Top Prospect #41: LHP, Matt Squires

Matt Squires wasn't able to move up the minor league ladder as quickly as some scouts thought that he would be able to. An early visit to Clearwater put Squires on a slower track, but his return to the Florida State League in 2003 was so good that he has once again put himself back on the prospect radar.

The Phillies went for a small college pitcher in the 19th round of the 2001 Draft. That pitcher was Matt Squires and he fit the bill perfectly for those mid-draft, small college pitchers that many times surprise a lot of so called experts. The Phillies were happy to have gotten a shot at Squires and hoped he could move pretty quickly.

 

After considering starting him at Batavia, the Phillies decided against it and sent him to the Gulf Coast League to start his professional career. After 17 games, Squires was dominating opposing hitters and the Phillies decided to give him a true test. While he stayed close geographically, the jump to Clearwater and the Florida State League was a huge jump for a young pitcher. In fact, it proved to be too much of an adjustment and Squires struggled, pitching just four games for Clearwater.

 

Overall, Squires finished his first season in the minors with an 0-3, 2.06 record between the Gulf Coast League and Clearwater. Still, with the memory of the Clearwater experiment fresh in their minds, the Phillies decided to move a little slower with Squires when the 2002 season rolled around. Instead of keeping him at Clearwater, they bumped him back to Lakewood and decided to leave him there for a full season of work. He wasn't dominating, but he was impressive.

 

Coming into 2003, Squires was ticketed for Clearwater. He admitted in spring training that he wanted to not just pitch well at Clearwater, but felt that he needed a very strong season to put his first Clearwater visit out of everybody's mind. Probably, the Phillies should have moved him out of Clearwater during the 2003 season, but decided against it. Squires was a man among boys and spent the entire season at Clearwater, posting a 1.86 ERA.

 

Squires will likely start the 2004 season at AA Reading. He is a solid left-handed reliever who the Phillies believe has the makings of a major league pitcher. Some people in the Phillies minor league system have voiced their opinion that Squires should move into the starting rotation, but for now, he seems set in the bullpen.

 

When the 2004 season starts, Squires will be 25 and he needs to put up impressive numbers. It will be interesting to watch what the Phillies do if Squires is strong in the early going at AA. There will be temptation to push him to AAA for at least the latter part of the season, hoping to put him just short of where they thought he would be at his point in his career. The Phillies have been cautious with young pitchers and are determined to not rush players along. With his age becoming a bit of a factor, they may change course slightly with Squires.

 

The flip side is that if Squires struggles at AA, he could soon fall by the wayside. If appearances mean anything though, it's likely that Squires will do well at AA and might see that late season call to AAA Scranton. It's too early to tell what the Phillies bullpen situation might be in 2005, but it's not out of the question that somewhere during that season, if not at the start, Squires will get at least some consideration.

 

Matt Squires Career Stats

 

Year/Team

W

L

ERA

SV

G

GS

IP

H/9 IP

BB/9 IP

KO/9 IP

2001 Gulf Coast

(Rookie)

0

2

1.21

0

17

0

29.2

4.9

3.3

10.0

2001 Clearwater

(High A)

0

1

6.75

0

4

0

5.1

8.5

11.9

7.7

2002 Lakewood

(Low A)

5

6

3.82

8

36

1

66.0

8.5

5.5

9.7

2003 Clearwater

(High A)

4

2

1.86

2

41

0

63.0

8.7

3.3

7.4

Minor League Totals

9

11

2.71

10

98

1

163.0

8.0

4.5

9.1


Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories