Phillies

John Middleton designated as Phillies' control person by MLB

John Middleton designated as Phillies' control person by MLB

In what amounts to a formality, Major League Baseball owners on Thursday approved Phillies partner John Middleton as the team’s control person at their quarterly meetings in Chicago.

Middleton, 61, joined the Phillies ownership group in 1994 and has steadily gained shares in the club. He and the Buck Family own equal shares of just under 48 percent. David Montgomery and Pat Gillick also own small pieces of the team.

The control person is accountable for the operation of the club and its compliance with MLB rules.

Montgomery had been the control person since becoming club president in 1997. Middleton assumed the role on a de facto basis late in the summer of 2014. After years in the background, Middleton, with the consent of his partners in the Buck family, emerged and became the public face/spokesman of ownership in the summer of 2015 when he announced the hiring of Andy MacPhail, who rose to the position of club president after the 2015 season.

Middleton talked about the Phillies ownership structure and his vision for the club in a two-part interview with CSN Philadelphia in September. You can read part one here and part two here

Mets' Jacob deGrom wins NL Cy Young Award as Phillies' Aaron Nola comes in 3rd

Mets' Jacob deGrom wins NL Cy Young Award as Phillies' Aaron Nola comes in 3rd

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom was the landslide winner of the National League Cy Young Award when the results were announced on Wednesday night.

Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals finished second in the voting and Phillies ace Aaron Nola placed third.

DeGrom received 29 of a possible 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner, received one first-place vote.

Nola received 27 third-place votes, two fourth-place votes and one fifth-place vote to easily outdistance Colorado's Kyle Freeland, the fourth-place finisher in the NL.

DeGrom, 30, had just 10 wins, fewest ever by a Cy Young-winning starting pitcher in a full season, for a Mets club that finished eight games under .500. However, he led the majors with a brilliant 1.70 ERA.

Nola, 25, was the Phillies’ first-round draft pick in 2014. He blossomed into an ace in his fourth season in the majors in 2018. He finished second in the NL in ERA (2.37) and third in innings (212 1/3) and WHIP (0.97).

Scherzer, 34, led the majors in innings (220 2/3) and strikeouts (300) in 2018 while recording  a 2.53 ERA, the second best of his career.

Nola became the first Phillie to finish in the top 10 of the NL Cy Young voting since Cole Hamels placed sixth in 2014. The last Phillies to finish in the top three were Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, who finished second and third, respectively, in 2011. Halladay won the award in 2010.

Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell won the American League Award over Houston’s Justin Verlander and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber.

Here's the breakdown of the National League voting, courtesy of BBWAA.com:

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Phillies promote Chris Young to replace Rick Kranitz as pitching coach

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USA Today Images/AP

Phillies promote Chris Young to replace Rick Kranitz as pitching coach

The Phillies have made a change in their coaching ranks.

Chris Young has been promoted to head pitching coach, said a baseball source, confirming a report by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Young replaces Rick Kranitz, who served as the team’s head pitching coach in 2018.

Phillies general manager Matt Klentak was not immediately available for comment on the sudden and surprising change.

A baseball source with knowledge of the move said it was made after Young had received an offer to become head pitching coach with another major league team. It is customary for teams to allow coaches to move on to greater roles or retain them with promotions. In this case, the Phillies promoted Young from assistant pitching coach to head pitching coach so that they could retain him.

Kranitz, 60, remains under contract with the Phillies and could conceivably return to the organization in another role. However, that is doubtful. Kranitz had previously served as a head major-league pitching coach with Miami, Baltimore and Milwaukee and should have no trouble hooking on with another organization.

Before becoming the Phillies’ head pitching coach last season, Kranitz was the team’s bullpen coach and then assistant pitching coach under Bob McClure. McClure and Kranitz were both instrumental in the grooming of Aaron Nola, who will finish in the top 3 of the National League Cy Young voting when the results are announced on Wednesday night.

Young, 37, joined the Phillies a year ago after spending three years with the Houston Astros as pro scouting supervisor. The Astros are one of baseball’s most progressive organizations and Young is well schooled in the modern approach (video, big data, deep matchup study, etc.) that many teams, the Phillies included, are now taking toward coaching, game preparation and execution. 

Earlier this offseason, the Phillies hired Josh Bonifay, another former member of the Astros organization, to be their director of player development. Joe Jordan, the Phillies' previous director of player development, resigned over philosophical differences with the front office in September.

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