Batavia Has Plenty of '04 Draft Picks to Watch

Play Ball! It's time for the short-season leagues to get underway. In Batavia, the Muck Dogs open the home portion of their schedule against the Jamestown Jammers - an affiliate of the Florida Marlins - in a minor league version of the Phillies/Marlins rivalry. Many of the 2004 Phillies Draft picks who have signed have shown up on the Batavia roster.

The Muck Dogs opened the 2004 season on the right foot with an opening night win in Jamestown. Jason Crosland and Brant Derek both had two hits and Andy Jarvis homered in the Dogs 9-8 win. Nelson Santander (1-0) got the win in relief and Brad Overton recorded the save.

It's about defense, boys. That's what Batavia manager Luis Melendez might have been saying. Three Batavia errors led to all eight of Jamestown's runs being unearned. That's right, eight unearned runs. Andy Jarvis made two errors and Josh Mader was the culprit for the third.

In the home opener, Andy Baldwin will get the start for Batavia. Baldwin, out of Oregon State University, was the Phillies fifth round pick in this year's draft. The 6' 5" lefty is one of the big, power pitching kind of guys that the Phillies have taken a liking to.

Baldwin isn't the only 2004 Draft pick to show up in Batavia. The roster also has pitchers James Happ, Joe Bisenius, Jason Martinez, Zac Cline, Kyle Allen, Nathan Johnson, Kevin Rose, Aaron WilsonNick Evangelista, Kevin Shepard and Clary Carlsen. Catcher Derek Brant, a 35th round pick also made the Batavia roster. Other position players from this year's draft include: Infielders Sam Orr, Anthone Buffone, Joe Dirnberger, Greg Isaacson and Josh Mader along with outfielders Sean Gamble, Ryan Frith and Nick Shimer. Isaacson got a bit of a jump on everybody, playing three games at Lakewood, going 1-8 (.125). Isaacson was sent back to Batavia when Lakewood activated second baseman Tim Moss, the Phillies third round pick from 2003.

The highest of the 2004 picks to make it to Batavia is James Happ. The lefty was the Phillies third round pick from Northwestern University. Happ was 6-3, 2.68 at Northwestern this season, including throwing four complete games. If he starts his professional career the way he ended his college career, lookout. In his last two starts, Happ threw two complete games, allowing just one earned run and striking out 15 hitters in games against Ohio State and Michigan State.

Crosland moves to Batavia after a successful debut season in the Gulf Coast League last season. Crosland hit .263 with six homeruns and 22 RBI in 22 games. The 21 year old Crosland was a ninth round pick in 2003. Overton is starting his second season with Batavia. After being taken by the Phillies in the 27th round of the 2003 Draft, Overton was 2-1, 3.19 last season and recorded two saves. Overton sometimes struggles with his control and walked 19 while striking out 25 in 42 1/3 innings last season.

Most eyes may focus on Sean Gamble. Of course, the fact that he's the son of former Phillie Oscar Gamble has something to do with that, but don't discount Gamble's abilities. The sixth round pick out of Auburn has loads of talent and should be an exciting addition to the Batavia roster. Sam Orr is a talented young shortstop prospect out of tiny Biola University. Orr also has a lot of talent, especially at the plate. Defensively, he'll need just a little work, but at least has the natural instincts that many young players need to develop. He moves well and should show good range. Ironically, in the season opener, Mader came in defensively at short and was the one who made an error.

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