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Angling for success: Are we watching the Maikel Franco we were always promised?

The Athletic

By Ben Harris May 10, 2018

The opposing starter Maikel Franco had singled against the night before was tossing a football down the third-base line. Some of his Phillies teammates were stretching in shallow right field. Four hours before his 3-for-5, two-RBI night began, Franco stood at home plate taking soft underhand tosses from hitting coach John Mallee and launching them to the deepest parts of Citizens Bank Park.

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Crawfords first big fly

By Todd Zolecki @ToddZolecki

Apr. 11th, 2018

PHILADELPHIA — Maybe J.P. Crawford is figuring out a few things at the plate.

Crawford crushed a two-run home run into the second deck in right field in the second inning in Wednesday night’s 4-3 victory over the Reds in 12 innings at Citizens Bank Park. Crawford turned on a 0-2 fastball from Reds right-hander Luis Castillo, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. It was the first homer of Crawford’s career.

The ball left Crawford’s bat at 105.2 mph, according to Statcast™.

“I don’t really remember it,” Crawford said, smiling. “I kind of blacked out. But it felt good. I felt short, quick to the ball and put a good barrel on it.”

Crawford, who the got the ball, opened the season in a 1-for-25 slump before ripping a go-ahead single with two outs in the seventh inning in Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory. He has spent the past several days trying to shorten his swing.

“Me and [hitting coach John] Mallee have been putting in a lot of work in the cages before the game to prepare,” Crawford said. “Just to finally see some results, it’s a good feeling.”

Crawford’s sacrifice bunt in the 12th inning also advanced Pedro Florimon to third base, setting up the game-winning run when Scott Kingery hit a sacrifice fly to right field.

Which hitters does Hoskins emulate? Look to Wrigley

By Mike Petriello @mike_petriello

Apr. 4th, 2018

“Hitting’s hard. It really is.”

Phillies slugger Rhys Hoskins is one of the better young sluggers in the game, having crushed 18 homers in just 50 games in 2017, and he sat down with the Statcast™ Podcast to explain how he approaches life at the plate in the world of launch angle and exit velocity.

For Hoskins, it’s not just about getting the ball in the air. It’s about having an approach that allows you to not have to be absolutely perfect every time in order to be successful.

“I think being ‘on plane’ gives you the best chance to hit all different pitches throughout the strike zone,” Hoskins said, referring, in a way, to the classic Ted Williams approach. “I think it makes your swing stay in the strike zone as long as possible. I think when your barrel is in the zone for a long time, you’re giving more room for error.”

Even stars have hitters they want to be like. For Hoskins, the first names he mentioned were a pair of Cubs, in part because analytically inclined Phillies hitting coach John Mallee held the same job in Chicago for the previous three seasons.

“There’s a couple guys on the Cubs that I watch a lot,” Hoskins noted. “Ian Happ and Anthony Rizzo, two guys that kind of have a similar leg kick to what I employ, also guys that Mallee has worked with, so it’s been really cool to hear him talk about them and their routines and what they go through. Those are two guys off the top of my head.

“Obviously, if you want to talk about approach-wise and maybe similar stature, I’ll go to Paul Goldschmidt, and who doesn’t like watching Mike Trout hit. Obviously those guys are pretty good at what they do, and watching them can only help.”

Also on this week’s show, Mike and Matt dig into the early-season feats of Shohei Ohtani, who is setting Statcast™ marks on both sides of the ball.

In addition, the show looks at early season notable Statcast™ metrics, including record-setting homers from Avisail GarciaMarcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton; elite velocity from St. Louis rookie Jordan Hicks; early looks on expected production from Jose MartinezMiguel Cabrera and Yasiel PuigSeth Lugolooking dominant in relief; Jorge Alfaro‘s cannon of a throwing arm; and the entirely predictable (and effective) move of Gerrit Cole to throw fewer fastballs with Houston.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for and the host of the Statcast podcast.

Hoskins goes deep, Nola goes 7 solid, Phils beat Pirates

Hoskins goes deep, Nola goes 7 solid, Phils beat Pirates

By Rob Maaddi, The Associated Press

Posted: 04/22/18, 5:17 AM EDT | Updated: 2 days ago

PHILADELPHIA >> Rhys Hoskins let two fastballs down the middle go for strikes and somehow saw another one. He crushed it.

Hoskins hit a go-ahead three-run homer, Aaron Nola tossed seven impressive innings and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2 Saturday.

Nola (2-1) allowed two runs, six hits and struck out nine to help the Phillies win their third straight game and improve to 8-1 at home. The Pirates have lost five of six after an 11-4 start.

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Coach John Mallee, shortens Crawford’s swing

Coach John Mallee, shortens Crawford’s swing

By Matt Breen The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News (TNS)
Apr 14, 2018 Updated 11 hrs ago

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Phillies gave J.P. Crawford a day off last week, telling the struggling shortstop to “work on some things.” Crawford had one hit in his first seven games and looked lost at the plate. Take some time, the Phillies said.

It is too early to say for sure, but that one day may have been enough to right Crawford’s season. He homered and doubled on Saturday in a 9-4 win over the Rays to continue a strong response to his slow start. Crawford has five hits in 13 at-bats since he spent his off day with hitting coach John Mallee, who put the shortstop through a drill to shorten his swing and keep his hands close to his body. Crawford has not looked back.

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