The SportsTalk Shop: Phillies & Nationals Prospect Updates

Both the Phillies and Nationals have built strong minor league foundations and MLB fans of these two organizations will start to see the fruits of their respective front-offices’ labors over the coming weeks and months.

Here are some notes and video interviews with a few of the top Triple-A performers in each of the franchises.

Nationals’ Austin Voth
This right-handed starting pitcher has not just posted incredible numbers this spring, but he seems to be on a fast track to the Major Leagues.  Voth has cruised through Washington’s farm system.

He mixes his pitches extremely well and has great command of them.  He’s always been a pitcher who’s right around the plate, but he’s been even more accurate so far this season (just six walks in almost 40-innings pitched and seven starts).  Once more, in his worst start of the season against Lehigh Valley, when he didn’t have his best stuff, he’s a competitor and battles giving his team a chance to win.  While he’s not a dominating pitcher, he’s averaging over one strikeout per inning.

With Max Scherzer and Steve Strasberg anchoring the front of the rotation for years to come, Voth should be a nice middle-of-the-rotation hurler for many future summers—and his composure and ability to throw strikes should make him the first viable option should one of the Nats’ current starting pitchers fall to injury this year, even during a pennant drive.

Phillies’ Nick Williams

Many Philadelphia sports fans are calling for his call-up, but it’s a little premature at this point.  After raking it in the Eastern League last year in the postseason for Reading, he’s taking more time getting used to Triple-A pitching (he had just one home run up until two weeks ago).  However, as the weather has warmed up, so has Williams’ bat.  He’s also been playing more center field of late and has looked “OK” (he probably does not have the arm to be a regular right fielder).

What you don’t want to have happen is that the Phillies get involved in a pennant race and are forced to bring up Williams early (see previous outfield sensation Dominic Brown—no longer with the team).  Williams is, at best, a September call-up for a cup of tea this year, and perhaps, some time in winter ball.

He’s a great talent who could fill a couple different spots in the Phillies near-future batting order, but hold off on the screaming pleas for the Phillies to call Williams up for now.

Nationals’ Trea Turner
We featured the Nationals’ number-one rated position prospect a few weeks ago both here at “The Shop” and on our “RCN SportsTalk” program.  This is a guy who Washington fans will love.

He’s a great leadoff hitter with more power than Nationals’ current lead-off man, Ben Revere.  He has an awesome slash line (.320/.384/.471) with three home runs, is third on the team with 17 RBIs and a team leading 15 steals (all as of 5/20/16).  He’s aggressive at the plate but will still try to bunt every once in a while if a third basemen is playing back or to try to reach base in a key spot.

Also, he has great range defensively and is a nice spark on the field for his current Syracuse Chiefs’ team.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Washington fans see Turner sooner rather than later—especially if the team’s offensive struggles continue into the summer.

Nationals’ Brian Goodwin & Pedro Severino

Because of Turner’s and Voth’s successes, the better-than-normal batting averages of Goodwin and Severino have gone unnoticed by many Nats fans.  Goodwin gives Washington versatility in that he can play all three outfield positions well, has great speed (might be used as a pinch runner by the Big Club) and could be a fourth outfielder on this year’s team.  Goodwin has been hitting over .300 consistently and is tied for the team lead in homers (his Grand Slam gave his Chiefs last Thursday a 7-4 win over Toledo).

Severino has always been an outstanding defensive catcher and calls a great game.  He’s seen as the Nationals catcher of the future because of what he does behind the plate, but his near-.300 batting average this year—if he can sustain it at the Major League level—would be a nice plus.

More importantly, he understands how important it is to know his pitching staff, inside and out, and constantly monitors the Nats staff and the scouting reports so that when (not if) he gets called back up to the parent club, he’s up-to-speed on what every pitcher needs to do to have success.

Every Phillies Triple-A Starting Pitcher
Ben Lively is pitching “lights out” at Double-A Reading, but up until recently (and only then because of injury) there actually hasn’t been room on the Triple-A roster for even a chance for a promotion for Lively.

Adam Morgan was already called up to the Majors a few weeks back, but the current starting fives’ ERA (as of 5/21/16) looks like:
Mark Appel                        3.58
Jake Thompson                3.32
David Buchanan               3.92
Zach Eflin                           2.36
Alec Asher                          1.53 (just placed on the DL)

The Phillies front office made a clear decision to improve pitching this offseason, and the team is seeing the rewards of this initiative both in terms of individual and, so far, team success for both the Phillies and their upper-level affiliates.

There are a few more players within both the Phillies’ and Nationals’ farm systems who deserve some attention.  Keep watching “SportsTalk” and checking back here at “The Shop” as we continue to have more interviews and insights on players within both franchises.

Also, be sure to come out and watch “RCN SportsTalk” broadcasting  live from Buffalo Wild Wings in Whitehall, PA this Thursday and help out a great cause.  This week’s remote show will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, with 10% of your total bill going to support this great organization.  Our guests will be legendary (and Pennsylvania’s all-time winningest) Head Coach Sue Butz-Stavin and members of her State Champion Field Hockey team.

Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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