AZL Angels Batter of the Year

The bottom rung of the ladder is often a lonely place to be and the Arizona Rookie League Angels disappointed overall. Patience is a rare trait and the pitching often dominates as hitters get acclimated to their first taste of professional ball.

As a club, the AZL Angels had the second worst batting average in the league at .252.

Even Dallas McPherson hit .222 in nine at bats in Rookie League ball while on a rehab assignment.

No regular topped the .300 barrier and only one hitter, Abel Nieves in 66 at bats, topped the .400 mark in on base percentage.

The pickings were, therefore, slim.

Nineteen-year-old Patrick P.J. Phillips, who played through the year at the age of 18, led the team in triples with six, RBI's with 24 and placed second in runs scored with 25 after bypassing his letter of intent to play at Georgia.

Taken in the second round in 2005 out of Redan High School in Georgia, Phillips hit .291 in 49 games, playing second, shortstop and third.

The brother of Brandon, a second baseman with the Cleveland Indians, Phillips has above average speed – placing fourth in the league in triples and stealing 13 bags in 18 attempts.

He is, however, a bit overanxious at the dish. Phillips struck out 53 times while drawing just nine walks. The Angels love his power potential and he has shown the ability to hit for average – posting a .333 month of July along with a nine game hitting streak.

First baseman Matt Ryan, signed as an undrafted free agent out of Australia, signed in April of 2004 for roughly $200K.

A former pitcher that has only recently taken up hitting full time, Ryan hit .261 with a team leading 26 runs scored and 12 doubles. He also contributed two triples, three homers and 22 RBI's.

"His potential with the bat is unlimited," Angels scout Grant Weir said.

At 6-foot-4, Ryan is still adding weight to his frame to tap into the power potential. His 68 total bases did lead the club and his 17 walks tied for the team lead.

Given his exposure to hitting, Ryan is a player worth watching.

Madison Edwards, signed as an undrafted free agent in July of 2005. The 22-year old split time between the outfield and behind the plate in 2005 for the AZL Angels.

Because he signed late, Edwards was limited to 81 at bats. The left-handed hitter batted .284 with a team best .381 on base percentage among all hitters with 80 or more at bats.

Edwards, a four-year star for Texas Tech, also led the club in slugging percentage at .494 with nine of his 23 hits going for extra bases – or 39 percent. In 27 games he knocked in 17 and scored 13.

After taking in all the data, Phillips took home our award for AZL Angels Hitter of the Year. He had the best year from start to finish and is also one of the top prospects to be playing at the Rookie League level.

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