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  1. #46
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    Blossoming Talent in Lakewood (optimism)

    It's a long way to Philadelphia from Lakewood, N.J., if your chosen career is professional baseball.
    You cannot simply make the 70-mile drive from FirstEnergy Park to Citizens Bank Park because, for most players, there are stops in Clearwater, Reading and Allentown in between.

    Jonathan Villar , a 19-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic, is batting .288 with 55 runs scored and 33 stolen bases at Lakewood.

    That said, first-year manager Mark Parent's single-A Lakewood roster is filled with legitimate big-league prospects. "If you count pitchers and position players, I'd say we have seven or eight," Parent said.
    Jonathan Singleton, at 18, has become the premier prospect in the South Atlantic League. Parent said Singleton's hot start with the BlueClaws made him a marked man among the league's hitters. "He came here and started doing so well and started getting a lot of publicity," Parent said. "Pitchers notice when a guy is hot and doing well, and they started to stay away from him and [are] also throwing him hard and in.

    "For a while he was a little frustrated and he started expanding his zone, but here recently he is back to his usual approach. He had a 17-pitch at-bat the other day and he's starting to hit line drives. He has been pitched as tough as anybody in the league. I think he's going to be quite a player."

    The most publicized pitching prospect at Lakewood has been Jarred Cosart, a 20-year-old righthander with a high-90-m.p.h. fastball. Cosart, in his first full minor-league season, is 7-3 with a 3.79 ERA in 14 starts, but he is currently on the disabled list with a strained elbow. He is expected to return in August.

    Cosart, however, is not the only pitching prospect to set foot in Lakewood this season.

    Matt Way, after going 7-4 with a 3.65 ERA, was promoted to single-A Clearwater and Brody Colvin, according to Parent, is the BlueClaws' most improved pitcher.

    "Although there are a couple of guys that are a close second," Parent said. "Colvin, after his first two or three outings, I wondered if he was going to survive. Now, he's going into the sixth, seventh and eighth inning almost every start. It has really been good to see because he's a hard-working kid. He has really matured."

    Colvin, 19 and a seventh-round pick last year, was 1-3 with an 11.15 ERA in four April starts. In 14 starts since, he is 4-3 with a 2.83 ERA, allowing 65 hits in 822/3 innings.

    Shortstop Jonathan Villar, a 19-year-old from the Dominican Republic, has also emerged as a top prospect, hitting .288 with 55 runs scored and 33 stolen bases. He has also made 35 errors, which is not uncommon for players at his level. The Yankees' Derek Jeter, for instance, made 56 errors during his only full season in the South Atlantic League.

    Parent named catcher Sebastian Valle, a 2006 signee from Mexico, as his most improved player, mostly because of how he has developed behind the plate.

    "At the beginning of the year, he was more worried about his hitting than catching and winning and getting the pitcher through the game," Parent said. "When he started to take off hitting the ball is when he started working his butt off behind the plate."

    Outfielder Jiwan James, a 22d-round pick in 2007, has also started to blossom at Lakewood. After batting .230 through May, James has hit .315 the last two months. He extended his team-record hitting streak to 23 games Friday.

    Lefthander Nicholas Hernandez, a 12th-round pick last year, opened the season 3-1 with a 1.61 ERA in eight starts before being shut down by a shoulder injury. He pitched two innings for the Gulf Coast League Phillies Tuesday, and Parent said he thinks he will soon rejoin Lakewood.

    Jonathan Pettibone (3-4 with a 4.32 ERA) and Colby Shreve (5-4, 3.33 ERA) also have impressed Parent at times this season.

    All that talent has also translated to victories for Lakewood, which won the first half of the South Atlantic League and, at 56-34, had the fourth-best record in minor-league baseball going into Friday's games.

    "This team has had a number of late-inning comebacks," Parent said. "We're really athletic and we're even more energetic. We go out to play to beat the other team and that's what you want to see."
    http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/..._Lakewood.html

  2. #47
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    Nice little write up. The Phillies lower level depth is very strong (something a lot of teams can claim). Because we have so much toolsy, up the middle talent, we're likely to get a super star out of the bunch along with some competent regulars. That's 3 years down the road still.
    Now writing for FanGraphs, RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, and The Fake Baseball

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  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by The A Team View Post
    Nice little write up. The Phillies lower level depth is very strong (something a lot of teams can claim). Because we have so much toolsy, up the middle talent, we're likely to get a super star out of the bunch along with some competent regulars. That's 3 years down the road still.
    Around the time the current core is soon gone...sadly...but that's baseball...The players come and go but we'll always remember them.



