Nothing against the town of Batavia, New York, but John Hardy had kind of hoped that he'd seen the last of the little northern New York hamlet. After spending some time with Lakewood this season, Hardy found himself back in extended camp and then headed for Batavia once the short-season league started.
If you go by last season's stats at Batavia, you can see why Hardy would figure on being at Lakewood. But looking at this season's numbers with the BlueClaws, you can also see why he's back in Batavia. It's likely that Hardy simply does need more work at Batavia and that this is just a glitch in the road, but it's still a disappointing development. Hardy had hoped to show that he was ready to climb the ladder and still hopes that he could be back at Lakewood before too long. "I don't really know what happened (at Lakewood)," said Hardy. "I know that I'll get back there and I hope it's soon, but for now, all I can do is play hard and try to make things happen."
Back at Batavia, Hardy is tearing up opposing pitchers and shows no signs of slowing down. Hardy leads Batavia in hitting (.378), slugging (.511) and on-base percentage (.404) through his first 11 games with the MuckDogs. His performance has been good enough to almost pull his season average (.196) above the Mendoza Line.
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Acquired: Drafted out of the University of Arizona in the 7th round of the 2004 Draft. Originally drafted by Baltimore in the 11th round of the 2001 Draft.
Batting and Power: Hardy has never shown much of a power potential. He'll go deep here and there, but can't be counted on for many homeruns. He is a solid hitter and he knows how to get on base. His strikeout numbers are a little high and the Phillies will work with him on becoming a little more disciplined at the plate. When it comes to the fundamentals of moving a base runner or getting down a bunt, Hardy is in great shape.
Baserunning and Speed: In college, Hardy stole a total of 22 bases in 35 attempts. He doesn't have great speed, but he is slightly above average, especially once he gets his legs churning. Don't look for much from him in the stolen base department, but he can be aggressive and grab an extra base here and there.
Defense: The Phillies and many baseball scouts believe Hardy has enough range to handle the shortstop position. He showed in college that he can be adequate, but again, not spectacular at both second and third base. The Phillies may try to keep him at short, but he may wind up playing a number of positions.
Projection: The Phillies may decide to move Hardy back up to Lakewood before the end of the season, based on his performance with Batavia. Long-term, some believe that Hardy could be a decent number two hitter who could move a runner along, get on base himself and possibly score a good amount of runs.
Comparison: Hardy is built in the mode of Kevin Stocker. While Stocker's career started with a bang and then fizzled, Hardy should have more staying power and wind up with a decent major league career before all is said and done. At worst, he should be an above average utility player.