Around the System–Corner Infielders

A month has passed since we last looked at the Corner Infield, so here it goes.

Lehigh Valley–Tagg Bozied, 31, .254/.398/.582 in 67 AB’s; 5 HR 15 RBI; 17% bb rate/30% k rate; .375 vs. LHP, .216 vs. RHP; .286 with RISP. 11 games at 1B with 1 error (.990); 8.91 R/F; 4 games in LF without an error. 

Jeff Larish, 28, .266/.347/.537 in 177 AB’s; 12 HR 31 RBI; 11% bb rate/26% k rate; .234 vs. LH, .277 vs. RH; .208 in May; .265 with RISP. 45 games at 1B with 2 errors (.955); 9.20 R/F; 2 games at 3B with 1 error. Larish has been very inconsistent.  As of late, very hot.

Pete Orr, 32, .241/.267/.328 in 57 AB’s; 1HR 4 RBI; 5 SB; .143 vs. LH,255 vs. RHP; 2% bb rate/24% k rate; .214 with RISP. 9 games at 3B with 2 errors (.926); 2.78 R/F; 4 games at 2B without an error; 2 games at SS without an error.  Too early to really pass judgement.  He started hot, and has cooled.

Ronnie Belliard, 36, .253/.312/.355 in 186 AB’s; 3 HR 22 RBI; 3 SB; 8% bb rate/17% k rate; .278 vs. LH, .242 vs. RH, .217 with RISP, .233 in May. 46 games at 3B with 7 errors; (.948); 2.78 r/f. Belliard has struggled since the last update and is losing time at third to Pete Orr.


Matt Rizzotti,25, .307/.387/.541 in 205 AB’s; 10 HR 39 RBI; 1 SB; 12% bb rate/22% k rate; .292 vs. LH, .314 vs. RH; .316 in May; .288 with RISP. 27 games at 1B with 4 errors; (.982); 8.30 R/F. Continues to consistently hit, continues to need work defensively. 6th round pick in 2007.

Cody Overbeck,25, .269/.329/.529 in 208 AB’s; 16 HR 43 RBI; 1/7 SB; .254 vs. LH, .276 vs. RH; 8% bb rate, 23% k rate; .250 in May; .180 with RISP. 31 games at 1B with 1 error (.996); 9.00 R/F; 1 game at 3B with 1 error; 7 games in LF with 1 error (.917).  Overbeck has proven himself to be a true, consistent power threat. That being said .180 with RISP needs work. 9th round pick in 2008.

Carlos RIvero,23, .271/.342/.424 in 203 AB’s; 5HR 24 RBI; 1 SB; .317 vs. LH, .252 vs. RH, 8% bb rate/22% k rate; .257 in May; .255 with RISP. 55 games at 3B with 8 errors (.955); 2.33 R/F. His numbers are decent but I have been less than impressed watching RIvero live for what that may or may not be worth.

Clearwater (Note: Jonathan SIngleton will be covered in the OF as the majority of his starts have been there)

Jeremy Barnes, 24, .261/.314/.353 in 207 AB’s between Lakewood and Clearwater; 2 HR 18 RBI; 1 SB; 7% bb rate/16% k rate; .262 vs. LH, .293 vs. RH, .301 in May, .310 with RISP. Note: Situational stats are CLearwater only. 38 games at 3B with 4 errors (.962); 2.68 R/F; 15 games at 2B (Lakewood) with 6 errors. Still not sure what to make of Barnes who has been up and down.  11th round pick in 2009.

Travis Mattair, 22, Has been on the DL since APril 28th so no stat update.  Has been playing in Extended Spring games.

Darin Ruf, 24, .268/.348/.409 in 198 AB’s; 3 HR 28 RBI; 10% bb rate/21% K rate; .260 vs. LH, .270 vs. RH, .277 in May, .286 with RISP. 33 games at 1B with 2 errors (.994); 9.76 R/F; Has also played 2 games at 1B with one error. Not bad, not great for the 20th round pick in 2009.

