this season… INF Trevor Plouffe posted a .353/.542/.882 slash line, going 6-for-17 with three doubles, two home runs, six RBI and seven walks over six contests.

Top pitching performers - LHP Ranger Suarez debuted with Lehigh Valley on June 29 at Rochester, striking out six and allowing one run over 4.2 innings… RHP Enyel De Los Santos allowed four runs in 12.0 innings across two starts. He has logged a quality start in 10 of his 15 outings this season and leads the league with a 1.81 ERA… LHP Cole Irvin struck out 12 batters over 11.1 innings, while not allowing a walk in his two starts.

Reading Fightin Phils - Eastern League Eastern Division… 36-46, 5th place… Reading went 3-4 last week, which included two wins in their last three games against Hartford. Offensively, they continue to lead the league in home runs (83) this season.

Top hitting performers - OF Austin Listi went 11-for-26 (.423) with one double, three home runs, 10 RBI and posted a 1.259 OPS in seven games. He entered play today tied for seventh in RBI (62) across Minor League Baseball in 2018… INF Zach Green, who was recently selected as an Eastern League All-Star, batted .476 (10-21), doubled twice and scored five runs over six games. He collected a season-high tying four hits on June 28 vs Erie… OF Jan Hernandez doubled, homered twice, drove in three runs and scored six runs, while batting .300 (6-20). He was chosen as an Eastern League All-Star.

Top pitching performers - LHP JoJo Romero recorded 13 strikeouts over two starts (11.0 IP), while allowing three runs. He has struck out 28 batters in his last four starts (25.0 IP)… RHP Jacob Waguespack earned a win in his lone start, allowing one run with eight strikeouts over 5.2 innings… LHP Jeff Singer tossed 3.0 scoreless innings of relief (2 games) and converted his only save opportunity. He has posted a 1.04 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 11 relief appearances with Reading this season.

Clearwater Threshers - Florida State League North Division… 8-3, 2nd place, 40-39 overall… The Threshers took two of three at Daytona to begin their week but later dropped two of three against St. Lucie. Clearwater's offense leads the league with 731 hits this season.

Top hitting performers - OF Jose Pujols posted a .364/.462/.545 slash line, going 8-for-22 with a double, home run and four walks in six games… OF Adam Haseley went 6-for-22 (.273) with a triple and five walks. He is batting .333 (59-177) with a .393 on-base percentage over his last 43 games since May 10… OF Grenny Cumana homered, drove in three runs and hit .300 (6-20).

Top pitching performers - RHP Ramon Rosso struck out nine and surrendered just two hits over 6.0 scoreless innings in his first start with Clearwater on July 1 vs St. Lucie… LHP McKenzie Mills yielded two hits and one unearned run in 6.0 innings during his only start. He has not allowed an earned run over his last 13.0 innings (since June 18)… RHP Alejandro Requena logged a quality start, allowing one run over 6.0 innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.

Lakewood BlueClaws - South Atlantic League Northern Division… 8-3, 1st place, 49-31 overall… The BlueClaws went 5-2, including a three-game sweep over Hagerstown. Lakewood also added two shutout victories to its league-leading total of 18 shutouts in 2018. (The next closest team has 10.)

Top hitting performersC Rodolfo Duran, the Phillies Minor League Player of the Week, batted .643 (9-14) with one double, three home runs, four RBI, five runs scored, five walks and posted a 2.094 OPS in five games… INF Jose Antequera doubled, homered, scored five runs and batted .389 (7-18)… INF Jake Scheiner doubled, drove in three runs and walked seven times, while going 7-for-22 (.318). He drew a career-high four walks on June 30 vs Delmarva.

Top pitching performers - RHP Spencer Howard, the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Week, recorded his first double-digit strikeout start of the season on June 29 against Hagerstown. He struck out 10 batters over 6.0 scoreless innings… LHP David Parkinson allowed one run over 5.0 innings and fanned seven batters in his only start. He owns the second-highest SO/9.0 IP ratio (10.80) among qualifying South Atlantic League starting pitchers in 2018… LHP Zach Warren retired all seven batters he faced, striking out five of them over two relief appearances (2.1 IP). He also converted both of his save chances… LHP Kyle Young earned a win after allowing two unearned runs over 7.0 innings in his one start.

Williamsport Crosscutters - New York-Penn League Pinckney Division… 7-9, T-3rd place… Williamsport dropped five of its six games last week.

