Minor League Review

The boys of the 2003 draft are starting to make their mark with their respective teams; Some more than others. At the upper levels, the watch is on for players who may be able to help the Phillies in the dog days of August. The young studs are coming along, but some of them may also be headed out of town as the trade deadline arrives.

Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (54-52) - With Brandon Duckworth struggling, the questions around Scranton center around Ryan Madson (11-5, 3.58) and Amaury Telemaco (7-9, 3.33). Will the Phillies bring either of them to the majors? Fans are starting to clamor for Madson, but the Phillies seem to be patient with Duckworth. Meanwhile, out of the pen, Geoff Geary (9-2, 1.62) is becoming dominant and should also get some consideration to move up to Philly.

Offensively, we know all about Chase Utley (14-67-.318) and Travis Chapman (8-63-.292). Eric Valent now has himself second on the club in homeruns with nine and his average is up to .228 on the season.

Reading Phillies (48-59) - Keith Bucktrot made his AA debut and it went well. Bucktrot pitched seven innings, allowing just one earned run, but suffered a tough loss. Brad Pautz (2-4, 10.09) got a save opportunity, despite his rough season. He made the most of it and easily converted the save. Ryan Hutchison figures to get most of the save opportunities, with the departure of Frank Brooks to Pittsburgh, but others may join in the fun from time to time.

The team lead in homeruns is getting interesting. Jeff Inglin has 16, Juan Richardson has 15, Aaron McNeal has 12 and Garry Maddox II, who is now at Scranton, has 11. Andy Machado has his stolen base total up to 35 on the season. Buzz Hannahan is a distant second at 14 and Jorge Padilla has 11. Padilla by the way is up to .295 at the plate.

Clearwater Phillies (58-45) - Injuries hopefully behind him, Brad Baisley made his 2003 debut, throwing two shutout innings. Dave Coggin has seemingly pitched well in his return from injury, but isn't 100%. Gavin Floyd will have company in the Clearwater spotlight when Cole Hamels arrives from Lakewood. Floyd (7-5, 2.67) has been the big news all season, but Hamels will definitely draw some attention away from Floyd.

Ryan Howard has 18 homeruns on the season now; The rest of the team has 26. Unfortunately, Howard has struck out 120 times this season.

Lakewood BlueClaws (40-64) - Justin Cerrato is not quite two months out from being drafted by the Phillies, but has already made his way to Lakewood. It hasn't all gone smoothly, with Cerrato allowing two runs in 3.1 innings of work out of the bullpen. Daniel Hodges, another 2003 draftee, has had better results, throwing ten shutout innings. Hodges was promoted from Batavia after a strong start there. Jarrod Lawson, yet another new face, has a save, with a 2.53 ERA in five appearances.

The Phillies are wondering if they started draftee Matt Hopper a little too high. Hopper has one homerun and a .157 average in his first 22 games. The BlueClaws have five current players on their roster hitting under the .200 mark for the season. The Phils are working with Mark McRoberts to level out his swing. McRoberts has a team high 14 homeruns, but has whiffed 92 times and is hitting just .174 for Lakewood. One-third of McRoberts hits have been homeruns and over half of his hits are extra base hits.

Batavia Muck Dogs (16-22) - Darin Naatjes has been a pleasant surprise. Naatjes is 1-1, 1.35 in four starts for Batavia. The Batavia bullpen is impressive, including Matt Padilla (1-2, 2.60), Chris Rupert (0-1, 1.46), Zach Minor (0-1, 2.13) and Justin Libey (1-2, 2.61). Libey has seven relief appearances, but has also started three games.

Like Lakewood, Batavia also has five hitters under the .200 mark. Javon Moran leads the team in hitting with a .324 average and has swiped 14 bases in 19 attempts. Tim Moss is off to a slow start, hitting .161 with and being thrown out stealing in two of three attempts.

GCL Phillies (14-20) - Clemente Doble is off to a good start in the Gulf Coast League with a 3.07 ERA in seven starts. Doble has 33 strikeouts in 44 innings. Scott Mathieson leads the team in strikeouts with 34 in 35 innings. Mathieson is 2-3, 4.33 on the season in six starts. Zach Segovia threw three shutout innings, which was great news, but the bad news came later; Segovia again felt pain in his shoulder and may be shut down for the rest of the season.

The Phillies have a nice righty-lefty homerun combination in the Gulf Coast League. From the right side, Jaosn Crosland has five homeruns and is hitting .255 with 11 RBI. Lefty Andy Jarvis is tied with Crosland and is hitting .271 in 26 games. Kiel Fisher and Nick Italiano are two other left-handed hitters who are off to strong starts. Fisher is hitting .323 and Italiano is hitting .306.

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