The Reading Fightin Phils, Double-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, have announced the club’s 2017 roster, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The 25-man roster features four of the Phillies’ top 30 prospects according to mlbpipeline.com, including second baseman Scott Kingery (no. 11), pitcher Drew Anderson (no. 22), outfielder Carlos Tocci (no. 24) and shortstop Malquin Canelo (no. 28).
Kingery put together a solid 2016 season in the minor leagues. He hit .293 with 29 doubles, three triples, three home runs and 26 stolen bases in 94 games last season with Clearwater (A+) before finishing 2016 with Reading. He was named to the Florida State League All-Star Game and was named a Post-Season All-Star for the Threshers. He showcased his glove quite a bit with the Fightin Phils as he recorded a .993 fielding percentage and earned a spot in the Arizona Fall League. He was named Phillies Minor League Defender of the month in April last season. He’s considered the 9th best prospect in the Phillies system according to Baseball America.
Third Baseman Mitch Walding returns to Baseballtown for his second season. Last season with the Fightin Phils, Walding played in 23 games and hit three home runs with nine RBI. He was promoted to Reading on August 4th after spending most of the season with Clearwater. He hit .280 with the Threshers in 100 games while smacking 10 home runs and driving in 53 runs. He ranked fifth in the Florida State League in OPS (.812), sixth in on-base percentage (.372) and ninth in slugging percentage (.440). Walding also participated in the Arizona Fall League.
Malquin Canelo will be able to play in a game for the first time with the Fightin Phils after being called up at the end of the 2016 season to join them for their playoff run. The shortstop played in 124 games with Clearwater and led the team in triples (5). He batted .304 (35-115) with runners in scoring position. He signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent on 4/19/12.
They’ll be joined by newcomer and first baseman Kyle Martin. Martin, who hit .250 with 19 home runs and 82 RBI in 121 games for Clearwater last season, was selected in the fourth round of the 2015 draft by the Phillies. He ranked second in the Florida State League in RBI, third in total bases (194), fourth in home runs and 10th in slugging percentage (.433). He was named a Florida State League Postseason All-Star.
Rounding up the Reading infield will be 2016 alums Harold Martinez and Angelo Mora plus newcomer Jorge Flores. Martinez enters in what will be his third stint with the Fightin Phils. He spent all of last season with the team hitting .275 in 78 games with nine home runs and 44 RBI. Mora also spent all of 2016 with the Fightin Phils. He started off hot as he hit .303 with ten extra-base hits in his first 17 games played. He finished the season hitting .251 in 101 games played. Flores is a newcomer to the Phillies organization having been selected from Toronto in the triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft on 12/8/16. He split last season with double-A New Hampshire and high-A Dunedin.
Backing up home plate this year will be newcomer Chace Numata and second year Fightin Phil Joel Fisher. Numata played in 94 games with the Threshers in 2016. He hit .308 with 18 doubles. The Pearl City, Hawaii native was drafted by the Phillies in the 14th round of the 2010 draft out of Pearl City High School. Fisher returns to Reading after only appearing in eight games with the Fightin Phils in 2016. He homered in his first-at bat for the Fightin Phils at FirstEnergy Stadium. He also drove in a professional-high six runs on 6/2/16 in Portland. Fisher hit a grand slam and a two-run double in the Fightin Phils victory.
Reading’s outfield features an equal mix of returnees and newcomers. Leading the pack is Tocci, who was selected as a Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star and a Post-Season All-Star in 2016 with Clearwater. He was also selected as the Phillies Minor League Defender of the Month in May. He led the Florida State League in hits (142), ranked third in at-bats (500), and tied for fifth in doubles (26), tenth in average (.284) and total bases (181). He was signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent on 8/23/11.
Andrew Pullin returns after showcasing his ability to hit consistently for the Fightin Phils in 2016. He hit .346 in 46 games after getting called up from Clearwater. He hit 10 home runs with 32 RBI while also hitting 10 doubles. Pullin hit safely in 54 of 62 games to finish out the season. He reached base safely in 57 of 62 games. He was placed on the disabled-list with a right elbow strain on 8/27 and remained there for the rest of the season.