Joe Savery. 25, .328/.385/.417 in 180 AB’s; 1 HR 20 RBI; .325 vs. LH, .329 vs. RH; 9% bb rate/12% k rate; .235 in May, .269 with RISP. 19 games at 1B with 1 error (.993); 7.95 R/F. Savery came back to Earth in a big way in May and now his playing time at 1B will be limited with Singleton beginning to play at first again.


Geancarlo Mendez, 21, .274/.343/.411 in 190 AB’s; 3 HR 21 RBI; 7/10 SB; 9% bb rate/13% k rate; .265 vs. LH, .277 vs. RH; .241 in May; .217 with RISP. 39 games at 3B with 7 errors (.924); 2.14 R/F. Mendez has made people notice with his early season performance. Needs to hit with more power if he stays at the corner in the long haul.

Jim Murphy, 25, .290/.379/.570 in 207 AB’s; 13 HR 43 RBI; 11% bb rate/24% k rate; .302 vs. LH, .286 vs. RH, .318 in May; .323 with RISP. Has played 56 games at 1B with 6 errors (.988); 9.02 R/F. Murphy was just named to the SAL All Star team and has played well for the ‘Claws.  However, it is difficult to be too excited about a 25 year old at A ball.

Note: Stephen Batts, who was covered in the last update was released.


46 thoughts on “Around the System–Corner Infielders

  1. Gregg, love these writeups. Gives great view of organizational depth.

    Not many good fielders in this group, especially for the guys who can hit. From what I read, Larish, Bozied, Rizzotti, Overbeck, Mendez are poor fielders with Ruf, Savery, Murphy limited to 1B.

    At this point I figure Larish should be the Gload replacement (and would allow Mayberry to replace Martinez). He has some power, bats lefty, and plays a bit of 3B so I can count him as an infielder with Polanco to 2B. He’s hot now so maybe that continues.

  2. What a sad lot.

    This draft has shown their understanding of the infield weakness throughout the system. It may not be soon enough to avoid the consequences of this team becoming suddenly older. IMO, Reuben saw it coming and chose to counter with pitching to remain a contender.

    These new draftees can’t move fast enough for the big club to be filled from their ranks. Maybe we should hope for a trade or two. The team may be on the verge of wholesale changes if the decline continues…

    1. Best record in MLB before last night, now .5 games behind STL.

      They are getting older, but they have been injured. Once Utley is back to being Utley, we will be fine. The sky is not falling.

      1. No, the sky is not falling but Art is correct that the major league roster, especially the IF, is quickly getting older and their production is starting to slip.

        Unfortunately, they do not have any immediate help on the horizon from within the system.

    2. I’m expecting that if we sign a lot of the draftees there will be some upward movement of infielders in general and some releasing of older vets. Are they ever gonna use Belliard for instance? Or will he be replaced from below? As they fill in below, people like Rizzotti or Overbeck need to move up. (I still wonder if Overbeck can keep any of his chops for 3B or LF and can become a serviceable bench player some day.)

      And people like Barnes, Ruf and (especially) Murphy, if the FO decides to fish or cut bait, will be the ones who get cut.

  3. I officially move that we call all future fool’s gold found in April to be referred to as “The Savery Rule” or something to that nature.

    1. Not fair to pin the tag on Savery. Every April there are always a few players who get off to an incredible start and immediately need to be promoted. And every June/July, those same guys are bums who should be released.

      How about putting the blame where it belongs and call it the “Irrational Fan Rule”

      1. I do kind of wish that those people who get frustrated when other people invoke BABIP as a reason to expect players to regress (or the opposite) would acknowledge that the people citing BABIP* are correct almost 100% of the time. Even everybody’s favorite defensively challenged 1B, while still legitimately putting up good numbers, has seen his BA fall back to earth. As many of us predicted.

        *The people citing it correctly. Let’s add the should-not-be-necessary but apparently is qualifier that yes indeed, certain players (line drive hitters, players with a lot of infield hits) can maintain an above average BABIP over the long run, though even so extreme BABIP percentages (low and high) will always regress at least somewhat towards the mean.

        As an aside, I wish there was more information available regarding IF hits for minor leaguers, and more awareness as to just how big a component it is of high BABIP performance. I was shocked at the IF hit totals of high BABIP major leaguers – even guys who aren’t particularly known for their speed.

