Adjustments Are Starting To Work For Costanzo

Mike Costanzo, the Philadelphia Phillies' top draft pick this past June is starting to look like the player they felt they drafted in the second round this past June. Even though he's a second rounder, Costanzo was the Phils' top pick since they sacrificed their first round pick to sign Jon Lieber. That pressure doesn't appear to be showing on Costanzo, who is reaching for his dream of playing for the Phillies.

The Phillies selected Mike Costanzo in this year's draft during the second-round out of Coastal Carolina University and used a $570,000 signing bonus to get his deal done quickly. At Coastal Carolina, the left handed third baseman hit .379-16-67 and showed great plate discipline with a 65-68 strikeout to walk ratio.

Costanzo's professional debut started off rough at Batavia. In his first 45 games, the 6' 3", 215-pounder hit just .213-5-23.

"Well, we right away wanted to make some adjustments in his approach to the plate and I think he is just starting to get comfortable with them now," assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle said. "We stood him up, more upright; we straightened him up a little bit. He came in hitting with a real closed front side so we did some things with him mechanically right out of the shoot that we felt he had to do to handle wood."

Costanzo has begun to heat up with the bat in the past two weeks. In his last 15 games he is hitting over .400, to improve his season totals to .266/.347/.473 with 10 home runs and 43 RBI in 241 at-bats.

"I think his early struggle was partly due to the fact he was trying to make mechanical adjustments as he adjusted to pro ball at the same time," Arbuckle added. "It didn't surprise me that he got off to a slow start and it looks like he is starting to feel more comfortable with what we have done with him mechanically."

During his college career, Costanzo also pitched for Coastal Carolina. He went 8-1 with a 2.13 earned run average while striking out 69 batters in 55 innings. Despite his 92-94 mph fastball, Costanzo decided to dedicate himself to playing third base.

On the field, Costanzo has committed 18 errors in 62 games at the hot corner. He has a strong arm and, as with his hitting, is also making some adjustments to improve his fielding.

"He is a young kid coming out of college, so there are a few things we need to refine with him as far as getting his foot work more consistent," Phillies' infield coordinator Dave Owens said. "Sometimes kids who come out of college don't do things quite the way we want them to do and it takes them quite a while to get them to do the right thing by repetition."

"We are working on his foot technique and he will be going to the Instructional League so we will be able to spend four weeks with him to get some nice work done and get some repetition. Things will start to happen naturally once he gets the repetition behind him. Mike has a bright future and we are very excited."

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