Phillies Prospect #18: Anthony Hewitt

The Phillies love drafting high school players who have a lot of athleticism and plenty of potential. Anthony Hewitt fit the bill perfectly last June when the Phillies took him with the 24th overall pick in the draft.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies with the 24th overall pick in the 2008 Draft.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 6' 1"   Weight: 195 lbs.
Birth Date: April 27, 1989
2008 Team: Gulf Coast League
Positions/Games: 3B (20), DH (13)
School: Salisbury School (Connecticut)


Batting and Power: The power potential for Anthony Hewitt is very good. He's got the raw and natural power that scouts love, but it's going to take a little time and effort to refine his potential to be a power hitter. He's one of those rare hitters that seem to launch a ball rather than just hit it and once his plate mechanics are better defined, he will only increase in his potential to hit both for average and power. Hewitt seemed overmatched in some of the showcase games last summer as he attempted to adjust to using a wooden bat. The same was true in the Gulf Coast League, where Hewitt struck out 55 times in 117 at bats. But then again, after signing Hewitt, the Phillies brought him to Philadelphia for a visit and just to show what he can do, he took batting practice and launched a couple of balls into the seats. That's what we're going to see out of this raw prospect for a while, until he gets his feet under him.

Category Anthony Hewitt Gulf Coast League
AB/2B 16.71 20.55
AB/3B 117.00 121.22
AB/HR 117.00 80.81
AB/RBI 13.00 8.37
AB/R 8.36 7.17
AB/BB 16.71 10.13
AB/KO 2.13 4.38
AVG .197 .253
OBP .256 .331
SLG .299 .356
Categories with numbers in white show areas where Hewitt outperformed the average player in the Gulf Coast League during the 2008 season. Categories with numbers in black show areas where he was below the league average.

Baserunning and Speed: Hewitt has plus speed and shows the potential to be able to steal a good number of bases. Even though he wasn't on base much last season in the Gulf Coast League, he still swiped two bases without being thrown out. He's a smart runner and doesn't tend to be overly aggressive on the basepaths.

Defense: The Phillies - and a number of other clubs - just didn't like the way Hewitt looked at shortstop when he was playing at the Salisbury School. He often looked a little out of place and something just seemed to be a little off, but the conventional wisdom was that with some coaching, he would be fine. Or, a team could move him to center field since he had a strong enough arm and enough speed to handle the move. Instead, the Phillies tried him at third base in his first pro season and he took to the move pretty well. He made seven errors in 20 games, but the basics were there and when you consider that he wasn't at all used to the position, it wasn't a bad debut. The Phillies continued to work with him on his footwork in the Florida Instructional League and will continue to work with him throughout the season, but they believe that he should be able to handle playing full-time at third base. Worst case scenario would be a move to the outfield, but the Phillies would rather have him develop as a third baseman.

Projection: There were some who believed that if you just looked at athleticism, Hewitt would have been one of the two or three best players in the draft. Since he played in the Northeast, Hewitt didn't always face the toughest competition, which is contributing to the fact that he has a lot to learn, especially when it comes to recognizing a good curveball. The Phillies actually took a bit of a chance on drafting Hewitt, because he had a commitment to play for Vanderbilt, but decided to pursue his professional career instead. Had he not made that decision, the Phillies would have looked pretty stupid, because there were a lot of teams that were avoiding Hewitt because it was thought he would head to college. Don't look for a quick fix from Hewitt; instead, he'll be one of those players who might seem lost at times early in his career, but before too long, we'll all get to see why he was a first round pick. He has the potential to become a very good major league player and if he can get his defensive skills in line, he'll be playing at a prime position for the Phillies.

Comparison: The comparison that was being thrown around a lot prior to the draft was Ron Gant. The former Phillies outfielder was a solid player in his prime until a motorcycle accident busted him up pretty badly, costing him the entire 2004 season, and he was never quite the same player again. In his prime, Gant showed great power (36 home runs in 1993), was a major league all-star, finished fourth in Rookie of the Year balloting in 1988 and fifth in MVP balloting in '93. If Hewitt can become the same type of player and stay off of motorcycles, the Phillies would be very happy with their pick. 

Anthony Hewitt's career stats

2008 GCL 1 9 .197 33 117 14 23 7 1 2 100% 7 55 .256 .299

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