Top hitting performersSS Jonathan Guzman went 6-for-20 (.300) with three doubles, one triple, one home run, four RBI, five runs scored and posted a 1.018 OPS in six games… OF Matt Vierling doubled twice, homered and posted a .364 on-base percentage in five games. He slugged his first professional home run on June 29 at State College… OF Ben Pelletier collected two doubles, three RBI and slashed .412/.444/.529 (7-17) over five contests.

Top pitching performers - LHP Jhordany Mezquita allowed one run on two hits in 5.0 innings, while recording five strikeouts in his lone start… LHP Ethan Lindow made one start in which he surrendered just one run over 5.0 innings.

Gulf Coast League Phillies East - Gulf Coast League Northeast Division… 4-5, 3rd place.

Top hitting performers 3B Jake Holmes, 1B Jack Zoellner, C Juan Aparicio and SS Jose Mercado all homered. It was the first professional home run for Zoellner and Mercado.

Top pitching performers - RHP Bailey Cummings struck out three over 2.0 hitless innings in his lone relief appearance… RHP Dominic Pipkin (2.0 IP, BB, 3 SO) and RHP Tyler McKay (2.0 IP, H) both made starts in their professional debut.    

Gulf Coast League Phillies West - Gulf Coast League Northwest Division… 7-4, 2nd place.

Top hitting performers OF Trent Bowles went 5-for-16 (.313) with two doubles, five runs scored and two steals… C Abrahan Gutierrez collected a double, four RBI and hit .375 (6-16)… OF Corbin Williams batted .438 (7-16) with three RBI and two stolen bases… C Logan O'Hoppe went 4-for-8 (.500) with a double and two RBI.

Top pitching performers - RHP Ben Brown struck out six over 5.0 innings, while allowing one unearned run on two hits in his only start… RHP Rafi Gonell earned a win in his lone start, striking out five and surrendering one earned run in 5.0 innings… RHP Leonel Aponte tossed 3.0 scoreless innings of relief (2 games) and notched a save.

Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies to sign No. 8 int'l prospect Castillo

MLB.com

The Phillies have the lowest pool money available to spend on the international market for the 2018-2019 period with $3,949,000, but that didn't stop the club from landing one of the top talents in this year's class.

According to industry sources, the Phillies agreed to a $1.6 million deal with right-handed pitcher Starlyn Castillo of the Dominican Republic. Castillo, who ranked No. 8 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, has a fastball that has been clocked at 97 mph, and is considered one of the best arms in the class.

The Phillies have the lowest pool money available to spend on the international market for the 2018-2019 period with $3,949,000, but that didn't stop the club from landing one of the top talents in this year's class.

According to industry sources, the Phillies agreed to a $1.6 million deal with right-handed pitcher Starlyn Castillo of the Dominican Republic. Castillo, who ranked No. 8 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, has a fastball that has been clocked at 97 mph, and is considered one of the best arms in the class.

:: 2018 International Signing Period :: The club did not confirm the deal.

Castillo's fastball usually sits in the 93-96 mph range. He also has an emerging changeup and slider. The 16-year-old sometimes overthrows his pitches up in the strike zone, but that's common for hard-throwers his age. Like most young pitchers, he still learning how to mix his pitches and command the strike zone.

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the MLB Draft receive a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Draft receive $5,504,500. All other clubs received $4,983,500.

The Phillies lost a total of $1 million in pool money for signing Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana, who were both qualifying free agents.

Clubs are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies

No. 3 pick Bohm ready to get going with Phils

Eickhoff receives cortisone shot; Neshek throws bullpen session
MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Alec Bohm, donning Phillies red from his cap to his spikes, stood atop the home dugout steps and gazed out at the Citizens Bank Park grass. He shook the hands of the current club, whom he hopes to join in a few years. The Phillies' freshly signed top Draft pick was scheduled to take batting practice with his new team for the first time Tuesday afternoon, but not until the third group of hitters.

"Scared of pitchers?" starter Zach Eflin joked, egging Bohm to join the Phillies' arms in the early group.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Alec Bohm, donning Phillies red from his cap to his spikes, stood atop the home dugout steps and gazed out at the Citizens Bank Park grass. He shook the hands of the current club, whom he hopes to join in a few years. The Phillies' freshly signed top Draft pick was scheduled to take batting practice with his new team for the first time Tuesday afternoon, but not until the third group of hitters.

"Scared of pitchers?" starter Zach Eflin joked, egging Bohm to join the Phillies' arms in the early group.

