Over the next few weeks, we’re going to preview different units on what could be the 2011 BlueClaws. Today’s our second look, the outfielders. Obviously not everyone on this list will be here (we’ve listed seven), but these are a few of the guys we’ll look for when the spring training games start.
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Previously in this Series: Road to Lakewood, The Infield.
Outfielders (in no particular order)
Zach Collier: Zach, a supplemental first-rounder in 2008, split 2009 between Lakewood and Williamsport, hitting .221 with 20 stolen bases as an 18-year old. Last year, he had hand surgery and missed the entire season. He just turned 20 (in September) and we’d expect him back with the BlueClaws.
Gauntlett Eldemire: The Phillies took the outfielder in the 6th round out of the University of Ohio, where he led the league in on-base percentage and was second in the league in slugging percentage. However, Eldemire did not play at all last year (after the draft, he played his college season) because of a wrist injury suffered when he was hit by a pitch in April. Here is an interview with Eldemire from Phuture Phillies. Because of a large number of potential outfielders and the fact he did not play last summer, it’s possible he starts in extended and joins Lakewood later on, but that could certainly change with a big spring.
Miguel Alvarez: A 21-year old from Santo Domingo, Alvarez burst onto the scene last year with Williamsport, hitting .329 in 258 at bats (and playing all three outfield positions). That’s 69 points higher than he hit in the GCL in 2009 and 41 points higher than he hit in 2008, his final season in the Dominican Summer League. He stole 32 bases in 2008 and 13 last year despite reaching base 15 times more, so he found it tougher to read the pitchers. That said, in the NYPL, most of the pitchers were 22-23 year olds just drafted out of college, so last year was certainly a big season for Alvarez.
Domingo Santana: Baseball America has had Santana among the top 10 Phillies prospects each of the last two years. In 2010, he opened the season with Lakewood at age 17, becoming the youngest player in team history (nine months younger than Freddy Galvis on Opening Day 2008). If he opens with Lakewood this year, he’ll be among the youngest players in the league again. His high point with Lakewood last year was a 14th inning home run at 11:56 pm on April 23rd to end a 14-inning game. He hit .182 with Lakewood and .237 with Williamsport, with 8 combined home runs, as the youngest player in each league.
Geancarlo Mendez: Don’t know much about Mendez, a 21-year old from the Dominican Republic. He hit .264-6-40 with the GCL Phillies and played a few games in Williamsport at the end of the season. He’s also useful defensively. In three years (two in DSL), he’s played 64 games at first, 42 at second, and 51 in the outfield (where he played last year).
Anthony Hewitt: A first-round pick in 2008, Hewitt was with Lakewood last year and hit .202 with 11 HRs. According to this report in the Philadelphia Inquirer from September, he could be back here this season.
Drew Rundle: A 23-year old from San Diego, he was a 14th round pick of the Cubs in 2006 and the Phillies signed him in August. He played the last month with Williamsport, going 12-46.
That’s a bunch of OFs right there, but don’t forget about two other players: Aaron Altherr and Kelly Dugan. Both well regarded players spent last year primarily in the outfield. We listed them with the infielders (Altherr at third and Dugan at first) based on reports that they would move in this year. But we certainly wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if either of those two guys also spent time in what figures to be a crowded outfield.