Williamsport had three players ranked among the top 20 prospects in the NY-Penn League in a survey released by Baseball America. IF Cesar Hernandez, OF Domingo Santana (who BlueClaws fans are already familiar with) and OF Aaron Altherr (who was also ranked among the best in the GCL) could all be with Lakewood when the 2011 season opens in April.
IF Cesar Hernandez: ranked 9th, signed as an amateur free agent from Venezuela in 2006 and spent two years in the VSL, one in the GCL and this year with Williamsport, where he hit .325 and stole 32 bases. A switch hitter, he was 27-69 (.391) batting right-handed. He sounds like the leadoff hitter on the 2011 BlueClaws.
OF Domingo Santana: ranked 12th, signed as an amateur free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2009. Santana turned 16 in August of 2008, signed with the Phillies in March of 2009 and went to the GCL. This year, he opened with Lakewood (hit .182 with three HRs) and was sent to Williamsport when their season opened (hit .237 with five HRs). Still, he turned 18 in August and was one of the youngest players in the league, a league often filled with 21 and 22 year old college pitchers straight out of the SEC or Pac-10. That he was here in Lakewood to open the season tells us what the Phillies thought of him in the first place and he’ll probably be back to open 2011 with…
OF Aaron Altherr: Ranked 15th (in the NYPL and 9th in the GCL), a 9th round pick of the Phillies in 2009 (from Arizona, originally from Germany)…Altherr hit .304 in the GCL over 27 games before a promotion to Williamsport, where he hit .287 in 28 games to finish the season. Here is what Chuck LaMar said about him recently:
“He started out in extended spring this year. Outstanding athlete who just needed, like all of them, to continue to play our game and get at-bats. I just saw him along with Benny [Looper] and Marti [Wolever] and the group and he’s going to be the next name that surfaces that the folks who follow us closely may not have heard of. Next year, when he goes to Lakewood, they’re going to start to hear about him. Not only keep an eye on him. I don’t know how low you can pick rotisserie guys, but I’d get him in my farm system somewhere.”
Related: The Gulf Coast League top 20, which features LHP Jesse Biddle and Altherr.