Aaron Brown returns for a second season with the Fightin Phils. The former third round pick played in 74 games for the Fightin Phils. He batted .304 with five doubles, one triple and one home run over 22 games in May. He suffered a right-wrist sprain and was placed on the disabled list from 7/10-8/7. He played 20 games for Clearwater after being activated off the disabled list on 8/8. He was sent back up to Reading on 8/28 for the remainder of the season.
Jiandido Tromp is another new face in Reading for 2017. The outfielder split 2016 with Clearwater and Lakewood (A). He was promoted to Clearwater on 6/23 after beginning the season with Lakewood. He hit .240 in 59 games with the Threshers after hitting .274 in 65 games with Lakewood.
Reading’s rotation will feature 40-man roster selectee Anderson, returners Tom Eshelman, Tyler Viza and Brandon Leibrandt with newcomer Shane Watson. Anderson is on the 40-man roster despite never playing above Clearwater. He began the 2016 on the disabled list after recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He was activated on 5/20 and made his season debut with Lakewood on 5/22. He posted a 1.93 ERA over his first six starts with Lakewood before getting promoted to Clearwater on 7/8. He went 2-1 with a 1.93 ERA in eight starts for the Threshers. He was selected by the Phillies in the 21st round of the 2012 draft.
Eshelman returns to Reading after making 13 starts for them in 2016. He was promoted to Reading on 6/20 last season after starting the season with Clearwater where he was named a Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star. He posted a 4-2 mark and a 3.34 ERA in 11 starts with the Threshers. He finished the 2016 season on the disabled list from 7/27-8/2 (right turf toe) and 9/4 (appendectomy). Viza made 16 starts with the Fightin Phils after making nine starts for the Threshers. He was promoted to Reading on 6/10. He finished the season tied for ninth in the Florida State League in complete games (1).
Leibrandt was called up to Reading at the end of the season to join the Fightin Phils in their playoff run. He did not pitch in a game. He began the 2016 season on the disabled list recovering from left labrum surgery. He made six starts for Clearwater last season after his rehab assignment with the GCL Phillies. Watson joins the Fightin Phils after splitting last season between Lakewood and Clearwater. He was promoted to Clearwater on 5/24 and went 4-5 with a 3.93 ERA in 14 starts for the Threshers.
The starting rotation will be backed up in the bullpen by returning arms Miguel Nunez, Alexis Rivero, Matt Hockenberry, Yacksel Rios, Jesen Therrien and Tom Windle plus newcomer Mario Sanchez.
Nunez returns after pitching as the Fightins closer in 2016. He was promoted from Clearwater on 4/26 recorded 17 saves in 45 games for the Fightins. He tied for third in the Eastern League in saves. Rivero is back after appearing in 23 games for the Fightins. He struck out 32 batters in 33 2/3 innings for Reading after starting off strong for Clearwater. He was a Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star who held opponents to a .162 average.
Hanover, Pa resident Matt Hockenberry is back to pitch for the Fightins. Hockenberry spent the majority of last season with Clearwater but appeared in three games for the Fightin Phils. Yacksel Rios started 2016 with Reading before finishing last season with Clearwater. He appeared as both a starter and reliever in 2016. He pitched in 13 games as a reliever with the Fightins and made just one start. Jesen Therrien finished 2016 with Reading after pitching most of last season with Clearwater. He made 27 appearances with Clearwater going 2-2 with a 2.21 ERA. He struck out 22 batters in 17 innings for the Fightin Phils (11 appearances).
Tom Windle returns for his third season with the Fightin Phils. He pitched in 25 games for the Fightin Phils. He was placed on the disabled list on 6/27 due to a right ankle sprain. He came off on 7/20 and pitched for both Clearwater and GCL before being called back up to Reading. Sanchez was acquired from Washington for a player to be named later in exchange for Jimmy Cordero on 12/12/16. He spent last season with high-A Potomac. He went 5-0 with a 3.46 ERA in 32 games.
Manager Greg Legg returns to the club for his fourth season as skipper. He managed Reading from 2002-2004. Joining Legg with be pitching Steve Schrenk, who is back for his third season in Reading and hitting coach John Mizerock. Athletic trainer Mickey Kozack and strength coach Kenny Matanane round out the coaching staff.