Lakewood Weekly Report (5/24-5/30)

Recap:  Lakewood went 3-3 last week (with another game suspended due to rain).  They are currently 27-23, tied for second in the SAL North, 4.5 games behind Hickory.  (Just a note on the weekly stats below:  the box score for the suspended game has disappeared from the web.  Since the game is being resumed this Tuesday, the stats will be included next week.  For all the readers who diligently log the stats I compile to create graphs, pie charts, and run regression analyses, hopefully this bit of housekeeping doesn’t throw you for too much of a loop.)  Also, I’m writing this while watching the debacle unfold with the big club in Atlanta, so this could be more negative and / or sarcastic than usual.

Hitters:  Not a pretty week for the majority of the guys we’ve been tracking.  Outside of Singleton, in fact, it’s hard to take any positives out of this week, except for maybe what qualifies as Valle’s best week of the year.

  • Jeremy Barnes:  4-18, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 E
  • Adam Buschini:  4-23, 1 2B, 5 RBI, 1 E
  • Leandro Castro:  5-25, 1 2b, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI
  • Anthony Hewitt:  1-19, 9 K / 0 BB
  • Jiwan James:  5-24, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 SB / 1 CS
  • Domingo Santana:  2-12, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SB, 4 K / 3 BB
  • Jonathan Singleton:  10-23, 1 2B, 1 HR, 6 RBI
  • Sebastian Valle:  5-14, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 E
  • Jonathan Villar:  4-19, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 SB / 1 CS, 4 E

Commentary:  Foregoing the ‘Notes’ in place of some commentary on what we’ve seen from the ‘Claws through 50 games.  With this being my first crack and writing a weekly recap like this, I was pretty stoked to follow what looked like, at a minimum, a team with as much of the magical upside as any team in the system in years.  So far, it’s tough to view the season as anything other than disappointing.  Five regulars sit below .250 right now (Castro, Hewitt, James, Valle, and Santana).  Barnes and Buschini have fallen back to earth at a time when I thought their early season performance and ages would have them pressing to get to Clearwater.  Sure, there have been some good developments:  Singleton doesn’t need any explanation, Villar appears to have enough to be considered a legit shortstop prospect (his 18 errors aside), Castro seems to be limited by pitch selection so far, but is tied for the team lead in extra base hits, and I suppose you could find some positives in Santana’s performance given his age.  But there are a lot of troubling signs here:  Valle has regressed with the bat and hasn’t had a great defensive year.  His numbers are arguably worse than what they were last year at Lakewood prior to being sent back to Williamsport.  The catching hole in the system following the trades of Marson and D’Arnaud appears to be as big as ever.  James has a sub-.600 OPS.  And Anthony Hewitt–well, I’m wondering whether it’s time to write this one off.  The numbers are simply terrible (.220 AVG, .272 OBP, .339 SLG, 60 Ks vs. 6 BB).  His K/AB and K/BB are both off from last year.  It seems like he needs to go back to Williamsport as well, but with Santana almost certainly going there, along with Hudson and Dugan (and I know I’m forgetting others), it seems like there’s going to be an OF crunch there already.

Pitchers: A little short on content this week due to Hernandez and Pettibone being DL’ed and Cosart’s only start coming in the suspended game.

  • Colby Shreve:  10.2 IP, 12 H, 8 ER, 9 K / 5 BB
  • Brody Colvin:  6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 6 K / 2 BB
  • Matt Way:  13 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 11 K / 3 BB

Commentary:  Hernandez and Cosart have been great.  Matt Way is striking out more than a batter an inning with a 1.30 WHIP.  Colvin has completely turned his season around.  Shreve’s pitching thus far has to be considered very encouraging given the extended downtime.  Not sure exactly what to make of Pettibone–his numbers don’t jump off the page.  Assuming he and Hernandez are both healthy enough to return relatively soon, there’s going to be a numbers crunch in the rotation (barring a Hernandez promotion).  He’d thrown fewer than 40 innings in his career before this year, so I wonder whether he’s better served going back to the NYP as well.  Admittedly, this is nitpicky and is more of a commentary on how good the pitching’s been than a mandate to send Pettibone down a level.

40 thoughts on “Lakewood Weekly Report (5/24-5/30)

  1. Pettibone should stay in the rotation, he’s had 2 poor starts, but aside form that he’s been pretty good. He doesn’t strike out tons of batters, but his k/9 is still 6.42, which is ok when you get a lot of ground balls like he has. The biggest thing hurting him so far is his .330 BABIP. He has a 4.08 FIP so far.

