Top Prospect #37: 2B Jeremy Isenhower

When it comes to middle infield prospects, Phillies fans think first of Chase Utley. After that, names like Andy Machado come to mind, but you have to dig deeper to find many more prospects that can play second base or shortstop. One of the young, up and coming guys with a chance to fill some middle infield shoes in Jeremy Isenhower.

The Phillies feel pretty secure about the combination of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley. Should Utley falter as a major leaguer, Placido Polanco will still be in Philadelphia for at least another year to pick up the slack. That gives the Phillies some young players up the middle. Good thing too, because the help on the horizon isn't exactly deep and it's not really close to major league ready.

 

The Phillies believe that Jeremy Isenhower, out of Southwest Missouri State can provide some help. Isenhower was drafted by the Phils in the 31st round of the 2002 Draft and has proven himself to be one of the harder workers in the system.

 

Isenhower started his professional career in the Gulf Coast League, like most other 31st round picks are apt to do. The adjustment to wooden bats proved no problem and Isenhower was soon outclassing the competition, hitting .308 in his first 27 games. As the season wound down Isenhower landed at Batavia, getting there in time just to gather 10 at bats in 3 games. The start was phenomenol. In his short audition, Isenhower drove in 3 runs and hit .400 for the Muck Dogs. To start the 2003 season, the Phillies saw no reason for Isenhower to repeat any time in Batavia. Because of that, Isenhower was able to start at full season Lakewood, rather than having to bide his time and wait for the short-season New York / Penn League to start play.

 

Shortly after the season started, Isenhower celebrated his 23rd birthday. Things weren't exactly stellar for Isenhower at Lakewood, but they weren't horrible either. The jump proved to be difficult, but at season's end, Isenhower was hitting .245 with a .346 OBP. When it comes to power and speed, Isenhower isn't exactly blessed with an over-abundance of either. In his two minor league seasons, he's managed just 4 homeruns, but he has swiped 21 bases. Again, not exactly speed to burn, but also not a human road block either.

 

Isenhower has the basic tools. Nobody figures on him being an all-star caliber major leaguer, but he could be solid. Comparisons to guys like Rex Hudler come to mind. For positives, Isenhower has decent defensive skills and he's a left-handed hitter, which never hurts. The Phillies had him play 18 games in the outfield for Lakewood and may work him at a couple of other positions in the minors to make him more versatile.

 

Where Isenhower starts the 2004 season is going to be something to watch. Ideally, he'll be able to move along to Clearwater, considering his age and the fact that he's had some success. It's more likely though that the Phillies will start him at Lakewood and move him along as they believe is warranted. That will give Isenhower a chance to develop some more confidence and work on his defensive skills a little. The Phillies are also working on Isenhower to develop some plate discipline to improve his strikeout to walk ratio, which was a little over 2:1 in 2003. He's been slow to learn how to hit curve balls, which has hurt him at the plate. In college, where he saw curves of lesser quality, he had a much better strikeout to walk ratio and was able to make some things happen on the bases. Experience should teach him which curves to lay off and which he can handle.

 

Jeremy Isenhower's Career Stats

 

Year / Team

HR

RBI

AVG

SB

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

BB

KO

2002 Gulf Coast

(Rookie)

1

10

.308

6

27

91

16

28

8

0

10

21

2002 Batavia

(Rookie)

0

3

.400

1

3

10

1

4

0

1

0

0

2003 Lakewood

(Low A)

3

39

.245

14

102

326

43

80

17

4

40

84

Minor League Totals

4

52

.262

21

132

427

60

112

25

5

50

105

 


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