        1. I am sorry, I check this site out regularly, but I don’t recall seeing the acronym BABIP before. Can you please help me out with this? What does BAPIP mean? I assume that the BA stands for “batting average”, but I am just guessing. Thanks, Tbone

  4. It is astute to look at BABIP, particularly for small samples. A player can go 0-15 and an irrational fan can conclude that his performance is atrocious. However, this player could be making a lot of hard outs. For instance, I just read that Domonic Brown is batting .130 or so at home. But if you watch the game carefully, you will realize that this number is not reflective of his performance at home. He’s not getting any luck at home- a whole lot of hard outs and his BABIP is probably absrudly low. I think that over a large sample, batting average is a good indicator of performance because a player cannot continue to drive the ball and not get hits. This may happen for a couple of weeks, but over a few months, if their batting average is low, then they aren’t driving the ball consistently. I also agree that it is not always the case that a high BABIP has to go down. Some players are really good at consistently hitting the ball hard and legging out weak ground balls. I also think that average is an outmoded stat. It fails to capture the walks a player gets as well as the perecentage of hits that are for extra bases. OPS is a much better stat. I just learned about secondary average, which factors in the speed of a player. This also could enhance our ability to judge performance. Another stat that is outmoded is wins and losses for a pitcher. Wins depend on the offensive production of your team and the bullpen. Thus, pitchers with poor records could still be pitching very well.

  5. At the same time, a low BABIP might not mean a hitter is going to do much better if this hitter strikes out a lot.

    1. Ks don’t have anything to do with it. It’s the type of contact you make. Fly ball hitters have low BABIP. That’s why Ben Fransisco will always have a low BABIP. Line drive hitters like Howard and David Wright have relatively high BABIP. Ground ball hitters who run fast, have very high BABIP.

  6. overbeck is the minors best player. leads double a in hr,s rbi,s and runs. will break howards record. needs to play lf.

    1. Agreed!!! He needs to go to Arizona Fall League and only play LF after this season.

    2. I’m not sure whether this anon is best ignored or responded to at this point. His m.o. seems to be:

      (1) Identify an under the radar type player, often someone with real merit,
      (2) Exaggerate his potential massively,
      (3) While providing no analysis or truly interesting data.

      But Overbeck is a guy who deserves some attention. I (wrongly) left him out of a recent list of players in the system whose stock has risen this year. He definitely has entered, or re-entered, the prospect discussion. Is he the top prospect in the system? Of course not, not even close. (Saying he is the best in the minors is even more absurd and I assume not meant seriously.) But you could make a case for him being the Phillies’ top prospect in the upper minors – though IMO he is behind Galvis and probably Aumont.

      He has power, but not much more. His K and BB data are … okay, not horrible but not great. His BA – and again, I put less weight on this than most people do – is mediocre. His AA stats likely won’t translate one on one to the major leagues (they rarely do). He just turned 25 – not a disqualifying factor, but he has less room for growth than (say) a 22 year old with the same stats at the same level.

      I think he still has an uphill battle for major league regular role. A bench role may be more realistic. Where does he fit in the Phillies’ long term plans? I don’t see him as a long term answer as a regular in the OF. Maybe a 4th/5th OF role (the fact that he could also fill in at 3rd would help there). Maybe an OF regular for a year(2013) while waiting for Singleton to arrive. Hard to see him as more than that in this organization, unless he takes another dramatic leap forward this year or next.

      If he could play 3B at the major league level I’d be higher on him. But the consensus (even among his admirers) seems to be that he won’t stick at 3rd.

      1. 14 of Cody’s 18 homers have been at home. He seems to have a lot of pop to right and right center. Remember seeing hit one into the pool a little over 300ft. down the right field line and then line a long homer to right center at Reading. Also saw him hit long homers to the power alleys in left at Harrisburg and Reading this year. So he uses the whole field. His home run swing in 114 at bats so far this year is playing better in Reading than Bozied’s swing last year when Tagg hit 20 homers in something like 209 at bats in Reading. Cody should do well if he is ever given a chance to swing at CBP.

        1. I’m sure he could ht some HR. But (say) .250/.300/.450 is … meh. And that IMO is if anything an optimistic projection. Not a long term answer in LF.

      2. IMO, Overbeck is behind JC Ramirez, Aumont, Galvis and maybe even Rivero, as a prospect on his own Reading team.

  7. thank u k. if uve seen him hit the ball he crushes it. its funny how some people look for the needle in the haystack when tha answer is right in front of u.

    1. just read readings box score from last night. overbeck hit number 18. 2 more rbi,s. i,d like to see him stay at reading to break all double records but next year hes the phillies lf, without question.

      1. btw the phillies will rue the day they did not pick louisvilles all-american rh,ed batting 2nd baseman ryan wright.

      2. I’ll question that. Apparently you’d prefer the Philadelphia Pirates/Royals/Orioles/ 1985-2001 Phillies (except for the miracle of 93) and not… you know… a good team. You think Ibanez is bad….

        People. Cody Overbeck is 25. He is a mistake hitter. He hardly walks. He apparently is a butcher in the field. That is what you call a AAAA player. He might get a shot, hit like 3 Hrs in his first week in the bigs, and live for a couple years in a bench role off that first week. Otherwise, he is Tagg Bozied.

        BTW, same thing for Rizzotti.

        1. have u seen overbeck? he is not a butcher in lf. his so ratio projects to 120 a season. i guess pitchers make many more mistakes to him than anyone else. he just turned 25 .much like howard at double a. he is better than that gazelle ibanez in the of. leading double a ball in hr,s rbi,i and runs is certainly alot of mistakes. braking howards all time record why they must be throwing underhand to him. go watch him play. but time will prove u wrong. btw a scout at reading told me rizzotti could be dealt today as a young dh for a quality bat such as willingham.

          1. Sigh, this insane rant is really just proof that my initial reaction to not engage what I hope for your sake is a pose of uninformed irrationality as opposed to the real thing was the right call. But it’s worth pointing out that Howard, aside from being a year younger than Overbeck, had a AA year infinitely superior to Overbeck’s year this year in just about every possible respect. More power, much higher BA, many more BB. Not even close.

            Anyone who can seriously compare Overbeck to Howard knows absolutely nothing about the game. But I guess we’re the suckers, because anon is almost certainly a troll just trying to yank people’s chains. Though if he is a troll he’s an odd one, because his Rizzotti for Willingham idea actually makes sense.

            1. ill leave it at this your vicious reactions to a player u should b rooting 4 is interesting. overbeck is certainly not under the radar. lets compare stats. his stats speak for themselves 18 hrs in 220 abs, 880 ops, 46 rbis, 42 runs. by the end of the season he will have a great shot to break howards record a year younger. he leads ALL of double a in hr,s rbis and runs. go to double a stats 2011` to verify. exagerated? i think not. it seems rickey has seen him play quite a bit listen to him. tag bozied, freddy galvis and singleton are not in the class baseball wise as overbeck. btw as a 3rd baseman cody has a great arm in lf. stats do not lie if they are not enough confirmation along with seeing your comments seem to have an agenda and i guess your non baseball personal attacks confirm that. just a note he reminds me of a shorter pat burrell. if u have any questions go to the site i mentioned or call bob brookover from the inky. and if u think singleton will ever see the light of day with the phillies good luck. thats why larry green was drafted. 6 years from now to replace howard.

            2. I’m not reacting viciously to Overbeck, who is indeed interesting. I’m reacting objectively to a guy who is a real prospect but still a marginal one.

              If I’m reacting a bit viciously to you, it is because I do have the failing of reacting that way to trolls, when in fact I should just ignore them.

            3. I in fact HAVE seen Overbeck in person and I’ll back up all the criticisms. That’s my response to seeing him in person. As far as statistics, let’s look at 2008 in the Eastern League. Hitters 25 or older who produced a .900+ OPS: Chris Gimenez, Luis Montanez, Jeff Corsaletti, Wyatt Toregas. Bench guys.

              A .331 OBP in AA translates into something like .291 in the majors? What if you had a 25 year old left fielder in the majors with an OBP under .300. You’d call for his head, beg for the latest kid in AAA to replace him.