    Like Don Money, who hit the first homer at The Vet.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLee53 View Post
    Any word on Hewitt?
    this
    Quote Originally Posted by sexicano31 View Post
    In other news, anthony hewitt still sucks ****

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by sexicano31 View Post
    this


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  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLee53 View Post
    To be specific:

    .211/.258/.342

    35 RBI, 29 R, 12 BB, 112 SO 304 AB

    eww

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by sexicano31 View Post
    To be specific:

    .211/.258/.342

    35 RBI, 29 R, 12 BB, 112 SO 304 AB

    eww
    that is a significant amount of KOs.


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  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLee53 View Post
    that is a significant amount of KOs.
    thats putting it lightly

  9. #54
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    His plate discipline has somehow declined which is scary.

  10. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseWithFleas View Post
    His plate discipline has somehow declined which is scary.
    hopefully he can straighten it out.


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  11. #56
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    He has shown other signs of improvement, but it's by no means close to what fellow all-tools no-skills OF Jiwan James has shown. I'm cautiously optimistic about him and I'm currently rating him in the top 5 of our prospects (a lot of that is wrapped up in potential of course).
    Now writing for FanGraphs, RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, and The Fake Baseball

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  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by The A Team View Post
    He has shown other signs of improvement, but it's by no means close to what fellow all-tools no-skills OF Jiwan James has shown. I'm cautiously optimistic about him and I'm currently rating him in the top 5 of our prospects (a lot of that is wrapped up in potential of course).
    Everything would have to wrapped up in potential with this kid. Hewitt has no pitch recognition skills, and thats not a tool that can be taught - I'm still puzzled as to why the Phillies continue to be under the believe thats a skill that can be acquired.

  13. #58
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    Plate discipline is definitely a learnable skill. Teaching it, perhaps not so much, but learning it is very much possible. It's mostly a matter of reps + X where X is the player's underlying skills in depth perception and various other pseudo-intangibles.

    From our perspective and even from a scout's perspective, it's impossible to intuit whether or not a player has the necessary hand eye coordination to eventually learn pitch recognition. Hewitt may very well not have it, but we have no way of ever verifying that. All the club can do is keeping getting him his reps and hoping for the best.
    Now writing for FanGraphs, RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, and The Fake Baseball

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  14. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by The A Team View Post
    Plate discipline is definitely a learnable skill. Teaching it, perhaps not so much, but learning it is very much possible. It's mostly a matter of reps + X where X is the player's underlying skills in depth perception and various other pseudo-intangibles.

    From our perspective and even from a scout's perspective, it's impossible to intuit whether or not a player has the necessary hand eye coordination to eventually learn pitch recognition. Hewitt may very well not have it, but we have no way of ever verifying that. All the club can do is keeping getting him his reps and hoping for the best.
    The percentage of "raw" prospects who actually turn out to be serviceable MLB players is extremely minuscule though, thats why I don't understand it. I mean if you wanna take a shot on a guy who shows flashes of being able to read break and spin at the plate, thats fine. But Hewitt never showed any of that. Everyone knew he was an extremely raw over aged Northeast player when the Phillies selected him, and it should be no surprise to anyone that hes made little to no real progress.

    I just can't comprehend why teams continue to fool themselves into believing they can outsmart the next guy by passing on polished hard working players to take over-talented athletes with extremely underdeveloped or nonexistent baseball skills. It simply blows my mind. And I get the potential argument, but again, the success to failure ratio is tilted like a broken scale towards failure.
    Last edited by mgkibbles; 07-19-2010 at 01:04 AM.

  15. #60
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    I like their strategy in concept, but they definitely over-do it at times. Hewitt may have been one of those times. But then again, look at the guys who would have been on the draft board when they made that pick. Most of them are boring, low impact players. Anthony Hewitt was practically universally accepted as the player with the best tools in the draft. Why not throw the dice (especially when you have 7 picks in the top 3 rounds).

    The Hewitt decision makes sense in retrospect even if it doesn't look like it will work out (and I hated it when it happened).

    The Phillies don't want to develop low impact prospects. That's their choice and I don't necessarily disagree with it...
    Now writing for FanGraphs, RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, and The Fake Baseball

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