Around the System (Corner Infielders)

Another look at the Corner Infielders in the Phillies system from top to bottom.  Not very deep at all, with AAAA organizational guys at the top, and several who have underperformed or are too old for their league on the bottom.  The numbers being put up in Reading are interesting, although I think the Phils would hesitate to call any of the three a true prospect.

Lehigh Valley

Mike Cervenak–Age 32, 21 games at 3B, 14 at 1B, 8 in RF, 20 DH; .281/.327/.418; 6HR 41 RBI; .280 with RISP; .385 vs. LHP;  2 errors, .989 fielding %

Andy Tracy–Age 35, 65 games at 1B, 13 DH; .246/.343/.472; 15HR 57 RBI; 5 SB; 66BB; .271 with RISP, 7 errors, .988 fielding %

Terry Tiffee–Age 30–14 games at 3B, 2 at DH; .257/.273/.378;  2HR 7 RBI; .353 with RISP; 2 errors, .951 fielding %.

Reading

Kevin Mahar–Age 28–31 games at 1B, 26 in LF, 8 in RF, 2 DH, .313/.356/.480; 8 HR 34 RBI; 5 SB; .299 with RISP; .342 vs. RHP; .368 since June 1; 4 errors, .986 fielding %.

Neil Sellers–Age 27–85 games at 3B, 10 at 1B, 1 at 2B; .313/.391/.461; 9 HR 49 RBI; .263 with RISP; .348 vs. LHP; 9 errors, .961 fielding %.

Brian Stavisky–Age 29–61 games at 1B, 6 at DH; .284/.377/.420; 5 HR 37 RBI; .318 with RISP; 8 errors, .985 fielding %.

Clearwater

Michael Durant–Age 22; 62 games at 1B, 4 at DH; .228/.308/.422; 10 HR 29 RBI; .231 with RISP; .353 vs. LHP; .154 vs. RHP; 9 errors, .984 fielding %.

Cody Overbeck–Age 23; 33 games at 3B, 13 at DH; /225/.281/.396;  7 HR 29 RBI; 27% K rate; .212 with RISP; .372 vs. LHP; .180 vs. RHP; 8 errors, .916 fielding %

Matt Rizzotti–Age 23; 15 games at 1B, 39 at DH; .237/.330/.429; 8 HR 36 RBI; .298 with RISP; .158 vs. LHP; 4 errors, .972 fielding %.

Lakewood

Jeremy Hamilton–Age 22; 40 games at 1B, 1 in RF, 11 DH; /262/.347/.339; 2 HR 21 RBI; ,308 with RISP; 3 errors, .991 fielding %.

Travis Mattair–Age 20; 79 games at 3B; .243/.353/.330; 2 HR 26 RBI; 8 SB; 28% K rate; .235 with RISP; 10 errors, .956 fielding %

Jim Murphy–Age 23; 47 games at 1B, 23 DH; .297/.413/.476; 9 HR 45 RBI; 33% K rate; .347 with RISP; .316 vs. RHP; 1 error, .998 fielding %.

Williamsport

Francisco Murillo–Age 22, 8 games at 1B, 6 DH; .222/.288/.444; 2 HR 7 RBI; 33% K rate; .150 with RISP; 1 error, .987 fielding %.

Anthony Hewitt–Age 20, 18 games at 3B, 1 DH; .250/.301/.474; 3 HR 9 RBI; 5 SB; 32% K rate; .136 with RISP; 12 errors, .765 fielding %.

Adam Buschini–Age 22; 11 games at 2B.; .156/.269/.222; 1 HR 2 EBI; .154 with RISP; 1 error, .982 fielding %. Buschini is listed on the Williamsport roster as a 3B, however every game he has played has been at 2B.

Gulf Coast– A little early to look at GCL stats.  Check for them next time around.

Darin Ruf–Age 22

Cory Wine–Age 22

Luis Paulino–Age 20

Jakub Sladek–Age 19

48 thoughts on “Around the System (Corner Infielders)

  1. Lehigh and Reading I see as minor league veterans who may fill in here and there. At Reading Mahar has MLB experience, not sure on the other 2 in that regard, But they were not placed in AAA, in the offseason, so .

