Reading's Mike Nesseth steadily improving
1. At a time when the Phillies are desperate for relief help, double-A Reading's Mike Nesseth is making a case that he at least deserves a look. After struggling earlier this season at high-A Clearwater, Nesseth moved to Reading and has mostly been dominant ever since. He entered the weekend with a 1-2 record, seven saves, and a 1.50 ERA in 29 appearances with the Fightin Phils, and in 24 games since May 22 he had allowed just two earned runs and 22 hits in 292/3 innings.
2. As we wait to see whether Roy Halladay will be able to return from shoulder surgery this season, it's interesting to note that none of the prospects the Phillies gave the Toronto Blue Jays to acquire him has had a major-league impact.
Kyle Drabek, 8-15 with a 5.34 ERA in 34 games with Toronto, is slowly trying to make his way back to the big leagues by pitching at high-A Dunedin following his second Tommy John surgery. Travis D'Arnaud, now with the New York Mets, is on a rehab assignment with the double-A Binghamton Mets after missing most of this season with a fractured left foot he suffered in April. Michael Taylor has hit .135 (10 for 74) in parts of three seasons with Oakland. Taylor, 27, is currently at triple-A Sacramento, where he is having a solid season. He entered the weekend hitting .294 with 16 home runs and 65 RBIs.
3. Lefthander Adam Morgan has a 0.75 ERA in three starts since rejoining triple-A Lehigh Valley. He had been shut down for nearly two months after the Phillies discovered a small tear in his rotator cuff. Morgan has allowed one earned run on 10 hits and six walks in 12 innings in those three outings.
4. After a slow start, Dylan Cozens, the Phillies' second-round pick last year, is starting to heat up at Williamsport. He hit .244 in his first 22 games, but was batting .296 with a .375 on-base percentage and .875 OPS in his last 17 games entering the weekend.
"I feel like I've been having kind of a rough year so far, but I don't think it's because the competition is too hard," Cozens said. "I feel like I've been mentally struggling at the plate and beating myself up instead of them actually beating me. It's pitch selection and swinging at pitches in the dirt, especially in counts I shouldn't be swinging."
5. This is becoming a weekly topic in the "things" portion of our minor-league topic. Last week we gave you a report on how well 20-year-old outfielder Wilmer Oberto was playing for the Gulf Coast League Phillies, and this week we're going to tell you about another hitter from that team. Herlis Rodriguez, a 19-year-old lefthanded hitting outfielder from Venezuela, batted .392 with five doubles, two home runs, and 11 RBIs in his first 17 games with the GCL Phils. First-round draft pick J.P. Crawford, meanwhile, remained second in the league with a .356 average heading into the weekend while Oberto led the league with 29 RBIs.
- Bob Brookover