Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sal Agostinelli, Watching Baseball - 13

Read the February 2013 interview: Sal Agostinelli, Got Close

Originally published May 26, 2011
The Phillies got a late start in the rush for Latin American talent, The Reading Eagle wrote in 1998.

Helping them make up for that, though, was scout Sal Agostinelli, a former catcher.

"I like it a lot," Agostinelli told The Reading Eagle in April 1998 of his move to the scouting ranks. "If you see a player you like and you work hard, you can sign him right away. A lot of it is time and effort. The more players you see, the more chance you have to see a guy who might be a special kid."

Among the players Agostinelli is credited with signing is the Phillies current catcher and Panamanian product Carlos Ruiz, a player who would spend six seasons in the minors before breaking out as the big league starter.

As a player himself, Agostinelli would spend as many and more seasons in the minors, but Agostinelli would never make the make the majors.

Agostinelli's playing career began in 1983, taken by the Cardinals in the 22nd round out of Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.

He played that first year between rookie ball in Johnson City and short-season Erie, hitting .247 between them.

For 1984 and 1985, Agostinelli caught in single-A, at Savannah in 1984 and St. Petersburg in 1985. He hit .234 at Savannah and .270 at St. Petersburg. In early September 1985, an Agostinelli single helped start a two-run rally.

The catcher also worked with and, when they did well, praised his pitchers.

"Paul was getting everything over tonight," Agostinelli told The St. Petersburg Evening Independent of his pitcher Paul Cherry's performance in a 5-1 win. "The bottom line was the fact that he changed speeds well and kept them off balance. "

Agostinelli made AA for the first time in 1986, at Arkansas. He made AAA Louisville briefly in 1987 and again in 1988, but never made St. Louis.

By 1989, Agostinelli was with the Phillies, the team he remains with as a scout today. He played that year at AA Reading, then spent much of 1990 with the AAA club at Scranton. His final year came in 1991, shuttling between single-A Clearwater, Reading and Scranton.

By 1993, Agostinelli was a scout. He returned to Reading in that capacity for a series in July 1993. To The Eagle, Agostinelli said being a scout was simply another way to stay involved in the game he loved.

"Well, I tell you," Agostinelli told The Eagle. "I always really enjoyed the game. I just love the game. I just love to be out here. To tell you the truth, I just enjoy being anywhere watching baseball."

Agostinelli has continued as a scout with the Phillies, long since serving as the Phillies international scouting supervisor, signing the likes of Ruiz.

Agostinelli and his scouts first spotted Ruiz as a second baseman. They quickly realized he was really a catcher.

"We thought he was too small for an infielder," Agostinelli told The Philadelphia Inquirer in April 2009. "I saw he had a good arm, and I saw he could swing the bat. When you sign a guy, you hope that he has the intangibles."

In addition to his scouting duties, Agostinelli also runs Sal Agostinelli's Long Island Baseball Academy in Kings Park, NY.

Read the February 2013 interview: Sal Agostinelli, Got Close
1990 CMC Tally
Cards Featured: 476/880 - 54.1%
Players/Coaches Featured:
Made the Majors: 327 - 67%
Never Made the Majors:
5+ Seasons in the Majors:
10+ Seasons in the Minors:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vince Holyfield, Good Plays - 21

Originally published Sept. 27, 2014
Reading Phillies starter Chuck Malone picked up his fifth-straight win in this May 1988 game. He credited his fielders, including Vince Holyfield, with helping him get it, according to The Reading Eagle.

"They played good ball behind me," Malone told The Eagle, "and that helped a lot. Holyfield made a couple of real good plays in left field."

Holyfield made those plays in his fourth pro season. He went on to make plays in two more. He never got the chance to make them in the bigs.

Holyfield's career began in 1985, taken by the Phillies in the third round of the draft out of Southern Arkansas University.

With the Phillies, Holyfield started at short-season Bend. In 71 games, he hit .248, with eight home runs. He moved to single-A Spartanburg for 1986, hitting .218 there, with 22 stolen bases.

Holyfield returned to Spartanburg for 1987 and had a career-high average of .292 and another career-high in home runs, 18. He also swiped a career-high 56 bases.

At the end of the year, Holyfield gained praise from his manager Ramon Aviles, according to The Spartanburg Herald-Journal.

"I'm also very happy with the play of Vince Holyfield and Luis Iglesias," Aviles told The Herald-Journal in reviewing the season late that August. "They both had outstanding years for us."

Holyfield moved up to AA Reading in 1988. He hit .247 there, with seven home runs. He hit his fifth home run of the year in early August.

