Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Meet a Prospect: Phil Coke

The New York Yankees are feeling pretty nostalgic recently as they try to recreate the magic that was the 2009 World Series championship team. New York has already brought back their right fielder from that season in Nick Swisher after the Atlanta Braves released him and now they have brought back a pretty integral left-handed reliever to the team and stashed him in Triple-A in Phil Coke. Let's meet him, some for the first time while some are meeting the nasty southpaw again. This is Meet a Prospect: The Phil Coke Edition.

Phillip Douglas Coke was born on July 19, 1982 and is a MLB veteran of four teams and one Atlantic League of Professional Baseball team. Coke has played professionally for the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers, the Chicago Cubs and the Toronto Blue Jays while also spending time in the minor leagues with the Atlanta Braves and Oakland Athletics while most recently spending time with the Lancaster Barnstormers. Coke wasn't always a MLB pitcher though as his amateur career began at San Joaquin Delta College. The Miami Marlins drafted him out of college in the 49th round of the 2001 MLB First Year Players Draft but he did not sign.

The next year the New York Yankees came calling in the 26th round of the 2002 MLB Draft with the 786th pick overall and Coke signed almost immediately with the club. Coke began his professional career with the GCL Yankees and was all the way in Triple-A by the end of the 2008 season. Coke made his MLB debut with the club in September of 2008 with a scoreless inning against the Detroit Tigers that included a strikeout of Curtis Granderson and Miguel Cabrera. Coke became a staple in the Yankees bullpen in 2009 and helped the team win their 27th World Series championship in the franchise's history which opened a lot of eyes not only in the Yankees organization but in organization's across the league as well.

After the 2009 season the Yankees sent Coke to the Detroit Tigers in a three-team trade that saw Curtis Granderson return to the Yankees. Coke had an impressive first season with the Tigers which earned him a new contract with the club before the 2011 season. Coke worked some as a starter for Detroit in 2011 but after posting a 1-8 record he was delegated back to the bullpen in what may have been the best decision for all parties involved. Coke stepped up as the team's closer in 2012 and helped his new team beat his old team in the ALCS to earn his second trip to the World Series in his young playing career. The Tigers would fall to the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 World Series but it was no fault of Coke's as he finished with a 0.84 ERA and 13 K's in just 10.2 innings pitched.

Coke took a step back in 2013 logging just 38.1 innings with a career-high 5.40 ERA which earned him a demotion back to Triple-A. Coke toiled around with the Tigers in 2014 until the winter before 2015 when Coke tested the free agent market. Coke was not able to find a MLB deal that winter and ultimately settled on a minor league pact with the Chicago Cubs to continue his career. Coke made the team out of spring training earning $2.25 million but only last a month and two weeks before being designated for assignment once again. This time Coke latched on with the Toronto Blue Jays who sent the lefty to Triple-A to begin his tenure with the franchise. Coke made his debut with Toronto on June 14th of that season before becoming a free agent once again a week later after declining a minor league assignment.

Coke signed a minor league deal with the Oakland A's and Atlanta Braves before finally leaving the Major Leagues for the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.Coke did enough to catch the attention of Brian Cashman and the Yankees as he showcased his four-seam and two-seam fastballs out of the bullpen. Coke may be up in New York very soon after riding the Scranton Shuttle, stay tuned just to see when.

Welcome back to the family Phil!

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