            4. age factor overbeck just turned 25 howard came up at 26 utley 26 rollins 24 schmidt 24. btw larry was that u at the game with the orange hair, bubble nose and gigantic feet telling anyone who would listen you had a job?

            5. you should be a politician. all of those players had their 1st full years at those ages. just check. howard 05-06. rollins 01 utley 05. it,s useless for those without linear thinking to believe the facts. comparing overbeck to the stiffs u did is a straw man . none of them had any accomplishment close to overbeck. any of us could create straw men about anyone including babe ruth . 18 hrs 46 rbi,s 42 runs.

            6. Well, the insistence on a “full” season is a curious choice (especially in the cases of Schmidt and Howard), but even accepting that choice, you’re still lying with regard to Rollins. The real numbers:

              Rollins: 22 (158 games, 720 PA)
              Schmidt:23 (132 games, 443 PA)
              Howard: 25 (88 games, 348 PA)
              Utley: 24 (43 games, 152 PA)

              Now, the presence of Utley and Howard on this list certainly goes a long way toward explaining WHY Phillies’ fans have an inadequate appreciation of why age of prospects matters. They are, of course, unusual – most players of their quality debut sooner.

              But of course it is indeed possible for a player to debut at 25 or even later and succeed in the majors. It’s rare for star level players, but possible. The problem with Overbeck is the COMBINATION of the age with overall skill set which is still not of major league caliber. He does seem to have major league power skills – even if they are not nearly as good as anon pretends to think.* But that’s ALL he does well. With his current skill level, he would have an ob% of around .300 in the majors, and that is unacceptable, even for a player with power. If he was 22, you could hope for further development of his subpar contact/plate discipline/line drive skills. At 25, significant further progress is unlikely.

              And as for your latest response to Alan, it proves once again that you either don’t get it or you are pretending not to get it to get a rise out of people: Overbeck is indeed far more comparable to those guys than he is to Howard. Not perfectly comparable, but he isn’t particularly comparable to Howard either. For those who don’t like to look things up:

              Howard 2004 age 24, .297 BA/.386 OB%/.647 Slg%
              Overbeck 2011 age 25, .273 BA/x.331 OB%/.551 Slg% (partial season – final numbers unknown)

              Overbeck worse in almost every respect, in most cases a lot worse. Even power is worse – ISO .350 for Howard, .278 for Overbeck (if he ends up with more HR than Howard, it will be only because he ends up with more AB). As for the other guys that Alan lists, I don’t have time to look all of them up, but just picking one randomly, Montanez as 26 year old in AA: .335/.385/.601. You’re correct that his accomplishments aren’t comparable to Overbeck’s – they were better.

              *Your implicit argument is that he is doing as well as Howard in AA, so he will have Howard level power in the majors. That doesn’t work, not just because he isn’t truly comparable to Howard. The short version of why: if you were to list every AA player in the past 10 years displaying that level of power, Howard is unusual. Most of those players did indeed go on display good power in the majors, but not at Howard levels of production. Howard is unusual, an outlier (in other respects as well). Of course you would also find that the most successful such similar players were much better that Overbeck in other regards – BB rate, BA, etc., etc.

  8. Can we just root for the kids in our system? He I hope Overbeck continues to produce and improves himself in the field that either the Phils can use him at the big league level or at least use him in a deal to improve their big league roster. Overbeck is not a high prospect now but he has made some good improvements in the last year. Same thing with players like Derrick Mitchell.

    1. Rooting for a kid in our system is differently than plugging him in to LF next year. And for that matter, if you want to have an intelligent and substantive discussion of prospects, simply rooting for a kid does not contribute much. The message people need to grasp is that every system in the league has an overage kid hitting well in AA (or 3). But if you are 25 and in AA you need to be a one man wrecking crew. Not plugging along with a .330 OBP. Finally, I am not a fan of the Reading Phillies. I could care less if they win or lose. I am a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies. To plug Overbeck or Rivero or Rizzotti or J. Friend or whoever else is the latest fanboy prospect craze into our starting lineup would mean the Phillies win less. Luckily the Phillies brass is dumb enough to do that.