    I would think Yonderman Rodriguez would have played more games and has more AB’s at 3B than Overbeck. They tried him at 2B, maybe just to rest Hernandez. Lack of size may hold back, though has hit for extended periods at various levels.

    Maybe they can re-abilitate Durant, after this lull, as he seems to be showing more power.

    Overbeck is still young enough he could improve some and move up a bit.

    Mattair is the guy to look at for prospects at 3B at Lakewood.

    Hewitt seems to be catching on a bit. Last time I looked, Buschini had a higher strikeout rate than Hewiitt also. If it was not omitted , it could be that both the other listed candidates would have had higher strikeout rates than Hewitt, though he gets the pub.

    Stephen Batts also a 1B at Williamsport.

    Luis Paulino has good size and is still young , I see, and perhaps he can develop more hitting prowess, if there are not signings and/or positional changes (Altherr) that may cut into the playing time. Lendy Castillo has played there , also.

    From the Latin American front, Dominican 3B , Yeisson Morales (6’2 195, age 17) has started to play as a regular and is hitting for a good average. In Venezuela, Eduards Tolo, 3B, is 5’9 140 leadoff type, who is a minor league rarity with more walks then strikeouts . Maybe these players can work unto this list as some future date.

  2. Hewitt is looking better at the plate, but 12 errors in 21 games and a .765 fielding % (if those are the numbers) leaves a lot to be desired.

  3. Hewlitt has certainly provided a little reason for optimism and closer watching.

    Before his good performance last week, he looked like a pure athlete with NO hitting skills and huge holes.

    Now you have to suspect that some of the instruction did take with him and maybe with the pressure of being a #1 pick, it took him a few weeks to get his feet on the ground and to catch up with the speed of the game.

    I will have patience with him. Before last week, we had nothing to indicate any performance improvements. Now we know he can do it in isolated games or in a stretch of games. That’s a big step.

    No guarantees for anything. He could still fizzle, but he has forced us to watch more objectively.

  4. Some people want to harp away on the errors. Seems I heard on that Futures Game yesterday, they were talking about Derek Jeter having 56 errors in a minor league season. Another MLB player , of lesser status, former Phily Kim Batiste, had something like 78 errors in a minor league season. 2 MLB players. Alot of Hewitt’s errors have been on throws, so that should be correctable in time. And guys who have a range of 5 feet on either side of them tend to have very few errors. I believe that if Hewitt is able to master the hitting to the best of his ability, the defensive side will correct itself over time.

  5. When Jeter made 56 errors, his fielding percentage was .889. That’s bad. Hewitt’s is .764. That is astoundingly, mind bogglingly terrible. A .764 fielding percentage in MLB would be the worst of all time (setting a 100 game minimum). The guys who didn’t even use GLOVES made plays more often than Hewitt.

  6. Not much here to get excited about, especially above Lakewood. 1B isn’t a big issue because guys can be transitioned there rather easily.

    3B is another story and it doesn’t appear help is coming from the sytem anytime soon..

  7. I agree Marfis. At this point I’m not worried about his fielding. Over the next 3-4 years he will iron everything out.

    I’ve been really liking what Hewitt is doing this year. Even before his recent hot streak, he was starting to square balls up. I would much rather him lining out then getting little bloop hits. Pretty much everything he hits is hard, so it’s only a matter of him getting better at pitch selection. His K/BB ratio recently has been improving, which has lead him to better numbers.

  8. Hewitt’s progress is encouraging. While it is early to be really worried about his 3B D, the errors have to be at least a red flag. Doesn’t appear to be much beyond Hewitt at these positions. Mattair still has youth on his side, but hasn’t cracked .700 OPS and is repeating low A.

  9. When Hewitt was drafted many observers had him destined for the outfield. I think that will be his ultimate position if he makes the majors. But learning third base will add to his value. Pat Burrell played third for UM and made the transition to left field fairly easily. This kid has superior athletic ability and if he continues to improve at the plate he’ll find a home somewhere.

  10. Hewitt is a project…let him develop in peace. He’s learning a completely new position and learning how to hit. Lets check back in a couple years.

