Scouting The Top 50: Matt Maloney

After the season that he had for the Lakewood BlueClaws, Matt Maloney could be set for a big jump up the list of top Phillies' prospects.

Matt Maloney has always been a pretty highly regarded prospect, but his late season heroics took him to a new level. Maloney was handed the ball in the clinching game of both the South Atlantic League Division Championship and the SAL Championship; He came up not big, but huge in both starts. In the two games he struck out 23 hitters and seemed to take it all in stride.

Of course, he had spent the season pitching for Lakewood and handled SAL hitters with little problem. Maloney made 27 starts, throwing 168 2/3 innings for Lakewood and struck out 180 hitters. Not only is that a nice stat, but it becomes even more impressive when you consider that he gave up just 120 hits on the season.

The 2006 season has put Maloney squarely on the map of prospects that will be talked about next season.

Matt Maloney's 2006 Stats

Lakewood 16 9 2.03 0 27 27 168.2 120 54 38 73 180 5 1.14

2006 Prospect Ranking: 49

Status: The Phillies have time with Maloney, since he's nowhere near being eligible for minor league free agency and won't even be eligible for the Rule 5 Draft until December of 2007. If things go as expected, Maloney will definitely be added to the 40 man roster after last season and won't be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.

Scouting Notes: If you have to find a flaw with Maloney, you would have to pick out his walks. He walked 73 hitters this season (one every 2 1/3 innings) which is a little on the high side. He was at about the same ratio in his first pro season with Batavia in 2005. Opponents hit just .194 against him this season and his statistics stayed strong no matter what situation he was pitching in. He averaged just over six innings per start and showed little signs that he was tiring, although his ERA in August was 3.60, a number that most other pitchers would love to have.

Analysis: Maloney does a lot of things well and there is no reason to believe that he can't or won't move up the ladder to Clearwater for the 2007 season. Scouts love his attitude and his pitches have all shown improvement since he joined the Phillies' organization. He throws the basic fastball, curve, change-up and slider and keeps the ball down in the zone well. Even with all of the young left-handers in the organization, Maloney figures to set himself apart.

Look for our 2007 list of the Top 50 Prospects in the Phillies organization to be released in January, 2007.

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