Top Prospect #42: Charles Cresswell

If the Phillies had one objective in the 2004 Draft, it was to stock up on young catching prospects. Three of their first ten picks were catchers, who are all highly touted and have better than average chances of making an impact in the majors. Charles Cresswell, was the lowest drafted of the three, but may wind up being the best.

Charles Cresswell wasn't the first catcher that the Phillies drafted in 2004 as they sought to restock their catching position throughout the minors. By all accounts though, he has a shot to be the best of the catchers that they drafted before all is said and done.

The Phillies didn't wait to see how Cresswell might fare in the college ranks. They figured he would sign a professional contract and give up the scholarship that he had received to Seward County Community College. They were right and Cresswell signed with the Phillies and was assigned to the Gulf Coast League. While he didn't put up the kind of numbers that many had thought he would put up, he did show signs of being ready to compete.

Scouts believe that after Cresswell adjusts to having a wood bat in his hand, the power that he showed in high school will return. After all, this is a kid who was even walked with the bases loaded in one game because he was so dangerous at the plate. There is a lot of work to do, but Cresswell could become the true catcher of the future before too long.

2004 Gulf Coast 0 9 .245 16 49 4 12 1 0 0 0 4 23 .309
Career 0 9 .245 16 49 4 12 1 0 0 0 4 23 .309

Acquired: Drafted out of Perryton High School (Texas) in the 10th round of the 2004 Draft.

Batting and Power: Okay, sometimes small town stories grow to mythical proportions. Still, the story goes that Cresswell once hit a homerun that traveled over 550 feet. Granted, it was an aluminum bat and stories do grow, but there is no disputing the kind of raw power that Cresswell has displayed. He has also been able to hit for a decent average as a young player and scouts believe that will continue as he climbs the ranks.

Baserunning and Speed: Cresswell actually has better speed than you might think looking at him. He's a pretty big kid, but can get down the line in a hurry. While he does have better than average speed, stealing bases is somewhat of a foreign concept to him and he doesn't figure to really add that to his arsenal anytime soon.

Defense: When he's behind the plate, Cresswell has all the skills down on how to help his team. He blocks pitches well and has an above average arm with a lot of accuracy. His defensive mechanics are near flawless.

Projection: Jason Jaramillo and Louis Marson were both drafted ahead of Cresswell, but may not stay there. While there appears to be a logjam with Cresswell, Jaramillo, Marson and Carlos Ruiz, these things have a way of working themselves out. It's likely that Cresswell will stay in camp through the early months of the season and head off to Batavia when the New York / Penn League season starts. It's also possible that he would repeat the Gulf Coast League, but that will depend on what the Phillies see in camp.

ETA: After repeating a stint in a short-season league, it's possible that Cresswell could move quickly. He won't be rushed though, especially since the Phillies did draft heavily at the catcher's position last June. By 2010 or so, Cresswell will be pushing for a spot in the majors. Keep in mind that he'll only be 24 when the 2010 season begins, so there is some time to work with where Cresswell is concerned.

Comparison: Names like Mike Piazza and Darren Daulton have been thrown around without much worry. The fact that Cresswell is a left-handed hitter lends many comparisons to Daulton. He also has the mentality to become a team leader much in the mold of Daulton.

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