Minor League Report - August 24, 2004

Who could we be seeing as add ons to the Phillies September roster? Some additions are obvious, while others may be a bit of a surprise. Our <i>Minor League Report</i> takes a look at some of the potential surprises. Plus, news from every rung on the Philles minor league ladder.

Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons: Shawn Wooten has been turning up the production at Scranton. Maybe, he's over his moping about being demoted and is ready to show the Phillies that he should be among the September call-ups (which he likely will be). Wooten has upped his average to .289 and has pushed his OBP to .360 at AAA. It's unlikely that Wooten will be back with the Phillies next season, but he knows he needs a September shot to show other teams what he might be able to do for them in 2005.

Pablo Ozuna is another interesting Red Baron. He's not on the 40 man roster, so there are no guarantees that he'll see Philadelphia in September. The shortstop is hitting .309 and has decent defensive skills. He can play short and second and in a pinch, could move over to third. Keep in mind that Tomas Perez is a free agent at season's end and the Phillies might want to keep a utility infielder with some experience around.

If there are such things as Baseball Gods, J.P. Roberge will get a shot at playing at least one major league game at some point. Roberge, a career minor leaguer, turns 32 in September and has never played a day in the majors and is in his 11th minor league season. Odds are that the Phillies won't find room on the 40 man roster for him, but somewhere, somehow, Roberge should get to play at least one major league game just because he has always played hard and never complained about his lack of major league chances.

Dan Giese (11-5, 3.19) continues to lead the Phillies minor league system in wins. Not bad for a reliever, who has also recorded three saves. The Phillies need to take a look at this kid if at all possible, when the rosters expand.

Reading Phillies: Any chance that one of the current Reading Phillies will be in the majors in September? Not very likely.

John Castellano is a veteran minor leaguer who has had an awesome season at Reading, but odds are that he won't get a shot, at least not this season. Jim Deschaine is another veteran with solid numbers at AA, but he won't be added either.

If there is a surprise addition, how about Juan Richardson. The guy has had injury problems that have plagued him, but he appears to be healthy and was recently promoted to AA Reading. Richardson is in his sixth minor league season and was once considered the Phillies third baseman of the future, but that moniker has disappeared. He's worked hard and if Anderson Machado was somehow worthy of a September call-up last season, Richardson should be as well. Next season will be very interesting to see what happens with Richardson and should be a sign of what his future holds. Starting 2005 at AAA wouldn't be out of the question.

Hayden Gardner may have struggled at Clearwater (2-4, 4.97), but he has been impressive in his first two AA appearances. Gardner has thrown 2 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen and picked up the win in Monday night's game.

Clearwater Threshers: With Cole Hamels officially done for the season, Lee Gwaltney promoted and Elizardo Ramirez and Alfredo Simon traded, the Clearwater pitching staff has undergone a major overhaul. Matt Sweeney (5-8, 4.40) has shown some promise as a starter. Sweeney has pitched in 19 games, 15 of them as a starter, and has admittedly had a tough adjustment to Clearwater. His numbers aren't as solid as they were at lower levels, but the Phillies believe the 21 year old Sweeney has good potential. He'll may start next season at Clearwater again, but that doesn't mean he's fallen too far behind. The Yardville, New Jersey native continues to develop and some scouts believe he is worth being patient for.

Lakewood BlueClaws: What more can be said about Zac Cline? The 15th round pick in this year's draft is impressive and moved to 4-0 with a win Monday night. In five starts at Lakewood, Cline has a 3.08 ERA and has struck out 20 in 26 1/3 innings. His control has been strong and he has walked just five hitters. Don't be surprised is Cline continues the fast track approach and is moved along to Clearwater to start the 2005 season.

Batavia MuckDogs: Michael Mihalik moved up to Batavia and had instant success. In his first game with the MuckDogs, Mihalik threw two perfect innings and picked up a win. The University of Delaware product was a 40th round pick in the draft this season, but has fit in nicely. He's got a smooth delivery and the Phillies believe he can add some velocity as he continues to develop.

Gulf Coast League Phillies: Richard Plumsky and Buck Shaw have given the GCL Phillies a nice righty / lefty power combination. Both have hit six homeruns this season and have similar numbers with one key exception. Plumsky is hitting .289 compared to Shaw's .246 in the GCL. Plumsky is a right-hand hitting outfielder, while Shaw is a left-hand hitting first baseman, who can also play at third and in the outfield.

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