In 1989, he hit another seven home runs at Reading and stole 21. He had 13 stolen bases by the end of May. He also had a bases-clearing double earlier that month.

Holyfield played a third season at Reading in 1990. It ended up being his final season as a pro. He hit just .201, with nine home runs. Two of those home runs came on the same night in April. He got into 97 games, ending his career.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Andy Ashby, Wasn't Worried - 7

Originally published June 5, 2010
Andy Ashby's first major league win hung on the arm of the sometimes wild Wild Thing Mitch Williams. Ashby'd allowed three hits over seven innings as the Phillies amassed a 4-1 lead on the Cubs, Sept. 24, 1991.

Ashby watched the action from the clubhouse television, according to the Chicago Tribune, as Williams walked the bases loaded, but got out of it allowing only one run.

"I wasn't worried," Ashby told The Tribune. "Mitch has been there before. He knows how to adjust."

It was the first of what would be 98 career major league wins for Ashby in a career that spanned 14 major league seasons.

Ashby was brought up that year by the team that signed him, the Phillies. Ashby, a native of Kansas City, was signed by the club as an amateur free agent in 1986. He played at the various levels of single-A through 1989, making AA Reading in 1990.

With Reading, Ashby posted a 10-7 mark with a 3.42 ERA, getting Eastern League Player of the Week honors in August. It earned him a promotion to AAA Scranton for 1992 and it also earned him induction into the Reading Phillies Hall of Fame.

Ashby was first called up to the big club in June, making his debut June 9. But it was his follow-up performance that had people talking. Ashby became only the 12th pitcher in the history of the National League to strike out the side on nine pitches.

Ashby pitched in eight games that year for Philadelphia, 10 more the next. Then the Phillies left him unprotected in the expansion draft and the Rockies grabbed him. Rockies manager Don Baylor couldn't believe his fortune.

"I don't quite get it," Baylor told the Associated Press that first spring. "I'm still waiting for the punch line on this one. I know he's kind of erratic at times. But his arm is always there. If he's wild, he's wild throwing 91-92 mph."

The punch line was Ashby went 0-4 with an 8.50 ERA over 20 appearances that year for the Rockies. The Rockies shipped him mid-year to the Padres, where Ashby would have his best years.

Ashby went 12-10 for the Padres in 1995, his first of four years with double-digit wins for the club. In 1998, he notched a record of 17-9 with a 3.34 ERA, helping the Padres to its second National League championship.

"You couldn't ask for a better place to play," Ashby told the Associated Press that June.

His appearance in the World Series that year was not as good. In 2.2 innings, Ashby gave up seven runs, four of them earned as the Padres got swept. But Ashby made the All Star team that year and the next.

Then came his decline. He split 2000 between the Phillies and the Braves, going 12-13 with a 4.92 ERA. Then came three years with the Dodgers, including a 3-10, 5.18 ERA campaign in 2003.

Ashby returned to the Padres for two more innings, both scoreless, in 2004, ending his career.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Jimmy Henry, His Resume - 3171

The Detroit Free Press outlined Jimmy Henry's resume upon his promotion to AA in June 1992.

Henry, still just 21, went 6-3 at high-A Lakeland that year, with a 1.09 ERA. He played the previous year largely at Niagara Falls and had a 2.22 ERA.

The starting pitcher went on to see 15 starts at AA London that year, but he couldn't keep his ERA down. He ended up 5-5, with a 4.82 ERA.

But, while he would return to London the next year, turning reliever, Henry  never made it higher. He never made the majors.

Henry's career began in 1990, having been taken by the Tigers in the 45th round of the previous year's draft out of Sacramento City College. He played his high school ball at Placer High in California.

Henry played his first pro season at rookie Bristol in 1990. In 10 starts, he went 1-3, witj a 4.10 ERA.

Henry then moved to short-season Niagara Falls and Lakeland for 1991. His Lakeland time comprised six relief outings and four earned runs over 11 innings of work.

Henry played his time at Lakeland and London in 1992, ending with an 11-8 overall record between them and a 3.14 overall ERA.

For 1993, Henry again split time between London and Lakeland. He played much of his time at London, getting into 33 games in relief. He turned in a 5.28 ERA, marking the end of his career.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,433
Made the Majors: 994-40.9%
Never Made Majors:1,439-59.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 415
10+ Seasons in the Minors:251

Gary Wilson, Abbreviated Climb - 11

Originally published Nov. 7, 2011
Starting for AA Reading in July 1990, Gary D. Wilson went seven innings, giving up just four hits.

Wilson, though, picked up the loss, rival New Britain winning by a score of 1 to 0.