View Full Game Coverage

Phillies' Draft Tracker

Bohm laughed it off. Although soft-spoken during public appearances since the Phillies took the slugging third baseman out of Wichita State with the third pick in the 2018 Draft, fear does not describe Bohm's current state. He said on Tuesday that he just wants to play baseball. The nearly three weeks that have passed since the Shockers' season ended has been a long time.

"I'm ready to get back out there and get some at-bats and get back into playing," Bohm said.

Now signed with a reported $5.85 million signing bonus, Bohm will get that chance starting Wednesday, when he flies to Clearwater, Fla., to begin a workout program, according to Phillies director of amateur scouting Johnny Almaraz. From there, Bohm should see some time with the Gulf Coast League Phillies before moving up to Class A Short Season Williamsport and hopefully Class A Lakewood by the end of the season. That, as it was last year for the Phillies' top pick, Adam Haseley, is the plan.

Bohm's advancement through the Minors could move rapidly because of his experience and patient approach at the plate. He slashed .339/.436/.625 with 14 doubles, 16 home runs, 55 RBIs, 39 walks and 28 strikeouts as a junior at Wichita State. In the Cape Cod League last summer, he hit .358 with 17 extra-base hits and 28 RBIs.

"The work ethic that he showed me from the Cape to the time we selected him was really, really good," Almaraz said. "That's one of the things I look for as far as the intangibles are concerned. That was so when I met him and scouted him to 'til the very end."

Video: Almaraz talks Phillies selecting Bohm in 2018 Draft

The success is fueled in part by Bohm's displeasure with striking out, something the Phillies have done more than all but three Major League teams this season.

"Striking out, I kind of see it as a waste of an out," Bohm said. "I really hate striking out. The approach is real simple. I just try to put the ball in play. I'm not really too worried about hitting a home run with two strikes, I just want to put it in play."

Bohm improved his walk rate and lowered his strikeout rate each year at Wichita State.

"A lot of that has come from experience and maturity," he said. "Freshman year in college, I was real aggressive, I didn't walk much. I think I walked like nine times my freshman year. But growing into yourself and just kind of learning how to put the ball in play [is key]. Kind of growing and getting experience, knowing what pitchers are trying to do and taking advantage of their mistakes, instead of getting down to two strikes and putting yourself in a hole."

That part of Bohm was what impressed Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. The two had a "fun" conversation, Kapler said, before Bohm joined the team for batting practice.

"Once you get him going on the hitting front, he's got a lot to say," Kapler said. "And it's actually a really advanced mind, so much so that his approach would fit in really well here.

"Hope it's not too long until he gets here."

Injury updates
Jerad Eickhoff, who has yet to pitch in a Major League game this season, received a cortisone shot in his right wrist on Monday, Kapler said. The Phillies skipper did not have an update on when they could expect to have Eickhoff pitching again. Philadelphia has been trying to determine what condition Eickhoff has been dealing with since he experienced a sensation in his fingers during a rehab start last month.

• Reliever Pat Neshek threw a bullpen session Tuesday. He has not pitched for the Phils this season either after a shoulder strain put him on the disabled list to start the season and a flexor strain in his elbow flared up while rehabbing his shoulder.

• Utility infielder Pedro Florimon could return to the lineup in September after breaking his right foot by fouling a pitch off it during the Phillies' recent road trip, Kapler said. His timetable to return is 8-12 weeks.

Style change
The Phillies wore their cream alternate uniforms, which are usually reserved for Sunday afternoon games, on Tuesday night because Rhys Hoskins has not received a double-flapped red helmet to match the usual, pinstriped home uniform. Hoskins returned from a fractured jaw on Saturday.

Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jerad Eickhoff, Pedro Florimon, Pat Neshek

Phils' No. 1 prospect Sanchez to DL

Hoskins activated, Cozens to DL with strained left quadriceps
MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Top Phillies prospect Sixto Sanchez is on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow.

The Phillies said they do not think it is serious.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Top Phillies prospect Sixto Sanchez is on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow.

The Phillies said they do not think it is serious.

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"There was nothing that was shown that told us that he needs surgery," Phillies player development director Joe Jordan said Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. "Obviously, everyone knows who he is. We're concerned just because of the fact that it's him, but again we're putting him on the side for a couple weeks and let it calm down and see where it goes.

"Hopefully it's just a setback and we can get it calmed down."

Sanchez, 19, is the No. 23 prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline. He is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA in eight starts with Class A Clearwater, despite being one of the youngest players in the Florida State League. Sanchez posted a 0.70 ERA (two earned runs in 25 2/3 innings) in his last four starts, striking out 29 and walking four in that span.

