Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 3rd round of the 2007
B: L T: L / Height: 6' 4" / Weight: 211 lbs.
Birth Date: January 27, 1986
2007 Team: Williamsport
Positions Played in 2007: RF (24 g), LF (19 g), CF (5 g)
School: Arizona State / North Carolina
Batting and Power: The Phillies have a gaping hole in their minor league system where power hitters are concerned. Matt Spencer appears to be the heir apparent as the system's leading home run prospect, but he'll need a little adjustment to get there. The main concern with Spencer is that he generally doesn't work pitchers well and will swing at one of the first few offerings that a guy throws up there, and often gets himself out when a pitcher is content to pitch around him. You expect some strikeouts from power hitters, but Spencer's problem isn't just the strikeouts, it's that he could do so much more if he were just a little more patient at the plate and could work himself ahead in the count more often. With added plate discipline, his home run numbers and average could go higher in 2008. As it stands now, Spencer has raw power and hit .263 at Williamsport last season and should head to Lakewood to start the season.
Baserunning and Speed: Spencer has average speed, but isn't a great baserunner. He can occasionally find himself caught on the basepaths, but should be able to improve with a little work and more focus.
Defense: Spencer started the year playing in left field and then moved to right, with a couple of quick stops in center field, which won't be where he'll play long term. He can handle either right or left field, but appeared more comfortable in right field. His arm, however, is more suited to playing in left field, so it's still a question on where he'll play. As for his arm, it's decent, but not anything more than average. He'll catch some runners who try to test him, but smart, speedy baserunners will be able to take an extra base on him here and there.
Projection: Lakewood is going to be a test for Spencer. If he can develop some patience at the plate and work pitchers a little more, he should be able to boost his average into the .270s and show some real power numbers. If not, then he's going to struggle and his power won't make enough of a difference for him. If all goes well, he'll hit Clearwater by the end of the season and be able to move quickly through the lower levels, because he'll likely need a little more adjusting once he hits Double-A and beyond. When all is said and done, it looks like Spencer has the tools to be an everyday corner outfielder and could hit 25-plus home runs per season.
What else you should know about Matt Spencer:
- Started his college career at the University of North Carolina, but transferred to Arizona State because of a lack of playing time.
- Played first base and pitcher in high school and also pitched five innings at UNC in 2005, going 0-0, 1.80 with five walks and four Ks.
Matt Spencer's career stats