Hewitt Deserves Respect

Phillies first round pick Anthony Hewitt told Philly Baseball News that he's ready, willing and determined to start his pro career and start making believers out of anyone who doubts his abilities.

He's one of those "toolsy" guys that a lot of fans simply don't want to see their team draft, because they often fall by the wayside. Tools don't translate into skills. If you check out a lot of forums around the internet, you're seeing a lot of fans who are disgruntled with the pick of Anthony Hewitt in the first round of the 2008 Draft. While it's possible that the Phillies might have been able to grab him in the supplemental round, they didn't want to take any chances. So, they swiped him with the 24th overall pick and appear glad that they did.

Hewitt had a hunch that he would wind up a Phillie, but was getting more and more nervous as the 24th pick got closer and closer. "I was pretty nervous," said Hewitt. "When they called my name, it was a good feeling. Actually, it felt great." That announcement brought to an end the speculation of just where Hewitt would go. He had been scouted heavily by the Phillies, Arizona, Colorado and Milwaukee and it's likely that he actually wouldn't have lasted until the Phillies picked at number 34, because the Brewers picked at number 32 and had been hot on Hewitt's trail. "They [Milwaukee] scouted me really hard," explained Hewitt of the Brewers efforts. Still, he had that hunch that it would be Philadelphia.

When his name was announced, the good feeling was somewhat doused by the commentary that he and his family heard on ESPN. He was described as "needing a lot of polish" and needing "five or six years to reach the majors". "I felt somewhat disrespected," relayed Hewitt of his feelings toward the commentary. "You don't get drafted this high if you can't hit. Everybody in the draft, or almost everybody, needs some polish and a lot of those guys have never even seen me play." While he says that disrespect is difficult to deal with, he admits that it just makes him more determined to become a better player. "It's not going to take me six years, or even five," said Hewitt of his potential timeline. "I'll make it quicker than that. All of the things that they said are just going to make me better. I take those things to heart."

Scouts agree that Hewitt does have a hole or two in his game that will need to be fixed. They are in agreement that hitting better pitchers is going to be tough for Hewitt as he progresses, but Hewitt has exactly the opposite opinion. "I think my hitting is the strongest part of my game. I'm confident that I'll be able to hit, because I have a strong work ethic and I put a lot of pride into every part of my game," explained the rather mature 19 year old out of The Salisbury School in Connecticut. As for their part, the Phillies were impressed by Hewitt when he worked out for them at Citizens Bank Park last Monday. "He hit a couple into the seats, which got everyone excited," Phillies scouting director Marti Wolever said of Hewitt. "He's got power to right-center and left-center. If he plays third base, he's got a chance to be a plus-home run guy. We walked away thinking it was a great package."

Hewitt has a commitment to attend Vanderbilt, and it's possible that the commitment to school kept some teams away, causing concern about his signability. But Hewitt sounds like a man who will sign quickly if he's given a fair offer.

"I want to start my pro career," said a determined Hewitt. "I'm excited about being a part of the Phillies and I'm looking forward to some good things down the road with them."



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