Sanchez felt something Monday after pitching seven scoreless innings Sunday against the Florida Fire Frogs. He had a MRI and visited doctors this week in Philadelphia.

"He's been on an awesome run," Jordan said. "He just came in a little inflamed so we're going to be cautious."

Hoskins activated, Cozens to DL

The Phillies activated Rhys Hoskins before Saturday's game. He had been on the 10-day disabled list since May 30 because of a fractured jaw. The jaw has not completely healed -- it could take 4-6 weeks -- but Hoskins got cleared to play after he received a modified batting helmet with double face flaps to protect his jaw.

The Phillies placed Dylan Cozens on the DL to make room for Hoskins on the 25-man roster. Cozens suffered a strained left quadriceps chasing a fly ball Friday.

Eickhoff is relieved, optimistic

Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff is relieved that multiple doctors said he does not have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which could have required a rib to be surgically removed. He hopes to know in the coming days what is causing the tingling and weakness in his fingers when he pitches.

"I'm pretty optimistic about it," Eickhoff said Saturday morning. "Eliminating (TOS) with the symptoms that I have is huge. That kind of narrows it down to a handful of things. In the next couple days I think we're going to have a decent handle on it."

Eickhoff is confident he will pitch again this season.

"I've been throwing. It hasn't affected me to the point where I can't play catch," Eickhoff said. "So I guess that maybe speeds up the process a little bit."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Dylan Cozens, Rhys Hoskins

Bohm pick sets tone for college-heavy Draft

Phillies looking for players who can advance through system quickly
Special to MLB.com

When the Phillies selected Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm with the third overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft on Monday night, the 21-year-old admitted that certain qualities made the 2018 Phillies one of his favorite teams. They're young. They're winning earlier than expected after a rebuild.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Phillies Draft pick

When the Phillies selected Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm with the third overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft on Monday night, the 21-year-old admitted that certain qualities made the 2018 Phillies one of his favorite teams. They're young. They're winning earlier than expected after a rebuild.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Phillies Draft pick

Those same qualities are why the Phillies entered the Draft looking for players like Bohm. With a Major League roster filled with recent graduates of the Minors, such as Scott Kingery and Jorge Alfaro, the Phillies needed to replenish the farm. Bohm, along with several other college position players taken in the 40-round Draft that concluded Wednesday, could do just that and rise through the ranks at an accelerated pace.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

In total, the Phillies selected 38 players throughout the 40-round Draft, sitting out the second and third rounds after forfeiting those picks by signing Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta. Of the 18 position players chosen, 14 were college players and four hailed from the high school ranks. Fourth-round pick Colton Eastman out of Cal State Fullerton highlights a group of 13 college pitchers, while Gabriel Cotto and Dominic Pipkin stand out among a crop of seven high school hurlers.

Phillies director of amateur scouting Johnny Almaraz said he was happy with the balance the organization acquired through the draft.

"It's very rewarding," Almaraz said. "I attribute that to the job that all the supervisors and national coordinators and everyone in the room that helped coordinate the entire Draft and helped keep us on task on what we're trying to do and make sure that we're getting the right guy for us every round."

Bohm, of course, headlines the Phillies' newcomers. He slashed .339/.436/.526 with 31 extra-base hits, 55 RBIs, 39 walks and 28 strikeouts as a junior for the Shockers. It's not naive to imagine him playing regularly at Citizens Bank Park sooner rather than later. He is more experienced than recent picks Cornelius Randolph and Mickey Moniak were when they entered the organization out of high school. Randolph and Moniak, the Phillies' first-round picks from 2015 and 2016, respectively, have yet to excel in the Minors.

Besides Bohm, the Phillies drafted several collegiate position players who can add depth in the wake of the recent transition of many top position prospects to the Majors. Notre Dame outfielder Matt Vierling, Coastal Carolina infielder Seth Lancaster, Nebraska catcher Jesse Wilkening and Oklahoma State infielder Matt Kroon, among others, fit that description. All of these players had the best seasons of their collegiate careers this past spring.

Video: Almaraz talks Phillies selecting Bohm in 2018 Draft

Vierling, a three-year starter at Notre Dame selected in the fifth round, is a career .296 hitter whose pitching experience gives him a strong arm in the outfield. He was the first player Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz mentioned when reviewing the Phillies' Day 2 picks. Although Vierling's summer-league stats using a wooden bat don't pop as much, the Phillies believe Vierling can move through the Minors quickly.