    It’s kinda funny how spoiled we’ve gotten the past year or two, just 2 years ago Julian Sampson was one of the bigger guys we were watching in the SAL and we were pretty happy with him putting up a 4.29 FIP with a few more ground balls and a lot less strike outs.

    They definitely should bump Hernandez up to Clearwater, what they do with after that is an interesting question. Right now we have 6 starters who haven’t really done anything to merit being moved back to Williamsport, I imagine Julio Rodriguez will be sent back there as he’s the last one on the list of pitchers to reach Lakewood.

  2. Rosenthal has a column with a scout’s observation about Singelton being the best looking high school hitter since Ian Stewart and before him Manny Rameriz. He called him Trade Bait.Don’t suppose he realistically could play another position?

  3. Don’t fret about Singleton yet. Word out of baseball is that the DH will be universal within two years. There may be a spot for him yet.

  4. Ahh I forget where I read it, but that Committee that MLB put together is debating it right now. I’ll try to find a link.

  5. The bats got going today. Santana, Castro and Valle all connected with HRs. 7 2Bs including 2 each by James and Singleton. It’s the time of year when you tell these guys if they don’t pick it up they’re going to Wmsprt. I don’t think Valle will get anything out of a trip there. He has to figure it out in Lakewood. Maybe he has. He’s hitting .378 in his last 10 games. He’s had a couple of HRs and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games. I hope that keeps up.

    Hewitt’s another story. He was hot the 1st week or two and then the pitchers caught up. You won’t see Hewitt in my top 30… top 40 maybe.

  6. Attended the game in Salisbury yesterday; it was the first time I had ever seen a Lakewood game in person. It was a nice come-from-behind win, especially with Singleton stroking the two-out, game-winning single in the 8th off a lefty. A couple of thoughts:

    * This is not news from reading the box scores, but I was struck by how collectively poorly the Claws’ plate discipline is. They drew one walk the entire game (a four-pitch walk by Valle), seven innings of which came against a pitcher that was not throwing a ton of pitches in the zone. Hewitt and James (2 Ks each) were particularly egregious in this respect. Hewitt is obviously bordering on a lost cause at this point (with bordering being generous), but James won the “most horrendous looking strikeout” award with his K in the 9th. Swung at a 3-1 curveball in the dirt and then watched another curve right down the middle for strike three, with runners on second and third and two out.
    * Matt Way did not look good at all. Fastball, per the stadium gun (which generally seemed accurate), topped out at 85-86, and he struggled with his control throughout the game. For a college kid in low A, a WHIP of 1.6 (for the game) isn’t going to cut it.
    * I wish I had gotten to see Santana, even though he’s been struggling mightily. Good to see him get off the schnide today and jack one, though (even if the ballpark’s dimensions are ridiculously short–309′ down both lines).

  7. Re: DH
    From yesterday’s Boston Globe: “I see it remaining status quo for the foreseeable future,’’ said commissioner Bud Selig from his Milwaukee office. “It would take a cataclysmic event for us to change it.”

  8. Even if Singleton can’t DH for us, if he’s killing the ball in the upper minors like he has so far they could always give him an OFers glove and stick him in LF. He’s pretty athletic for a big guy at the moment.

  9. Yep, just as the players association isn’t going to easily give up 14 big $$$ jobs the NL owners aren’t interested in adding 16 new big $$$ jobs.

    I expect the status quo to remain indefinately

  10. Some major hyperbole around Singleton from scouts. Is it time to risk it on this (correctly) conservative site and use the word “special”?

    Long row to hoe yet. But he could be a fast-fast tracker with his skills. June should be fun. If he hits above .300 for that month, they have to start thinking about moving him to Clearwater.

  11. I don’t see a promotion for Singleton in the works in the near future. Maybe if he’s lights out through July, he’ll get a taste of Clearwater in August, but my suspicion is that they want this charmed group to “grow up” together. Expect to see roughly the same cast of characters in Clearwater next year, at least through the Fla league all-star game.

  12. DiamonDerby is dead on. It is a little too quick to declare singleton “special” but if he continues at a good pace for the next month or so I believe it is time to consider it. Also I understand that its not the Phillies way but they would need to consider moving him more aggressively. The question is, if he continues to get national attention and becomes a bonafide prospect, will the phillies be dedicated enough to find a position for him to play on the majorleague squad, or will sell high on him and find an elite pitcher?

