Phils prospects over and out in Arizona

The Arizona Fall League is the best gathering of prospects that you'll find in off-season baseball. For the eight Phillies prospects that played in the AFL this season, there were mixed results, but most of the news is good.

Most Phillies fans were keeping their eyes on Domonic Brown to see how he would perform in the Arizona Fall League.

Brown was hitting pretty well before an 0-for-20 streak to end the season derailed his numbers. Prior to the streak, Brown was hitting a solid .275, but his slump dropped his average down to just .229 in the AFL. The performance doesn't drop his starpower any, although it would have been a nice finish to his season to put up more solid numbers facing some of the top pitching prospects in baseball.

It's still likely that Brown will start the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley or will at least be one of the first promotions of the season if he does return to Double-A Reading.

If Brown was the key position player for fans to watch, then Scott Mathieson was the key pitcher for fans to keep an eye on.

Mathieson, who has fought off two Tommy John surgeries and converted from being a starter to a reliever, has a shot at putting himself into Philadelphia's bullpen to start the season.

At a quick glance, his 2.84 ERA in the AFL looks pretty nice, but if you look deeper at the numbers, his control stands out as something that will need to be sharpened. Mathieson walked eight hitters in 12 2/3 innings of work. That's the type of number that major league hitters will make you pay for. During the regular season, Mathieson walked 12 hitters in 32 1/3 innings of work, much better numbers than in the AFL, and an average of just over three walks per nine innings.

Michael Schwimer posted a 4.26 ERA and also walked eight in 12 2/3 innings. In just his second pro season, Schwimer was facing a lot of hitters who had more experience than he does at this point and found that the better the hitter, the more selective they'll be at the plate. During the season, Schwimer walked 21 hitters in 65 innings, numbers that don't warrant any concern.

Maybe it was something in the Arizona air.

Pitcher Edgar Garcia started the season with visa problems, but seemed to put it behind him and pitched well in both the Gulf Coast League and in Clearwater, posting a combined 2-4, 3.94 mark between the two stops. For Garcia, the AFL wasn't just a showcase, it was an opportunity for him to get some more innings in before ending his season.

Garcia wound up in Scottsdale's bullpen and threw just 17 innings, struggling all the way. Opponents hit .324 against him and he posted a 5.29 ERA in Arizona.

Pitcher Michael Cisco was impressive in Arizona. Over his final 15 innings, he allowed just three earned runs (a 1.80 ERA). The only real hit that he took in the AFL was in his second start of the season when he was bombed for four runs in six innings. If not for that one outing, his ERA would have been a jaw-dropping 1.62 instead of 3.38, which is still pretty impressive.

Catcher Tuffy Gosewisch may have had the most to prove in the AFL and he didn't disappoint. The catching prospect, who will likely be the everyday starter at Lehigh Valley in 2010, hit a strong .318 with a .697 OPS for Scottsdale.

Gosewisch is one of those prospects who isn't always the most highly touted, but could turn out to be a nice player at the major league level with a little work.

Steve Susdorf had a tough time in Arizona, hitting just .200 with two home runs. Susdorf made the rounds this past season, playing for Lakewood, Clearwater and Reading and hitting a combined .324 in the minors. Susdorf will likely need to develop more power to be considered a serious prospect, but he's got a nice swing and time to develop. He'll likely start the season back at Reading.

And finally, is part-timer Troy Hanzawa. Hanzawa was active just one day each week in the AFL and struggled to find his swing, which is understandable. After all, he's only going out there once a week and he's facing some impressive pitching prospects.

The young shortstop prospect was just 1-for-25 (.040) in the AFL, but he too, is in just his second professional season and he had a nice year (.267/.325/.675) at Lakewood.



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