  11. Hewitt’s error total is striking, but not really worth worrying about right now. It’s pretty clear that he won’t play third base in the majors if he’s likely to make an error once in every four chances. And he wasn’t drafted for his glove. After the recent scorching stretch, I think we’ll all be eager to see how he does over the next two months.

    Otherwise, I keep hoping that Durant and/or Rizzotti find some consistency, but any improvements they’ve made seem pretty marginal going by the stat lines.

  12. When Utley got signed everyone talked about how marginal his defense was. Then he worked very hard and is now a plus defender as we all know. Obviously the Hewitt struggles concern me but I think we owe him time to fix things.

  13. For all I know, Hewitt is the second coming of Babe Ruth and we all hope he does well.

    I will say this, however, with as unbelievably raw as he is, in order to be picked in the first round, ahead of folks like Knapp, Gose and Collier, he must be among the best pure athletes that have ever come down the pike.

  14. Hewitt was a ss in school and legion ball,so i think he can handle a hot grounder,but i also think with his power projection 1st base could also a spot pat burrell also play 1st base,lets be patient,

  15. Hewitt’s recent hot streak (and his iso around .225) are signs of encouragement. As for his fielding – I remember thinking at draft time that he reminded me a lot of Ron Gant, who was tried at second and third by Atlanta before a successful career as an outfielder.

    – Jeff

  16. LV Matt Says:

    When Utley got signed everyone talked about how marginal his defense was.
    How to know what’s in a guys head and gut. The last couple of years the Phils have been great at that . No Pink Floyds

  17. Isn’t Hewlitt supposed to have Herschel Walker physique and speed–and a great arm. Why waste that at 3B? CF/RF seems right.

  18. quick trivia question…name the future hall of fame 3rd basement and former Phillies great who committed 38 errors in his age 19 season….

    Scott Rolen.

    the piont is good athletes figure it out. if they work hard and have the tools, they develop honed skills over time. hewitt is a kid and is very raw. leave him alone for the next few years.

  19. Looks like Cervenak should be up with the big club to be the righty bat off the bench. Mayberry is up instead and he looks fairly clueless at the plate. If Cervenak could hit even .250-.260 against lefties it would be an improvement over Mayberry. And he can play more positions. But Cervenak is minor league AAAA flotsam and Mayberry was traded for and has a famous father. . . .

  20. Ak,

    I agree that Mayberry has shown that he isn’t ready to handle a pinch-hitting role. It’s difficult for guys to get 3-5 at-bats per week and still hit.

    Send him back to AAA ball, let him play everyday, and bring up someone with more experience for the job.

  21. Cervenak is also 32 and has no plate discipline to speak of in AAA…

    As far as Hewitt, just let him play and we’ll see where he is at the end of the season or in a few months. He’s a pure athlete, if he doesn’t work @ 3B he can always move to the outfield. Just look for progression from him.

  22. thats a pitiful looking crop. as far as rolens 38 errors, how many chances. hewitt makes an error 1 in every 4 chances.i thought it was a horrible choice then and still do. but lets give the kid a chance.

  23. I agree Hewitt’s hitting is encouraging and they should be able to find a spot in the field for him if this continues. Moving him doesn’t help solve the 3rd base issues in this system though which is what this thread highlights. Regardless of his tools he will have to field the position better to stay at 3rd even if his bat moves him up (I have yet to see him in person so it is difficult to go on anything but stats here. Thanks to the people with insight on his defense earlier in the comments).

    Without Hewitt at 3rd there is Mattair and ???? in this system at the position. It is not so much saying Hewitt is hopeless, as saying there could continue to be a glaring organizational hole if Hewitt has to move even if his hitting continues to improve as it apparently has.

  24. “i thought it was a horrible choice then and still do. but lets give the kid a chance.”

    Sounds like you’re giving him quite the chance.

  25. Rolen’s a future HoFer?

    Rolen and Jeter committed a bunch of errors as kids, but at least they were hitting. Hopefully Hewitt’s starting to figure it out.

  26. I quess we are all agreed defense develops last. I think
    Hewitt’s errors slowed when he started hitting.

  27. good to see barnes get some ink by czernecki? today. but dont fool with him just leave at ss where hes always played.