Video: Draft 2018: Bohm on being 3rd overall pick

Lancaster, the Phillies' eighth-round pick, was the only collegiate player this season to rank in the top 10 in walks, home runs and runs scored. Wilkening, taken in the 14th round, led the Cornhuskers with 56 RBIs and a .372 average. Almaraz, though, loved Wilkening's defense.

"He's a really advanced defensive catcher," Almaraz said. "He's someone who can really catch and receive. He has an above-average arm and has the chance to be a really good Major League player one day."

The Phillies took Kroon out of Central Arizona junior college in the 30th round of last year's draft, but he elected to play at Oklahoma State. After hitting .300 in the No. 3 hole for the Cowboys, he was named the Big 12's Newcomer of the Year. The Phillies hadn't changed their mind about Croon and took another shot at him in the 18th round Wednesday.

"He's a big, physical kid," Almaraz said. "He's a good defensive player. He's athletic. He can play second, he can play short, he can play third, he can play the outfield. We like his versatility and his power."

Video: Draft 2018: Phillies draft RHP Colton Eastman No. 107

The Phillies used their penultimate pick on Mat Nelson, a catcher out of Calvary Christian HS in Florida. The late Roy Halladay, whose son Braden also plays for CCA, coached Nelson. Because Nelson is committed to Florida State, the pick appeared to be more of a ceremonious choice, a common move late in the Draft. Almaraz didn't see it that way. Nelson, Almaraz said, is a Major League prospect.

After many months of scouting and three days of drafting, Almaraz and his team were still deploying their strategy at pick No. 1,187.

"You have to go out and keep drafting because you never know what's going to happen in front of you as far as the picks are concerned," Almaraz said. "If we want to get somebody signed, then maybe we think this is an option for us."

Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies

Righty Eastman heads Phillies' 7 Day 2 picks

Club follows up Bohm with Round 4 selection, chooses 4 college prospects and 3 high-schoolers
MLB.com

The Phillies made seven more picks in Major League Baseball's 2018 Draft on Tuesday, selecting four college prospects and three high-schoolers.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Phillies Draft pick

The Phillies made seven more picks in Major League Baseball's 2018 Draft on Tuesday, selecting four college prospects and three high-schoolers.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Phillies Draft pick

The new additions follow the Phillies' lone choice from the first three rounds of the Draft, No. 3 overall pick Alec Bohm, a slugging third baseman from Wichita State. The Phillies didn't pick in the second or third rounds because they forfeited those picks by signing Jake Arrieta and Carlos Santana.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.

Here's a complete look at the Phillies' selections from Day 2 of the MLB Draft.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Round 4: RHP Colton Eastman, Cal State Fullerton
Three years ago, Eastman and his friends gathered around a computer and watched 19 rounds of the 2015 MLB Draft go by before he heard his name called. The Twins had taken Eastman out of Central High School in Fresno, Calif., in the 20th round. Eastman chose Cal State Fullerton instead.

The decision paid off, with Eastman jumping 16 rounds to the Phillies at No. 107 after proving to be one of the top arms in the Big West Conference.

Cal State Fullerton's season is still alive, and so far the junior has posted a 10-3 record with a 2.20 ERA, 116 strikeouts and 27 walks in 16 starts. He threw a no-hitter against UC Santa Barbara in March, and has had a strong campaign after missing much of his sophomore season with elbow inflammation. He hasn't pitched in either of the last two summers.

Eastman isn't known for his velocity, with a fastball fluctuating from 89-92 mph. His changeup, which can drop to the low 80s, saw success in the early part of this season before regressing. He throws a curveball that has been inconsistent.

"He's a polished college pitcher who has performed and comes from a great program," Phillies director of amateur scouting Johnny Almaraz said Tuesday. "College pitchers who can do it at a high collegiate level are pretty good in professional baseball."

The Phillies already have two former Cal State Fullerton hurlers in their system. They took Connor Seabold last year in the third round, and the right-hander is currently pitching at Class A Advanced Clearwater. Tom Eshelman, an Astros second-round pick in 2015, is 1-5 with a 7.06 ERA in 11 starts with the Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Round 5: CF Matt Vierling, Notre Dame
The Phillies held a workout with Vierling last weekend at Citizens Bank Park that Almaraz said "checked all the boxes." Vierling has started for Notre Dame since his freshman year. He's a career .296 hitter with 19 home runs.

"He has a balance to him," Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki said. "I don't know if he's a power guy, but there's more power there to tap into. He's a guy who is pretty well-rounded. He uses the whole field. He's not a guy you would shift."

