PBN Notebook: Roberson Wins EL Rookie of the Year

There's plenty of news from around the Phillies organization. Billy Wagner and the Phillies work on a new deal at the major league level, while the young guys are starting to get news of potential post-season awards and honors.

Philadelphia Phillies

Billy Wagner notched his 30th save last Sunday, giving him six 30 save seasons in his career. Wagner last saved 30 games as a member of the Astros in 2003 when he saved 44 games. Many who have watched Wagner over the years believe that this has been one of his most dominant performances of his career. Of course, his 2003 season (44 saves and a 1.78 ERA) and his 1999 season (39 saves, 1.57 ERA) have to be mentioned, but his current 1.68 ERA is certainly nothing to scoff at.

All of that brings up the question of whether or not the Phillies will be able to re-sign Wagner to a long-term deal. Wagner has said that if something isn't done by the end of the season, he will at least file for free agency and see what's out there. The Phillies know that will drive up the price tag on Wagner and hope to get something done before then. Of course, the Phillies could always do the arbitration offer thing again, but after getting burned by Kevin Millwood and Placido Polanco on that over the past couple of off-seasons, it's unlikely that they would want to try that.

Coming into their series with Arizona, the Phillies' bullpen is 10-3, 2.49 in their last 42 games and have allowed just 10 homeruns in their last 126 1/3 innings of work. The Phillies are 25-17 over the 42 game span.

Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons

Matt Kata had his 12 game hitting streak snapped Friday night going 0-for-3 against Pawtucket. During the streak, Kata hit .353 (18-for-51). It's very possible that Kata will be one of the Phillies' September call-ups when rosters expand on September 1st.

Gavin Floyd (6-8, 5.82) continued his up and down routine for the season with a tough outing Thursday night. Floyd allowed four earned runs on five hits and five walks over five innings of work against Pawtucket. He left the game with the score tied 4-4, but Scranton eventually lost the game 5-4. Yoel Hernandez (6-4, 3.44) was charged with the loss.

By the way, Gavin's brother Mike, who was dealt to Houston earlier this season is hitting .259 with 8 homeruns in 107 games with the Class-A Salem Avalanche.

Reading Phillies

Randy Ruiz was named to the Eastern League Post-Season All-Star roster as the designated hitter. Ruiz has been swinging a good bat since returning from a 30 game suspension because he violated the MLB drug policy. Ruiz currently leads the Eastern League batting race with a .353 average and has an outside chance at becoming just the fifth player in the history of the Eastern League to win the Triple Crown.  The 27-year old is currently ranked second in the league in home runs (27), trailing the leader by three, and is ranked third in the league in RBI (87), six behind the leader.  Ruiz is also currently ranked among the league leaders in slugging percentage (.674-1st), on-base percentage (.408-2nd), extra-base hits (55-4th), total bases (225-6th) and doubles (29-10th).  Ruiz was a member of the Southern Division roster for the 2005 Eastern League All-Star Game and was also named the Eastern League Player of the Week for the week ending May 1 earlier this season. It will be interesting to see what the Phillies do with Ruiz during the off-season. They have a logjam at first base and the Phillies' brass apparently wasn't very happy with Ruiz failing two drug tests this year.

Outfielder Chris Roberson was named to the All-Star team and was awarded the Eastern League Rookie of the Year Award, as well. Roberson currently leads the league in hits (160) and runs scored (84) and is also ranked among the league leaders in total bases (243-3rd), triples (8-tied 3rd), stolen bases (31-6th) and batting average (.313-6th) while making his Double-A debut for the Reading Phillies.  The 26-year old native of Oakland, California has not only had an outstanding season offensively, but has also been one of the top defensive players in the league and currently leads all outfielders with 303 putouts and is also ranked second among all outfielders in assists, with 15.  Roberson, who is just eleven hits shy of breaking the Reading Phillies record for hits in a season, was selected as a member of the Southern Division roster for the 2005 Eastern League All-Star Game and was also chosen by Baseball America as having the "Best Outfield Arm" in the Eastern League this season.

If you want a hint why Reading has struggled this season, consider that they've got a pretty good starting rotation on the DL. Cole Hamels (back), Seung Lee (back), Keith Bucktrot (elbow), Chris Rojas (elbow) and Edwin Moreno (elbow) are all on the disabled list and are all done for the season.

Clearwater Threshers

Things have been tough in Clearwater. The Threshers have an overall record of 39-89. Needless to say, it hasn't been a happy season in Clearwater, but there have still been some bright spots.

Marc Tugwell (7-41-.294) and Jake Blalock (11-63-.292) have been among the most pleasant surprises. Tim Moss has put up big offensive numbers (17-61-.270), but has been disappointing defensively (19 errors) and needs more work on his baserunning discipline. Speaking of discipline, Moss has struck out far too often - 122 times in 115 games - and the Phillies are insisting that he must improve on that before they will be ready to say that they are pleased with his progress. The Phillies expected some power out of Moss, but not at the expense of striking out at the rate that he has. Moss has a workable on-base percentage (.350), but the Phillies want to cut down on strikeouts and push that higher.

The Phillies are happy with the fact that Zack Segovia leads the Threshers in innings pitched (133). That's basically all they wanted out of Segovia after returning from Tommy John surgery. Now, they can focus on getting him back to his old form next season. Matt Squires (0-2, 5.60) is also returning from injury and has had some tough times this season. Like Segovia though, it's just important for Squires to get work in and stay healthy.

Lakewood BlueClaws

Andy Baldwin is currently third in the South Atlantic League in innings pitched (152.0). Baldwin finds himself behind DelMarVa pitcher Luis Ramirez (157.1 IP) and Rome pitcher Matt Harrison (155.0 IP). Lakewood teammates Maximo De La Cruz (150.1 IP) and Derek Griffith (146.2 IP) round out the top five.

Mike Dzurilla's .328 batting average is ranked fourth in the South Atlantic League among hitters. Jason Jaramillo (.303) and Brad Harman (.301) are just out of the top ten, ranking 12th and 13th respectively.

Batavia MuckDogs

Auburn's Robert Ray and Adrian Martin combined to no-hit Batavia Friday night. Auburn pitchers have been able to slow Batavia's offensive juggernaut over the last two nights. Coming into their series with Auburn, the 'Dogs had scored 66 runs during their six game win streak. Auburn pitchers held them to three runs Thursday night before the no-hitter on Friday. Starter Josh Outman (0-1, 4.19) allowed two earned runs over four innings and took the loss.

Gulf Coast League Phillies

Hurricane Katrina put quite a damper on the GCL season. The Phils finished the season with a 24-27 record, good enough for second place in the Northern Division. Mike Durant finished as the team leader in homeruns with six, Curt Miaso led the way with 24 RBI and Cooper Osteen led with a .362 average. On the pitching side, Edgar Garcia led the team with four wins - and four losses - and also led the club with 55.2 innings pitched. Reymond Cruz struck out 43 hitters to edge Garcia by one for the GCL Phils lead in strikeouts.

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