      1. Agreed…don’t have him in Philly anytime soon. I think they need to take a look at him a lot longer. I think they need to challenge him with going to AFL and the AAA in the next year. I’m hoping for the increased improvement because the Phils don’t have any position players in the system that are close to helping. They have some good bullpen arms that can help in the next year or two and then some starters in maybe three years (not including Worley who can help this year). The only position player, and some questions, who may help the big club is Galvis in the next year or two.

        1. The problem is that you have guys like anon coming in and making absurd statements, and people like myself feel compelled to respond. That’s where the negativity comes in; otherwise no one would be saying a negative word about Overbeck. Heck, I’d love to be proven wrong about him; there are, after all, examples of true late bloomers (Ibanez, for example). And even if I’m NOT wrong, he could go on to have a major league career as a back up or even fringe regular.

          It’s true that ignoring anon would probably be the best response, but he has been omnipresent lately, making it hard to just ignore him.

    1. any moron knows howard is close to a h o f player. in no way did i say that overbeck will surpass howard in the bigs. what i did say is RIGHT NOW OVERBECK IS THE BEST POSITION PLAY ER IN THE ORG. i hope he brakes howards hr record. imo , u understand imo, overbeck will be the phils lf next season. i have too much to do to lie about my opinions and what the rp stats tell me. if u disagree fine but lets not degenerate into calling each other trolls and liars. only time will tell who is right and who is wrong.

      1. So … your initial misstatement regarding Rollins was either a lie or an honest mistake. Alan called you on your error, and you persisted in your mistaken statement. You are familiar enough with his career to correctly identify his debut year as 2001. How is your statement that he was 24 when he debuted (rather than his true age of 22) anything but a lie?

        As for “troll,” I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. If you aren’t a troll … yikes.

        But really that is a little beside the point. I’m usually a bit more polite, even in the face of ignorance, but you haven’t exactly been the model of politeness yourself. Of course I guess it’s barely possible that you are not the same anon who has made the obnoxious statements, but that’s the peril of hiding behind “anonymous.”

        1. larry you cannot control your impulse to impune. but i must remember that sometimes people like you, and i use that with the most abstract definition, do escape. if this is the zenith of your career i forgive you, although i imagine you would have been in the crowd chanting ” give us Barabas. please put down the burritos have the crane hoist u into the flatbed and go to reading. goodbye . any rational comments about bb i will comment on.

  9. Thank you Larry. I think clearly Anonymous is just shouting nonsense so there’s no need to really continue down that path. All you have to do is look at past Eastern League leader boards to see how much age matters. 2007 you have Brett Harper and Luis Jimenez at the same age with 20+ home runs. Neither made the majors at all. The point isn’t to cherry pick players. Look for a 25+ year old hitter in AA. It is hard to find ANY that had a real career in the majors.

    Looking at Overbeck’s actual production, there’s a curious pattern. Overbeck looks like an old player. He has 3x as many home runs as doubles. One steal opposed to six caught stealings. 11 GDPs. If you looked at his raw numbers, you might assume that he’s a Matt Lecroy type runner. And he’s clearly not that type of athlete.

    1. “look for a 25 year old hitter in aa. it is hard to find any that had a real career in the majors”. yeah like ryan howard. btw harper and jimenez finished the the season in the 20,s. overbeck has 18 and 300 more ab,s. a little different than you would have people believe there alan. and overbecks .331 obp is about .30% below what i would loke to see but his not walking is obviously the reason. i never said he was the mick he,s slow and doesnt walk but i can live with his so ratio, he has a above average arm, well above power averages. and with the phillies slowtracking players your age comments are ridiculous.

      1. A lot of wasted breath for a guy repeating AA at age 25. A .880 OPS for a 25 year old LF/1B is not great.
        Stop insulting that man, by comparing him to Ryan Howard (or Chase Utley). Howard had nearly an 1.100 OPS and 37 HRs in a half season at AA. Overbeck’s numbers aren’t in the same zip code as Howard’s, and he had to repeat the level to do this. Cut it out.

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