Wilson was in his third professional season that year in 1990, making the steady climb in the Phillies organization from draft pick, to AA Reading.

He climbed further in 1991, to AAA Scranton. But Wilson couldn't climb further. His career ended after just four seasons, without making the majors.

Wilson's career began in 1988, taken by the Phillies in the eighth round of the draft. The one-time San Antonio resident started that first year at short-season Batavia.

At Batavia, Wilson went 4-9, with a 3.60 ERA in 15 starts. For 1989, he moved to single-A Spartanburg, going 3-7, with a 2.19 ERA.

He got his first look at AA ball in 1990, with Reading. He got 21 starts and 12 relief appearances. One of those relief appearances was a rough one in May, Wilson hitting a batter and giving up a run. Overall, Wilson went 7-12, with a 2.44 ERA.

For 1991, Wilson moved up to AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre, getting 10 starts and 30 relief appearances. He went 3-7, picking up a win in relief in June and another that month with three scoreless innings.

In his third start in May, though, Wilson didn't make it out of the third inning, giving up seven runs. But it was his final season. In 104.1 innings, Wilson gave up 57 earned runs, ending his career.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Brad Wilson, Home Runs - 3172

Brad Wilson hit a lot of home runs in his high school career, enough to get him a pro career.

From 1986 to 1989, playing for Towns County High School in Hiawassee, Ga., Wilson hit a total of 50 home runs. He also hit seven grand slams.

His 50 home runs were enough to still have him eighth all-time in the state.

As a pro, though, Wilson's bat cooled. The catcher played just three seasons and hit only a hand full of home runs. He never made AA.

Wilson's career began in 1989, taken by the Tigers in the second round of the draft out of Towns County High.

Wilson started with the Tigers at rookie Bristol. He got into 43 games, hit .221 and knocked a single home run.

He moved to single-A Fayetteville for 1990, getting 29 games there and hitting .195, with two home runs. He also got 24 games back at Bristol, hitting .182.

In 1991, Wilson saw both Fayetteville and high-A Lakeland. He got into 55 games at Fayetteville and 10 at Lakeland. Between them, he hit .188, ending his career.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,432
Made the Majors: 994-40.9%
Never Made Majors:1,438-59.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 415
10+ Seasons in the Minors:251

Jimmy Alder, Crushed It - 3168

Jimmy Alder showed his single-A manager what he could do in this spring 1991 contest, according to The Fayetteville Observer.

After hitting 12 home runs the previous year, Alder knocked a solo shot in this game, The Observer wrote.

"The ball Alder hit was against the wind and carried about 400 feet," Fayetteville manager Gerry Groninger told The Observer. "He just crushed it. That was a bright spot for me because when he came in to spring training he was not swinging the bat well. The last two games he's really started to hit. I'm pleased with what he's doing."

Alder played part of that season with Groninger's Generals and the other part back at rookie Bristol. He played two more seasons after that, but he couldn't crush the ball enough to make it higher than AA.

Alder's career began in 1990, taken by the Tigers in the fourth round of the draft out of Dobyns-Bennett High School in Tennessee.

In high school, Alder drove in nine runs in a playoff game. He also took the mound and threw a shutout in another tournament game, according to The Bristol Herald-Courier.

"Jimmy was as good as I've ever seen," Stacy Carter, who had to face Alder in high school, told The Herald-Courier. "I've seen him hit some monster shots. He was a great hitter and could pitch equally as well too."

Alder started with the Tigers at Bristol. In 63 games, he hit .188. He did hit those 12 home runs and knocked in 33.

Alder moved to single-A Fayetteville and returned to Bristol for 1991, hitting .203 on the year. That May, he got some help with some eyeglasses, lowering his strikeout rate after getting fitted with them, according to The Detroit Free Press.

Alder played 1992 at high-A Lakeland, improving his average to .250. He hit eight home runs. He then played 1993 at Lakeland and at AA London.

At London, Alder got into 42 games, but hit just .193. He helped London take a lead in a May game with a late double. He then went 2 for 3 with Lakeland in an August game, knocking in three. That season, however, marked the end of his career.

Alder soon returned home to Tennessee. In 2007, he watched one of his high school marks go by the wayside. Alder hit 31 home runs in his high school career. That year, another player, Derek Trent, eclipsed him and Alder got to watch, according to

He also gave some advice to the prospective pro Trent.

"You're going to miss your family," Alder told TriCitiesSports. "I know I did. But if you can get the money, you need to take it. Most teams now provide for schooling if something happens that you get hurt."

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,431
Made the Majors: 994-40.9%
Never Made Majors:1,437-59.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 415
10+ Seasons in the Minors:251
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