Who de­serves the call?

Which Le­high Val­ley play­ers could be sum­moned to fin­ish sea­son in Philly?

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Tom Housenick

A group of four Le­high Val­ley play­ers went into man­ager Gary Jones’ of­fice mo­ments af­ter the team was bounced from the In­ter­na­tional League play­offs on Sept. 8, 2018, by ri­val Scran­ton/ Wilkes-Barre for a third con­sec­u­tive sea­son.

Three walked out happy to get the news they were hop­ing for. The fourth had played his last game of the sea­son.

For a Triple-A player, there is noth­ing like be­ing sum­moned to the man­ager’s of­fice to find out you’re a Septem­ber call-up. Con­versely, not much is worse than be­ing told you’re not be­ing pro­moted to the ma­jors for the fi­nal month of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

That day is ap­proach­ing for the IronPigs.

They are play­ing in Paw­tucket on Aug. 31. Some play­ers will get good news af­ter that game ends, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing they are not in the IL play­off pic­ture and the Phillies are en­trenched in a dog­fight for a Na­tional League post­sea­son berth, which would be their first since 2011.

The 2018 Phillies, who were in a free fall from mid-Au­gust on, had a full com­ple­ment of 40 play­ers for Septem­ber. It’s hard to be­lieve they won’t be close to that num­ber case again this sea­son.

It seems un­likely the or­ga­ni­za­tion will pro­mote two highly re­garded Dou­ble-A play­ers, short­stop Arquimedes Gam­boa and start­ing pitcher Ado­nis Me­d­ina.

Gam­boa has hit a com­bined .202 with 230 strike­outs and 39 ex­tra-base hits in 820 at-bats span­ning the 2018-19 sea­sons in Clearwater and Read­ing plus the 2018 Ari­zona Fall League. Me­d­ina has a 10.18 ERA and 1.036 OPS against in his last five out­ings and a 4.96 ERA

over­all this year for the Fight­ins.

It seems safe to as­sume the nine IronPigs on the 40-man ros­ter will be in Philadel­phia at some point in Septem­ber: pitch­ers Austin Davis, Enyel De Los San­tos, Jerad Eick­hoff, Edgar Gar­cia, J.D. Ham­mer and Cole Irvin; plus po­si­tion play­ers Maikel Franco, Jose Pirela and Nick Wil­liams.

All but Pirela have been in Phillies pin­stripes at var­i­ous points this sea­son.

That leaves six spots, though each would re­quire a 40-man ros­ter move.

Two ma­neu­vers would be to shift Adam Mor­gan (left flexor strain) to the 60-day in­jured list and pro­mote Drew An­der­son (right el­bow) and put him on the 60-day IL. He hasn’t pitched since June 23.

Those moves could open the door for util­ity player Phil Gos­selin and catcher Nick Hund­ley, who was signed Aug. 13 and has hit .118 with eight strike­outs in six games.

The Phillies are hop­ing that out­field­ers Ro­man Quinn and Jay Bruce plus re­liever Ser­an­thony Dominguez will re­turn from in­juries at some point in Septem­ber.

If you in­clude those last five names, the Phillies’ ros­ter would be at 39.

IronPigs re­liever Fer­nando Salas (right el­bow) would have re­ceived con­sid­er­a­tion, but has not pitched since Aug. 3.

Here’s a look at some other names who have earned the op­por­tu­nity to earn big-league money in Septem­ber (listed in al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der):

LHP Tyler Gil­bert: He has al­lowed earned runs in only four of his last 15 re­lief ap­pear­ances and is grow­ing in­creas­ingly com­fort­able and con­sis­tent with his new “out” pitch, a curve-slider com­bi­na­tion. Util­i­ty­man An­drew Romine: Re­spectable slash line (.291/.341/.407 with 20 stolen bases (in 23 at­tempts). Hard to be­lieve he has not got­ten one call-up this sea­son. Cor­ner in­fielder/out­fielder Austin Listi: He started the year bat­ting .069 in 17 games at Dou­ble-A Read­ing, then had a 1.119 OPS in his fi­nal 19 games be­fore be­ing pro­moted. The 2018 Phillies mi­nor league player of the year stayed hot with Le­high Val­ley, then bat­tled his way out by hit­ting .409 in the nine games be­fore Wed­nes­day’s game. Util­ity player Ali Castillo:

The 30-year-old was a ros­ter filler in Read­ing to start the year. Af­ter bat­ting .373 in 16 games, he earned a pro­mo­tion to Le­high Val­ley — where he’s hit .310 in 99 games.

He’s played six po­si­tions, in­clud­ing pitcher, and played hard ev­ery in­ning of ev­ery game. If the or­ga­ni­za­tion ever wanted to throw a player a bone — and send a message to others in the system — Castillo de­serves it.

Lineup change: OF Nick Wil­liams was pulled from the Wed­nes­day’s lineup two hours be­fore game time for an un­spec­i­fied rea­son. He didn’t take bat­ting prac­tice and was not in the IronPigs dugout for the game.

Up next: LHP Jo Jo Romero (3-3, 7.31 ERA) faces Syra­cuse RHP Harol Gon­za­lez (3-0, 3.09) in a 7:05 p.m. start.

Morn­ing Call re­porter Tom Housenick can be reached at 610-820-6651 or at thouse­[email protected]


Le­high Val­ley IronPigs bat­ter Ali Castillo pre­pares to lay down a bunt against the Nor­folk Tides dur­ing a game ear­lier this sea­son.


Enyel De Los San­tos is among nine IronPigs who are on the Phillies’ 40-man ros­ter and fig­ures to be added to Philadel­phia’s ac­tive ros­ter for Septem­ber.

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