Phillies Prospect #23: Lou Marson

Lou Marson has had a nice, steady professional career to this point. For him to stay among the true prospects though, he's going to step up his game a little in 2007, since the Phillies have a number of catching prospects.

The Phillies have been moving Lou Marson along at a level-per-season and have been happy with how he's handled each move. That's not to say that they wouldn't like to see a little more out of their young catching prospect, because there is room for improvement. Marson is one of those guys that has all of the tools and will eventually pull them all together and less informed fans will ask "who is this guy?" He's got good size and an attitude that coaches love to get a hold of because he is willing to take what they say and put it to use. Combine that with the fact that he's got the tools to make it work and it's just a matter of time.

Lou Marson's career stats

'04 GCL 4 8 .257 38 113 18 29 3 0 4 13 18 .333
'05 Batavia 5 25 .245 60 220 25 54 11 3 0 27 52 .329
'06 Lakewood 4 39 .243 104 350 44 85 16 5 4 49 82 .343
Career 13 72 .246 202 683 87 168 30 8 8 89 152 .337

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round of the 2004 Draft out of Coronado High School. Marson had a scholarship waiting at the University of Arizona, but decided to sign with the Phillies.

Batting and Power: Marson had a lot of work to do on his offense when he signed with the Phillies and they immediately went to work to close a lot of holes that he had developed. Probably the biggest stride that Marson has made is that he's gone from a guy who went to the plate and just swung hard to a guy who now has a defined approach to every at bat. He's developed some discipline at the plate and is looking more to simply put the bat on the ball. He has some power potential, but it hasn't developed. Over time though, it's likely that he'll show at least some home run numbers, but not to the extent that he'll be thought of as a true power hitter.

Baserunning and Speed: Don't think that just because he's a catcher that Marson doesn't have any speed. He was a high school quarterback and played a lot of second and third in high school. He's catching primarily because he was thrown into the job in high school and showed himself to be pretty good. He's not going to steal a lot of bases, but he's smart about when he looks to steal and has good instincts on the bases so he won't run into many outs.

Defense: For a guy who took to catching fairly recently, Marson looks like a natural. He's got good footwork and a strong, accurate arm. There are no concerns about how he can handle the position defensively and he has shown an ability to work well with pitchers to keep them comfortable on the mound. This is also a kid who doesn't shy away from putting his body in front of a pitch to keep it in front of him.

Projection: If he can add some nicer numbers to his offense, Marson is going to be in great shape. Everything is there for him to develop into a decent everyday player at the major league level. His defense alone is a huge asset, so if any power numbers develop or his ability to get on base more frequently continues to improve, he'll be the type of catcher that the Phillies figured on him being all along.

ETA: The question is when is Marson going to put it all together? Not if, but when. It figures that this better be the season, because after High-A ball things will really take a step up and Marson will need to be ready. He could be one of the big players to watch in the organization this season. Even with that, it's likely that he won't be ready for the majors for another three years or so and possibly a little longer. That's okay, since the Phillies have Carlos Ruiz and Jason Jaramillo ahead of him on the depth chart, so they're not going to be pressing to find help behind the plate.

Comparison: If all goes as planned, Marson could develop similar numbers to Mike Lieberthal, but will likely be a little under the former Phillie. The biggest question mark will be his offense, but other than that, this is a kid who can do a lot for a club.


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