Vierling has played primarily center field, and that is where the Phillies drafted him, but he has bounced around to both the corner infield and outfield spots when needed. He's made 26 career appearances on the mound, but Aoki said Vierling has always been more of a "position player who pitches" as opposed to the other way around. Adam Haseley, the Phillies' 2017 first-round pick, also pitched in college.

Just like Bohm, Vierling has improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio over the course of his college career, an approach that aligns with the Phillies' organizational philosophy of seeing as many pitches as possible. After striking out 30 times in 99 at-bats using wooden bats during last summer's Cape Cod League, Vierling posted a positive ratio for the first time at Notre Dame this season, with 27 walks to just 21 strikeouts. It's where Aoki has seen the most improvement in Vierling, and it's part of why Almaraz said Vierling has a chance to move quickly through the Phillies' system.

"He has become more mature at the plate," Aoki said. "His pitch selection has become, over time, better. I think the plate discipline is there. I think he's just grown to know himself a little better."

Round 6: SS Logan Simmons, Tattnall Square (Ga.) Academy
Simmons was the first high-schooler to be taken by the Phillies in 2018 after three college prospects. He's touted for his power and arm strength, and could profile long term as a third baseman or outfielder instead of shortstop because of his 6-foot-2 frame and lack of elite speed. Almaraz said Simmons will stay at short for now.

"A tremendous athlete," Almaraz said. "Explosive. Has the ability to play shortstop and has an above-average arm. He can run. Potentially has five tools."

At the plate, Simmons slashed .343/.431/.518 as a senior, but his power numbers took a bit of a dip because of his tendency to swing and miss. He hit just two home runs this season.

Simmons was a Rawlings-Perfect Game All-American entering the year and had committed to Georgia Tech.

Round 7: LHP Gabriel Cotto, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
The 6-foot-5, 18-year-old throws a fastball, slider, sinker and changeup. He attended the same high school as Phillies infielder Jesmuel Valentin.

"He's a young pup, who shows the feel for pitching and has the chance to potentially be a power pitcher down the road," Almaraz said.

Cotto previously committed to Broward College, a junior college in Florida. His slot at pick No. 197 is valued at approximately $228K, according to MLB.com's Draft Tracker.

Round 8: SS Seth Lancaster, Coastal Carolina
Lancaster's college numbers took a dip his junior season, and it might not have been his fault.

After slashing .326/.457/.509 as a key contributor on Coastal Carolina's College World Series-winning team in 2016 his sophomore season, Lancaster struggled as a junior. His average fell to .250 that year with a 26.5 percent strikeout rate. It's common in baseball to say that hitters just aren't seeing the ball, and that's why they aren't producing at the plate. For Lancaster, that was literal. His vision was failing because of a corneal infection in his right eye.

Lancaster had laser eye surgery this past offseason, and his numbers exploded. Through three seasons and 443 at-bats, he had hit 14 total home runs. He had 20 this year alone and slugged .646, while stealing 23 bases and striking out fewer times (55) than he walked (63). Almaraz said the Phillies' area scouts had all the background and medical information. It does not affect how they feel about Lancaster as a prospect.

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound Lancaster could eventually see a shift to third base because of his size, but the Phillies announced him as a shortstop. He bats left-handed.

Round 9: RHP Dominic Pipkin, Pinole Valley (Calif.) HS
MLB Pipeline ranked the 6-foot-4 right-hander as its No. 92 prospect entering the Draft. The Phillies took Pipkin with the 257th pick. He's committed to the University of California-Berkeley, but if the Phillies can sign him, it could be a steal at this point in the Draft.

Pipkin's early struggles this spring likely contribute to why he slipped to the ninth round. His command is inconsistent, but his long frame and athleticism equates to potential and a high ceiling. He's reached 96 mph on his fastball in the past and has shown glimpses of an effective changeup and slider.

"The scouts that followed him for the last three years at all of these showcases and Area Code games saw him as a high-ceiling guy," Almaraz said. "He's a projectional case. He has an average fastball right now and has the ability to pitch. With our player development, we're hoping we can develop a pretty good starter one day."

Video: Draft Reports: Dominic Pipkin, High School pitcher

Round 10: SS Madison Stokes, South Carolina
Stokes struggled with injuries the first three years of his career. Now finally healthy, he's thrived in a lineup that's still alive in the NCAA Super Regionals. After three seasons hitting .244 with four home runs, he's averaged .331 with 10 home runs this year. His walk rate has increased. Stokes turned his career around and landed with the Phillies because of it.

With raw power and decent speed, he could eventually shift to another position, possibly shortstop or first base.

Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Phillies

Phillies draft Wichita State 3B Bohm at No. 3

Scouting director praises third baseman's power to all fields
MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have been looking for a long-term solution at third base since they traded Scott Rolen to St. Louis in July 2002. They think Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm could be that guy.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Phillies pick

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have been looking for a long-term solution at third base since they traded Scott Rolen to St. Louis in July 2002. They think Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm could be that guy.

Draft Tracker: Follow every Phillies pick

The Phillies selected Bohm on Monday night with the third overall pick in the 2018 Draft. Bohm, 21, hit .339 with 14 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 55 RBIs, 39 walks, 28 strikeouts, a .436 on-base percentage and a .625 slugging percentage as a junior. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder from Omaha, Neb., hit .358 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 28 RBIs last summer in the Cape Cod League.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

"He can really hit," Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said Monday night at Citizens Bank Park. "He's got a lot of leverage in that swing, he can drive the ball out to all parts of the field. He's got what I call wide-field power, meaning that he can hit home runs from gap to gap. He commands the zone unbelievably well. I just recent saw him in Clearwater against [South Florida's Shane] McClanahan, who has a tremendous fastball, and his at-bats were really easy. He gets the barrel to the ball and drives it. He's a good hitter."

Bohm said he is ready to get started. He said he hopes to sign soon.

"I just want to get started playing," he said in a conference call with reporters.

The Phillies said Bohm's college experience and ability to hit could help him move quickly through the Minor League system. The fact he controls the strike zone well serves him well. It is a point of emphasis in the organization.

"I just don't like to strike out, period," Bohm said. "When I get to two strikes, I'm just putting the ball in play. I'm just up there trying to put the bat on the ball. Not really trying to do damage with two strikes."

Video: Draft 2018: Bohm on being 3rd overall pick

The Draft continues on Tuesday with rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

The Phillies have not had a franchise third baseman since Rolen left town. David Bell (467 games), Maikel Franco (429), Placido Polanco (416), Pedro Feliz (284) and Cody Asche (207) have played the most third base for the Phillies since then. Franco, 25, is trying to prove he can be the guy, but he is hitting .253 with eight home runs, 32 RBIs and a .719 OPS this season. The Phillies could address third base either before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline or in the offseason. Then down the road, Bohm could step into the role, if he performs as expected.

Video: Almaraz talks Phillies selecting Bohm in 2018 Draft

If there is a knock against Bohm, it is that some scouts question his ability to stick at third base. Many see him as a future first baseman, maybe even a corner outfielder.

"We loved the bat, we loved the offensive capabilities, so we would have taken him regardless whether he felt he could stay there," Almaraz said. "But we don't believe that. We believe he can stay there."

Bohm thinks he can stay there, too.

"Just my work ethic, really," he said. "I'll do whatever it takes to stick there."

Tweet from @Phillies: We'd consider this a pretty solid college career. #MLBDraft pic.twitter.com/Lk9chtl1xa

Bohm said he had little inclination the Phillies planned to select him, although the club had plenty of people watching him for a long time. Almaraz estimated 15 to 20 people from the Phillies watched Bohm at some point.

"I believe in utilizing all the talent we have in the organization as far as evaluators are concerned," Almaraz said. "We want different opinions, whether it's our infield coordinator or a special assistant, Jorge Velandia, Mike Koplove, Pat Gillick, Terry Ryan. There's a lot experience, and I want people's input."

Video: Draft 2018: Phillies' 1st-round pick on cheesesteaks

Bohm said he knows a little about the Phillies and the city.

"Well, I know they make a good cheesesteak," he said. "I've actually kind of taken a liking to [the Phillies] in the past couple of months. They have a young club, and they're doing better than they were expected to. I like them so far. They've kind of become one of my favorites."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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Phils to target college players early in Draft

Philadelphia picks No. 3 overall on June 4
MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- If the Phillies have their way, this will be the last time in a long time they have a top 10 pick in the Draft.

They have the third overall pick this year. They had a top 10 pick in each of the previous four years. That run seems likely to end in 2019. If everything breaks right, they will find themselves on a run like they had from 2002-12, when they never picked higher than 17th.

PHILADELPHIA -- If the Phillies have their way, this will be the last time in a long time they have a top 10 pick in the Draft.

They have the third overall pick this year. They had a top 10 pick in each of the previous four years. That run seems likely to end in 2019. If everything breaks right, they will find themselves on a run like they had from 2002-12, when they never picked higher than 17th.

