Prospect Interview: Ryan Frith

As he sat waiting to see whether his Batavia MuckDogs would be able to play or if the rain that was predicted would wipe out the game, Ryan Frith talked about the draft and what adjusting to professional baseball has been like. Frith, an outfielder, was the Phillies 17th round pick in the 2004 Draft out of the University of Southern Mississippi.

"The Phillies had told me they would probably draft me late in the first day of the draft and that's exactly how it turned out," remembers Ryan Frith. Throughout the weeks and months leading up to the draft, the White Sox, Padres and Blue Jays had been in touch with Frith, giving the Phillies some competition. "The Phillies had talked to me a couple times, so I sort of had a feeling that they were the most interested."

While draft day turned out how Frith expected when the Phillies took him in the 17th round of the draft, there have been other surprises along the way. "Adjusting to the wooden bats has been tough. It's taken me a while to get comfortable with them." To watch Frith, you wouldn't know that there was ever any discomfort in his game. Frith started with a key double in his first professional game and before his first week in the minors was up, Frith would hit his first homerun and finish the week with a 3-for-5 day against New Jersey to up his average to .273. Now, with six weeks of the season gone, Frith is hitting .270 with seven homeruns and a team leading 29 RBI.

"I've hit more homeruns than I thought that I would," remarked Frith. "I actually tried to keep my expectations low, because I knew there would be an adjustment period." As for the Phillies, they didn't give Frith much to go on when it came to expectations. "They (the Phillies) didn't really tell me what they expected. I guess at the end of the season, they'll probably talk to me and let me know what they think."

Frith's 29 RBI not only leads the team, but has him third in the New York – Penn League. And he's not just leading the team in RBI, he's dominating. His closest competition is second year player Jason Crosland, who has 17 RBI.

The Batavia MuckDogs (21-24) have shown the inconsistency that comes with young players. "We're just going out and trying to win. This is still a time for us to work on things and develop, but it's just natural that you want to win," admits Frith. "We play good one day and then not so great the next. There are definitely some good guys on this team and we all get along great. That's been a plus."

As for the other players that he's closest to, Frith pointed out that he really does like everyone on the team. "I don't want to offend anybody by leaving them out, because we all generally hang out together. I guess Nathan Johnson, Derek Brant and Jacob Barrack are probably the guys that I'm with most." Not long before talking with Frith, one of his buddies, Jacob Barrack was promoted to Lakewood. "That's great to see. He was pitching really well and deserved to move up."

While most of his time is spent either working on part of his game or playing baseball, Frith tries his best to find time for his other love – golf. That puts Frith in good company with a lot of young players in the organization. "I don't know why a lot of baseball players love golf, too. I think for some reason, especially pitchers love to play golf. For me, I've been playing since I was eight or nine and I love it." So, with more than a decade of golf under his belt, just how good is he at the game? "I'm pretty sporadic. I shoot anywhere between 84 and 94, but that's good enough to have some fun."

By the way, an early Happy Birthday to Ryan Frith, who turns 22 on August 17th.

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