Here’s a look at last night’s action around the Phillies minor league system:
Williamsport – It may only be a week-long hot streak, but Anthony Hewitt is flashing signs that the Phillies made the right choice in last year’s first round. Hewitt smacked a pair of home runs and knocked in 3 runs in the first game of a doubleheader yesterday, then collected a single and walk in the nightcap. He is now hitting .480 (12-for-25) in his last 7 games with 2 triples, 3 homers, 8 RBI and 3 stolen bases. Strikeouts have been an Achilles heel for Hewitt in his short professional career, but he has limited the damage to 6 whiffs during that span. Considering he struck out 55 times in 117 AB last season, any bit of improvement is noticeable.
The transition to third base has been a difficult one for Hewitt, who played shortstop in high school. He has a long way to go before his footwork and arm strength make him a viable option at the hot corner. But the last week – undoubtedly the best in his time with the Crosscutters – gives reason to believe that he is on his way toward putting things together at the plate. After hitting .197 in short-season ball last year, his average is now at .250 and rising. He is the extreme example of the Phillies commitment to drafting “toolsy” players with high ceilings. For Hewitt to reach his potential will take a great amount of work, but if he can the Phillies have themselves a top-notch prospect.
Lehigh Valley – After a wild start Tuesday in which he walked 6 batters en route to allowing 6 runs in 4 innings, Carlos Carrasco got back on track last night. He didn’t pick up a win, as the Iron Pigs lost 5-3 against Rochester, but he went 6.2 innings, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and a walk while striking out 6. His ERA now sits at an even 5.00. It is likely that he will end the season pitching with the big club, likely filling in as a spot starter or coming up for a September cup of coffee. Carrasco finished last season in triple-A with a string of success, and despite some poor numbers has been pitching well this year. A full year of work in Lehigh Valley would make him a very strong candidate to join the Phillies rotation next season.
Catcher Lou Marson was 0-for-2 in the loss with a pair of walks and a strikeout, dropping his average to .298.
Reading – The R-Phils lost to Harrisburg, 10-3, as Vance Worley coughed up 9 runs in his 5.1 innings of work. Over his last two starts the 21-year-old has allowed 24 baserunners in just 10.2 innings. Worley pitched just 69 innings last year with Williamsport and Lakewood, so the 106 he has already thrown with Reading this year could be getting to him. It will be interesting to see if a bit of rest during the All-Star break gives Worley the boost he needs in the second half.
Center fielder Quinton Berry went 2-for-5 with a double and two runs against the Senators. Michael Taylor was 0-for-1 with three walks in the losing effort.
Clearwater – The Phillies Aussie import, Drew Naylor, had another tough outing against Dayton last night, giving up 5 runs (4 earned) in just two innings before being relieved. Naylor walked five and didn’t strike out a batter in the start, as his ERA rose to 4.61 and record dropped to 5-8. Left fielder Stephen Susdorf provided just about all the offense for the Threshers, going 3-for-4 with a double and a homer. He is now hitting .403 in 17 games with Clearwater after hitting .333 in 21 games with Lakewood earlier in the season.