"There's a lot of good players that have gone in the past 15 through 30," Phillies amateur scouting director Johnny Almaraz said Sunday. "Hopefully, we'll be picking there in years to come. I'm pretty confident that we will. Team's playing well and I'm glad to be a part of it." 

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Go to MLB.com/draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying.

Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Phillies.

In about 50 words
Two of the Phillies' last three top picks have really struggled: Double-A outfielder Cornelius Randolph (10th overall pick in 2015) and Class A Clearwater outfielder Mickey Moniak (first overall pick in '16). Clearwater outfielder Adam Haseley (eighth overall pick in '17) recently started hitting well. But Almaraz said the Phillies' process is sound.

"We drafted certain players because we believe in their offensive ability," he said. "They're young. If you look at them as a whole, they're doing well. They're on track. We've been very aggressive with them. We feel very positive about them."

Video: Top Prospects: Adam Haseley, OF, Phillies

The scoop
Expect the Phillies to take the best player available, or at least who they believe to be the best player. They also prefer to look for "baseball players," as opposed to projectable athletes.

"Three years ago, I sat down here and I said we're going to pursue baseball players with ability," Almaraz said. "That hasn't changed. We're still looking for those baseball players. The Scott Kingerys, the [JoJo] Romeros, the [Cole] Irvins. The list goes on. We want to make sure these players know how to play the game, and that they have ability. It's so much easier for our player-development staff to handle kids who have some type of knowledge of the game and are pretty strong fundamentally coming into the organization. It really makes things a lot easier for them. They don't have to work from the ground up."

First-round buzz
MLB Pipeline's first few mock Drafts had the Phillies selecting Wichita State third baseman Alec Bohm. The most recent installment has them taking Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal. MLB Pipeline says Bohm is "the consensus best college position player in terms of hitting for both average and power. Philadelphia almost certainly will take a college performer, with Oregon State second baseman Nick Madrigal and Florida right-hander Brady Singer the other leading candidates."

Video: Rundown: Jonathan Mayo on Nick Madrigal

Money matters
The Phillies have $8,858,500 in their signing-bonus pool. The third overall pick's slotted value is $6,947,500.

The Phillies would have had more money to spend, but they lost selections in the second and third rounds after signing free agents Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta in the offseason. Because of that, the Phillies' second pick is the 107th overall pick in the fourth round.

Shopping list
Anybody that follows the Draft knows that most teams don't pick based on need. They try to grab the best player available in almost every round.

"My job's to evaluate talent, put that in preferential order," Almaraz said. "We will not take a position player, just to give you an example, that is less of a prospect because we need one over a pitcher who's going to be a front-line starter. That's just an example. You have to take the best available ability and give [general manager] Matt [Klentak] all the pieces we can possibly give him and create value for the organization."

Trend watch
It seems more likely the Phillies will select a college player, if only because the college ranks are strong at the top. MLB Pipeline certainly feels that way. So does Almaraz.

"The one thing I will say is it's a very strong college pool of players," he said. "There's a lot of pitchers out there. A lot of pitchers. A lot of pitchers with arm strength and the ability to pitch. So with that being said, I see a lot of clubs moving in that direction where we're going to try and get on these college players pretty quickly."

Video: Mayo on the top college bats in 2018 MLB Draft

Rising fast
The Phillies selected left-hander Irvin in the fifth round of the 2016 Draft. He could be in the big leagues in the coming months, if the Phillies have a need in the rotation. The Phillies have not had a left-handed starter in the rotation since September 2016. Irvin, who is pitching well with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, could snap that streak.

Cinderella story
Class A Lakewood left-hander Kyle Young was a 22nd-round selection in 2016. He is the Phillies' No. 18 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He not only is 6-foot-10, which makes his fastball sneak up on hitters because of his extension, but he also has command of his pitches.

In the show
The Phillies selected six of the 25 players on their active roster in the Draft: left-hander Adam Morgan, right-hander Aaron Nola, catcher Andrew Knapp, infielder Scott Kingery and outfielders Aaron Altherr and Rhys Hoskins. Seven other players on the 40-man roster also came in the Draft: right-handers Drew Anderson, Mark Leiter Jr. and Yacksiel Rios; left-hander Hoby Milner; shortstop J.P. Crawford; and outfielders Dylan Cozens and Roman Quinn.

The Phillies' recent top picks
2017: Adam Haseley, OF, Class A Clearwater

2016: Mickey Moniak, OF, Class A Clearwater

2015: Cornelius Randolph, OF, Double-A Reading

2014: Aaron Nola, RHP, Phillies

2013: J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies (10-day disabled list)

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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