Road to Lakewood: The Infield

road-to-lakewood-viridianOver the next few weeks, we’re going to preview different units on what could be the 2011 BlueClaws. Today’s our first look, and we’ll start with the infielders. Obviously not everyone on this list will be here (16 players listed), but these are a few of the guys we’ll look for when the spring training games start.

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Catchers
Cameron Rupp
: A 3rd round pick from the University of Texas last year, Rupp spent the season with Williamsport and hit five home runs. Baseball America ranks him 30th in the system and mentions his “unquestioned strength that generates raw power.” The likely starter.

Jim Klocke: a 36th round pick last year from SE Missouri State, Klocke was the first of the 2010 draft class to reach Lakewood last year and was with the BlueClaws for a few weeks at the end of the regular season and for the playoffs. He hit .275 with a home run and 16 RBIs in 95 ABs with Williamsport.

Marlon Mitchell: A 27th round pick in 2009, Mitchell has spent the last two years with the GCL Phillies, where last year he bumped his average up 61 points to .273. A former switch hitter, he now hits exclusively from the left side. He’ll be 20 for the entire season so it’s possible he’s the everyday catcher for Williamsport. Here is a Q&A with Mitchell from Spring Training 2010 in MyPhillyPress.

First Baseman
Kelly Dugan: As we’ll see, the Phillies have another vast group of young outfielders that could theoretically be with the BlueClaws this year, Dugan being one of them. However, Baseball America, in their write-up of Dugan (he was ranked 28th in the system), notes that he’s spent some time at first base in Instructional League and could at least play some 1B this year. The Phillies to pick (2nd round) in 2009, Dugan played last year at Williamsport (and rehabbed an infection with the GCL Phillies going 19-33). A Pepperdine commit, his dad directed Happy Gilmore and Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Chris Rock were at his signing party.

Chris Duffy: A 26th round pick of the Phillies last year (out of the University of Central Florida), he hit .272-6-32 with the GCL Phillies.

Patrick Murray: Hit .313-2-26 with the GCL Phillies last year, splitting time with Duffy at first base. Murray was drafted by the Brewers (31st rd 05) and the Phillies (45th rd 06) before they got him again last year in the 34th round (out of Lewis & Clark State, a JUCO power).

Jeff Cusick: An 18th round pick out of UC-Irvine (same school as 2010 BlueClaw and fellow 2010 draftee Eric Pettis), he hit .233-1-12 with Williamsport as their regular first baseman.

Middle Infielders
Cesar Hernandez: A speedy product who started his career in the Phillies Venezuela academy, he had his best season so far as the starting second baseman with Williamsport in 2010. He hit .325 and stole 32 bases for the Crosscutters with an OPS of almost .800.

Edgar Duran: Another product out of the Venezuela academy, Duran is entering his 4th season as a pro and looking to clean up some things in the field and continue to progress at the plate. He hit .235 in 71 games as the regular shortstop in Williamsport in 2010.

Stephen Malcolm: An 8th round pick in 2010 (San Joaquin Delta College), he made an impact right away helping the GCL Phillies win the 2010 league title. He played 27 games at shortstop after he signed last June, and hit .253 with 7 stolen bases.

Matthew Payton: Another 2010 draft pick (Western Kentucky, 27th rd), he played 41 games at second base for the GCL Phillies in 2010. In his first season as a pro, he showed great promise defensively, and hit .228 with 10 RBI’s. Great article here from the Bowling Green Daily News.

Nerio Rios: At just 19 years old, he is entering his third year as a pro. He played 30 games at shortstop last year with the GCL Phillies, and hit .248.

Third Baseman
Aaron Altherr: Reports are indicating Altherr will be moved from the OF to third base in 2011. A 9th round pick in 2009, he hit .297 combined between the GCL Phillies and Williamsport, and stole 15 bases while driving in 25 runs. Baseball America ranks him 10th in the system (third behind Jesse Biddle-8th and Domingo Santana-9th of potential BlueClaws). Chuck LaMar said the following about Altherr last year:

“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.”

Carlos Alonso: The regular 3B for Williamsport last year, Alonso played at Delaware and was a 32nd round selection. He hit .389 with 20 HRs last year at UDel and .265 with 3 HRs with the Crosscutters.



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