  13. Catch 22. Agree Phils like a group to grow together. Good strategy too. Also I am aware I could be jumping the gun on Singleton and he could have the normal struggles of a prospect at times. So I am using “if” a lot. But his hitting, “IF” it continues at an exceptional pace (I’m not expecting continued .400+ hitting), is at the rare prospect level. In my memory, the names Pat Burrell, Richie Allen, one or two others come to mind. The reason I say that on such a small sample size is that he is doing it with precocious fundamentals, taking walks when they don’t pitch to him, swinging only at pitches he can drive, and hitting the ball hard. So yeah, I am overexcited (maybe because the Phils are going through such a crap period), but there is a chance he could separate himself from that pack and jump up faster. If he hits, .350 in June, that might be the time. If he hits .290, maybe they just give him a taste in August as you say. Either way, the result will be to position him to dominate in the FSL and get a late season promo to Reading in 2011.

    Johnny 2: If he keeps dominating, I think the situation will be like Burrell, when they moved him to LF. But they should do it earlier, maybe even give him some evaluation time there next spring. In Singleton’s case, he should be able to become a solid LFer. They should do that even if they wind up trading him, since making him a LF will show other teams they are not desperate to trade him, being blocked. He can be the new Michael Taylor for a few years and then slide to 1B later in his career.

  14. off subject but d’arby myers wil probably be back in clearwater soon he had HEAT EXAUSTION so they moved him into extended spring training

  15. I really don’t understand why some are already talking about Singleton being blocked on the big league club. It isn’t even about him being or not being what he has shown in his first 10 games. It’s more about how he is only 18 years old and only just got out of extended ST before going to Lakewood. There are a lot of things that could happen before he even has a sniff of the majors.

    All we have to worry about is cheering this kid and his potential on and hoping one day he will be able to help the club one way or another. Whether that’s by actually swinging a bat at CBP or being a part of a deal that makes the Phillies a better team.

    The club will cross that bridge when we get there. The Yankees and Red Socks are always more than willing to bring on a big bat. If Singleton all of a sudden becomes a top 10 player that most scouts consider to be a sure thing to hit .300 with major power and Howard is still a great player then the decision will be fairly easy.

    Even with all that being said, we don’t know what this team will look like when he would be ready. So just temper all of this “what will we do 3 years from now if…”

  16. blues: I agree with what you said and have made the same point here a few times.

    My only point is that he could be fast tracked if the hitting is real. And if that’s the case they will do well to give him some time in LF next year if only to prepare for a trade, maybe the following year, when he might be in Reading and Lehigh Valley.

    Any talk of being blocked is way premature, but that is not the same as talking about giving him a little time in LF if they think he can handle it without detracting from his hitting.

    If they do not do this and they wish to trade him in winter of 2011-2012, other teams will have a bargaining chip of “he’s blocked, you have to trade him.”

  17. If Singleton keeps this up, I would give him a late season promotion to Clearwater. Then for spring training 2011, I would give him some reps at LF. We had Burrell for years and he had no range in LF. Singleton has to be better than Burrell in the field and likely better than Ibanez.

  18. I don’t know, I guess that would depend on how good of a defender he is at first. If he has a good glove at the position and giving him time in LF wouldn’t hurt his glove at first then I say great. If he has the potential to have Tex’s glove there and learning a new position would hurt it I’d be very wary of doing that.

    On the flip side if he is a poor defender at the position then moving to LF wouldn’t be too much of an issue because he would still need to work on his fielding either way.

    It’s just a matter of what he’s able to handle on his plate.

  19. Singleton was kept in extended to work on his defense and to reinforce his focus on driving the ball in every AB, rather than slapping at it to keep a decent avg. Looks like it worked.

    But his defense is obviously not stellar yet.

  20. I’m all for the patience approach … he’s not even age appropriate for the league he’s in, BUT, you never know! When the scout said his approach is in the best 2 to 3 he’s ever seen at the level, this bears watching and the Phils need to be open to the possibility he could be special. My prime example is Jason Heward … 2 years ago, he was in low-A ball as well, with what was described as an advanced approach at the plate way beyond his years. IF, and a big IF, Singleton shows as Heyward did, we aren’t doing ourselves any favors by not challenging him. Heyward’s track had him in LowA and HiA in 2008 … HiA-AA-AAA in 2009 and Majors in 2010.