  28. No doubt Hewitt some pop. The radio guy said his homers went .385 ft and over 400ft. Bowman Field is one of the most difficult minor league parks to homer in a study done by milb done last year. The Sun-Gazette newspaper account tells a story which reads like Hewitt wants to prove his critics wrong:

    “Hewitt almost single-handedly lifted the Cutters to a win in the opening game, which was the completion of a suspended game from Saturday night. He hit the 10th pitch of his first at-bat, a hanging curveball, over the left-center field fence for a two-run home run.

    “And in the eighth inning, with the Cutters nursing a 3-2 lead, He hit a first-pitch fastball to nearly the same spot for a very important insurance run. Hewitt is hitting .480 (12-for-25) with three home runs, and eight RBI in his last seven games.

    “I’m having fun,” Hewitt said. “And I’m showing those that don’t believe, that I can do it.

    “The first at-bat they were challenging me. They were trying to embarrass me, and it didn’t work. The second one, he gave me a fastball and I reacted to it early.”

  29. Keep an eye on 17 year old 6′ 3″ 195 lbs. third baseman Yeisson Morales. He is just a couple of months older than Domingo Santana. He is listed as making only one error in 12 games and has gone 7 for 16 in his last 4 games. And they just moved him into the clean up spot for the DSL Phils.

  30. Quick thoughts on Hewitt as a whole. I’m pessimistic, generally hitters who are clueless at the plate, even great athletes, do not become quality MLB players. Some posters are getting excited over the power Hewitt has shown. Power potential was Hewitt’s #1 tool when drafted, so that is no surprise. Hewitt’s strikeout to walk ratio is still poor however. Hewitt absolutely could find himself and become a top prospect. But let’s not get excited over a two home run game. Let the matter lie, and let’s reevaluate after the season.

  31. As a 27 y.o. minor league rule 5 signee from the Astros org. Neil Sellers won’t show up on many prospect lists. But he finished last year at Reading on a roll that he’s continued this year culminating with a berth on the Eastern League All-Star team.

    He rates an 80 on the scouting scale for power and a 72 for contact which is reflected in his consistently high batting average throughout his college and minor league career.

    Unfortunately, he’s never played above the AA level and is now at an age where it’s either move up or be permanently tagged with the career minor leaguer label.

    I think he still has an outside chance to make a ML roster some day as a bench player.

  32. Are those your grades for Sellers or do you have another source?

    An 80 is a perfect score. Ryan Howard’s power is an 80. A guy with a .148 ISO this season doesn’t have it. Sellers should certainly get the opportunity to move up though. He should be the 3B at LV next year, unless he’s eligible as a minor league free agent.

  33. I think our Milb’ers read this site and it pisses them off when we get on them. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a post or two one day.

  34. For everyone who is saying take it slow and don’t get excited about Hewitt…THE SAME THING APPLIED WHEN HE WAS STRIKING OUT! But, that didn’t stop everyone from acting like chicken little.

    We will know in 2 years.

  35. Hewitt is awful. Worst player ever. He’ll never amount to jack squat.

    I’ve never seen him or seen him play. But if it motivates him to become a great ballplayer, I’ll call him every disgusting name I can think of and insult his ancestors, family and friends.

    And, Young Mr. Hewitt, if you’re reading this post, I am an 80 year old woman who lives in Idaho.

  36. Mr. Hewitt, if you’re reading this post, can I have your autograph?

    Nice stretch here recently…most of us here are want to be believers, so it’s good you’ve given us something to get excited about. KEEP IT UP!!!!

  37. Alan: My source for Sellers scouting report was the Baseball Cube. I was surprised also by that perfect power score.
    He also was rated as a 44 for speed and 48 for patience.

    I hope Anthony Hewitt and any other prospect we discuss knows that the only opinions that ever matter are those we have of ourselves.

  38. Opinions held of a player’s ability are just that, opinions of their ability. They might be wrong, and they only speak of their on-field actions and not of their character. I still root for players I don’t think have MLB ability, and nothing makes me happier than when they prove us wrong and reach the Show.

  39. I’d like to see the SONAR score for Neil Sellers.

    I may be mistaken, but I did not see his name in the intro to SONAR material.

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