Birdhouse MiLB 'Player of the Month' July

Josh Phelps has been named the Birdhouse's 'Minor League Player of the Month for July. The 30-year-old Phelps had a powerful month hitting 14 homers and driving in 36 runs while hitting .337.

A first baseman and designated hitter by trade, Josh Phelps knew when he signed with St. Louis in the offseason that his chances of getting to play in St. Louis with the Cardinals were slim to none, with future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols in the lineup every day.

Phelps, a major league veteran with over four years of service, spent the entire 2007 season in the Majors, hitting a combined .305 with the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates. The actual opening day starter at first base for the New York Yankees, He earned a bench spot with New York out of Spring Training and appeared in 36 games before being claimed off waivers on June 22 by Pittsburgh, where he hit .351 with 19 RBIs in 58 games.

Phelps originally was a 10th-round pick by the Blue Jays in 1996 and made his Major League debut just four years later. He's spent parts of seven seasons in the big leagues with Toronto, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New York and Pittsburgh. He hit a career-high 20 homers and drove in 66 runs for the Jays in 2003.

You knew Phelps didn't have much of a chance to get much major league playig time in, this season, but you have to respect what he has done at Triple-A Memphis, which is just about basically everything that has been asked of him.

On the season, he's hitting .261 with 25 HRs, 81 RBIs, with a very respectable on-base-percentage of .363, due in large part because of his ability to draw walks. To date, he's walked 47 times, while striking out 86 times in 386 at-bats.

In July, nobody in the organization was swinging a hotter bat. He hit 14 home runs with 36 RBIs while hitting .337 on the month. On top of the 14 home runs, he had 10 more extra-base hits, including nine doubles and a triple. He walked 15 times, while only striking out 20 times. When the month was over, Phelps posted line stats of .426/.846/1.272 OBP/SLG/OPS. Anyplace else and he'd likely be playing in the majors this month.

Phelps could provide a power bat off the bench from the right side down the stretch when the Cardinals expand their rosters in September. As far as that goes I could see a case being made for Phelps, to carry him as the club's DH in the World Series.

The World Series? I may be getting ahead of myself, for now, he's the Birdhouse 'Minor League Player of the Month' for July.

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