    I am NOT saying Singleton is Heyward, just saying that a special approach at the plate like Singleton has displayed doesn’t come along very often (just look at the rest of the Lakewood players) and the Phils should be prepared to challenge him.

  21. Can’t figure why moving this kid singleton to clearwater is such a crime. lets see if he can handle it. if he is special what do we do keep him down for 5 years until howards contract is up, He could be another heyward we just don’t know, there are special kids you can fastrack and he seems like one.

  22. The reason you may be hesitant to move Singleton to Clearwater is at least three-fold. First, he does not yet have a statistically significant number of at-bats in Lakewood – in other words, as good as he looks, we can’t be sure yet if the numbers accurately reflect the player’s ability. Second, if you move him and he’s not ready, you may be wasting some valuable developmental time. Third, he’s young and if he fails at Clearwater, it may affect his confidence or his approach or his swing – if it doesn’t work, there are many potential negative consequences. He’s 18. He’s block at first base at the big league level and even if he does change position (LF), realistically, that can’t occur until the offseason anyway. What’s the rush?

  23. Jason Heyward also had 500 plate appearances in the Sally League before being promoted. Can we at least wait more than three weeks before annointing Singleton as our next savior?

  24. I am excited for Singleton and hope he is a special talent, but he’s only played 18 games this year. How about a little perspective. Heyward was fast tracked, but he spent almost the entire season in low A two years ago before being moved up to high A for the final 7 games. He also played close to 50 games each at high A and AA the following season before he was moved up.

    He may be special enough to be on the fast track to the majors, but there is no reason to move him up after less than a month’s worth of games. Give him at least another month to see where he is at.

    There is no harm on being patient with him this year. It doesn’t mean he is going to rot in the minors for 5+ years. If he is really that special he will move through the minors quickly. You just can’t determine that after 18 games.

  25. Alan, great point. I failed to mention Heywards promotion was at the very end of the year, just for a cup of coffee in HiA. I think this should be the same approach with Singleton. Let him excel all year at this level, let him have his struggles, which will come. If his numbers warrant, give him a week or two in Clearwater at the end of the year.

  26. If you’re going to promote Singleton to anywhere, let’s make it to Philly. He can’t do any worse than anyone on the big club right now.

    But seriously folks, Singleton will play the entire year in Lakewood. You’re not going to send him into the Florida heat and humidity unless you absolutely have to. Let’s allow the pitchers in the SAL a chance to adjust to him. Many times when pitchers see new meat that’s as young as Singleton is, they try to blow him away with the fastball. He can hit the fastball so they have to adjust by mixing things up. If his pitch recognition is as good as people are saying then pitchers will have to adjust to moving in and out, up and down and then changing speeds. He’ll learn plenty right where he is.

  27. does any1 think hewitt will be demoted when short season ball begins in williamsport

  28. It makes me sad when I see the names of the players drafted immediately after Hewitt. What a terrible choice.

  29. Btw I think Collier is going to be back in Lakewood this week. I assume they’ll probably move Santana back to Williamsport so they can get everyone playing time. Mainly since I don’t see the point of them moving Hewitt back.

  30. I’m struggling to figure out why anyone is discussing a position change for Singleton. Are you really talking about the big league club? The kid is 18. Besides Singleton, we have such a gaping organizational hole at 1st base that we might take a 1st baseman with our first pick in the upcoming draft. We’re already so overloaded in the outfield that we struggle to find playing time for legit prospects. LF, really? Ask me again in 2014.

    …and please- DON’T TRADE SINGLETON. He’s all we have. Put a Dom Brown-like untouchable seal on him. With all the great young talent in the NL East, we’ll need a few phenoms of our own to stay relevant in the future.

  31. Baxter, I think if we are waiting to 2014 to talk about Singleton, that’s a problem. If he dowssnt develop into a big time prospect by 2012, with a somewhat clear time table ad to when he might be major league ready, I’ll assume he never will.

  32. Collier should start out in Williamsport—he has much still to prove there. Staying with Santana won’t hurt—he will need to repeat Lakewood next season but age is working for him.
    Hopefully Santana is at least getting comfortable with teammates.

  33. Baxter – cut it out. Whenever we write that way about a prospect he gets traded within a matter of months (I’m only slightly joking). I am curious, however to see if the team is going to go back to trade all the prospects in sight mode.

  34. I know he is only in low A, but I’ll be highly disappointed if they trade Singleton after claiming they traded Lee because they were worried about the future.

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