Phillies Prospect #9: Lou Marson

As Carlos Ruiz, Jason Jaramillo and Lou Marson fight to see who will be the Phillies long-term solution behind the plate, it's interesting to note the added offense that Marson found in 2007.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 4th round of the 2004 Draft.

B:T: R  / Height: 6' 1" / Weight: 195 lbs.

Birth Date: June 26, 1986

2007 Team: Clearwater (111 g)

Positions Played in 2007: C (108 g), DH (3 g)

School: Coronado High School (Scottsdale, AZ)

Last Year's Ranking: 23

Why Marson jumped from #23 to #9: Lou Marson has been neck and neck with Jason Jaramillo ever since they were taken two rounds apart in the 2004 Draft when the Phillies decided to stock up on young catchers. At the time, Jaramillo was given the edge in talent, but also had the benefit of four years of college ball under his belt. Since then, we've always had Jaramillo a little ahead of the younger Marson, but the tide changed with the 2008 rankings. While they were close before, Marson showed the offensive style that the Phillies believed was there, but hadn't reared its beautiful head since they saw him at Coronado High School in Scottsdale. Basically, that was all that Marson needed to take a big jump up the rankings and put himself ahead of Jaramillo on our 2008 Prospect List.

Batting and Power:  The probable reason for Lou Marson's offensive surge last summer was the fact that the Phillies shortened his swing and he became a better two-strike hitter. Mechanically, he always looked good at the plate, but didn't quite have the bat speed that he needed to hit better pitching, but with the shortened stroke, he made up just that little bit of speed and it showed in how he hit the ball well to all fields. There is some potential for decent power, but he's not going to be a major threat to hit the longball at any level of play. What he will do is drive the ball hard and hits well to both gaps.

Baserunning and Speed: Marson has just below average speed, but doesn't run into trouble on the bases. Instead, he just does what he can and grabs an extra base here and there.

Defense: Like Jaramillo, there was never any doubt about Lou Marson defensively, but that's not to say that there aren't areas for him to improve upon. He sometimes tangles himself up behind the plate when he's moving from side-to-side and doesn't leave himself much room to adjust and certainly isn't in position to try to throw out any runners. He does all of the basics exceptionally well and uses his body to block pitches and keep them in front of him. His arm is just above the average line, but again, his footwork could use a bit of an adjustment.

Projection: There's not any reason why Marson can't be a solid Major League catcher before too long. The Phillies worked with him extensively and the changes are starting to show in how he handles himself behind the plate and when he's at the plate as a hitter. Pitchers like working with him and for a catcher, that's a big part of the battle. It's likely that he needs two full minor league seasons, at least, before Marson will have himself in a position where he can battle for a job in Philly. Of course, with Ruiz and Jaramillo ahead of him in levels, there's no need to rush Marson toward the top rung of the minors.

ETA: It could be 2011 before Marson is in the majors to stay, but that's partly due to the presence of other catchers in the organization. Keep in mind that he's still just 21 (he'll be 22 in June) and the fact that he's slated to be at Double-A Reading is a fast enough progression.

Comparison: One scout believes that Marson will be a Michael Barrett type catcher, who won't blow anybody away, but will always be able to find work in the majors.

What else you should know about Lou Marson: 

  • Marson turned down a scholarship at the University of Arizona to sign with the Phillies.

Lou Marson's career stats

2004 GCL 4 8 .257 38 113 18 29 3 0 4 13 18 .333 .389
2005 Batavia 5 25 .245 60 220 25 54 11 3 0 27 52 .329 .391
2006 Lakewood 4 39 .243 104 350 44 85 16 5 4 49 82 .343 .351
2007 Clearwater 7 63 .288 111 393 68 113 24 1 3 52 80 .373 .407
TOTALS 20 135 .261 313 1076 155 281 54 9 11 141 232 .350 .384

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