Durant Brings A Powerful Bat To Phils Organization

Michael Durant figured on being a pretty high draft pick and with the numbers that he put up in high school, that was an easy guess. The Phillies took him in the fourth round of the June Draft and while he's struggled early on, Durant has plenty of potential for down the road.

To say the least, Michael Durant is a big boy! At 6' 5" and 240 pounds, the Phillies fourth round draft pick is an impressive figure. His attitude doesn't quite fit with his looks though, since his personality is nowhere as large as his muscular build. Instead, Durant is quiet and prefers to shy away from any spotlight that comes his way.

Durant's new life is different from what he's used to. Perhaps the biggest change is getting up early. "You have to wake up so early and that's not something I'm good at," laughed Durant. The early morning routine has the Gulf Coast Phillies – where Durant is assigned – working out throughout the morning and then playing primarily afternoon games. It's a definite adjustment. "The only thing that is much different is the timing. You have to be at the field in the morning and play all afternoon and I was used to going to school then work out or a game in the afternoon."

If getting up early is tough, it's not made easier by the Florida heat and the threat of hurricanes. "It's tough adjusting to the heat and hurricanes. It's hot all the time," remarked Durant. "Everything else is cool."

Like many young draft picks, Durant is finding out that minor league paychecks don't go as far as most people may think. "I thought I would be getting paid more, but it's what life is like for now. We only take home about $78 a week," said Durant.

Durant is used to doing good things with no major financial rewards though. At home, he spent time working with kids in camps, helping to teach the finer points of baseball. In fact, had he not been drafted, that's what he would be doing again this summer. "During high school, I worked for Youth Works. They had a program where you could work in an office or with kids at camps or sports programs; I worked with the camps. I really enjoy being at the rec center with the kids and being a mentor," explained Durant.

Offensively, Durant is also finding out what many other young players find out; This isn't high school. After hitting .440 at Berkeley High School this past season, Durant is sitting at .167 in the Gulf Coast League. The adjustments are slow, but the Phillies see no reason to believe that Durant won't make all of the necessary adjustments and show why he was taken in the fourth round of the draft. "He's 6-5 and looks like Ryan Howard, except that he hits from the right side of the plate," said Phillies Scouting Director Marti Wolever after drafting Durant.

Comparisons to Howard are tough to live up to. In fact, they may be downright unfair. The bottom line though is that Durant has a strong, impressive build and knows how to swing the bat. He is like Howard in that he's not likely to play anwhere other than first base. He's adequate defensively, but isn't likely to win any Gold Gloves.

When all of the adjustments are done, Durant is likely to have put up impressive numbers. He's 18 and has time for adjustments, but the Phillies are hoping that he'll progress quickly even after his slow start.

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